Monday, March 5, 2012
Detroit Is a "Dream Come True" For Fielder
By Sean Gagnier
He grew up in the Detroit clubhouse, being handed packs of hotdogs and stuffed into trash cans by various Tigers players. Prince Fielder said he loved being able to have that experience with his father and that he hoped he could give that to his own sons now that he is a Tiger. Things have progressed since Fielder signed his $214MM deal and he couldn't be happier.
"I'm having a blast," Fielder said. "I really like this team."
His enjoyment with the Tigers started before most of his teammates reached Lakeland, Fla.. Following an early batting practice Fielder made an effort to go out of the way to say hello and have a conversation with the Tigers locker room security guard.
While Fielder is enjoying his time with Detroit he admits that it is a dream come true for him, even if it was a dream that he had never allowed slip into his mind. The signing had all the elements of a Mike Illich move, the Tigers owner saw someone he wanted and he got them. Fielder's $214MM deal was one that came as a surprise to everyone involved - from General Manager Dave Dombrowski to Fielder himself.
Illich had wanted Fielder since he was a kid hitting homers in Tiger Stadium, but just missed the slugger in the MLB draft by one place and lost him to the Milwaukee Brewers. This move is a dream come true, not just for Fielder, but for Illich as well who has said that he would gladly "trade a few Red Wings rings for one Tigers ring."
Fielder went on to call the move by the Tigers to acquire him, "a blessing." He is able to follow in his father's footsteps while in the same line being able to blaze his own trail in familiar surroundings. Detroit fans may remember a young Fielder crush a home run out of Tiger Stadium for 611 ft.
This spring, while at Joker Marchant Stadium, Fielder connected with a pitch and drove it 25 feet up the light standard for a home run. Afterwards he said that he was merely getting warmed up - something he eluded to in his press conference when he said that he "only know how to swing hard."
Fielder praised his teammates in spring training when he said, that he doesn't "feel like anybody doesn't like to work hard here, and that's rare to see. Everybody works hard and everybody gets it."