Goodbye Curtis Granderson

They say you should never blog while angry, which is my excuse for not yet posting my reaction to yesterday’s blockbuster baseball trade. For those who have been living under a rock missed the details, the Tigers traded Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees. In return, they received RHP Max Scherzer and LHP Daniel Schlereth from the Diamondbacks and LHP Phil Coke and OF Austin Jackson from the Yankees. The Yankees also sent once untouchable RHP Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks.

There are two sides to my reaction to this trade. As a fan, I am devastated. Despite his struggles against lefties, Curtis was easily my favorite Tiger. His personality, hard-working attitude, and regular guy demeanor made his extremely popular in Detroit. I don’t own a Tigers jersey (only because I think I look like a fool in a baseball jersey), but if I did, there is no question it would be a #28 Granderson home white. Billfer sums up my sentiments perfectly at the Detroit Tigers Weblog:

The Tigers, the city of Detroit, and the state of Michigan had a favorite son. A guy who’s off the field heroics were at the same All Star level that his on field heroics were. And yet it was a guy who was incredibly accessible, even taking the time to answer a few questions for this humble blogger. People adored Granderson, and rightly so.

Kurt from Mack Avenue Tigers is a bit more blunt with his feelings on the trade, and I don’t blame him:

From an emotional standpoint, I will never like this deal

A lot of fans overlooked Granderson’s faults as a player. He only hit .300 one time (.302, his 2007 20/20/20/20 season) and has struck out over 110 times each of the last four years. He is a lifetime (about 4 full seasons) .210 hitter against left-handed pitching. This may be a team-wide phenomenon, but Granderson hits .023 lower at the CoPa than on the road, with 16 less home runs in his 4+ year career. However, his stats also show how valuable he was to the Tigers’ offense. He hits .311 in Tigers’ wins (with 211 RBI), but just a .229 average and 88 RBI in Tigers’ losses. Yes, most players are going to see a statistical dip in losses, but the gap between these splits show that the Tigers went as Granderson did for the last four years. When he hit well, they usually won. [statistics via Baseball-Reference.com]

Despite his deficits, there are very few guys in baseball Tigers fans would entrust to patrol the cavernous center field of Comerica Park. His over-the-wall catches are stuff of Tigers (and Youtube) legend. He was one of the key pieces in the Tigers’ 2006 rejuvenation. He put on a season-long show for the ages in 2007 when he became one of four players in MLB history to hit for 20 home runs, 20 doubles, 20 triples, and steal 20 bases in a single season (Jimmy Rollins also accomplished that year, but Granderson got to the 20/20/20/20 line first). He was honored with his first All-Star appearance this year.

Overall, I am very sad to see Curtis go (especially to the Evil Empire). Watching Granderson round first after hitting a pitch deep into the right-center gap has been one of the most exciting plays seen at Comerica in the last few years (and we’ve seen it quite a bit, thankfully). He was an integral part in “restoring the roar” for a once-downtrodden franchise and he will forever be a Detroit hero.

Thank you, Curtis Granderson. Thank you for giving your heart and soul to the Tigers franchise over the last several years. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this team and for this town. You’re a 100% class act and a phenomenal role model for anyone in this world. Good luck in New York (except against the Tigers, of course). You will always be a Tiger to me.

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3 Responses to “Goodbye Curtis Granderson”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gordie Howe HT, Gordie Howe HT. Gordie Howe HT said: New GHHT: Thank You, Curtis Granderson http://bit.ly/8Q8XFy [...]

  2. Great read. I’m not necessarily a Tigers fan, but I understand why you and many others are saddened by the trade. He was a fun player to watch in Detroit, and was clearly as valuable on the field as off of it.

    As a Red Sox fan, I don’t want him to succeed in New York. That’s the fan in me. But your article makes me want to cheer for him. Not sure if I’ll be jumping up and down after a home-run, but I want him to get out of this statistical spiral and back on track.

    Again, a heartfelt read. Fabulous work.

  3. Thank you for the kind words. Granderson really was more than just a baseball player here in Detroit. I didn’t really mention any of the things he does off the field, from his interactions with fans to the charity work he’s done with the Grand Kids Foundation (his charity organization). He has done so much for less fortunate individuals in this city, almost to the point where fans were questioning if it was getting in the way of his on-field performance. He really is a one-of-a-kind type of player. I am far from a Yankees fan, but I hope Granderson continues to succeed, both on and off the field. New York is getting a great player and a great person at the same time.

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