Welcome back

Welcome back to a new season, a new beginning. The last entry we had was the World Series and kind of a closure on the reflection on the 2006 season, what we did as a team, and obviously not finishing up what we were there to do and being very encouraged and happy with what we did do. Now, here we are.

This is a great time of year for all fans in baseball, not just Tiger fans. This starts the season of hope. I think the separation factor with our fan base and our team right now is the fact that we know what we’re capable of doing now, and that hope isn’t in, "We hope we have a good team." That hope is playoff hope, world championship hope. That’s a little bit better hope to have, as opposed to just hoping we contend in the division, or hopefully we’re in it in September, that kind of deal. It is one game at a series and one series at a time, but this is where it all begins. It’s certainly, being a Detroit native now, nice to come down here and let it begin down here. This weather might be a little cool for down here, but it triples the temperature in Detroit, so we’ll take it.

Coming back to camp, getting things going, seeing everybody again, even with the shortened offseason, I think everybody getting around each other was refreshing. If you were to ask everybody about their offseason, if they would’ve had a choice of having maybe a couple more weeks or another month maybe, I’m sure they would’ve taken it. Once you get down here and put the uni on and just kind of kick it around the clubhouse with all the guys and rag on each other and tell stories, it’s good to be back.

We know obviously the expectations — not on ourselves, but expectations in the world of baseball — have changed with this team. We’ve turned heads and we’ve gotten the respect that we wanted. We just have to uphold the respect that we’ve gotten. We need to understand that it’s not going to just happen. Everything we did last year, we fought for, every single bit of that. It’s just going to be just as hard this year, if not tougher.

Coming down here to camp also, just to be around not only the guys at the big-league level but to see the kind of talent that we have coming up, this organization has flipped so much since I got over here in ’03. We’re deep now, and it’s exciting to know that even if, going through a 162-game schedule, there’s a possibility that things happen, but we have the kind of guys that can come up and help out. That showed last year, eve. Clevlen came in and Miner came in and made a huge impact during a big-time stretch for this team. That’s always kind of been something that the Twins have been big on. They’ve always had some guy come up and be good, and that’s nice. That’s just the way it happens with the Twins, because they’re so big on their farm system. We have a farm system now, too, to take seriously, and that’s nice to have. And you get a chance to see these guys when they come in and play in some big-league games, and you see the kind of talent that they have, it’s nice to see we’ve established a foundation now. Attitudes are great. Guys are healthy. Hope it stays that way. And here we go.

We don’t do the rally chew right now, although there’s been plenty of fans wondering if it’s coming back out. And by demand, really, this blog is resurfacing, because there is interest in having it. And it’s good to have that interaction between fans and players so they understand a little more of what we’re trying to do and human aspect of it. But we probably won’t bring out any of the rally stuff here, although if we would’ve had another inning in Tampa Monday, it may have brought some out. That was kind of a stinger. It’s funny, because you go home and this is our team and it’s just a different perspective to watch it at home on TV. We don’t get a chance to do a whole lot of that. You’re still competitive. You still want to win those ballgames. I sat there and watched nine innings of baseball. And typically thoughout the year, when I go home I focus on family. But during Spring Training you’re just kind of seeing what’s out there, seeing how guys are doing. You’re just excited to get going again. That was fun to watch, especially since the last time a lot of those guys were on the field together was during the Division Series. It is about getting your team prepared, but it’s also fun to see guys come in that might be in the big leagues pretty soon go out and so something special. A lot of times in Spring Training games like that, late in the games, if anything dramatic does happen, it typically isn’t a regular doing it. So it’s fun for guys that come in there and have a shot at doing something like that.

The thing about Spring Training is it has so much more of a laid-back atmosphere. Not that you can’t relax and enjoy it throughout the year, and I guess it’s easy for me to say from a starting pitcher’s perspective. But there’s nothing better than being a starting pitcher in Spring Training. There’s no doubt about it. I’m not going to lie. We pitch every fifth day. The days we don’t pitch, we are not with the team on road trips. And so we have the opportunity to be done by anywhere between noon and 2 o’clock. You go home and you just sit back and you’ve got the rest of the day. You can go have a nice dinner. You can do some golf, spend a little time with the family, and then you can call your buddy up that was just on the trip and ask them how they did. I’ve seen guys after ballgames have been over with, maybe out to dinner or something, and they just got back in at 6:30 from the trip depending on where it’s at. And here you are, you’ve had the whole afternoon. You went and had some golf, went home to get cleaned up, took a shower, got a nap in, stretched out, and then went and had a nice dinner. And they had a long day in the sun. You play in the middle of the day down here, as much sun as Florida gets, it wipes you out. You get up early in the morning, get your workouts in. It takes it out of you. Afternoon naps are great.

13 Comments

Dull post.

We really only care about the gum.

http://azdiamondhacks.mlblogs.com/

Welcome back Nate! We are all looking forward to the upcoming season! My first trip to the park will be April 28th against the Twins, hopefully you will be on the mound! I am looking forward to coming back last time I was there Bonderman pitched a gem against the Yankees Oct. 7 to clinch the Division series!

Don’t believe him, Nate. Life’s not just about the gum. It’s good to have you back and thanks for the post.

Hey Nate! Welcome back to Blogging!! Hope to read more blogs this season and to see you and the Tigers play some grrr-reat baseball (get it, Grr, Tiger…*Crickets chirp*)

what up Nate.

i got season tickets for this season so ill be down there watchin you boys a lot this season. Im gonna come to a lot of your games so dont make me regret having you be my favorite. ha ha im just playin…but really

I was in Florida like the first couple of days pitchers and catchers were there and i didn’t see you…where were you at?

I will see ya April 4, the other guy we share the tickets with took the opener so yeah i’m pretty pissed but im just glad the season is almost underway.

Nate,

It is GREAT to see you back in the blog world. We are very excited to watch the Tigers again this year. We plan on going to games in KC and Texas…

Now with your new contract, are you needing another big screen TV? Or a new Lexus?

Dan in Wichita

Dear Nate,
Congratulations on your amazing performance versus the Reds last Thursday, only one hit and struck out FIVE!! That is the benefits of all the hard work you have been putting in., if you keep that up the Tigers will be for sure a “Force to Reckon With”.

The reason I am posting this comment (more of a letter really) is because I wanted to thank you for one of the most unforgettable weeks of my life. I had the pleasure of driving 21 hours straight from Midland, MI to Lakeland last week, along with my little sister, my brother and his wife. We were all so grateful for the hospitality that you and all the players showed us while we were down in Florida. None of us imagined getting the chance to talk to you guys, let alone all the autographs you guys signed for us (which are all now being proudly displayed on a special shelf in each of our houses.) I was so honored that morning you were leaving for the Red’s game to pitch, when you stopped and signed my jersey. I have been dreaming of the moment when I would finally meet you for over a year. I have been to many of your games at Comerica Park but never had the chance to see you up close and personal ( I have to say this :-D, you are even better looking in person ) And when my brother told you that I was a huge fan of yours, and you said you were flattered, I couldn’t help think that you really have no idea what it meant to me that you took the time out of your busy day to talk to me and sign my jersey. I am hoping that you didn’t see me start crying, but I just couldn’t fight back the tears anymore, which is the reason for this increasingly long letter in the first place.

My family had a lot of personal problems last summer, and one of the few things that brought us together was gathering around the TV to watch you and the rest of the boys play ever night. “Gum Time” soon became a ritual at our house. We chewed so much “magic gum” that we had to start ordering cases of it online. The Tigers brought my family together. We found ourselves laughing and have a grand time just watching you guys play. It was so INSPIRING to me after a hard day of work or just a crappy day in general to come home and watch you guys try to battle back after years of taking the verbal abuse and disrespect the Tigers had following them. Which I think is the main reason I chose you as my favorite Tiger. Because you like myself, ALWAYS GIVE 100% no matter what the circumstance. I can tell that you leave ever ounce of everything you had when you walk away from that mound of dirt, which is something I strive to do in my daily life. And what makes you different from the other starters is that you kick *** with such GRACE and POISE it makes it refreshing to watch. I do not recall ever seeing you kick a jug of gatoraid after being taken out of the game, and you definitely do not swear as much as some of the other starters( no offense to the rest of my boys). But most of all you look like you enjoy ever game, and that you truly believe in what you are trying to accomplish!

I guess the bottom line of what I am trying to say is that fans really become attached to all the Tiger players. We feel your joy when “our team” triumphs over other teams, and we feel the pain and sadness when the Tigers best effort falls up short. And I just don’t think the Tiger players understand what a huge impact signing autographs and taking the time out of you guys’ hectic schedules to stop and say Hi, or to sign a ball really MEANS to us true fans. I know that at times when I am having a bad day at work or at college I think back to that moment when Nate Robertson stopped and waved to me before getting on the bus. To you and most players stuff like that is just routine or even sometimes bothersome, but to me and other fans it means the world!!!!! So I just wanted to say thank you to YOU and to all the other players that were nice enough to take the time and speak with us. It was the experience of a lifetime that is for sure. I do hope that you read this, and PLEASE PLEASE remember the next time you stop to sign your name on a baseball or in my case jersey, you are not simply writing your name, you are writing a MEMORY that will last forever, long after the ink has FADED.

Your Loyal Red-Head in Midland, MI

I am so happy you are back. I enjoy your blog so much, not as much as I enjoy your pitching though. Can’t wait till you guys get back home and baseball comes to life in Detroit again.

Nate, you missed a wild one on Saturday.

I am glad to see you blogging again. I really enjoy your thoughts on the game. It does put a more personal touch to it.

Hopefully I will get to see you at a few signings this year (you’ still stunned me that you remembered us) and I look forward to watching you pitch this year. Go get’em!!

Nate -

Good to have you back again! Can’t wait for the new season. I’m also excited for my first Opening Day game, too. All the years I’ve been a fan, I’ve never been able to get tickets for Opening Day until this year and knowing about StubHub. Soon, very soon — Play Ball!!

AngelsPixie

Nate-

Thanks for bringing the postings back. I’m driving down from Charleston, SC tomorrow to watch the spring training games thursday and friday. Can’t Wait!

I really do enjoy reading your posts, it puts a personal touch on MLB that I feel like even I can relate to from my experiences on my college XC and track teams. Keep up the good work!

-Jordon

No wonder you like Spring Training so much. I had no idea starting pitchers have it so good. It’s just good to have you back, Nate. There is such excitement about this season. My greatest hope is that everyone stays healthy.
Speaking of home, I want you to know it got up to 72 (yes) degrees yesterday Tues., 03/13. Do you believe it. It’s been so incredibly cold here in Michigan and finally, finally we got some baseball weather. It was pure heaven! Just like Opening Day will be.

Hey Nate,

You are certainly off to an impressive start this spring. I know it’s only been 12 innings, but you have been inducing far more ground balls (27-1!), and a lot more strikeouts/9 innings than your career average. You’ve also been walking more batters than usual, which makes me think you either have a new pitch or are doing something different with your usual stuff that is getting the ball down more, and, once you have developed more control, could lead to a breakout season for you. If you are doing something different, it would be cool if you could talk about some of the changes on your blog.

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