If you want to see the future Detroit Tigers, head to Akron now
The Detroit Tigers are starting to look like a baseball team. The arrival of Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning finally gave Tigers fans something to watch at the major league level.
The development from start to finish is encouraging and gives us all hope for the future of the Detroit Tigers. And the bats you say? Are you ready to hit the road after 16 months of Covid inactivity? The Erie Seawolves are now loaded, as you probably know. Spencer Torkelson, perhaps the new No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and Dillon Dingler have joined Riley Greene to form a Big 3 for positional players.
Akron is the closest the team gets to Detroit and I made the 3 hour trip to see our young guns in action. I encourage anyone interested in the Tigers, or Steve Urkel Bobblehead, and having some free time this weekend, to take a trip to this lovely baseball stadium and quaint downtown area.
Canal Park in Akron, Ohio is about a 3 hour drive from the Detroit metro area. Very easy walk down 75 to the Ohio Turnpike, then I-77 South. The capacity is 7,630 and the stadium is perfectly nestled in the surrounding city center.
The Rubber Ducks are the home team and a branch of the Cleveland Indians, so it’s also an opportunity to see the next generation of players who will torment us as future division rivals. It’s a very lively atmosphere, with their PA announcer really engaging the crowd.
I promise that I will never forget that Luigi’s Restaurant is the main sponsor of the foul balls. They also feature 4 mascots and the crowds of kids at the game loved interacting with all of them as part of the baseball experience.
The variety of food was truly impressive for a Double-A team, the standard fare with $ 2.00 hot dogs and a refillable souvenir pop mug make them solid budget choices. There were also delicious steak sandwiches, mini donuts, pulled pork nachos, and an assortment of ginger ale for adults, among others.
The park itself in terms of gameplay and affordability is a gem. For $ 13.00 I was able to get a ticket in the front row just behind the plate. Parking right in front of the entrance was $ 5.00 and there was a $ 2.00 lot next door but it was full when I got there. It’s 400 feet from the center right away and it’s about a 10 foot wall, with 331 along the left field line. He slowly walks into the middle distance, creating an inviting alley of power that Spencer Torkelson has found to his liking:
The surrounding downtown area has a few bars and restaurants within walking distance, and it has the classic old-fashioned Americana vibe. I felt very safe walking around the baseball stadium. When it comes to accommodation, there are a ton of hotels within 15-20 minutes with prices and quality levels available to suit everyone’s needs. With other attractions such as the Akron Zoo and the Professional Football Hall of Fame around 30 miles from Canton, it’s easy to have an enjoyable weekend close to home.
Regarding my observations of the games I saw today (June 23):
1- I initially thought Dillon Dingler might need more time to adjust than Spencer Torkelson when they were first announced as climbing the ladder, but his swing is so fast towards the ball and it seems to handle more advanced pitching well.
2- Spencer Torkelson will continue to go fast. He seemed fooled by a few shots today, but that doesn’t carry over to the next strike at bat and he seems to be adjusting quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try his luck in Toledo before the end of the season. He seemed more comfortable at 3B than he was 6 weeks ago when I saw him in West Michigan but I’m not ready to say he won’t end at 1B, which would be great.
3-Joey Wentz wasn’t bad for his first AA game this season after leaving IL. He played two innings, hitting 91-94 with a stadium pistol. He didn’t seem to have a good feel with his side throws and he was knocking down in the 2nd inning, missing a high and walking a few batters, but he was able to right the ship and have a scoreless exit. Expect him to be in Detroit before the end of the season to help the major league club as the innings start to be limited on the Big 3 in Detroit.
4- 2G Andre Lipcius and SS Ryan Kreidler hit opposite homers on a few mediocre shots screaming for touchdowns. These two young men are at least worth watching for their future development. None of these positions have heir apparent to the big club, so there is an opportunity for them to shine. A lot of work is still needed, Kreidler with the recognition of the terrain and staying away from the hunting grounds, Lipcius needs more time to adjust to the level after his promotion.
5- Elvin Rodriguez who started with some good start to the season and I was excited to see life didn’t impress me at all. Fastball was left in the strike zone at 92-94 and pretty straight and the Rubber Ducks settled it in 4 innings, allowing 3 runs and 1 HR from 4 hits and 2 BBs. With several other hard-hit balls both right and wrong, he was lucky the box score wasn’t worse.