It’s a great day when one of the best players on your team says he wants to finish out his career with your squad. It’s an even better day when that player is Justin Verlander, currently the best pitcher in the MLB.
Verlander’s sentiments are reciprocated by Detroit Tigers’ fans across the nation. It’s a beautiful harmony—we want him here and he wants to be here. It’s like wanting to get married and having your lady-friend share the same feelings, it’s like longing for another installment in the Madea series and then reading an article about how Tyler Perry wants to buy a new summer home and new helicopter this year, it’s like craving a McRib after the bar and discovering that McDonald’s hasn’t switched over to the breakfast menu yet.
JV’s a rarity in Detroit, an athlete who has never been maligned by the media or the fans for any extended period of time. Frankly, it’s tough to criticize him when he’s a paradigm of consistency and gives the Tigers, no matter what kind of slump they may be in, a chance to win every five days. There’s really just nothing to complain about with him. I mean, despite him having the occasional off night, Verlander is still miles, leagues, and light-years away from being mentioned in the same disappointing breath as Bobby Higginson, Juan Gonzales, or Joey Harrington around the city of Detroit.
Finishing his dominant career in Detroit would cement Verlander place among the legends of the city. Incredibly talented athletes who gave everything to Detroit fans and, in turn, were admired as heroes in the city. This class most recently added Joe Dumars and Steve Yzerman, two captains who led their respective teams to multiple titles and have since had their numbers retired. You can bet that if Verlander continues to dominate batters the way he has that his number 35 will be retired by the organization at some point down the line.
Looking back on it, being able to draft Verlander with the second overall pick in the 2004 Draft totally makes up for the Tigers losing 119 games in 2003.