If there was anything the Detroit Tigers could use other than some Pepto-Bismol for when their bullpen entered games, it is better base running. Often times the Tigers resembled a bunch of contestants from The Biggest Loser while running around the bases slower than the Titanic after hitting the iceberg. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Tigers actually was the iceberg the Titanic hit. In any case it needed to be fixed and with Omar Vizquel you have no better teacher.
Vizquel made a living off intelligent play and reading other players who were trying to steal. There may be no better guy outside of Rickey Henderson to tell you about the art of running the bases and not just stealing bases but also getting quality leads and how to be as effective a runner as possible. With Omar Vizquel being the first base coach the team now can focus on becoming better at not being so stationary and maybe just maybe steal a base once every couple months.
Now no one is saying Vizquel is going to magically make the runners faster because, as far as anyone knows, he does not possess magic although to last as long as his career did maybe he does possess some magic. The Tigers will still be slow and still have problems when trying to take extra bases and will still be toward the bottom league wide in stolen bases. But this was a giant first step toward teaching this team to be more than just a power slugging team and to utilize all aspects so that when the power isn’t there the team can still be effective.
Brent Smith is a Detroit Tigers writer for RantSports.com.