KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Andy Dirks is in a good spot, on a good team and in a good position to succeed.
His manager, Jim Leyland, thinks so.
“I think we’ve got a great group of guys,” Leyland said of his Detroit Tigers’ culture. “I think we do things right. We try to do things right and we basically try to help the players as much as we can, but we also let the players play. It’s their game … but we try to help them, give them advice on things for the future.”
And the third-year Major Leaguer from Haven knows it.
“The guys are great,” Dirks said Tuesday afternoon before the second game of their American League Central series with the Kansas City Royals. “It’s fun to come to the field everyday and play on a really competitive team that wins games and have a lot of experience on the field.”
Think about it.
Dirks, who has steadily become a fixture with the Tigers, gets to pick the brains of hitters like Miguel Cabrera, whose resume is well-documented. (In case you forgot, he won the first Triple Crown since 1967 by raking at a .330 clip, hitting 44 home runs and collecting 139 RBIs, and sealed it at Kauffman Stadium, no less.)
So imagine breaking into the league and picking the brain of not one, not two, not three but four-plus high-caliber hitters.
And even in that kid-in-a-candy-store scenario, Dirks views that as more of a fall-back option. He’s on his own quest as a learning hitter.
“Guys will give you little pointers here and there but baseball’s one of those games, you’ve got to figure it out on your own, too, because everybody’s a little different type of player and they do different things well,” Dirks said.
And, to circle back, he also gets to learn from Leyland – a legendary skipper – and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon about anything and everything.
-Lucas Fahrer, Fahrer Side