What Happens When Shelton Returns To Earth?
Anyhow, Miller had been an outfielder with the Braves, and was in his mid-20's when he broke camp with the Tigers as Sparky's new leadoff hitter.
On Opening Night, Miller singled in his first at-bat. The white-haired genius had struck again, right?
24 hitless at-bats later, Eddie Miller vanished from Detroit Tigers baseball.
Chris Shelton is certainly no Eddie Miller; and Sparky no longer manages here -- another astute observation. But what happens when the hoopla that engulfs Shelton due to his jackrabbit start -- and it will -- starts to fade?
Shelton: A slide a comin'
Shelton will not hit .400 this season. He probably won't hit .375, either. Or maybe not even .350. He is human, after all, and no human has managed the .400 standard since Ted Williams -- 65 years ago. Rod Carew gave it a go in 1977, ending at .388. George Brett made a run in 1980 -- sitting at .400+ as late as September before "slumping" to .390. But other than those two tries, no player has seriously challenged the hallowed .400 mark.
So when Shelton comes back to earth -- and he's already showing signs of that now, if you want the truth -- how will he handle it? How will the media? How will the fans?
Sometimes the tumble down the mountain is more difficult to contend with than the struggle upward.
It says here that we'll find out a lot more about Chris Shelton as his batting average slides than we ever have as a Tiger. He's basically hit the cover off the ball ever since he was brought to Detroit -- stolen, actually from the Pirates organization -- so we'll see what happens when the inevitable slump occurs.
Still, Shelton is probably good for .320, 35 HR and 90-100 RBI. If only others on the team could "slump" and still hit those numbers.
Seeing how "Big Red" handles the adversity of his return to this planet will be an interesting case study in baseball maturity.