Outfielder receives standing ovation from Detroit faithful
By Catherine Slonksnis
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- It has been quite the change in team fortunes for 36-year-old Curtis Granderson, who went from a Mets team that is well below .500, to the best team in baseball this season with the Dodgers. His first stop after being traded? Detroit, where his Major League career began 14 years ago with the Tigers.
"It's just crazy," Granderson said after his first game with the Dodgers on Saturday, a 3-0 win over the Tigers.
"Baseball has a way of doing some weird things, and here's another one. Great way for the fans to be out and show respect, which is awesome. The ovation I got for the first at-bat. And for us to play the way that we did, that's even more icing on the cake. We're trying to get [wins], and we got another one today."
Granderson went hitless in his Dodgers debut, but he said he's just glad he could contribute in some fashion to a winning team. If anything, he was glad the game was over, so he could catch up with phone calls and visit with family and friends who live in the area. More than that, he's looking forward to getting a proper night's sleep and recover on what has been a whirlwind 24 hours.
Taking in his first game with his new Dodgers teammates has been a reassuring experience, too. Granderson said he was able to get a good look at the confidence with which the team goes about their daily business, and how they handle in-game pressure. For him, seeing the team collectively grind out a close win against one of the better young pitchers in baseball in Michael Fulmer just added to the experience.
And to step to the plate and receive the warm reception that Granderson did from Tigers fans? That was the topper.
"It's awesome. Tigers fans were great," Granderson said. "This is where I started my career. I couldn't have asked for a better place to get introduced to the game of baseball. A city and a state and an organization that went through a lot, especially at the time when I was coming up."
The trade was a bit of a shock and a mixture of emotions, and Granderson said he had just enough time to pack up and get some sleep by 3:30 a.m. ET, before waking up around 6:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Detroit at 9 a.m. Not 24 hours later, the 36-year-old found himself back in the city where it all started.
While it's somewhat of a bittersweet change, Granderson now has a chance to contribute to the best team in baseball and make a run for the World Series -- something he couldn't do with the Mets this year.
"He's a big-game player, he's been on the big stage his entire career," Roberts said of Granderson's addition to the Dodgers. "For his ability, to come hit right-handed pitching, anywhere in the outfield, to potentially come off the bench if we need that, too, it enhances our ballclub."
Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.