DETROIT – Miguel Cabrera stood in a packed media interview room accepting accolades from the likes of Bud Selig and Hank Aaron early Saturday night for his Triple Crown season. But later that evening, after the Detroit Tigers’ 2-0 loss in Game Three of the World Series, he was a no-show in front of reporters in the Detroit clubhouse.
Virtually all of his Tigers teammates were available to the media and some, like fellow slump sufferer Prince Fielder, stood and answered wave after wave of questions. Cabrera was seen eating in the team’s private dining area but then left without going into the area where reporters are allowed.
The move didn’t play well with the hundreds of media members covering the series, nor did Tigers manager Jim Leyland sound enthused by it when the subject came up Sunday during Leyland’s dailey pregame media briefing.
“I will deal with the situation and check into it, because you have to be there through the good and the bad,” Leyland said prior to Game Four. “You can’t be on this podium only when you win. When we’re 0-3 I’ve got to be up here and I’m not the happiest camper in the world. However, you have a responsibility.”
Cabrera, who homered in Sunday night’s Game Four loss, was 3 for 13 in the series and had only two home runs in the entire postseason. Leyland did not want to admonish Cabrera too strongly until he spoke to him, wondering if there was a family issue involved. Cabrera has several family members from his native Venezuela at the series, but that’s common among all the players.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Cabrera spoke briefly to Foxsports.com, indicating he left early to meet with family and didn’t realize reporters would be interested in speaking to him.
“We’re all big boys, and you’ve got to face you guys whether you like it or not,” Leyland said. “You can’t just be here when everything is going well. That’s our responsibility. Nobody from the Detroit Tigers ducks that. We’ll deal with that internally, but like I said, I need to find out a few more facts before I go national across the country and be saying something that I’d be sorry for.”
The Tigers made one change to their lineup for Game Four, scratching catcher Alex Avila and replacing him with Gerald Laird. Avila was in the original lineup but has a bruised forearm and Leyland said he was told it would be wise to sit him Sunday. There was some concern whether Avila is done for the series.
Leyland said there were really no other moves he could make for a team batting just .165 with only three runs in the first three games.
“Our lineup is what it is, and we’re playing in a World Series,” Leyland said. “I’m not afraid to make adjustments, but down three games to none, it’s a little late for changing a lineup.”
The Giants put Ryan Theriot at designated hitter in place of Hector Sanchez, who got the start Saturday. Theriot played for the Cardinals last year when they beat Texas.
The Giants’ back-to-back 2-0 victories marked the first time consecutive games ended with the same scores since the New York Yankees beat the Florida Marlins, 6-1, in Games Two and Three in 2003.
Oddly enough, San Francisco’s win Saturday was only the second time in Series history a team won a game scoring one or two runs and striking out at least 12 times. It also happened in Game Three in 1972, when Cincinnati posted a 1-0 win in Oakland despite 14 strikeouts.
Buffalo-based Delaware North Companies Sportservice added several new items to the Comerica Park concessions menu for the World Series.
The concessions contract with the Tigers was Sportservice’s first and it dates to 1930.
The items include a Triple Crown Burger in honor of Cabrera, which is a three-quarters of a pound triple-cheeseburger; hand-melted hot chocolate – which has also been added to an outfield daiquiri stand to keep up with the expected demands on cold nights; a triple-smoked sandwich featuring brisket, pulled pork and smoked turkey on a pretzel roll; and grilled Bavarian pretzel sticks.
Detroit specialties that are wildly popular at the park include Coney Island hot dogs and Little Caesars pizza, the company founded by Tigers owner Mike Ilitch in 1959. When the Tigers last won the World Series in 1984, they were owned by Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan.
Following the clinching game of that Series against San Diego, reporters were kept inside Tiger Stadium while a riot ensued outside and Monaghan had pizzas flown into the stadium via helicopter so the media could eat.