The Prince formally known as a Brewer is no more – Prince Fielder is now a Detroit Tiger – this after the franchise came out of nowhere with a 9-year, $215 million contract offer.
Midwest Sports Fans has done a couple pieces in the past few days regarding the end of the Fielder sweepstakes. If you are a Milwaukee Brewers fan, you have had plenty of time to face the inevitable.
Fielder did not turn this into a LeBron James-like spectacle. He said flat out at the end of last season that he would most likely not be returning to Milwaukee. Meanwhile GM Doug Melvin moved on and addressed other needs regarding the team in free agency. It was as amicable as any so-called divorce could be.
The $24 million per year that would had been needed to keep Fielder now simply gets used to acquire other assets. For instance, Zack Greinke, Francisco Rodriguez, and Aramis Ramirez carry a tab of $27.5 million for the coming season.
It’s a business, and these days it often pays not to shell out the big bucks for one player. Not being the team that got stuck with Carlos Lee (6 years/$100 million) or even Joe Mauer (8 years/$184 million) sounds pretty good now.
All of that said, I like that Fielder landed in Detroit, as I thought Scott Boras’s “mystery team” would end up being (as usual) the Yankees. And I had an even bigger fear on Prince winding up with a rival such as the Cubs or Cardinals (especially with Albert Pujols gone).
As it turns out, Fielder goes to the American League, in a city with a lot of parallels to Milwaukee, and where he grew up. It sounds like there’s even possible reconciliation between Prince and Cecil Fielder. And Prince is with a team that should dominate in the AL Central for the foreseeable future. As an extra bonus he will no longer have to worry about facing Justin Verlander and his team being no-hit by him.
Maybe Mike Ilitch is as nuts as anyone throwing $215 million on a player, but then again Ilitch is 82 and more than likely won’t even be around when Prince’s contract expires in 2020. Not like Ilitch can take his considerable wealth to the other side. Aging owners can be good for a franchise, in the short term that is…
But I thought this would be a good time to compile Prince Fielder’s top 10 moments as a member of the Brewers organization, just to whet the appetite of what Detroit baseball fans can look forward to.
10. ‘HE GOT ALL OF THAT ONE’ – July, 2011
It was a MLB promotional spot during the 2011 season, but Fielder really did nearly put one into orbit during this late July game v. the Houston Astros, landing high up on a support beam above the right field stands at Miller Park. As now-former Brewers PBP man Cory Provus said, ‘That ball…landed in Wauwatosa.” He had his Milwaukee area coordinates off a bit, but his point was well taken.
9. CATCHER IN THE WAY – May, 2006
San Francisco Giants fans don’t like seeing opposing baserunners run over their catchers, especially after seeing a Florida Marlins player just up from the minors that no one had ever heard of (or will hear from again) ending Buster Posey’s season last year.
That said, Prince Fielder lighting up Giants backup catcher Todd Greene during this weekday matinee in the ’06 season immediately went down as one of Prince’s most iconic moments as a Brewer. This camera angle from the Miller Park roof caught the intensity of that moment of impact perfectly. A second picture shows the aftermath after a second runner tried to score on the play and was tagged out by the opposing pitcher while Greene was sprawled out in Never Never Land.
8. NUMBER 50 – September, 2007
Two home runs in this late September game v. the St. Louis Cardinals made Fielder the youngest player in history (23 at the time) to reach 50 home runs in a single season. After the game, Fielder said that his goal was to hit two more home runs to surpass his dad’s 51 home run season, saying that surpassing Cecil would “shut him up.” As it turned out, Prince had to settle for 50 and has not duplicated that mark since.
7. THE PIRATES ARE HIS BITCHES – May, 2007
Think the Pittsburgh franchise is not elated to see Fielder switch leagues? Coming up to bat after teammate J.J. Hardy had hit a three-run homer, Fielder is drilled by reliever Matt Capps, a pitch that was deemed intentional by MLB disciplinary czar Bob Watson and resulted in a four-game suspension for Capps.
The next day Fielder hit two home runs, scored the eventual winning run, and then made some emotional gestures towards Capps and the Pirates bench before being shown the way towards his own dugout. Since this early-2007 series, Pittsburgh is 4-38 in Milwaukee, including a late September game in 2011 that saw Prince hit three home runs.
6. CLUBHOUSE ACCESS DENIED – July, 2009
In apparent retaliation to a couple of LA Dodgers hitters being plunked earlier in the game, Fielder is hit in the leg by a Guillermo Mota pitch in the ninth inning of a game the Brewers lost 17-4. After the final out Fielder sprints off the field, then attempts to enter the opposing clubhouse to find Mota, but is rebuffed by Dodger Stadium security and eventually Brewers teammates. Surprisingly Fielder was not disciplined by Major League Baseball.
5. INSIDE-THE-PARK HR I – June, 2009
A high pop fly gets lost in the Metrodome’s white roof in the ninth inning of a Sunday afternoon game, and by the time any of the Twins was able to retrieve it Fielder had himself an inside-the-park home run. As college basketball analyst Bill Rafferty might say, “GET A RESUSCITATOR, FOR THE BIG FELLA!!!!!”
The play put the Brewers ahead 9-8 in a game they were losing 8-2, but ultimately lost the game in the bottom of the ninth. Still a memorable moment though – and leave it to The Onion to put a great satire on the event!!
4. INSIDE-THE-PARK HR II – June, 2010
Incredibly, he’s done it twice – amazing considering how much trouble Ryan Braun had trying to score an inside-the-park HR even once. In this game v. the Blue Jays, the ball gets stuck below the padding as the Toronto outfielders threw their arms up in the air expecting the play to be ruled a ground rule double.
It is exactly how I also got Prince to hit a ITPHR in MLB 11, have ball get stuck in the fence while the fielders keep running in place. Once again electronic art imitates real life perfectly.
3. THE CELEBRATION – September, 2009
I’m pretty much retired from uploading videos toYoutube, but I’m now at 182,000 views and counting on this one. As the producer on Network said while Harold Beale went on his famous rant, “SON OF A B*TCH, WE HIT THE MOTHER LODE!!!”
The San Francisco Giants obviously took this as some sort of breach of baseball etiquette, and Barry Zito proceeded to plunk Fielder in an exhibition game the following spring as retaliation. My question remains this, why was everyone pissed at Prince, it was the other 30 guys in uniform THAT ALL FELL DOWN!!!!! And if that was over-the-top, then so is virtually every other walk-off home run celebration in baseball.
2. HOME RUN DERBY – July, 2009
In another opportunity to one-up his dad on the career bucket list (Cecil Fielder had participated in HR Derby three times), Prince hits 23 home runs, including one measured at 503 feet, to win the annual pre-All-Star game event at St. Louis’s Busch Stadium.
1. ALL-STAR MVP – July, 2011
After two days of booing from Arizona Diamondbacks fans (upset that he selected teammate Rickie Weeks and not Justin Upton for Home Run Derby), Prince hits a three-run homer to lead the National League to a 5-1 victory in the 2011 All-Star Game. The win gave the NL what turned out to be the crucial home field advantage for this past fall’s World Series. St. Louis, you are welcome.