The last time Detroit sat atop the big leagues this far into the season, "This Week in Baseball" was the definitive baseball show on television. It was one of the few ways to catch the top plays of the week, and TWIB Notes was among the forerunners to the information age of nonstop baseball trends, slumps and stats. And of course, there was the voice of Hall of Fame broadcaster Mel Allen.
While the Tigers are back in baseball prominence, TWIB is still going. Though Detroit has already received plenty of attention for the fast start they've managed to maintain, this week's show takes a different look at Motown's boys of summer, centering on youngsters Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya and Curtis Granderson, and the different personalities that make this trio part of the fuel behind baseball's best start.
Among TWIB's list of five things you might not know about the Tigers: Verlander is a huge fan of a certain candy bar (you'll have to tune in to find out what that candy bar is), and he takes no shortage of abuse from his teammates about it.
"They joke that he basically gets the 100-mph [fastball] from eating candy," production assistant Jason Katz said.
The show also shows why Granderson, the first-year center fielder who has become one of the American League's underrated leadoff men, still wears velcro sneakers from Wal-Mart.
Meanwhile, All-Star Ivan Rodriguez lends his expertise to the Pepsi Pitch, Hit and Run segment to show viewers how catchers throw out baserunners. The Chevrolet Front Row Fans segment recognizes one of their own with show narrator and Michigan native Buzz Brainard.
For most of the Tigers, it was their first dealings with the weekly show. Though TWIB made a brief stop with the Tigers a couple years ago to talk with Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe, they hadn't devoted a show to them. It was a new experience for the TWIB crew, too.
"It was refreshing," Katz said. "The young guys are so into being in the Majors and having fun. A lot of the older guys with Leyland have sort of renewed their love for the game."
"This Week in Baseball" airs in Detroit and nationally on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX. It will also air Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago, then Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on New England Sports Network and 8 p.m. PT on Comcast SportsNet West.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less