Why Andy Dirks is My Tiger


Gritty is the best word.  Gritty means determined.  It means hardnosed, fearless, and an all around pain in the butt to the opposition.  Yeah…Andy Dirks is gritty, all right.

Andy Dirks slide put the Tigers in first place.

Hustling on every play, focused on every at bat, Andy Dirks is just the type of player the Detroit Tigers need.  On a team filled with superstars there must be a guy that does the dirty work.  A guy that stays under the radar while moving runners over, taking an extra base, or sliding hard to break up a double play.

You saw it, you read about it, let’s relive it.  Jhonny Peralta had just failed in his attempt to win a downright crucial game by rolling a taylor-made double play to third base.  Mike Moustakas fired a strike to the second baseman Irving Falu, who had plenty of time to get Peralta at first for the double play.  Not if Dirks can help it.  Hustling from the moment the ball was hit, Dirks slid hard into Falu, so hard that he could not even attempt a throw to first, allowing Don Kelly to cross home with the winning run.

It was not speed that allowed Dirks to accomplish this all-important but underappreciated baseball fundamental; it was sheer determination.  When the ball was hit he realized immediately that he was the one that had the chance to win the game.  He did not accept the inevitable and coast to second, even though no one would have noticed if he had.

Andy Dirks has now played the equivalent of a full season in the big leagues.  78 games last year and 82 this year.  His numbers are solid over that span: a .290/.339/.450/.789 batting line, with 14 home runs and 62 RBI’s.  His ability in the outfield is average, but he hustles to every ball and takes good routes.  His true value comes in his calm but dogged demeanor.  Dirks has a propensity for doing the little things, like taking an extra base or putting the ball in play with runners on.  He doesn’t make millions or live in a mansion.  Heck, he still plays winter ball just for fun and for a little extra cash.

It seems Dirks has worked his way into the Tigers plans for 2013.  After all, he does not cost them much in salary.  With Austin Jackson by his side, the Tigers will have a very good duo of everyday outfielders next year.  Who will join them as the third outfielder next year?  Well, that’s a topic for another article.

For now, I’m going watch Dirks put Falu on his butt again.