Considering the fact that Calvin Johnson is one of the most dominant players in the NFL, it comes as quite the shock to hear that football wasn’t his first love. No, Johnson, who was ranked the fourth-best player in the NFL, was infatuated with baseball before moving onto the gridiron. Hearing that, my first thought was this — of course, just for kicks (not kicks) and giggles — “why don’t the Detroit Tigers have him join the team as a pitcher?”
Sounds way off-base, almost laughable to even suggest, right? And it is. But since the Tigers rotation can’t get it together, and the team as a whole is struggling to find some sort of consistency, I figured “why not?” After all, Johnson, who grew up cheering the Atlanta Braves, may have picked up a few pointers by watching guys like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Steve Avery.
“I used to pitch, I can get it across the plate,” Johnson said in an interview with Detroit Lions.com. “My best pitches were slider and cut fastball – cut fastball was my best.”
He used to pitch, huh? Well, throw him in Detroit’s rotation, right after Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, as the No. 3 guy. Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer haven’t been reliable, maybe Johnson could cure the pitching woes with a few effective innings. He’d probably be great defensively. He’s used to catching bullets from quarterback Matt Stafford, so grounders and line-shots to the mound would be child’s play.
But wait a minute. Something just hit me. Austin Jackson is out. The Tigers centerfielder suffered a side strain Wednesday in a loss to the Minnesota Twins and is listed as day-to-day. Johnson used to play a little outfield back in high school. Boom. Problem solved.
I can hear Jim Price and Dan Dickerson now. Price would say: “What a catch by Megatron!” and Dickerson would say: “He’s from a nice area down there in Georgia.”
Mario Impemba and Rod Allen would have fun with it, too. Allen would love it: “I see you, Megatron.” That has a nice ring to it.
It’s possible, right? Johnson could replace Jackson, right?
“My primary position was centerfield,” said Johnson, who is throwing out the first pitch of Friday’s Tigers-Pittsburgh Pirates Negro League tribute game in Detroit.
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No ball, and I mean no ball would be out his range in the outfield. Home runs? Na, don’t think so. Megatron would climb the walls and snag them with his long arms — just like making a one-handed catch in football, right?
This is just too perfect.
Hey, Dave Dombrowski, Mike Ilitch and Jim Leyland: Get on the horn, call up Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz and tell them you need a favor — a really big, 6-foot-5, 240-pound favor, that is.
Courtesy of our contributing friend from Yahoo!