With a wave of his hand, or should I say wallet, Mike Ilitch has dramatically altered the Detroit Tigers fortunes. With the signing of Prince Fielder, the cloud of despair that formed over the city when Victor Martinez went down has cleared. 

The forecast for next season is sunny skies and plenty of victories.

It was surely one of the biggest, and most surprising, moves in Detroit sports history. It also showed how serious Ilitch is about winning. The addition of Fielder has made the 2012 season one of the most anticipated in Tigers’ history.

The Fielder signing has all the trappings of a feel-good story of the year. Everybody knows the story by now. He was born in 1984—the last time Detroit won the World Series—and grew up as a Tigers’ bat boy. He learned baseball from his father Cecil, who holds the Tigers record for most home runs in a single season

As Ilitch pointed out at this press conference, the Tigers just missed drafting Fielder. Milwaukee selected him just ahead of Detroit.

With all his connections to the city and the team, maybe it was fate that brought Prince back to Detroit. I’m sure the obscene amount of cash didn’t hurt either.

With this signing, the Tigers are automatic American League favorites to go to the World Series and they should put up impressive numbers along the way.

As for Prince, he has the talent to supplant his father as the best Fielder to play for Detroit. The lore surrounding Cecil is great. He legitimately hit 51 home runs before everyone and their brother was doing it—before steroids took over.

But with his skill set, and playing on this team, Prince has a chance to have a special season. He has a chance to break his father’s team record—51 home runs in 1990.

Here’s why I think he can do it.

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