SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ramon Santiago looks around the room each morning and he can almost see the Olde English ‘D’ of the Detroit Tigers instead of the block ‘C’ of the Cincinnati Reds.
And that, he says, is a good thing.
Santiago, 34, played 10 years for the Detroit Tigers, one of baseball’s best and most consistent teams over the past few seasons. And while he didn’t play much, it says tons about his citizenship and character and team-oriented personality that he was as much a part of Detroit as the Ford Motor Company.
"This team reminds me of the Tigers," he said. "It has been in the playoffs (two of the three of the last four years). It has a lot of talent. It has good starting pitching, good relief pitching, good hitting, good defense — we have everything."
Santiago is a shortstop, but he can also play second base and third base. And even though he was a role player in Detroit he always was one of the most popular players because of his off-the-field givebacks to the community.
His attitude and demeanor remained the same whether he played a lot or played a little.
"My main focus when I’m not playing is to encourage my teammates," he said. "I try to give out a lot of energy. Whenever I wasn’t playing I felt like I was playing because I was part of the team. I try to motivate guys in different ways. That’s me, my personality, how I am. I’m an unselfish guy, a team guy."
Santiago likes to keep it light and upbeat, "You have a better chance to win when you have fun and everybody is happy. I try to come to the park every day with a smile on my face.
"When you wake up every day and you are still alive then it should be a beautiful day. God is giving you another chance to be successful and to do something special for you or for some other people."
Santiago says that’s the way it was in Detroit and it is the way he believes it will be in Cincinnati.