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Detroit • The Detroit Tigers were in the middle of a workout for the World Series when comedian George Lopez showed up and began milling around near home plate. Almost instantly, Miguel Cabrera was beside him, laughing it up and looking as excited as he'd been all afternoon.
"He likes to have fun," teammate Quintin Berry said. "He enjoys himself. He loves being here, and he likes the loose environment. I understand him having a lot of fun with George and stuff because that's the same kind of person he is."
Baseball's first Triple Crown winner in 45 years seems to enjoy hitting and joking around in equal proportion. Fans are plenty familiar with Cabrera's talent his consistently high average and awe-inspiring power but the rest of the Tigers appreciate him for more than that.
Cabrera may be shy in front of a camera or microphone, but there's a goofy side to the third baseman that helps keep his team upbeat.
Now in the prime of his career at 29, Cabrera's approach remains meticulous, but he's careful not to take himself or his job too seriously.
"Besides the business, it's a game. I think baseball is a very fine game and you have to enjoy it," Cabrera said recently. "You have to go out there and have fun. Don't get me wrong, you have to be serious at the same time, but I think when you have a team and try to have fun and get loose before the game and between innings, I think it helps you play good. That's the way I've played since I was a kid."
Cabrera and the Tigers open the World Series on Wednesday. It will be his first trip to the Fall Classic since he was a 20-year-old rookie in 2003 and his Florida Marlins beat the New York Yankees.
"He was a good hitter before we ever got him," manager Jim Leyland said. "I mean, nobody here taught Miguel Cabrera anything about hitting."