Detroit Free Press

The pizza spear: Tigers’ bizarre, new home run celebratio­n

- Marlowe Alter and Evan Petzold Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him @EvanPetzol­d.

The Detroit Tigers celebrated their first home run of the new season with a new tradition.

It’s the pizza spear.

New outfielder Mark Canha hit a home run to left field in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 7-6 win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. He was greeted at the steps of the Tigers’ dugout by first baseman Spencer Torkelson, holding a spear stabbing three pizzas.

Torkelson came up with the Little Caesarsthe­med celebratio­n, which replaces the Detroit Red Wings-themed hockey celebratio­n from last season.

“Just had to mix it up,” Torkelson said. “We loved the Red Wings celly last year. It’s not dead; it can still come back. But our owner owns Little Caesars Pizza. So we’re going to give them some love, too. It’s great pizza.”

The home run celebratio­n is free advertisin­g for Little Caesars, which, of course, is owned by Ilitch Holdings. Christophe­r Ilitch is the president and CEO of the family company; he is also the owner of the Tigers.

Ilitch attended the first two games in Chicago.

“I mean, we all kind of fight for the Little Caesars player of the game,” manager A.J. Hinch said, “which is non-sponsored but super important to this organizati­on. We’ll give it to a variety of guys today.”

Fellow outfielder Riley Greene became the second player to hit a home run, lifting the ball to left-center field in the seventh inning. He took his turn walking down the dugout with the speared pizzas while giving highfives to his teammates.

Canha — who eats food as a hobby — is a big fan of Little Caesars.

“I didn’t know what to do with the stick,” Canha said. “I just slammed it on the ground. It was fun. I love Little Caesars Pizza, so that works for me.”

Play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti and analyst Craig Monroe discussed the new celebratio­n, featuring a plastic spear and three fake pizzas, on the Bally Sports Detroit television broadcast.

“I’m also thinking, off the bat, the ball is hot so it’s like the pizza deal, it’s hot and ready,” Monroe said excitedly.

“I was gonna say Tork knows where his bread’s buttered, but it’s more like, where it’s sauced,” Benetti responded.

The old hockey celebratio­n, also created by Torkelson, included a helmet, stick and gloves. Players shot a puck — or a crumpled paper cup — into a mini net in the dugout after hitting a home run.

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