Emptiness. Magglio Ordóñez has been my Tiger since the middle of the 2006 season, when I asked myself the profound question "Who IS my Tiger?" and found him to be the answer. It took a while that season, as I pondered, plumbed the depths of my consciousness and analyzed my feelings for each man on the roster. Magglio Ordóñez was the name that echoed back to me.
Since making that irrevocable decision, I've enjoyed so many moments of glory involving Magglio, somehow even being in attendance for more than a few of them. I apologize, but I have to list them for you, even if it is an exercise in redundance. Don't worry, I won't exasperate you with tired recreations of each moment.
October 14, 2006, ALCS Game 4, walkoff home run, (one of the best moments in my Tiger fan history.)
2007, batting title .363, (I loved hearing the Venezuelan announcers call each of his at bats on the final day of the season in Chicago, as he edged Ichiro Suzuki.) Magglio was also a strong MVP candidate in 2007, getting beat out by Alex Rodriguez. Yeah, I puked too when the award was announced.
June 12, 2007, sliding catch to preserve Justin Verlander's no hitter (I was at the game, and may have peed my pants a little.)
August 12, 2007, two home runs hit in the same inning (the first time a Tigers player had accomplished the feat since Al Kaline did it in 1955, I was at this game, but missed the second home run while taking my son to the ferris wheel. That's what I get for trying to be an easy going mom instead of staying true to my never-miss-a-moment-of-the-action self.)
2009, Magglio comes storming back to form after a dismal first half at the plate. He hit .375 in the second half of the season to bring his season average up to .301, swinging a scorching stick to silence the critics who had written him off as washed up. I took great joy in seeing him vindicated.
April 29, 2010 Magglio records hit number 2000. (I was there for this game also, and was sitting in right field. We gave him a thundering standing O as he came back to the field.)
Really, I just want to thank him for helping to bring baseball back to Detroit. There were those dark days when baseball was a joke in this town, when the Bless You Boys days of '84 seemed like a century ago instead of the less than 20 years it had been. Magglio helped to bring legitimacy back to the club. No doubt, we overpaid to get him in 2005, when he was coming off experimental knee surgery. For sure, the big payday was a draw. I'm not that naive to think he came here riding a crest of benevolence. All I'm saying is that he was one of the cornerstones of the resurgence.
So no, I'm not going to say goodbye to Magglio Ordóñez. He is Always a Tiger. He should have retired here. But, that won't happen. The team has decided to "go in another direction." I realize we have our DH in Victor Martinez. I just take it as a big personal affront that Magglio can't walk off into the sunset wearing the Old English D. Sorry for being all stupidly sentimental. Heroes aren't that easy to come by. Playoff memories aren't made every day. I value these things.
Now I am a Tigerless soul, bleakly haunting blogs, twitter and baseball news sources. It will be a while before I adopt a new Tiger. You can't replace the irreplaceable. I am fond of Max Scherzer and his fanboy enthusiasm. We'll see. Down the road a ways. We'll see.
For now, thank you Magglio, for etching the number 30 into Tiger history, for logging a few entries into Tiger lore, for bringing the fans roaring to their feet, and for being my Tiger.