Since I can't give thanks for a championship, I'd like to share a few things that made me smile this season. Sometimes you just have to isolate things and enjoy them for what they are. Playoff implications have a way of coloring everything about your team and its performance. Let's speak no more of expectations. Moving on to "happy times for Tigers fans."
1. April 8. I was in attendance for Alex Avila's walk off dinger in the 11th inning. Tigers 13, Red Sox 12. If you don't remember this game, peep the play-by-play at Baseball Reference. The weather was gorgeous for early April. I had to take off my long sleeves and bask in the sun in my t-shirt. Please get your minds out of the gutter. I removed the long sleeve shirt in the ladies' room. Geez. Besides, how's this for a visual? Rolls of fat spilling over the waistband of my jeans. Anyway, that was a fabulous ending to what would have been a demoralizing loss.
2. May 18. Justin Verlander takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Josh Harrison hit a one-out single up the middle to squash the no-hitter, but it was another stunning performance (we're really spoiled), not to be soon forgotten. Hmmm, that game could be a keep-the-off-season-depression-from-getting-debilitating must-see. If you were there, I'd love to hear about your experience. I wasn't at this one, but just to be annoying, I'll remind you that I WAS at JV's first, and by first, I mean most important, no-hitter.
4. Miguel Cabrera wins the triple crown. I have to admit it was a little strange, because I kept saying that the playoffs were more important, and the triple crown was a really cool thing, but not something on which to fixate. But, as the season's end drew closer, I couldn't hold back even if I wanted to. The crown was clinched when the Tigers were in Kansas City, and all I could think was that the Royals should tear the giant crown off Kaufmann's jumbotron and coronate Miggy right then and there. Tears of joy for everyone!
5. ALDS Game 1. My generous employer sprung for tickets, and my friend Nicole and I got to be a part of the holiday known as Post-season Verlander Day. Even though Coco Crisp led the game off with a home run, the Tigers ruled the day 3-1, so everyone went home rather frozen, but happy. The MVP chants for Miggy were so thunderous that they echoed back and noone knew where the chant began or ended. It was glorious.
6. Sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS. No further commentary required.
7. Miguel Cabrera wins the MVP of the American League. In a debate filled with acrimony and stubbornness, Cabrera came out the victor over Mike Trout. I was surprised at the result. I still can't understand why a legion of fans refused to accept that both players were deserving. So many morons on both sides stuck to faulty arguments and resorted to putting down the player they weren't supporting. To see the things accomplished by Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in one season of baseball is just astonishing. We're fortunate to have seen it first hand. It should have made you love the game even more, if that were possible. Justin Verlander's "Keep the MVP in the D" shirt made me smile every one of the 50,418 times FSD showed it.
I didn't mention anything from the World Series, because the 2012 World Series is dead to me. The pain has not begun to leave the chambers of my heart, nor will it any time soon. My allergies have been insufferable ever since the end of Game 4. Weird.
Anyway, my last item of thanks is not from the season, but it involves a certain free agent by the name of Torii Hunter. Mike Ilitch opened his wallet once again, and Mr. Hunter earned a giant fake key to the city of Detroit by declaring he wanted to come here, wanted to get the deal done, is hungry to win, and...well I can't quote the entire love-fest of a presser. Go watch it again, here. Gratitude flows your way, Mr. Ilitch, and I hope that the championship you have desired for so long follows.