Friday, September 30, 2011


My hands are a bit shaky as I type this. I am awash with nervous anticipation. I'm not nervous because I'm worried about our boys playing the Yankees. I'm just overamped, something I hope Justin Verlander is NOT.

Bring on the stupid Yankees of New York City. Bring on Nick Swisher and his extra large mouth that said that the Yankees would beat the Tigers "hands down." I hope we can stuff those words down his throat along with some sod and dirt and stuff. Bring on Lord Jeter and his overhyped, overrated, overworshipped self. Bring on Alex Rodriguez and his mirror kissing, centaur painting, image obsessed, fake personality. Bring on the whole stinking Yankee roster, and match them up with Justin Verlander. I want to see it.

I don't know how much longer I can wait for this game to start. The past two days have crawled by at a pace so glacial, it appeared that 8:37 might never arrive.

I really hope tonight's game isn't a nail biter, because I'm not sure my constitution can stand it. I mean, I guess a nail biter would be better than a Yankee blowout, but....please....have pity on me......

OK. I am ready. I want this thing underway already. I want to stop hearing about the Yankee mystique and the Yankee dominance, and the Yankee tradition, and the Yankee post-season magic, and....sigh. All that's left to say is:

We're all behind our baseball team, go get 'em Tigers!



Monday, September 19, 2011

We Are the Champions My Friend

So, the division, it belongs to us. We own it. The Tigers are the Champions of the American League Central Division for 2011. It sounds so lovely. It seems like forever since we've said that because it is forever. We've never won the Central. We won the East in 1987. Sorry for reminding you about the black hole of suck we were for a while. Let's not dwell on that.

I hope you stayed up to watch the clincher. I mean, I know you could watch almost all of the highlights the next day, but it's not the same, you know. It's not the same as being bleary eyed at 1:30 in the morning, watching our boys pour champagne over each other's heads, smoking cigars about an inch and half in diameter (expensive ones provided by Papa Grande--who else?), and reveling in sealing their own playoff destiny. Of course Brandon Inge had a snorkel and mask on and looked like a total dork. Of course he did. I understand that champagne burns the eyes and whatnot, but come on. The boys also reportedly turned the plastic on the clubhouse floor into a slip and slide. Jim Leyland didn't want to hear about that or watch it. It scared him. But he didn't do anything to stop it. Imagine the nightmare injury scenarios running through poor Skip's mind.

Speaking of Skip, his interview was a blubbering mess, but endeared him to struggling Detroiters everywhere. He flat out sobbed about how he hoped this meant something to the fans, and he grew up with a factory worker dad who worried about the threat of layoffs. Jim Leyland cares about Joe Schmo, and he's not afraid to cry in front of the whole baseball watching world.

Saturday's game was one giant hangover. I appreciate that Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez wanted to play the day after a clinching celebration went well into the morning hours. Apparently, the team went to a bar together after all the clubhouse festivities for some private celebration time. Then Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont went to Carl's Junior to get some food and ran into Magglio Ordóñez. Imagine what time it was at that point. The game felt so meaningless. I even felt hung over and I hadn't drunk any alcohol. It was just too soon to process a game. I know we needed to reset and focus on home field advantage, but I doubt that anyone on Saturday could have broken out of a momentary listless fog.

On Sunday, Justin Verlander gave us all a swift smack and brought us back to the race against the Texas Rangers for first round HFA. Eight innings, NO RUNS, y'all. Justin Verlander, ladies and gentlemen. Just another day at the office. Just another case in point for MVP. Jose Valverde just, ho-hum, got his 46th save out of 46 opportunities this season. Are you not impressed?

So, now we are tunnel vision on winning out these last nine games, right? No, I'm not that unrealistic. I just want to finish strong. I just want the home field advantage. I just....I am greedy. Sorry.

One last thing. Could the next two weeks hurry by so I can GO TO A PLAYOFF GAME????????

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Moment of Silence That WIll be Filled by One Man's Call

Amid all the come-back wins, the bouncing throng of players engulfing the latest walkoff hero, and the imminence of the Tigers clinching the AL Central, my mind keeps circling 'round to one thing. I miss Ernie Harwell.

I know he wouldn't be making the call even if he were still alive--his last official words in the booth came on September 29, 2002. I know that we're fortunate to have Dan Dickerson as our play-by-play guy, and he has put away some vividly memorable calls himself. I know that Ernie had a full life, a rewarding career, and was at peace even as he faced the end of his time here on earth.

Despite all that, I cannot help it. He's left a huge cavern and nothing can fill it. I'm one of those people that cringes at sappy ballads and snarks at made-for-tv dramas. I'm sorry to do it to you, but I have to own up to my sentimentality when it comes to Ernie. Thankfully, I know I'm not alone. When we revel in our first division crown in 24 years, the raucous din will momentarily fade and our eyes won't quite be dry as we pause to salute the man who was the sound of summer for so many years.

Thanks again, Ernie. You'll be in the middle of it all.

Your voice echoes in my mind: "The Tigers are the 2011 Champions of the American League Central!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Run, an Omen and a Piece of Filth

I'm exhausted. I've been expending gargantuan amounts of energy lately on not getting too excited about the Tigers and our playoff chances. Every comeback win has me floating around like an untethered helium balloon, and then I don a lead mantle of caution and superstition to force myself back down to earth. This nine game win streak, involving three straight sweeps of divisional foes Chicago, Cleveland and Minnesota makes me want to break out into a really bad rendition of "Another One Bites the Dust," but I restrain myself admirably. I do admit, I have sung "We're all behind our baseball team, go get 'em Tigers" a couple times, but not the forbidden line. Hey, I'm trying, give me a little credit. But just let me tell you THIS:

The last time the Tigers had a nine game winning streak, the year was 1984.

Cue the shivers and some eerily prescient music. I mean, if that's not a sign from the ghost of baseball's past, I don't know what is.

Also, I am feeling an odd form of torture as well, because I have been saving all my ducats for the possible chance to attend a game that is played after all the regular season games have been played. Therefore, I haven't been to a game since August 2, and I have the shakes pretty badly. It's taken me about an hour and a half just to type up this drivel.

I cannot believe I am about to admit this to you, but I when I heard that the Red Cross was having a promotion on Labor Day weekend in which they gave away a pair of tickets to the last regular season series to anyone who donated blood, I jumped all over it in a moment of unmitigated selfishness. Very sheepishly, I went through the questionnaire, and sat in the vinyl chair gently squeezing the bolster as a pint of my blood slowly left my body. Dirty tickets. I scored 'em though. They're stowed in my game day bag right now. Contaminating it. I don't feel guilty enough not to use them. I am thoroughly corrupt.

Enjoy the afterglow of Fister's latest performance on the mound, ladies and gentleman, and please, for the love of cleats and stitched leather spheres, don't defile yourself like I did.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Settled: Max Scherzer is a Fan Boy

Did you see Max Scherzer's reaction to Miguel Cabrera's walk off four-sacker last night? If you didn't, please click here and watch the clip. His reaction is priceless. He is running out of the dugout with a look of absolute joy, his arms whirling wildly at this sides. STINKING ADORABLE. This is not the first time this year that I've seen Max react this way.

When Austin Jackson robbed Alex Gordon of a home run on August 6, Scherzer went wild on the dugout rail. Check it out here. Scherzer's reaction made my night. I laughed so hard, tears sprang to my eyes.

I love Max Scherzer for showing his unbridled emotions. He gets excited. He doesn't hide it. He doesn't try to feign disinterestedness. He doesn't pretend that something isn't a big deal. Coming back from a seven run deficit IS a big deal. Increasing our lead to 7.5 games over the dreaded Sox is a big deal. Making Ozzie Guillen lose his marbles is a big deal. (I would give anything to have been in the Chicago club house after yesterday's game.)

Max Scherzer tells us all that it's ok for a player to react to something a teammate does. A stone-faced, stoic calm is not required in MLB. Thanks Max.