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Thank You, Detroit Tigers. - Sauce1977 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Sauce1977

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Thank You, Detroit Tigers. [Oct. 7th, 2006|08:15 pm]
Sauce1977
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[Current Location |Detroit, MI]
[Special Music |The Detroit Experiment - Revelation]



This proves difficult for me to write.

This isn't the same kind of difficulty as a baseball fan who had the Yankees as a lock to win the 2006 World Series.

This isn't the same kind of difficulty as a Yankees fan who has to sort out why New York is finished for the 2006 season.

This isn't the same kind of difficulty as a straight-up baseball hater who refuses to recognize a truly remarkable accomplishment.

This is the kind of difficulty that comes this way.

My grandfather was a loyal and faithful follower of baseball and the Detroit Tigers. I am not. On a visit to his hospital room in early July, he asked me how I felt about the Tigers. I responded, "Go Dodgers," as part of a joke. To my grandfather, with mouth wide open . . . this was not funny.

Later in July, I returned for another visit with my grandfather. He was still happy to see me, regardless of whether or not I was over 2 hours late. My grandfather was always glad when I visited.

We talked for most of the evening about the local professional sports clubs. This time, I talked about the Tigers. We agreed that it was a nice season to that point. I told him that the mere finish above .500 was going to be enough for a fantastic year. We agreed that if they actually accomplished anything in the post-season, it would be a fantastic year, and then some. I told him that the chances of success past a finish above .500 were possible, but it would probably end at the likely grab of the wild-card spot, at minimum.

He never lost faith in the Tigers, following them up until his death. He was a man who grew up in the era where the ability to follow sport was mostly confined to whatever local coverage one could find. He read the print version of the paper, and the sports section and coverage of the Detroit clubs were as much of a staple to him as the section with the crossword puzzle. He never had cable television. He spent his life watching many of the Tiger greats in person. He went to games in the era of Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser, Harvey Kuenn, Al Kaline, Alan Trammell . . . he saw many games during his lifetime. He followed the Tigers through the mediocre and poor years in the 1950s, 1970s, and through the current drought leading up to this season. He really loved the sport, and he loved this team.

After his death, I promised that I'd keep tabs on the Tigers. I'd finish this season out for him. I haven't watched many of the games. 1994 was the last time baseball mattered to me. I loved the sport from childhood, but too many negatives weighed supreme, I felt. However, like they say about riding bikes, I spent too many afternoons and evenings watching the sport to really forget much about it. In fact, I dozed off today, and when I woke, I figured I missed Game 4 of the division playoffs. I turned on the television, and the game was still playing . . . it was the 4th inning, and I was slightly relieved.

At the completion of the 9th inning, the events that played on my set struck me in a way which makes for tough choice of words.

The fact that the Tigers had beaten the Yankees wasn't what got to me. The celebration, too, it started off like any team celebration you may have watched. Champagne. Lockers, walls, and floors covered in plastic tarp. Jubilant players, management, and owners popping corks and showering each other with the shaken and chilled booze. Player interviews by the broadcast crew. In the stadium filled with the home team's fans, matching jubilance and joy and cheers and claps and waving of hats . . . and then . . .

The players re-emerged from the dugout, holding champagne bottles. They made their way around the perimeter of the field. The manager, Jim Leyland, planted kisses to waiting people through the backstop. Some of the players began to join the crowd, sharing and showering them in champagne.


Joel Zumaya joins the crowd in jubilant celebration.


Kenny Rogers, a Tigers pitcher, climbed up on top of a dugout and briefly joined the crowd, giving them and a nearby police officer a shower of his champagne.


Kenny Rogers gives a cop a golden shower.


What I watched on my television could not have genuinely been reproduced by many professional clubs in similar situations.

Regardless of all reason, this roster of Detroit Tigers . . . are good players . . . and good people.

They did better than anyone expected of them, making it to the AL Championship round.

Congratulations, Detroit Tigers. Thank you, especially, from my grandfather.

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-08 05:50 am (UTC)

The last time Detroit featured that kind of pitching . . .



. . . it was 1984.

Detroit Tigers . . . local media . . . you need a new theme.
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[User Picture]From: joethecabdriver
2006-10-08 07:19 am (UTC)

Re: The last time Detroit featured that kind of pitching . . .

I've never been a sports fan, but that piece was awesome. It touched my heart. Sorry about your grandpa.
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[User Picture]From: ellie
2006-10-08 01:59 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the Big Win. To both you and your grandfather. I fully believe he is still watching them. My uncle is still watching his teams.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-08 02:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

These games proved just as much magical as anything . . . Tigers rose up in sort of a perfect storm and seized the opportunity.
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[User Picture]From: brushwithrob
2006-10-08 02:02 pm (UTC)
As you know, I'm a diehard Yankee fan. I bleed pintripe navy blue and white.

But as you also know, my experience down in Spring Training, meeting all the Tigers two years ago, was really something special. Having all of them be so nice and so genuinely happy to be signing autographs (Verlander, especially, as well as Ordonez) was spectacular.

And to see them turn around from garbage to greatness in the span of a couple years is amazing, too.

But last night, when they clinched their spot in the ALCS, I thought a few things:

1) A-Rod just signed his death warrant in New York.

2) I may never see Mussina in a Yankee uniform again (which hurts because he's my favorite).

3) The Tigers are all playing like they're 19 yr old rookie sensations.

4) This is for Sauce's grandpa.

I know that's a little forward of me to say, but that made it alright for the Yankees to lose. I respect the Tigers. Fuck, I'll say it now: I like the Tigers.

Would I like to see the Yankees go on instead of them? Yes.

But does that mean I'm upset about the Yankees losing to them? Not one bit.

I knew this would happen, anyway. All Yankee fans were terrified about playing the Twins and look what happened to them. My thoughts on the Twins: "You get past Santana and you're home free. The Tigers' pitching is all kinds of healthy. Plus that reliever, Zumaya, throws 100 MPH regularly. I'd rather face the Twins."

Go Tigers. Take it all the way. Beat the Cardinals. Beat the Mets. Especially the Mets.

Please let the Tigers take the whole fucking thing this year.

Congratulations, sir.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-08 02:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

The Yankees defeat doesn't sting quite as much as the stink that rose from the Pistons post-season series with Cleveland. I was convinced that LeBron and a team of scrubs were going to bounce the Pistons. Ben Wallace played like shit, and then he went Scarface-greedy for the cash. More power to him, in one way, but the recent mouthing in the press is pushing the limit for what little fans he has left in Detroit.

I don't really understand the A-Rod situation. For the money, regular season play from him . . . outstanding. Is it a lack of clutch hitting that makes him in lesser regard than the rest?

If the Yankees had been rocked by a wild-card team barely above .500 . . . then it's time to abandon ship. Tigers were legit enough of a club to make the series respectable.

At this point, I am thinking it's a pitcher's duel possibility for the Oak/Det series. If the Yankees had either pitching staff . . . with that batting lineup . . . they'd probably be rolling along like the 1998 club.
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[User Picture]From: mizcrank
2006-10-08 03:26 pm (UTC)
that last pic made me smile whe i saw it on tv last night. i was at the gym and just started cheering out loud.

go Tigers!
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-09 04:26 am (UTC)
I'll stick it out to the end this year . . .

As far as I'm concerned, however, there's only one really decent owner in Detroit pro sports. That's Bill Davidson.
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[User Picture]From: prophecy03
2006-10-08 04:43 pm (UTC)

*Nearly Speechless...*

It felt so good to be sitting at Chili's for a belated birthday dinner, to look up, and notice the Tigers were celebrating on TV. Baseball and hockey are not my sports. I'm kinda used to limited Red Wings success. But nothing like this from the Tigers. Watching it go down...I was real happy. More like proud, in fact. We're goin to the 2nd round...better than the Red Wings, at any rate, and a very good story for the city of Detroit.

Also...again, my condolences for your grandpa. Mine is past 80...he's been watching the Tigers all his life, and he worked at Tiger Stadium for a good while when my dad was growing up. And he's got connections at Comerica Park. The Tigers mean so much to him, so I have an idea and a respect for how your grandfather felt.

And also...my heart has resumed regular beating, because that trap game on Michigan's schedule...we won. I was so ready for MSU to upset my precious Wolverines that I cringed at the kick-off and actually refused to watch the game. I just tuned in for the 31-13 final. I fear no other team on this roster except, of course, Troy 'Lebron James of college football' Smith and his OSU Buckeyes. *tremble, tremble*
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-09 04:27 am (UTC)

Re: *Nearly Speechless...*

This is the same grandfather as the post back in early August . . . this was his team.

Penn State, Iowa, and Ohio State . . . likely loss there somewhere.

Knowing Carr, it's the Iowa game.
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[User Picture]From: holzerhedrpca
2006-10-08 06:58 pm (UTC)
Shit yeah. Fuck the Yankees. This is gonna be a great ALCS.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-09 04:29 am (UTC)
We might start seeing more NL-style baseball in the league.

Bunts, sacs, hit and runs, all of that was started up by Trammell. Leyland's busted a lot of teams with the focus on contact hitting.

It's the first Tigers team in a while that I've watched where they aren't swinging at everything and swinging for the fences on every at-bat.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2006-10-19 05:31 pm (UTC)

OHNOES

"Marty Castillo - whereabouts unknown"
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[User Picture]From: kweston
2006-10-19 05:32 pm (UTC)

Re: OHNOES

duh duh dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....lol
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