The 15-5 loss was a horrible exclamation point on a great season. It featured a disastrous 3rd inning, bad umpiring, bad fielding, and quite of bit of luck that went the Rangers way.
But, I’m done with it. I can’t focus on this lone game because it makes me too damn mad, because that’s how baseball goes, because I don’t want to relive a night I spent in a seedy bar in Troutdale, Oregon.
Postseason baseball in this day and age is a combination of luck, skill, and getting hot at the right time. The Tigers luck came in the form of being on the wrong end of a bunch of injuries, being forced to overuse a limited bullpen, and it came at the expense of a great team, and that’s what the Rangers are.
Outside of their starting pitching the Rangers are better than any team in baseball. They have an offense that features Nelson Cruz batting seventh, a defense that can outplay and out throw anyone, a bullpen that has five or six members fully capable of closing a ballgame.
They are in the World Series for the 2nd straight year. Congratulations.
I have been a serious Tigers fan since 2005. I was born in Michigan in the ’80′s, moved to the Philadelphia region when I was 3 and always passively liked watching the team; though I was a Yankees fan growing up (egads!).
When I moved to back to the outskirts of Detroit in August of 2005, my wife and I immediately began our tradition of attending Tigers games. The Tigers were a team that had an owner who was capable of giving them a chance to compete.
In 2006 they surprised everyone with their World Series run, in 2007 and 2008 they surprised everyone again, though it was because their expectations were raised. 2009 was a slow train wreck, game 163 completely excruciating. 201o seemed like a season waiting for the contracts to expire (they did). 2011 was a season of opportunity.
The Tigers gave us magic this year:
Justin Verlander was magic. Plain and simple. He’s the most amazing talent in baseball and he’s ours for years.
Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello teased us time and time again. But they give us hope that next year will keep getting better.
Brad Penny gave us innings and alot of grief.
Jose Valverde was perfect. Don’t forget that. Still never blew a save all year.
Austin Jackson confounded us with his defense and his strikeouts.
Miguel Cabrera showed us all that alcohol abuse really doesn’t ruin lives (OK, that was irresponsible). He’s the most talented hitter in the American League. And he’s ours.
Victor Martinez was incredible. From Little Victor to his determination to play every single game.
Alex Avila went from his father’s son, to an All-Star and one of the most durable catcher’s in either league.
Jhonny Peralta was everyone’s favorite Tiger to misspell. But he was a solid short stop even though he’s no Elvis Andrus.
Magglio Ordonez was a disappointment in his final season, but we all appreciated his career here. He’s most female’s favorite Tiger. So, Magglio, suck an egg.
Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn continue to build their case for a hybrid player known as 1st half Boesch vs. 2nd half Raburn, and will be a reality series to debut this January (kind of like wipe-out without the cash prize at the end). We’ll call him Brennan Raburn or Ryan Boesch depending on the weather.
Delmon Young arrived unexpectedly, for a pile of table scraps, and relished in his role. I think we all want to see what he can do next year if they decide they want him here.
Brandon Inge is everyone’s favorite scapegoat. He’s finished as an everyday player, but he’s still been an important player this decade. He comes through in the clutch and he screws up in the clutch. Somehow he’s always around the ball when it matters.
When it matters.
Jim Leyland is the perfect manager for this team. Absolutely perfect. And while I may hate him and his stupid bunting, I love him for a hundred other things he does.
I don’t know who’s leaving or who’s coming back but I know that Dave Dombrowski will do a good job and make the right decisions.
Thank you Tigers.
See you in 2012.