October 01, 2011

This is why I love the game

I've been a Tigers fan for a long, long time. 

I love the D. Let's get that out of the way right away. Oh, you already knew that? 

But did you know the Tigers actually have two "D" logos. Now, that's cool.

At one point, probably because they won the first World Series I ever watched — and the fact that they had really cool hats — I was a Pirates fan. (Hey, those hats were cool!)

Then, because of Tug McGraw and his quirkiness, I became a Phillies fan in 1980. (Don't forget that team had Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, and a bunch of other guys. They were good.)

I thought Reggie Jackson was cool, so I was an Angels fan. (Reggie would hit 30 home runs in the new Yankee Stadium … and that cool cat is 65!)

Yeah, but I was always a Tigers fan. (Always was, always will be … even during the rough years).

I can really identify with this song, especially after 1987 and the terrible run through most of the '90s and early '00s. Jeff Daniels performs a great version of "The Life–long Tiger Fan Blues."

In 1984, I journeyed through the end of sixth grade and into the beginning of seventh grade and the Tigers never fell out of first place. It was quite a year, first place wire–to–wire, not to mention the World Series champs. I even went to the clinch game for the ALCS and the first Tiger game in Detroit (Thanks, Grandpa for making that happen!) It seemed that we would probably win a few more World Series in the '80s, as the team was young, hungry, and well–managed. It didn't happen, though. 1987 was great until it wasn't … and by '88, the team was on its way down, down, down … and the '89 teams: ARGH!

The Tigers did some funny stuff through the next several years and in '02, they decided that Alan Trammell would manage the team. So, in 2003, Trammell and a bunch of cool dudes from the '84 team took over the Tigers. And, it was one of the worst seasons in Major League history. The Tigers finished 43–119, barely avoiding the worst record ever. Believe it or not, there are players from that team who are still on the 2011 version of the Tigers. (sidenote: Trammell is the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks who are in the National League playoffs after losing almost 100 games in '10 — they're managed by Kirk Gibson!)

I would love to see a D'backs/Tigers World Series, but have a funny feeling that the momentum the D'backs would feel during Gibby and Trammell's return to the D … the sheer intensity, all the media coverage, the stories dug up about Gibby and Rozema in the '80s … Oh it could be fun.

Photo Day in 2005, hanging out with Mr. Gibson. I once asked him, after the Tigers announced they were retiring Willie Horton's number, if he was going to get to keep #23. It was in Traverse City at a Tigers media stop. He stopped, glared a bit, and said that he would be wearing number twenty–two. I don't think he was happy. 

Gibby is my hero. The Tigers are my team. Oh, this would be so fun! 

Go, Tigers! Eat 'em up!

Roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar …

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