October 03, 2012

It's that season when we all hate the Yankees

This one goes way back. To 1978, or 1973. Maybe all the way to 1971! 

This post is a journey
This photo above is back when the Tigers weren't good, but their drafts had been incredible and the nucleus of the 1984 World Championship team was being created. Amazingly, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych would not be a part of those great '80s teams. But, in 1978, I went to a double header on "helmet day." Now, look at the coolness of the picture above. There's six–years–old Ricky wearing the old school '70s style Tigers helmet (don't know about the fingers in the mouth deal, but that's not important), Dad (or Carl) wearing a sweet '70s style polyester shirt with the cool collar (made by Mom, or Sally), with the most popular brand of beer in the '70s (made, of course, in … Detroit) sitting on a cooler in the background. There is no picture that screams "1970s" like that one. I think it's an awesome photo! (Thanks, Mom, for digging it up — among others). 

The Tigers are back in the playoffs. 

I'll be the first to say that I had my doubts on a number of occasions this season. 

This team is inconsistent. To say the least. 

Brennen Boesch was hyped in Spring Training as the consumate number two hitter who would benefit from Miguel Cabrera hitting behind him and Prince Fielder behind him. Boesch never took off this season, though. So little in fact, that I doubt he'll even be on the postseason roster.

The Old English D represents the city of Detroit. Everyone recognizes it as such. I've been a fan of the Tigers since forever, or at least 1976 when Mark Fidrych took over the city. I've been a fan of the city since this mid–90s.

My Grandpa, when he was hospitalized back in 2005 once told my Dad that he was impressed at how well I knew my way around Detroit. At the time I didn't really think I knew my way around, but enjoyed trying to decipher the unique set–up that is the Detroit road/street/avenue/boulevard system. Safe to say, back then, I tried to find Woodward Ave. I thought that would get me somewhere.

Austin Jackson has had a great season. He's the catalyst, and I'm predicting right now that as AJ goes, the Tigers will go in the playoffs. I expect now that they're in, that the Tigers are going to go on a nice little run. Who's with me on that?

I made this collage in 2010, when Joel Zumaya as still trying to make the team out of Spring Training. Miggy was becoming a force then — but now, he's become outrageous. I'm so glad he's a Tiger.

Of course, suggesting that AJ is a key and Miggy is an outrageous Tiger, that doesn't discount the fact that we have Justin Verlander, one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. I'm sure he's going Saturday night — and rain is forecast in Detroit, so what's going to happen? Usually, the rain happens on the road to Justin, often in New York City. If I'm the team the Tigers are going to play in the first round, I'm not excited knowing the JV is pitching game one.

It all started with some tickets purchased in Spring Training.

And the arrival of Prince Fielder, who reported early. And ready to rumble for the Detroiters.

And a chance meeting with Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline, in Spring Training in Lakeland. The voice still booms like it did on TV with George Kell for all those year.s

And a manager who keeps it level. Even if I complain about him and his coaches regularly. 

And the kid who's loved baseball since 1973 (or maybe even 1971, for all I know) is going back to the playoffs. Down to the "D," a place where playoff baseball, or even good baseball, was absent for many years. The Tigers from the mid–1990s through the mid–2000s weren't very good. But the Tigers today, they're getting better …

Different variation of the 1978 picture. Still love the helmet and the shirt. And I'm sure the Stroh's was good. But, when the Tigers won it all in 1984 and I was 12 years old, I never thought that I'd be 40 before they challenged for another one. Let's make this the year. They line up well with their American League counter–parts. If the role players can come through and we can play a little better defense, this is going to be fun! 

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