Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Detroit Tigers – Start of the Playoffs or End of the Season?



I'm sitting in the parking lot of our local community center.


My little girls are inside taking their weekly gymnastics class. They close the door on these sessions, so the parents can either sit in the lobby and wait, or go off to do their weekend chores while the kids are occupied.


I chose to sit in the jeep and listen to the radio.


And write. There's just not enough time to write anymore.


The talk on the sports radio station is spread across all the current happenings.


The University of Michigan is playing Michigan State University right now. A big deal across the river as both Big Ten conference teams are bitter rivals.


The Lions are playing tomorrow against the Chicago Bears. And some think the Lions have a chance to actually win.


But the big talk today is about the Tigers. My beloved Detroit Tigers are one game up in the AL Central over the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers are playing the Chicago White Sox. The Twins are playing the Kansas City Royals. And the American League Central pennant race is coming down to the wire, with tomorrow being the end of the regular season.


My lovely wife Darlene and I will be at that game tomorrow. We thought the game would be a mere formality – meaning nothing with the division already won by the Tigers. But it looks like it will be the make or break game of the season.


I know it's silly to care so much about a baseball team.


But I do.


Four weeks the Tigers had a seven game lead. But they failed miserably down this final stretch – most notably losing so many to the Twins both in the horrid Metropolitan Dome in Minneapolis – and in their own yard at Comerica Park.


I predicted in the first week of August that this scenario was not only possible – but likely. And now that prediction seems pathetically prophetic. You could see this scenario coming like a slow train on the prairies coming up to the depot. The land is so flat you can see the train coming the night befoe.


And flat is a great way to describe these Detroit Tigers.


These Tigers are playing almost as though they are scared to win. The pitching has been mediocre when it needs to be stellar. The hitting needs to be explosive but instead it's more of a fizzled out fuse. And the decisions made by Tiger's Manager Jim Leyland have been questionable to say the least.


While they have a one game lead with two to play, you can tell the fans have already determined the Twins will win this thing.


Of course I hope that's not true.


Darlene and I have not yet been to a game yet this year. Tomorrow is the game we chose, and we splurged on premium seats. The Tigers have held first place since May 10th. To watch it slip away on this last game of the year, sitting in the expensive chairs, and having to drive home afterwards is unacceptable.


Today the Twins face Kansas City's ace Zack Greinke. This is the Royal's best opportunity to help the Tigers stave off the on-coming-like-a-freight-train Twins.


That's encouraging.


So who are the Tigers starting tonight against the White Sox?


A rookie named Alberto Figaro. Yes, like the operatic aria.


A rookie who has only pitched two games in the big leagues. They were both good outings, but hey – this game means something.


So this 2009 season seems to be closing down like a tragedy packed opera – staring who else but Figaro to sing what could be the final act.


I only hope the fat lady doesn't sing.

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