I will admit…I drank the Kool-Aid during Spring Training feeling like the Tigers needed only to show up and the pennant would be theirs. But then reality hit. Doug Fister went down with an injury…..the shaky start for closer Jose Valverde….a brief slump by Miguel Cabera…all brought home the fact that you don’t win on paper.
If you heard that one of the Tigers had a homer and three hits to lead the team to a 5 to 2 victory over the Chicago White Six, your first guess might be Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. Nope. How about Austin Jackson, Alex Avilla, Delmon Young, or even Ryan Raybun? Wrong again. The unlikely hitting hero for the Tigs on Sunday was Gerald Laird, getting the start at catcher to give Avilla the day off.
If this past weekend is any indication, this should be a fun summer at Comerica Park. What’s the over/under on how many home runs the Tigers’ Dynamic Duo of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera can hit? How many games can Justin Verlander win? How many times will the place sell out?
There’s always something special about opening day in Detroit. The fans who start arriving in the middle of the night for their tailgate parties. The signs and tents popping up all over downtown. The green grass and perfectly groomed field at Comerica Park. The optimism and enthusiasm that the Tigers will win it all.
The smoke has cleared and now the Tigers can look at 2011 and be proud of what they had accomplished.
When I sat down and started to think about the Tiger’s MVP it occurred to me that at one time or the other almost every player could fit that category.
1968. 1984. 2006. Those years marked very special seasons for the Detroit Tigers. Now, you can include 2011 with that list of outstanding Tiger teams.
The Tigers have gotten to the promised land ( a division title) for the first time in 1987. Unlike 2006….when they couldn’t close the deal and got into the post season by being the league’s “wild card.” This is also different in another way, in 2006 it was a pleasant surprise to get into the playoffs, while this time around it was expected.
If you had the power to pick when a team should get hot….it would be right now.
Get ready to pop the cork on your Dom Perignon. Better make it a Miller Lite. This is baseball, after all. And besides, who can afford a $500 bottle of champagne? The Tigers are about to celebrate their first division title since 1987.