Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tigers MUST Win It This Time

The stage is set.  The opponent is determined.  The champagne is dry and the hangovers (hopefully) are a thing of the past.  The celebration is now over (hopefully only temporarily) and it's time to, in the words of Slim Shady, snap back to reality.  Back-patting time is over for the Tigers and tomorrow they return to playing ball...for all of the marbles.  This time they must win the whole thing.  No excuses.

I can hear all the Tigers homers now:

"Here comes that big meanie Deebo raining on our parade!"

"He's not a true fan because he talks bad about our Tigers!"

"He's a fair-weather fan!"


I am a fan that expects victories from my teams and does not settle for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or whatever.  Therefore, I have made it my personal duty to aid those who are unable to take off the rose-colored glasses and see the reality of our beloved sports teams. 

The reality now with the Detroit Tigers is that they are in the World Series, heavy favorites might I add, and anything other than beating the Giants four times in the Fall Classic is unacceptable.  If you can't face this reality or think I am being unfair to our lovable AL Champs then cry me a river.  Go read "Bless You Boys" cover-to-cover to feel warm and fuzzy.

Look, this isn't 2006 anymore.  The Tigers didn't come from the abyss to surprise the baseball world and make a magical run to baseball relevance.  Quite the contrary. 

They are a team with a payroll north of $100 million with the game's best pitcher (Verlander) and hitter (Cabrera).  Oh, and they have possibly the best starting rotation in the bigs and broke the bank to bring in some guy named Prince in the offseason.  You think they spent all that money to be the bridesmaids again?  Nope.  You think they shipped out two of their best prospects in July for a 2B and a pitcher to raise an AL Central banner and call it a day?  Um no.  They expect to be champions and us fans should too.  Settling for 2nd place is not an option.  Not this time.

In 2006 the Tigers threw away, literally and figuratively, their chance to be champions for the first time since 1984 by losing to the Cardinals in a heartbreaking choke job.  Subsequently it has taken them six years to get another crack at it.  World Series appearances do not happen every year.  Just because you get there once does not guarantee you will get back anytime soon. 

Don't believe me just look at the uber-talented Rangers who, after losing in the dance two years in a row, were favored by many if not by most to finally win it all only to fall flat on their faces and miss the playoffs all together.  Their team may be broken up in the offseason.  I'm sorry but I can't fathom being content with that feeling.  If you can then really what is the point of being a fan?  I'll tell you what the point is.  It's to see your team win...not to finish second.

I am very happy the Tigers have clawed (no pun intended I swear) their way back to the World Series.  I was choked up watching Illitch, Dombrowski, and Leyland hoist that trophy last week.  But I am far from satisfied.  I was just a little tot in 1984 when they sat on top of the baseball world so naturally I don't really have a recollection of that euphoria and pride.  In my lifetime I have actually seen a lot of horrible baseball from our Tigers, and now that six years after they gagged away their chance at supremacy they get another shot at it, I will be disappointed in the 2012 season if it doesn't end in a championship.  I won't be doing the "just happy they got there" song and dance.  This is the major leagues not the Babe Ruth League.  Winning equals success.  Losing does not no matter what point of the season it occurs.

This is not a parade monsoon.  This is not a Negative Nancy routine.  I am just saying that it has been 28 long and agonizing years since our baseball team has been champs.  We saw in 2006 how easily opportunities can be wasted.  We don't know when the next opportunity will come or if there ever will be another one.  It's time to stop settling for second best and go be champions.  It's time to show the Giants and everyone else that the city of Detroit is the home of the world's best baseball team.  That is the EXACT reason Illitch opened the pocket book for Dombrowski to bring Cabrera and ultimately Fielder to The D.  He didn't spend that cash to fail.  If the Tigers do not beat the Giants that is exactly what it will be...failure.  Don't kid yourself.

With all of that said my gut says they will get it done.  The pitching is too strong and the bats are too big not to.


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