Monday, October 02, 2006

I said I would be happy with the wild card. What was I thinking?

I rode a rollercoaster yesterday. (Note to my doctors and family, that's a metaphor!) Unfortunately, it was not at Cedar Point. I was at Comerica Park, and the Royals derailed our best laid plans. This picture of Todd Jones shows the exact body language of every fan in the stands, including this one, late Sunday afternoon....

I've never experienced a Tiger game, in person, with more ups and downs. Mostly downs. At the end of the ride, you could have heard a pin drop. Save for a few anguished cries, and those that had to vent by spewing bitter obscenities towards the Tigers. At the time, I thought it was deserved...

Losing the game, series, division, and home field advantage, all in one fell swoop? I can't remember a more crushing, painful loss.

I was left totally drained by the end of the game. The killer, for the fans in attendance anyway, was the bottom of the 11th. Bases were loaded with 1 out, and we were pleading....No, we were begging...For Brandon Inge, in desperate need of redemption, to come through. Put the bat on the ball. A hit would have been manna. But we would have been estatic with a walk, an error, catcher interfernece, a balk, a passed ball, wild pitch, anything. ANYTHING. Just get that damn run in.

Inge nearly won the game. Twice. Then Inge did the one thing he shouldn't do. He K'ed, swinging.

That was the pin in the balloon. That was when the Tigers regular season derailed. Period. Inge's at bat deflated a once hysteric, now utterly exhausted, crowd. Even though that left only 2 out, no one had much hope in the Tigers after that at bat. The rest of the game was a blur, mostly spent cursing Fernando Rodney and Inge.

For anyone that believes that the crowd wasn't supportive of the Tigers Sunday, Tom Gage said it best in his Detroit News Tiger blog.

I'm surprised the crowd is being criticized by some, I thought they were very much into it. But when the Royals began to come back, and especially when they tied it and went ahead, a nervous silence took over - plus there was this, the scoreboard at Comerica Park CONSTANTLY asks for noise, and more noise. It's overkill - I think the crowd was emotionally spent by the ups and downs of the game.

Emotionally spent is right on the money. The crowd was on their feet, screaming during every Tiger at bat, for nearly the entire game. Till the 12th inning, when all our worst fears came to fruition. That's when Comerica became a funeral home beamoaning the Tigers fate as a runner up, rather than the division winning playoff party it had been all afternoon.

Remember when I said that I would be happy with a playoff appearance, that I'd be thrilled if the Tigers got in via the wild card? Turns out, I was wrong.

The end of the game felt more to me like the Tigers missed the playoffs. I would tell myself that I was happy that we are going to see postseason baseball for the first time in eons, but I have to admit that I was bitterly disappointed with the Tigers gagging away the division crown.

Ask me about the 2006 Detroit Tigers season in a few months, and I'm sure that I'll think of this unexpectedly successful season, and it has been damn successful, most fondly. But today? I'm not all that cool with the final result. I think we all need to stew and bitch today, get the bitterness out of our system. Allow me.

God dammit Rodney! Is it that hard to throw a fucking strike?! You walked a Double A nobody that was hitting .18f'n2! I blame you, more than anyone else!

Why the HELL did you have to try and be a hero Inge? The double play wasn't there! Ordonez wasn't playing 2nd base, so why in the HELL did you throw it to him? Get the sure God Damn out! For that matter, all we needed was a fly ball, a fucking fly ball!

Bonderman, what in the HELL is the matter with you? They gave you a HUGE f'n lead, and you piss it away! Pissed it AWAY! You deserve to be the damn 4th starter at this point.

And Leyland, what have you been smoking? Obviously something stronger than Marlboro Reds! You treat the last week of the season like an exhibition, then you suddenly start managing like it's game 7 of the World Series during the last game of the regular season? If you hadn't been dicking around with the rotation and lineups, maybe you don't have to manage in desperation mode Sunday. You throw Verlander out there for even a few innings on Saturday night, you probably that game, and this all becomes moot!

For that matter, why in God's name did you pinch hit for Matt Stairs with the black hole of suck, Neifi Perez? NEIFI PEREZ? WHY? Matt Stairs blindfolded, with one hand tied behind his back, has a better chance of getting on base than the worst player in the major leagues!

Christ fucking Almighty!!!

I hope you feel better. At least a little. I know I do.

As for tomorrow? I'll be in front of the TV, cussing out Tim McCarver, blindly and wildly devoted to the Tigers, trying to will them on to a playoff win.


  1. What's even more disappointing is that we now have to endure the east coast bias of ESPN even more. Playing the A's would have had the highlights after golf and exhibition hockey. And that would have been fine with me. Grrrrr...

  2. Todd Jones had that dejected "slumped over the wheel" look, while I had the dejected "slouched over in my seat, can barely hold my head up, I think I need a shot of Jack" look. Emotionally drained. Heart broken. Angry, but too tired to do anything about it. To say the least, it was a long walk back to the truck.....