I’ve been up since 4:30am. Not strictly out of excitement for tonight’s game, though I will admit that it certainly adds a dynamic to this day that I haven’t felt in many years. This is the morning of the day of the opening game between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. The 2012 World Series is about to commence, and the Tigers are looking strong.
Now I must clarify, I’m a working adult who has far more meaningful engagements personally to attend to first. The senior vice president of a major customer is paying our company a visit today, and a potential job candidate is interviewing with us this afternoon. Both of these events matter significantly. But baseball continues to be a welcome distraction at the end of the day.
Back in April, I wrote a few words about the season that was about to get under way. Hard to believe that was over half a year ago, but at the start of the season and over 162 summer games played, it seemed as if all eyes were in fact on the Tigers and they might be early favorites to be in contention for the league lead. There were ups and downs in the long contest, and key wins against inner division rivals to put them ahead for good going down the final stretch, and in the end they clawed their way into the playoffs.
It’s really anyone’s guess how events will play out and who ultimately will be 2012’s Major League Baseball Champions. Could this again be the Year of the Tiger? We will see.
The marketing campaign asks, “Who’s Your Tiger?” For me, it’s got to be the winner of baseball’s first Triple Crown in over 50 years, the mighty Miguel Cabrera. He beat out all other American League batters with the most home runs (44 HRs), highest batting average (.330 AVG, almost a hit for every three appearances at the plate), and a dominating number of runs batted in (139 RBIs). I double-checked the statistics on ESPN.com just to be sure, but I’m pretty certain these numbers will be etched into my brain for years. I’ve probably told you before that I’m an absolute freak for baseball stats.
I also was asked to join a Fantasy Baseball league this year for the first time, and having Miggy on my team made it even more special to watch my favorite Tiger hit the ball with such power and alarming consistency. I’ve watched enough games this season to realize just how much of an individual accomplishment that is, and how much it contributed to the overall success of the team.
Tonight though, it will be Justin Verlander on the mound to start things out for the Tigers. As if I needed any more reason to focus on this wonderful distraction, watching JV burn through the opposition’s line up and pitch late into games makes each victory all the sweeter.
One last thing… You might also have heard about a controversy over the closing pitcher. Should they allow Jose Valverde to come in at the end of a close game to protect the lead? Or has Phil Coke proven his stuff in that role lately? The answer as far as I see it is this: it’s best to keep the other team guessing. Tigers Manager Jim Leyland has done a fine job of keeping the right guys in at the right time, and when they’re ready is when it’s right for them to go in.
May the best team win, and GO GET ‘EM, TIGERS!!
(And for an update on that Fantasy Baseball effort, I was tied for first place until the end of very last night of that 162-game campaign, until a certain Washington Nationals batter smacked an RBI in the rain on a Sunday night to knock me into second place, in his final at bat, before the game was called on account of rain. Still good for $120 and great satisfaction… and my wife will be going wherever she wants for dinner… very, very soon!)