Thursday, May 18, 2006

Magic in Motown

Just when you thought it was dead, boom, it showed up, like a long lost friend waiting on your doorstep.

The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins faced each other at Comerica Park in Motown last night. The evening promised a pitchers duel. Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the American League, was facing the Tigers' Justin Verlander, a young stud who has been on fire his last four starts.

Both lived up to the billing in a contest that makes you remember why you keep coming back to this grand old game.

Much like the Halls High game on Monday night, the suspense built with each passing inning. It was scoreless through five, six, seven innings. You knew it would come down to a mistake. Or a bad pitch.

Finally, in the bottom of the eighth, it happened. Santana walked Chris Shelton with one out, then struck out Brandon Inge. Up came Vance Wilson, who hadn't hit a homer all year and had struck out twice.

First pitch was a fastball. It cleared the left center fence to give the Tigers a 2-0 go ahead lead.

Santana was done, his 12 strikeouts all for naught. Todd Jones saved it in the 9th, and these amazing Tigers won again.

It's way too early to order playoff tickets. But for the first time in many moons, the baseball gods are smiling on Detroit. Finally they've gotten it right. The Tigers organization put together a core group of pitchers and sprinkled in a solid defense, a great manager, and hitters who know how to score runs for good measure. For any Tiger fan who has struggled through the depression of the last 15 years, particularly the horror of 2003, this is a long time coming.

And it's good to see pitchers duels again. They had become all but extinct during the Steroid Era, save Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004, and a few gems here and there. Forget all those home runs. This is baseball, folks.

I'll be visiting Detroit in July to see the Tigers play the Oakland A's. If they are still in contention, maybe we can have somebody spin a Motown classic while I'm out there. Cause this will be a perfect July song if everything else falls into place:

"Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the streets."


Anonymous Grant Rosenberg said...

Bless those boys!!

It's great to have another Tigers faithful here in Knoxville! It's tough being a Tigers many miserable years of a hopeful Spring, dreadful Summer, and lonely Fall. However, the bitterness fades and it tastes that much sweeter when we actually start winning.

It is still Spring, though...


11:44 AM  

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