Sunday, October 15, 2006

World Series Bound

Everybody's crying. Jim Leyland. Andy Van Slyke. Dave Dombrowski. Mike Ilitch. Billfer and his son. Me. Everybody. Why have we all gone off the emotional deep end? Because not a single one of us, no, not even you, thought that we would see the Detroit Tigers advance to the 2006 World Series.

For the Tigers to merely be in the post-season constitutes a surprise. After thirteen straight losing seasons, the worst spell in the 105 year history of the franchise, to suddenly appear in the playoffs is quite unexpected. To see them emerge from the depths of this despair to appear in their first World Series since 1984 -- after having spent more time, money, energy and emotion than any of us would care to consider -- is bound to make even the most hardened Tigers fan (or Tigers executive) shed a tear. Or two.

While none of us could have anticipated their regular season performance, their post-season ride as been nothing less than unbelievable. Leyland's gut decisions paying off: Alexis Gomez' homer and four RBI game. Jason Grilli and Wilfredo Ledezma in relief in the late innings of a pennant clinching game. Moving ALCS MVP Placido Polanco into the three hole after Sean Casey was injured. His handling of the starting rotation.

That's to take nothing away from Kenny Rogers' dominance. Polanco's redhot bat. Curtis Granderson's ability to ignite the offense and, of course, there's Magglio Ordonez' walk-off, pennant winning homer which will now live along side Kirk Gibson's homer in Tiger lore. Amazing, amazing stuff.

If the Tigers can win four more games and make the turnaround complete, I suspect that more than a few of us will be looking for Kleenex, again.

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