Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I usually don't watch a World Series unless it involves the Detroit Tigers.
On a spring break trip in 1984, six of us loaded into my buddy's car and drove from Daytona Beach to Lakeland to catch the Tigers in spring training. I had my GAF Super 8 movie camera with me. It came with a microphone on a six foot cord. Sparky Anderson was signing autographs and I tried to get one of the guys to take the mic and go up to Sparky and say, "Sparky. Everyone knows the Tigers are going to win the World Series this year. Who do you think will win the Oscar for Best Actress?"
The Tigers did win the World Series against the San Diego Padres and Shirley MacLaine when Best Actress for TERMS OF ENDEARMENT.
Two years later in 1986 I was student teaching and the Tigers were in the playoffs against the Minnesota Twins. I made the announcement to my classes that if anyone had tickets, I could use one. After my last class, a kid named Ed said he had two but had no way to go. I called his mom, she offered to pay me to essentially babysit her son at the game. I told her the ticket was enough. It was the only game the Tigers won. Pat Sheridan hit a mammoth homerun at the old ballpark on Michigan and Trumble that hit the facing of the right field boxes keeping the ball from leaving the park. A local NBC affiliate had handed out 11x14 cardboard signs that said 'Bless You Boys'. By the time Sheridan rounded first, the cardboard flew. The Tigers almost forfeited the only game they'd win against the Twins.
Then came the twenty year drought.
In 2006 while the Tigers were in the championship series I was in China adopting our second daughter. When we adopted our first daughter, the Pistons beat the Lakers to win the Larry O'Brien trophy. I figured the Tigers were a shoe in to win especially after Maglio Ordonez launched the most beautiful walk-off home run against the Oakland Athletics, a Detroit rival ever since Bert Campanaris tossed his bat at Joe Coleman in the 1972 ALCS. The Tigers didn't win.
Then six years passed. In 2012 I went to a total of four playoff games. I was there the night they clinched. I felt I willed the sweep over the Yanks to send the Tigers back to the championships. They went but didn't win.
It would be ridiculous for me not to tune in for this World Series. I've been to both cities for games. When you live between two legendary teams, you kind of owe it to them to take a break from being myopic about the hometown heroes. As I write this, Corey Kubler has been on fire through two innings. Five strike outs, one hit. John Lester of the Cubs gave up two runs in the first but has settled down. I'm betting on this being a legendary World Series based on the history of the two teams alone.