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Detroit Tigers Opening Day Countdown: 3 Days


15 Days: Number of Ryan Raburn Home Runs in 2010
14 Days: Number of Cards in 2003 Topps Base Set
13 Days: Number of Starts by Jacob Turnerfor Lakeland in 2010
12 Days: Number of Franchise Playoff Appearances
11 Days: Number of Tigers Rookie Debuts in 2010
10 Days: Number American League Pennants Won
9 Days: Number Consecutive Years With Only One All-Star
8 Days: All-time Rank in Interleague Play Win Percentage
7 Days: Number of Victories until Jim Leyland Reaches Career Win Number 1500
6 Days: Attendance Rank in 2010
5 Days: Number of Major League Starts Made By Andy Oliver in 2010
4 Days: Number of Consecutive Opening Day Starts by Justin Verlander

We’re down to the final three days before baseball season officially opens. The weather forecast for New York calls for 50 degrees and a 40% chance of rain. It could shape up to be a crummy opening weekend weather-wise, but no amount of rain could put a damper on opening day. Check that. Actually, having opening day postponed due to rain would put a huge damper on things.

Anyway, this post isn’t about meteorology, it’s about the number three. That’s the number of division titles the Detroit Tigers have won in the history of the team.

That doesn’t seem like very much, but when you consider that the division format has only been around since 1969, it seems… well… actually not any better. Three division titles in 42 years is downright awful.

All three division crowns came when the Tigers were members of the American League East. In 1972, the Tigers captured their first title by completing the season with an 86-70 record and finishing a half game ahead of the Red Sox. In 1984, the Tigers crushed the competition finishing the season with a 104-58 record — a full 15 games ahead of the second place Toronto Blue Jays. In 1987, the Tigers won their third and final division title by compiling a 98-64 record which kept them two games above the Blue Jays.

The divisions were re-alligned in 1998. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were added to the American League via expansion, the Milwaukee Brewers were banished to the National League, and the Tigers were bumped into the relatively young AL Central division (created in 1994).

Since the Tigers arrived on the scene, the Minnesota Twins have won six titles (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2010), the Cleveland Indians have won four (1998, 1999, 2001, and 2007), and the Chicago White Sox have won three (2000, 2005, and 2008). The Royals and Tigers have yet to win an AL Central crown.

The Tigers have had a few close calls in recent years, though. In 2006, the Tigers lead the division by one game with five to play, but they dropped all five, and the Twins captured the divsion by a single game. In 2008, they were up by three whole games going into the final four games of the season, but they only managed one more win, and they were force to play a one-game playoff to decide the division.

So, the moral of the story is that the Tigers really need to win a division. How about they do it this year? Agreed?

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