I thought to myself, what better way to make my debut on MCB then to quote lyrics from the totally irrelevant to baseball in 2011 musical “The Sound of Music?”
As our boy Bryan Craves half-jokingly stated in an earlier post from today, it was almost refreshing watching the Tigers drop a game for a change. As a baseball writer, it’s a struggle to find topics to write on when the hometown team turns into an apparent juggernaut. I wouldn’t of been surprised if some of our fellow Detroit writers were willing to kill each other in order to steal an idea or two. Ha, I’m joking, but it’s true.
On the brink of Detroit’s first division crown since 1987, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the most entertaining moments of the 2011 campaign to date. The Tigers could be popping the Veuve Clicoq after most of us are asleep later tonight, so to commemorate the last Detroit team to win a division, I bring you my top 8.7 moments of the season.
.7: Does anybody in this town remember when we were 12-17 and eight games out of first place. I don’t either. I would venture to guess we were all pretty pissed off. I guess 12-game winning streaks in September have a way of vanishing lousy memories from early May. Anyway, you can’t truly enjoy what you’ve got unless you take a moment to reflect on where you came from. Thus, May 2nd, when the Tigs were 12-17, is your .7th greatest moment of the year.
8: After Rick Porcello got rocked in his first two starts of 2011, kid-Rick went on to throw six straight quality starts. The sixth was a big one. With the Tigers in the midst of a five-game losing streak, less than a month removed from a seven-game skid, Porcello twirled a gem in Pittsburg to stop the bleeding. The 22-year-old went for eight innings allowing only one hit, a double by Ronny Cedeno to lead of the sixth.
7: On June 14th in Detroit, the Tigers hosted the Cleveland Indians in a showdown for first place. During their previous encounter in late May, the Tigers were swept out of Cleveland, causing some fans to wonder if maybe the Tribe had Detroit’s number this year. However, in typical JV fashion, Verlander turned in a two-hit complete game shutout to put the Tigers into first place for the first time in 2011.
6: On August 21st, the Tigers had yet another battle with the Cleveland Indians. Going into the day nursing a 3.5 game lead, the two teams battled in one of the zaniest games of the season. The Tigers scored seven times in the third frame, only to watch the lead evaporate, but in the end they hung on 8-7. This moment however, is courtesy of Mr. Jim Leyland.
With Wilson Betemit on second, Ramon Santiago dinked one in front of home plate, and Wilson attempted advancing to third. Indians backstop Lou Marson retrieved the ball and fired it to third, where Betemit was called out on a bang-bang play. In disbelieve, Betemit popped up off the bag doing a twirling pirouette while Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont went a little bezerk as well.
This caused Leyand to fire out of the dugout, cursing his brains out at third base ump Alan Porter. Porter ejected Leyland in about a half a second, and the Comerica Park crowd loved it.
5: With the Tigers fiddling around with a 29-27 record, the team was in Chicago to play the White Sox in the midst of a six-game road trip. With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, Austin Jackson lead off the inning with a lead-off triple against Jesse Crain. But after a Don Kelly pop-up and a Brennan Boesch strike-out, it was looking like the Tigers might blow their big chance. Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate. For whatever reason, Ozzie Guillen decides it’s okay to pitch to him, and Cabby parks a 1-2 fastball through the night-sky into the right-field seats to give the Tigers a 4-2 edge. Jose Valverde went on to close it out in the ninth.
4: On July 19th, the Tigers roughed up the Oakland A’s 8-3 at Comerica Park. No big deal. But I think we will all remember Victor Martinez’, Barry Sanders-esque slide into home to avoid a tag from Kurt Suzuki. Sportscenter was sure loving it that night.
3: May7th. Justin Verlander no-hit’s the Jays in Toronto, using pretty much nothing but fastballs. A no-hitter is a no-hitter, but it wasn’t exactly murderer’s row hitting for the Blue Jays that day. Nonetheless, two no-hitters is a pretty nice accomplishment.
2: About two weeks ago in the middle of a 18-2 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox, Miguel Cabrera hits a space shuttle blast into dead center-field, which I’m pretty sure killed a few bushes behind the wall. At that moment, the Tigers basically told the White Sox it was time to give up and start making tee-times.
1: Back-to-back homeruns in the bottom of the ninth via Ryan Raburn and Miguel Cabrera to walk-off against the White Sox at home. And some of us will also remember this by the less than exciting calls from Matt Vasgersian and Mitch Williams, who sounded like they were practically half in the bag as the excitement unfolded.
Get ready to raise your glasses tonight Detroit. Winning division titles is a good reason to celebrate, especially in this town. Enjoy.