Tigers Have Fun, Punch Their Ticket to the Fall Classic

I’m thinking about two images tonight. One happened two months ago. One a few hours ago.

On August 3, Don Kelly stood in front of his locker trying to cheer up the melancholy reporters who had to ask him how he felt after getting designated for assignment to make room on the roster for the returning Andy Dirks.

You read that right, he was cheering them up. Everyone was sad to see Kelly go. He’s one of the nicest guys in baseball. But Kelly, while disappointed to be leaving Detroit for the minors, said, “Guys, this isn’t a funeral.”

You’re damn right it wasn’t. Not for Kelly, not for the Tigers. Two months later Kelly was driving in the winning run of a topsy turvy ALDS Game 2 and literally lifting Prince Fielder off the ground.

Don Kelly was having fun.

Earlier today, Miguel Cabrera launched a two run homerun into the left field seats at Comerica Park in the fourth inning to all but punch the Tigers’ ticket to the Fall Classic. TBS showed a replay from the perspective of the LF seats. That angle had a view of the Tigers’ bullpen.

Drew Smyly, the Tigers’ fifth starter until late July and reliever since, was jumping up and down with the most genuine smile on his face. The 23 year old lefty was so excited. He’s been dreaming his whole life about pitching in the World Series. He’s going to.

Drew Smyly was having fun.

There are a lot of little moments like that. Prince Fielder and Quintin Berry have both had a lot of fun in their first seasons with the club. Walkoff wins, near no-hitters.

This team, even when a lot of fans were worrying, was having a blast. I remember Avila’s walkoff during that first weekend set at Comerica. The unbridled joy.

So 6 years after I first tasted playoff baseball, the Tigers are going to the World Series. They came close last year, but fell short. I think a lot of players grew up from that near miss. It showed this year.

They played hard, but damn it, they had fun. Baseball is fun. And it’s about to get even better.

Four more wins.

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