A Long Year Coming to a Head

We covered how unpredictable baseball is yesterday. Then the Giants won Game 7 easily and celebrated in the pouring rain.

The World Series won’t be any less unpredictable, but I can tell you the Tigers and Giants will open the Fall Classic Wednesday night in San Francisco.

It’s been a long season. It’s been a long year since the Tigers lost Game 6 of the ALCS in Arlington. It’s been a long six years since they lost Game 5 of the World Series in St. Louis.

It’s been a very long 28 years since Kirk Gibson hitting the put away homerun in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series.

Seventeen other franchises have won since then. Tigers Stadium was demolished since then. Ernie Harwell is gone. So is Sparky. The city is different. Everything kind of is.

But the Tigers are four wins away from delivering a championship to a fan base that is craving one in the worst way. You can’t ask for a whole lot more.

I needed this. It was a very long, crazy, hectic year. The Tigers, like they are every year, were where I went for distraction, comfort, joy, and relaxation. They’re where I went to feel heartbreak, triumph, and community.

Even though I was suddenly a lot farther away from them, they kept me close to home. When my life was changing in big ways, the Tigers weren’t. They were on TV at 7pm, waiting for me.

2012 was a big year in my life, and I’ll always connect it to this team. A team that got off to a hot start, stumbled, and clawed their way back. Pulling away at the very end and hitting the gas when it counted most.

Cabrera’s Triple Crown. Verlander being Verlander. Scherzer staring personal tragedy in the face and finding a way to get better in its midst (I almost lost it when Dombrowski talked about his family after the clincher last week).

Saying goodbye to Inge. Kelly being baseball’s most baseball-ish dude. Quintin Berry having exactly as much fun as you should if you’re playing big league ball.

Prince Fielder not knowing how to slide. Avila getting hit with baseballs.

Avila getting hit with Prince Fielder.

Austin Jackson emerging.

It was a fun season. It was a tough season, but here we are.

I’m really hoping for four more wins. One more champagne celebration and a parade down Woodward.

One more “Mario Impemba quietly interviewing Leyland” moment. One more round of tweets from grown men pretending not to cry. One more “Justin Verlander arms raised clincher.”

I’m hoping for all of that. I think they’ll make it happen.

But I’ll be okay if they don’t. Sports are beautiful, but often cruel.

I’m proud either way.

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