A sight for sore eyes.
Tigers 8, Yankees 3
The Tigers unveiled the the 2012 AL Pennant before the game and they played like a team looking for another one this afternoon. Doug Fister wasn’t at his best, but he held the Yankees to 3 runs in 5 innings which would be good enough. It was good enough because Prince Fielder smashed a 3 run bomb in the bottom of the 5th to put the Tigers back on top 6-3. He and Avila would add solo shots later in the game as well. But the story of the day was Drew Smyly. Smyly came on in relief the 6th inning and told everyone in the bullpen to pack up their gear. The Tigers erstwhile starter cruised through the Yankees and retired all 12 in order to end the game. As always, it was a party at Comerica Park on Opening Day as they packed more than 45,000 fans into the park. Those fans were treated to a fun one that ended with the Tigers evening their record to 2-2 on the season.
They’ll be back at it tomorrow at 4pm with Max Scherzer toeing the rubber. If you recall, New English D has their eye on the Silver Hammer early this year because we want to see if he can repeat his delivery and take the leap into the College of Aces. Baseball returned to the Motor City today. All is right with the world.
The Moment: Prince Fielder hits a 3-run HR in the bottom of the 5th to put the Tigers ahead for good.
Every year, Ernie used to read this quotation from the Song of Solomon on Opening Day. Yesterday, I heard a priest recite this in Ernie’s name in reference to the rebirth of baseball, Spring, and Easter.
For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
Check back after the game for the first edition of How Was the Game?
It’s here. We made it. Baseball is back.
Opening Day is the first day of the rest of your life. We can finally stop staring out the window in anticipation of spring. It’s here.
Take the day off, put up your feet, grab a hotdog and enjoy. This is a holiday unlike any other. Umps will scream “play ball” and fighter jets will buzz stadiums full of elated fans. Gloves will pop. Bats will crack. That singing hotdog guy will annoy us.
In most cities the sun will shine brightly, in others, like Detroit, it will be cold and rainy. But it doesn’t matter. Our long, collective nightmare is over.
Baseball is back.
Mascots will race around the track and we’ll all wait for that first, get-out-of-your-seat moment when we all hold our breath. It’s coming.
On this day, everything is possible and no one is in last place. Everyone can have a career year and there is no yesterday about which to complain.
No more contract speculation or trade talk. No more rankings and previews or roster competitions. Just nine innings of baseball that counts.
Your team’s best pitcher against the other team’s leadoff guy is just hours away, maybe even minutes if you’re reading this late enough in the day.
You’ve made it, congratulations. Another awful, terrible, too long winter with nothing to care about.
But it’s all over now. Seven months of baseball begins today.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s about time.
Happy Opening Day, friends. I’ve missed you.
Every year could be the year. Even this one. Especially this one.
That’s what we’re all thinking as the baseball season begins today. During this time of year, there is still a chance for all of us. Tigers, Nationals, Twins, and Rockies fans alike all share in this feeling.
Until proven otherwise, every team could go the distance this year. This could be the year.
It’s an annual tradition that we never fail to observe. I wrote about it last year, right about this time, for the Eastern Echo. I wrote of the hope that comes in Spring, both for those who should be hopeful and for those who have nothing better to do than be hopeful.
It’s a hopeful time of year.
Last year around this time, my entire life was changing. I was graduating, getting married, and moving away to start graduate school 700 miles from the baseball team that anchored me so firmly. It was a hopeful time after a long, arduous winter ahead of a summer of upheaval.
And that hope was rewarded with a great season and run deep into October that made me feel close to home while I was far away.
The view from a year later is much clearer. Much less tumultuous, but no less hopeful. The last year for me has been a good one, but it was also taxing and trying. The stress and anxiety that came with such big changes dampened some of the joy that one might expect to find in a baseball team that comes within four wins of a World Series.
Which makes this Spring, this moment, sweeter. Those changes are behind me and with unclouded eyes, I can embrace the 2013 season and the prospect of a title. It’s almost as if the Tigers were waiting for me. I had to take the next step before they would.
The two aren’t connected, but I’m going to believe that they are because, damn it, this is the time of year when everything makes sense. The sun shines brighter and the prospects of a glorious summer are unrestrained.
This could be the year. For the Tigers. For me. For anything.
I’m a pretty rational and analytical person, a true child of the enlightenment. But sometimes, and this is one of those times, the romantic in me emerges. Things are bigger than us and the world is a magical place full of wonder. Sure we can debate all the reasons something shouldn’t happen, but is there anything better than watching a team who has no business winning a division title pour out onto the field to celebrate that title?
I mean, it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball. We all know that. It overwhelms us sometimes. When Adam Greenberg gets another at bat after getting hit in the head after his first and only prior at bat, that’s when it’s hard not to get romantic.
Or when Darrin Downs takes the mound three years after a fractured skull nearly killed him. That’s when it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.
When your team sprays champagne and the grumpy old man who managers the team starts crying like a baby and waxing poetic about your city, that’s when it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.
So I’m getting romantic in anticipation about all of that. About the flyover before Opening Day and the crowd on their feet for the nobody journeyman closing in on a no-hitter. About the kid from a small town about to take the big stage for the first time. About the fathers and sons sharing a game for the first time. About watching your team finally, finally hoisting the trophy.
Right now, at this moment, all of that can happen. It will happen. For some of us at least. My hope for all of you, as it always is, is that your faith will be rewarded.
This could be the year, it really, really could.
That’s it folks. Coming in hot off the presses, by which I mean Twitter, the Tigers have locked in their Opening Day roster.
It’s no surprise that Danny Worth was the odd man out, because Santiago makes more money and doesn’t have options left, despite probably being the better player at this point in time. Worth will be back soon enough.
The bigger news today was that Bruce Rondon failed to make the team and will start the year in Toledo with the Tigers going to closer by committee for the foreseeable future. I don’t like how they handled Rondon, but I am a big fan of closer by committee, so I can’t hate this too much. If Leyland actually sticks to a committee, this is going to be awesome to watch.
Pena, Kelly, and Tuiasosopo round out the bench and Downs locked down the final bullpen spot for now.
The rest of the team was pretty well set from the start and everyone remains healthy for the time being. It’s hard not to like the team on paper, with countless projection systems and prognosticators picking them to be one of the best teams in the league and the surest bet to make the playoffs of any club.
This time Monday, we’ll be watching the first game of the season and dreaming on what this team could do.
Not long now, friends. Not long at all.
My desire not to bring my computer on an airplane has resulted in this post. Writing long, expansive articles on the topics of the day is my usual game, but the occasional pithy post from my cell phone is also part of the STT experience.
It gets a little worse given that I didn’t even develop this graph. I’m re-posting someone else’s work from last season in place of what should be real content. For this I apologize and hope the importance of this image makes up for it.
Baseball returns in just three weeks!
There is a moment that comes right before the climax. One that precedes the grand finale. It arrives just before the moment everyone is waiting for, and while you don’t often expect to be so moved by it, it usually sticks in your mind.
When you picture your wedding day, you’re likely imagining the vows or the first kiss, maybe the first dance or when the doors close on the honeymoon suite. But, I’m here to tell you, the moment you’ll remember most is the one just before all of that. When the chapel doors open and you see the bride (or groom) for the first time that day; that’s the moment you’ll remember most.
The moment when you turn in your last high school exam is better than the one when you walk across the stage.
That moment is the day pitchers and catcher report for Spring Training. You’ve been dying for baseball season and the first pitch of Opening Day, but when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, that’s the chapel doors and the final exam. It’s the moment before the moment.
It’s the last crack of thunder before the storm breaks. The drive to the office before your big interview. The opening credits of the summer blockbuster.
That, is Pitchers and Catchers.
You haven’t been waiting for this moment in particular, but this moment is the one that tells you the big one is coming.
So as the planes land in Florida and Arizona and players unpack their belongings over the next few days, we’re all arriving at the moment before the moment. Our long offseason journey is nearly over. It’s not over, but almost.
We’ve made it, fellow baseball fans, to the first step in recovering from the long terrible winter. Baseball is almost back. The first day of the rest of your life is today.
Happy Pitchers and Catchers, everyone. We missed you, baseball.