Tigers, Yanks Endgame: Is it 8:37 Yet?

I understand the number. It’s been 43 years since my Detroit Tigers faced a final post-season loser-leaves-town-texas-chainsaw-cage-season-over-for-the-loser deathmatch situation.

I am ready, though my stomach is boil boil toil and trouble.

My sweetie has retrofitted my way too large 1909 Tiger throw back to a manageable size. My ballcap and glove are at hand. (Yes, that’s a lion over my shoulder in the photo. I’m attempting to invoke all the Motown Mojo I can muster.)

When I mentioned to a friend this morning that I was nervously counting down to tonight’s first pitch, he immediately intoned, “Mickey Lolich.”

From his mouth to God’s ear. If Doug Fister can stay in tune with his inner Lolich, truth, justice and Detroit shall prevail.

On October  10, 1968, Lolich five-hit the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Tigers carved up Bob Gibson, who had a campaign on the mound that year as good as any ever, and had already won twice in the Series. Detroit struck for four runs, three more than necessary to win the game and Series.

I’d forgotten frankly how gut wrenching post-season baseball is . . . when your team is playing. Every pitch, catch, throw can make or break a game. Exhibit A: Curtis Granderson’s 3 or 4-run saving catch in the bottom of the 1st in Game 4. That the former Tiger now roams CF for the Pinstripes adds to the angst.

Detroit’s two wins in the Series have been¬†nail-biters. NY’s have been on cruise control. How great would it be if the Tigers won with Mariano Riviera sitting on the pine the whole time? Do I need to answer that?

What I know is, something strange is going to happen, the hero unexpected. Do the Tigers go with Brandon Inge or Wilson Betemit in the hot corner. Don Kelly or Magglio Ordonez?

Okay, I’ll leave those decisions to manager Jim Leyland. He knows way more than me. And, he’s surely, at this moment, smoking his 84th cigarette of the day while he tries to decide.

What I know is that it is days like this which remind me what a grand and beautiful game baseball remains. How it was a reflection of America in a more bucolic time. Pastoral, loping along to completion at a pace determined by the game itself, not artificially. The glory of playing Little League before it became just another TV staple.

Okay, enough attempting wax poetic. I gotta go take a walk.

– Seedy K

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