The Detroit Tigers is World Series bound on a three-run homer by slugger Magglio Ordonez in the bottom of the ninth inning that shattered the 3-3 tied game in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) thus sweeping the Oakland Athletics dream under the dust bin of baseball history and in it earning the once woeful Tigers their first trip to the World Series since 1984 and thus becoming only the 8th wildcard to have done so.
Baseball unlike in the Philippines is America’s past time and is exciting to watch especially in October where the teams are going for all the marbles err, baseballs in this case and one can easily be caught in the bandwagon and carried by the euphoria of the post season without intending to be so. It is the hot topic in the cafeteria, workplace and anywhere else. It fills the headlines and TV shows and the airwaves. It is the flavor of the month, the staple of life, hamburgers and ice- cold beers notwithstanding.
I first experienced live Major League Baseball when the Yankees came to town earlier in the year. I was there when the Bronx Bombers bombed the Tigers out of their den that is Comerica Park. I was there when the Tigers clawed back from a sure defeat in the ninth inning and won the game, the only one out of four games during the regular season that they beat the star- studded Gringos from New York. But the Tigers had the last roar when they silenced their cannons and eliminated the highest - paid team in the MLB in the post season en route to the one-sided annihilation of the hapless Oakland A’s in 4 games of the ALCS.
And now, they’re going to the World Series and any sports fan worth his salt knows what is at stake here and any Tiger fanatic knows this is the culmination of a long and painful road to redemption for the team that ceased to be on the top of the sport’s hierarchy in Detroit and in the state of Michigan for years now.
But now, they’re back- literally and figuratively growling their way back to the top. And it’s a good thing for I love baseball being the first team sport I played before basketball lured me from the diamond into the hardcourt a long time ago in my sleepy hometown of Tiwi, Albay in the Philippines. But still, I never abandoned baseball where as a young kid back home, I played Center Field in the Little League games wherein I earned my Purple Heart being hit in the eye and earning myself a nasty black eye in the process courtesy of a fly ball and the high noon sun that blinded me and miss my mitt and the rest they say is painful history.
I also made it a point to watch baseball in the hallowed grounds of the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila where the first home run was recorded by the Yankee Ironman himself, Lou Gehrig and the second one by the Great Bambino Babe Ruth when they made a trip to the islands in the 1930s when baseball was BIG in the Philippines. I was there whenever there’s a competition in the Southeast Asian or Asian levels and watch the Philippine National team win some and lose some to much superior teams from Japan and South Korea where once upon a time they cannot hold a baseball bat to them.
The Detroit Tigers is on a date with destiny and immortality and Tiger- mania is sweeping the Motor City not seen in 20 years. Whether they hurdle the National League Champion or not remains to be seen but I like their chances. They are not being called the never-say-die growling Tigers for nothing yo!
So, who’s your Tiger?
Hey, y’all welcome to Tigerland.
*Posted in Bill Blahs