October 7, 2011


Last night I stayed up in the office watching the Tigers beat the Yankees to advance to the ALCS. 

I settled in the office because my wireless reception was a little sketchy from my house, and I'd rather sit in an office chair to watch the game without interruption than recline on a couch and watch the game freeze and stop up every other play.

Take the first inning. I get the game going, kick back, watch Austin Jackson strike out (no surprise there) to make the first out of the game. Then - connection goes down. A little tinkering and I get it back up. Now the Yankee crowd is silent and we're suddenly up 1-0. I missed Don Kelly's solo shot. I do a fist pump. Sit down on the edge of the couch to watch Delmon Young bat. Ivan Nova goes to his windup and -

Connection down again.

Nope. Not doing this. I pack it up, move to the kitchen where my wifi signal is a little more reliable, set my projector and computer on my table and get it going again. Now we're up 2-0. Still one out, nobody on base. Delmon hit a solo shot too? Another fist pump. Miguel Cabrera strikes out and there's a murmur from the crowd. Victor Martinez grounds out. End of the first inning.

I sit there at my kitchen table and watch Doug Fister mow down the Yanks on my wall. This might work out fine. And then-

Connection down again.

No question, I'm not gonna put up with this. I migrate to the office, where I sit for the next three and a half hours in an office chair. It's not the ideal comfy setup but it'll do.

The Yankees trot out six more pitchers after the first inning, and each one of them is effective. The Tigers only get one more run and never establish a safe lead. 

But to me the story is the Tigers pitching.

Throughout the game, they let lots of guys on base, but strand 11 of them. Sometimes three in an inning. It's exciting and terrible and scary. I sit, shaking, heart palpitating, hands over my eyes, peering through the gaps like a child in a scary movie. I text my brother - "Can't. Watch." A thousand miles away, he's doing the same, I think. "Sickening," he says.

Scherzer gets Russell Martin to swing like the tinman at a pitch he clearly doesn't want. Joaquin Benoit loads 'em up and walks in a run, but leaves the bases loaded. In the 9th, Jose Valverde closes it out and gets Granderson and Cano to pop out. Then he strikes out Alex Rodriguez who, for the second straight year, ends the Yankees season by striking out. As a Tigers fan, it's beautiful.

I clap, and shout "YES!" - I can do this in the office without fear of disturbing anyone else. At home, the windows are always open and certainly Julio and Beth would hear me and think I'm ridiculous. 

Maybe I am ridiculous.

Soon, all my fellow Tiger-fan-friends are texting me and littering Facebook with Tigers-related statuses. This might be one of my favorite things about Facebook - it gives people far away from each other the chance to celebrate together. Otherwise, I'd have no idea just how many people are out there enjoying and celebrating this along with me. 

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