See, the first thing you gotta understand is, there’s this number.
There’s this number, in the American League. It doesn’t care about who won the division. It doesn’t care about who has what banner hangin’ back home. It doesn’t care about last year, or the year before that, or 10 years before that. It doesn’t care about what the newspapers say. It doesn’t care about payroll. It doesn’t care about who has the prettiest third baseman.
It doesn’t give a flyin’ fox fruit bat about any of that, because it’s just a number, see? And numbers don’t care. They don’t care about what was, or what will be, or what might have been. They just care about what IS. ‘Cause numbers are pretty concrete, pretty much live-for-the-moment kinda things, unless you get into imaginary numbers and baseball has enough trouble accepting common algebraic formulas.
So there’s this number. And it’s the number of American League teams left standing.
And that number is One.
OK, and this is baseball, so nothin’ more complicated than algebra, right? Wouldn’t want Joe Morgan’s head exploding or Tony The Russa havin’ a heart attack out there. We’ll stick with algebra. And in algebra, see, sometimes the numbers have names. C’mon, you all remember this. A=2, and B=36, and C=7.564.
So, there’s this number. And we’re gonna play a little game. Take DETROIT. Yeah, good word. Let’s just have some fun here, assign some numbers some nice little names, algebra being about the speed of baseball, I think we’ve all agreed.
D=23, Jeremy Bonderman’s age.
E=29, Nate Robertson’s age.
T=41, Kenny Rogers’ age.
R=23, Justin Verlander’s age.
Average those together and you get 29, the average age of the current Tiger pitching staff. Still with me?
O=2006, that’s today.
I=1984, that’s the last time the Tigers were, you know, there.
2006-1984, that’s 22 years, man, that’s a long time. Heck, longer’n I’ve been around.
29-22, that’s 7.
T=6, that’s the number of runs we scored today, that’s the number that got us over and in and thank you Magglio, 6, I think, is a pretty cool number, that way. It’s the number of letters in ‘Tigers’ and it’s Al Kaline’s number, which is a good sort of thing to be thinking about today.
7-6, kids. That’s 1.
DETROIT=1. Simple math, really.
But of course that’s not how this number got the name “Detroit Tigers” tagged onto it. That’s just something I made up on the spot. Really this number got its name just because it describes a thing, a place. A state of being. The last team in the American League to make it through. That number is one, and that team is the Detroit Tigers, and
The Tigers. Are. Number. One.
In the AL. Which is not everything, of course. But it’s a start. They don’t call it a championship for nothing, you know. And it’s way, way more than we’ve had in years and years and years.
One more thing.
A year ago, the best thing baseball could bring to this city was an All Star game, and everyone agreed that that was OK, but it wasn’t VERY good, and Pudge was the only Tiger there anyways.
That wasn’t true.
Because before the big boys played, before The All Star Game, there was something called the Futures Game. And that was in Detroit too. And there were a couple of kids there. At the time I was calling them the End of the Alphabet Boys. I thought it would be funny if they both made the big league squad next year (this year). I didn’t think it very likely, but I thought, and wrote, hey, how neat, what if.
The End of the Alphabet Boys. V and Z, see. Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya.
The best thing baseball could bring Detroit last season was an All Star game, and the best players Detroit could put in there would do nothing at all except decide that wasn’t enough, they wanted more, and they would be absolutely vital in bringing something more to Detroit the next time ’round. A World Series, even.
No one expected this. No one. Not the fans, not the writers, not the owner or the players themselves. No one expected it, but do you SEE? Do you see how it was BREWING?
Verlander and Zumaya no more remember the last time the Tigers were playing like this than I do. This is a new generation of Tigers, and Tigers fans and we are GOING TO THE FREAKIN’ WORLD SERIES.
So there’s this number. And it’s not THE number, not yet. Maybe we won’t get THAT number. But we’ve got this one, this One, and I don’t care what team you are, I don’t care how rich you are or how special or deserving you think you are, you can’t take that away from these Tigers.
Also, I am incomparably happy that Polanco got the MVP, since he deserved it 10 times over. I am only saddened that he did not wear his snood to accept it.