Confessions of a Prodigal Tigers Fan

I’ve not posted about this before, so some of you may not know this, but I’m a Detroit Tigers fan. I have been since I was a kid. I can’t remember why, though it probably has something to do with the fact that 1) my family is from Michigan originally, and 2) there was no city with a professional baseball team within hundreds of miles of where I grew up in Fayetteville, NC. I could have been like my brother, and taken advantage of this situation by choosing to root for any team I pleased (he is a Toronto Blue Jays fan. I’ve never been sure why. I’ll have to ask him sometime). But for some reason I decided at a young age to remain true to the Michigan roots by cheering for the Tigers and, in football, the Lions.

Trouble is, the last time the Tigers won the World Series was when I was five. The last time before 2006 they had what anyone would call a good season was 1987, which was right about the time I was collecting baseball cards and cementing my allegiance to them. Then came many years of disappointment, though I must admit I kept myself from feeling that disappointment too deeply by not following baseball that closely. Same with football, since the Lions were just as awful. In retrospect, it was a good thing. I got a lot of things done. Went to college, spent some time overseas, and went to grad school.

But in the spring of 2006, one of my friends from college (a good friend, to whom I had confided my shameful status as a Tiger fan) told me that the Tigers were doing well for once. REALLY well. Well enough to get to the World Series that fall. And get trounced by the Cardinals in five games.

But that taste of the Tigers being good again has overpowered me. I follow them again. I check scores. I read articles. I was disappointed with every injury and blown save this year. And I’m excited that they are acquiring several talented players this offseason. In November, they traded with Atlanta for Edgar Renteria, and just last week they traded with the Marlins to get Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. I still feel that they need better relief pitching (a couple of years ago I could never have told you that), but overall I’m feeling optimistic.

And other people are too. There is now a Facebook group called “2008 Detroit Tigers: Undefeated?” Go Tigers!

I just hope this doesn’t mean that this is the end of me doing anything with my life and the beginning of me sitting in front of the TV and having my emotions jerked around by a bunch of millionaires.