I’m at a loss for words regarding the Tigers as I’m sure most of you are. Just when I think that I can explain everything in its proper perspective, I realize that my words will fall embarrassingly short of properly capturing how unbelievable (and yes, magg-ical) the Tigers have been. We saw a team go from a frustrating disaster (season-ending sweep to the Royals) to a post-season juggernaut in just two weeks. For some inexplicable reason, everything fell into place at the most opportune time. The Tigers were so good over the last two weeks that the NLCS is still a minimum of two games from being over. Mags’ walk-off homerun will go down as one of the greatest moments in Detroit sports history. I can’t help but to think this season is like the Cleveland Indians from “Major League”. They beat the Yankees in the ALCS and the movie ended there. We didn’t find out until Major League II that the Indians lost in the World Series. It’s almost as if this “movie” should end right now. It’s hard to imagine that Mags’ homer wasn’t the climactic moment of the season. Whatever happens from here on out, the fact that the Tigers made the World Series at a minimum this season makes the future one of infinite hope.
While it would’ve been nice to attend the series-clincher on Saturday, or be able to use my now-void game five tickets on Sunday, I did manage to attend game three on Friday night. Friday marked everything that is great about this post-season run. Downtown Detroit was hoppin’. Tigers fans admirably adjusted to MLB’s screw-job on the start time for the game. The weather was typical Michigan fall brilliance. The skyline was as majestic as it was intended to be when the stadium plans were finalized. On the way into the gates, I asked my brother what the odds were that Kenny Rogers could pitch as well as he did the last time we saw him in person (game three against the Yankees). We concluded that the odds were almost nil considering that was one of the best pitched games that either of us had ever seen. Well, Kenny was every bit as good and in some ways, he was even better.
Friday was a remarkable experience in ways that Auburn Hills could never be. The Silverdome and The Palace provided their fair share of memorable moments but those moments were confined to the space inside those venues. Whereas the time spent before and after games at those facilities were relegated to the time it took to walk to and from the parking lot, I was a guest in Detroit from 12:30pm to 10:00pm. When it was time to leave, I found myself looking for reasons to stay. The event wasn’t just the game, but rather the day as a whole which was in stark contrast to my initial expectations. Fishbone was a great pre-game warm-up. The tallest indoor waterfall in the world provided an excellent backdrop (and yes, they have contingency plans in case another restaurant steals the record). Also, the $3.75 for a 16 oz of Miller Light seems like a bargain compared to Comerica’s $8/20oz bank-breaker.
The day was surely more than complete once the last out was recorded from the Tigers glorious victory, but every Sundae needs a cherry on top (or extra hot fudge if you don’t like cherries). That turned out to be a post-game rendezvous at Pegasus. What was initially termed a “30-minute wait” turned into immediate seating before we could make the trek over to Pizza Papalis. I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the food at Pegasus. It was such a contrast from my normal diet of pizza and burgers. I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu. The dining was, indeed, fantastic but the true “icing on the cake” came when our waiter informed us that Lou Piniella and Thom Brennaman were eating just a few tables down. Yes, that is the same Thom Brennaman that I wrote about on Thursday regarding his creation of a fictitious wrestler named George “The Animal” Smith. I became giddy at the thought of actually being able to talk to Brennaman about the subject.
When we left our table, I could see Brennaman and Piniella clearly. Unfortunately, Brennaman was on the phone. I am almost certain that he was being informed that Steve Lyons (Piniella and Brennaman’s on-air partner for the ALCS) had been fired for insensitive remarks about the Spanish culture he made on-air during game three. It would have been rude to walk up to the table while he was obviously preoccupied (or at any time actually) but that didn’t stop me from shouting out “it’s George “The Animal” STEELE!” I can’t help but to blame everything on Steve Lyons. Had he taken Spanish in high school or taken an etiquette course in how not to offend foreign cultures, I may have had a chance to question Brennaman on the subject first hand. Instead, we were greeted by a warm wave (yes, while he was on the phone) which was an appropriate end to the night. There’s no doubt in my mind that Brennaman didn’t hear what I said which is probably the best way that could’ve ended.