I don't mind admitting to being a shameless rider on the Detroit Tigers bandwagon. My baseball buddy, daughter Katy, moved with her husband to Livonia, Michigan last year. Not that I completely changed loyalties (my Rockies are still my Rockies...such as they are). When I went to visit Katy, Steve and grandson Graham we took him to his first ball game at Comerica Park, cheering the home team. A sports fan has to be flexible.
I share other interests with our other kids. Matt and I are cops, comparing and contrasting the cultures of our respective departments. Law student Beth calls with questions, comments and Contracts class stories. But, during baseball season Katy and I keep an eye on the box scores.
The Tigers are fighting for their MLB lives tonight. I'll be glued to the tube, some kind of Motor City brew in hand (have any suggestions?) skyping with the Detroit Gaffneys and hoping for a game seven.
Sports can be such a divisive presence. This year, we saw a guy beaten mostly to death for wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey to a game in LA. Past years have seen the murders of officials and who can forget the Soccer War? Good guys/bad guys, us against them.... Unhealthy. Doesn't have to be that way. Competition doesn't have to set us at each other's throats.
Driving home from the hardware store today, I stopped at a Good Times for a burger. Of course I had on my Tigers hat. The young man at the window smiled, and said "So what do you think of Cruz?" Not asked - said.
Nelson Cruz plays for the Texas Rangers. He has hit five home runs in five games, including the first walkoff extra-innings grand slam home run in playoff history. From deep right field he threw out a Tiger at the plate, preventing a go ahead run. He hit another home run in extra innings in game 4. What do I think?
I'm glad I got on this bandwagon. The Tigers are hurting, but they refuse to quit. The Rangers are talented, classy and don't waste a pitch, or an out. It's been a tough, fun series. I told him I thought Cruz was a beast, but even a Tigers fan had to be impressed. Any baseball fan would be.
He wished me luck and we bumped fists. Then he said "I grew up in Texas." I wished him luck, too.
Tonight, Facebook and Skype will be the venue for Katy and I. Eight hundred miles apart, joined by a field of dreams.
UPDATE: At least we had a chance to commiserate together. What a tough inning.
Updated: Just...wow. Texas took charge and never looked back. Good luck to them, and now we all look forward to February, when spring training starts!