The Tigers lost the World Series this year when triple-crown winner and regular-season hero Miguel Cabrera watched strike three float amiably by for the final out of Game 4.
It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I’m starting to feel better. With distance and time comes perspective. I can now look at the 2012 season as the success that it was, rather than as the cruel trick it seemed to be at the time. It’s not every year, after all, that your team makes the World Series. The Mariners, my adopted team, the team I root for whenever they’re not playing Detroit, have never made it. So I know, despite the disheartening gut-punch we took from the Giants, that really it was a season of great accomplishment and blah, blah, blah — I’m sorry, I can’t do this; I can’t.
The truth is I’m still not over it. We had the best starting rotation and two of the best hitters in baseball, and the stupid Giants swept us out of the World Series like we were the Bad News Bears. It’s just not right. And, yeah, I know that we also had Gerald Laird, who is basically a plate of chili-cheese fries in catcher’s gear. But he played for St. Louis last year, and they won it all. So it’s been proven that even a team with Laird can do it.
Just not us. NOOOOOOOO! Not us. Instead we get owned by Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, who both appear perpetually stoned. And Justin Verlander, the best pitcher in baseball, the man who earlier in the season had pulled the mighty sword Excalibur from the stone and was thereby recognized as the one true king, turned into Johnny Stinksville from the town of Cantpitch in the opening game while some jerk called Panda hit three home runs and rode around the bases in a gold-plated Rolls Royce. There was nothing to cheer for during any part of the series. The only guy who hit for us at all was Delmon Young, and he pleaded guilty last week to an anti-Semitic hate crime stemming from an incident back in April. So, you know, that’s great.
All of that hurt. And all of that still hurts. But it’s small potatoes, because the real pain, the stubbing-your-toe-on-a-rusty-nail-in-the-middle-of-the-night-while-you’re-half-asleep pain, came from watching Cabrera stare at that third strike for the final out. How do you not swing, Miguel? How do you watch that go by? I love you, and I owe you for all of the joy you’ve given me as a Tigers fan these past few years. But, how? HOW!? I know it was the first fastball Sergio Romo threw after a million sliders in a row, and it just fooled you. But, come on, man. You’re Miguel Triple Crown Cabrera, and that was a not-that-fast fastball right down the middle. It was a cheeseburger, Miggy. It had ketchup, mustard and pickles on it. And you just looked at it.
You just looked at it.
OK. Sorry about that, folks. This column kind of got away from me. The change in tone in the second paragraph is not a literary device; I actually did set out to write about how I’ve gotten over the loss and found perspective. I actually did want to write about what a great season it was overall. I actually was starting to feel better. But I just keep seeing that called third strike over and over in my head. And I keep getting mad about it all over again.
This is untenable. I need to be able to forgive and keep rooting for Cabrera. I need to find somewhere else to channel my disgust and rage.
For the first time ever, I’ve found a purpose for Gerald Laird.
— The Indoorsman