With the school year winding down, I have to look back and say that it’s been pretty good for me. In fact, I’d say it’s been the best year of my life.
Comerica Park in Detroit is one of my favorite places on the planet.
We were lucky in the first place to have a friend looking out for us who didn’t work for our school system. You see, our school system has a strict internet usage policy which doesn’t allow teachers to purchase things online. So when the playoff tickets went on sale, we thought we were completely out of the running. But our friend Ann, who is a retired teacher, got tickets for us we were at first ecstatic, then disappointed as we realized that we probably wouldn’t be able to go to the playoffs since they would have started on Wednesday night. With our international adoption upcoming in the same school year, I couldn’t take personal days off to see the Tigers in the playoffs. If the Tigers had won that last game in Kansas City, they would have begun the playoffs at home during midweek and I would have missed them. As it was, because the Tigers lost the division title and entered the playoffs as the Wild Card, they started their home games on Friday night. I was able to go!
I can only begin to describe the excitement of these games and the emotional moments as the Tigers beat the power lineup of the Yankees in the ALDS. My wife and I were moved to tears by the swell of 43,000 fans behind the Tigers in the games. There was a palpable feeling that we were all in the games together. After Craig Monroe hit a home run in game four, he returned to his position in left field in the top of the next inning to an ovation he couldn’t help but respond to. We let him know how much he meant to us, and he let us know that he felt the same way.
His reaction to the ovation.
Placido Polanco throws to Sean Casey for the final out.
When the final out came, the stadium exploded in cheers. It was probably the most special night of the playoffs, because something nearly unprecedented happened. After the initial celebration on the field, the Tigers went into the clubhouse, but no one in the crowd moved. They just cheered more and more loudly. In just a few minutes, the team came back out and celebrated on the field with us fans, spraying champagne into the crowd and circling Comerica Park. Those who saw it on TV thought it was great; those of us who were there were forever touched by the emotion of the players and the fans around us.
From left to right: Curtis Granderson, Joel Zumaya, Alexis Gomez, Neifi Perez, and Marcus Thames.
When the next weekend rolled around, the Tigers were returning home with a 2-0 lead over the A’s in the best of four series. More on that next time!