Food … football … Verlander?

Justin Verlander's name is under consideration for more than MVP and Cy Young awards. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

I can’t remember the last time we talked baseball over Thanksgiving dinner. And, this time, we weren’t even reliving the past. With Justin Verlander winning the Cy Young and the MVP awards this month, baseball still is a current event. The bright spot in an otherwise gray Detroit November.

Gray is pretty much how I’d describe all of the months without baseball. Oh, I know there’s always baseball somewhere, but it’s just not the same in the snow. I thought about a trip to the Dominican. And then I balanced my checkbook.

I’m going to have to wait until spring.

But that may be fewer than 100 days away, depending on how you look at it. The spring training opener is only 96 days away. And opening day, at home, against the Red Sox? Well, that’s not much further out …

So Verlander came up over dinner. No, not for all of his accolades, but as a possible name for a baby. My cousin’s baby. First name Verlander. Middle name Yzerman. What? You got a problem with that?

Other names were suggested: Austin Jackson, Little Potato, Victor Miguel, Alex Avila. Someone said, “I think Avila would be a beautiful name,” and then added, “for a girl.”

We talked about next year and the return of Gerald Laird. Okay. It was more like someone said, “So … Laird.” And then someone else said, “Pass the gravy.” But it was baseball. On Thanksgiving.

Don’t worry — I’m not going to go into some story that weaves baseball and Thanksgiving into a sentimental tale illustrating how the two are parts of the whole of everything that is good about us and this country or something like that. Not that I wouldn’t do that — I would totally do that. You know I would. But it just isn’t really there.

No, the season is over. Has been for a while. And what do we really have to get us through the winter?

Every Verlander start. And the sparks from Avila’s mask. Ryan Raburn’s second-half. And Victor Martinez dancing. Pitcher Don Kelly. And the Jose Valverde heart attack. Home rhuns by Jhonny Peralta. A Brennan Boesch blast. And Al Alburquerque — the name, the slider, the potential. The electrifying pace of a Doug Fister game. Austin Jackson at the wall. And the national media interviewing Miguel Cabrera. The division title, of course. And, last, but certainly not least, beating the Yankees.

We’ve got our memories to get us through. And so I’m thankful for the season that was — for bringing us enough sunshine to last a winter.

Which is saying a lot — because around here, a winter can feel like a lifetime.

Even when spring is only 129 days away.

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