Tigers’ division title hard to put into words


Jose Valverde celebrates after putting the finishing touches on Detroit's first division title since 1987. (fresnobee.com)

Monumental? Nah, doesn’t get it. Colossal? Sounds like a mistake. Historic? Sure, but that’s not all. Epic? Well, we use that for Justin Verlander.

Just when writers and bloggers all over town were running out of adjectives to describe the Detroit Tigers, the team goes and wins the division.

Maybe for those of you from places such as Philadelphia and New York, this is old hat. Maybe you’ve got pages written in advance because you know what’s coming. You’re ready for it. From Day 1.

But not here. Here, we’ve learned to moderate our hope. Regulate our enthusiasm. Negate our anticipation. And I’m not just talking about baseball. We don’t expect good things. We don’t plan parades before the final out. And we sure as hell don’t write storybook endings before, well, the story ends.

So I’m sure there are words to describe this feat — this moment — but I didn’t have them ready. Am I overstating its importance? Maybe. Is it only the first step in a long playoff season? Definitely. But did anyone really think we’d be here — 2011 American League Central Division champs?

The Tigers hadn’t won their division in 24 years — and back then, in 1987, it was a different division altogether.

A better division. Sure. But we can talk about that tomorrow, can’t we? All you people who feel the need to piss in our Corn Flakes this morning — to run down Detroit at the slightest hint of hope and joy — you can hold it for a day, can’t you? (I wouldn’t know — I don’t get this urge. But I’m sure there’s something you can take for that.)

We’re going to celebrate here for a minute. Feed off the momentum. Write a new story.

The haters are all around. Some are among us. Rooting for us to fail. It’s not entirely their fault. Detroit isn’t an easy place. And misery certainly loves company. But you know what else loves company? A sellout crowd, even?

Yeah. Let’s feed off that for a while.

Amazing. Incredible. Unbelievable. Emotional. Perfect.

We really need some new words around here.

We might have to start making them up.

Because this year.

These guys.

This team.

And the story isn’t over yet.

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  1. This accomplishment is huge for the Tigers and the city of Detroit. People can say what they want about Leyland. But he’s an old school guy who uses modern strategy to get the most out of his players. There’s nothing phony about him, and that’s why he eventually gets results.

  2. One thing is sure to stop the Tigers—Jim Leyland. Check out his post-season record. And when you see he won the 1997 World Series, keep in mind that the only reason was Livan Hernandez, who was MVP of the NLCS and the World Series. And that the only reason Livan got even ONE start was because Alex Fernandez was hurt. Dumb luck.

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