By: Kurt Snyder
When your team, the Detroit Tigers, emerges from the All-Star break, you would expect something different. It’s the chance to re-rack the starting rotation despite injury. But, we have suffered as a team when we start the first 2 games after the break with our dynamic duo of Verlander-Pelfrey, right? We got half right anyway. But is this what we have grown to expect?
So I divorced myself from the Tigers Saturday night. Sure I kept track. You know Michigan summers. They are to be cherished. As a baseball fan, people find a way to enjoy the Michigan weather, their cottages up north, a family bonfire, or maybe just a day on their boat.
But the Tigers seem to force their way into the picture regardless of the circumstance. Holly would be appalled but I left our team to enjoy family and friends at the bonfire, but spent my time thinking about the Tigers amid the conversation.
If you have grown up with the obsession that is baseball, everyone seems to share the same story, where baseball must compete with the Michigan summer. You can’t just sit in front of the TV and commit to the Tigers; they need to share the season.
I remember my grandma used to sit in her chair with the warm air blowing through her windows, in the dark, slumped over her radio, listening intently to the wonderful Hall of Fame tones of Ernie Harwell. She would never miss a game.
It’s an example of how the fabric of baseball is woven into our lives. Families gather, friends congregate, but for the people engrossed in the sport of baseball, the question ultimately comes up; “how are the Tigers doing?” We used to tune into the radio, but now we just check our phones. The medium is different, but the interest never wavers. Not here. Not in Detroit. Not in Boston. Not in New York. These are baseball hot beds, regardless of the size of the market. And I would imagine the fans are all the same.
Music takes a backseat to the radio broadcast. It’s a pennant race, folks, regardless of your confidence in the team or your disdain for the manager. It’s all still baseball, Summer’s game.
It’s unique in every way and when we break from the All-Star weekend, there is a renewed optimism for teams within striking distance of first place in their division or the hopes of any kind of playoff spot at all. Fans will dig deep for hope. But they wouldn’t care at all if they didn’t love the game so much.
The real fans sacrifice a lot, beginning from a very young age when we used to abandon sleep to listen to a West Coast radio broadcast underneath the covers of our beds. These are baseball fans. And they are fostered from a very young age.
But, thank God for the summer fun of vacation spots and cottages and bonfires and the good old backyard pool to rescue us from the team that can’t seem to get out of their own way. A team that actually thinks the odds favor a starting rotation that begins with Verlander and then Pelfrey.