Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Tigers’

Rah Rah Rah

August 19, 2009

It is a rare day that this blog ventures into the realm of sports, but this is one of those days.  The two sports teams that I closely follow, and actually cared about, are the Detroit Tigers and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  In the time I have been a fan of those two teams they have combined to have 8 winning seasons a handful of playoff appearances and 1 championship.  Considering I’ve been following them for a combined 35 years, this record is far from impressive.

There are people who become fans of whatever teams are successful when they are young. In fact there is a proliferation of 49ers, Lakers, Cowboys, Bulls, and Yankees fans among people my age.  But I was always a contrarian.   I picked the Tiger Cats because they are our local team, and the Tigers because they were playing the Jays one day and I wanted to cheer for the other team.  A strange thing happens when you cheer for teams that perpetually lose.  Eventually you come to expect the worst all of the time.  Bill Simmons has written and spoken at length about this phenomenon, and I agree with his assessment that bad teams lead to paranoid fans.

There is another segment of that fan population.  These are the people, like myself, who remain eternally optimistic, and always believe their team will finally find a way to pull it off.  For me, this continuous hope paid off with a 1999 Grey Cup victory, and to a lesser degre, the Tigers appearance in the 2006 World Series. Just thinking they would make is so soon after the 119 loss season was considered a bit extreme.

Perhaps I just don’t care enough about the results to get worked up or paranoid about my favourite teams.  It takes a certain level of investment to take losses to heart.  I don’t regularly attend either team’s games, though I do watch some games on television, or follow them on the internet. The truth is I expect sorts to provide a positive counterpoint to the more awful parts of our world.  If I want to be pessimistic or sad I focus on the many negative issues  and what can be done about them.  I expect sports to entertain me, and provide an occasional lift.  I don’t want to spend anytime being upset about a tough loss. I hope that my favourite teams will succeed because that is the best possible outcome, and the only one that will truly affect me.

Going, Going, Gone

June 4, 2009

The City of Detroit has decided to tear down what remains of Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.  This sentence may not mean anything to you, but it is profoundly important to me.  The Skydome turns 20 this week, and it was there, during the first season of play under the dome, that I fell in love with the team from the automotive city.  The first 17 years of my fandom consisted mostly of awful teams struggling to be competitive.  Regardless, I was hooked and to this day the Tigers are one of only two sports teams I care enough about to actually support (the Tiger Cats are the other).   I attended multiple games at Tiger Stadium on two separate occasions.  Both occurred during the final season before moving to Comerica Park.  I was fortunate enough to walk on the field after one of those games, and have some fantastic pictures of the field, dugouts and scoreboard. Tiger Stadium was certainly dated and run down, but it was also historical, and even a bit magical.  It represented so much of baseball’s history in the motor city.  Most of the Tiger greats played on that field (whether it was called Navin or Tiger). Although Comerica Park is very nice, and the team has been successful since moving there, it could never replace Tiger Stadium for character and memories.

It’s too bad that the current economic situation, and the recent fortunes of the City of Detroit have made saving the stadium unfeasible.  I’m sure downtown Detroit doesn’t need another vacant lot, but they can’t afford to maintain what’s left any longer.  Someday there will be no one left who remembers the highlights and lowlights of that stadium.  In my brief encounter, I found it to be the most incredible baseball park I have ever attended.  Sure it was worn down and dirty, but it also had an intimacy and charm that I’ve never experienced.  The 20 year old Skydome could never compare.  Today I say goodbye to a brief acquantince, and I am grateful I had the chance to be there before the end.