Every year, win or lose, the time will come to say goodbye to our team. No two teams are the same. The roster, faces, names, and even positions will look different come April next year. I've had to say goodbye to many Tigers teams in the past. For some it was sweet relief (2003) and for a very few it was bittersweet (2006).
There is one thing to remember though. Championship Teams Are Never Forgotten.
I can't remember much about the teams from the early 2000s and late 1990s when my fandom began to take off. Sure, I can tell you some names and who my favorite players were (Robert Fick...go figure), but I can only remember a few specific moments from that era. I have come to the conclusion that I don't really want to remember. Those teams were so bad I want to forget. I want those times not to take up room in my ever limited memory bank.
Right now, we know this team well. It's taken more than 170 games, but now we're here. We know all of the quirks and abilities. We suffered through Delmon Young's LF defense and had almost forgotten until this week. We were introduced to Quintin Berry and his 'good story'. Now that 'good story' is a postseason weapon. I can list the win-loss and ERA of every starting pitcher (including the two that are in the bullpen now). The list goes on and on. We know them, we love them (even when we hate them).
All this brings me to my ultimate conclusion. Championship teams are never forgotten. 2006 was close. I'm sure it's the year most of the younger generation remember the best. Nobody can forget where they were and who they were with when Maggs hit that homer. I get chills every time I hear Dan Dickerson's call. The rest of the season though, is just a blur. Take a moment and compare that to my father's recollection of the 1968 Tigers team. He can still list off the starting lineup and all sorts of events from the World Series that year. My dad isn't even a baseball fan. I am the biggest baseball fanatic I know, and when you compare that to my father's own knowledge of a team he only remotely cared about I'm faced with the fact that it must be because it was a championship team. Championship teams are never forgotten.
The Tigers are faced with an 0-2 hole. It looks rough, and it it rough. It's time, though, to root harder than we've rooted before. Dig deep and be there for a team that needs us. You and I have a chance to remember this team forever. I can promise you this, if they become the 2012 champions, you'll never want to forget.
Author: Martin Dredge, POB