Earlier today, I shared 20 photos that caught my interest from the past year in Tigers baseball. They all helped tell the story of the season in some way. Some were specific moments, others meant to bring certain themes to mind. As i'm looking at the photos, I'm thinking: It would be so hard to pick just one photo as the image of the year.
Think about 2012: From Price Fielder's signing to his chemistry with Miguel Cabrera to the seasons both players had. Fielder won the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Cabrera earned the first Triple Crown in 45 years and later the AL MVP award. No matter the ups or downs of the year, the pair were always fun to watch.
Not to be outdone, the third star of the team also came up with a great year. reigning 2011 MVP Justin Verlander had another great year, flirting with another no-hitter at one point. We saw players fail to live up to expectations, and, of course, the entire team fail for much of the year. A key moment came in September when the Tigers were facing the first-place White Sox as they tried to claw back into the Central Division race. A bad series may have doomed the season. But a key takeout slide by Andy Dirks helped turn everything around. Detroit went on to win the game and finished 15-7 to end the year.
Then we had the playoffs. The Tigers tried to run away from the A's in the ALDS, Jose Valverde handed it back. The Tigers tried to sink the Yankees, and Valverde again tried to hand it back. Then Detroit played host for the World Series for the first time since 2006 and for just the third time in my lifetime. It didn't go the way we all hoped, but you can never scoff was raising a pennant.
So, a season that once help such great promise was nearly sunk, then fulfilled on expectations. 2012 went full circle.
How can one image sum all that up?
It can't, really. So I picked what was the most memorable moment to me, and one that I hoped came close to capturing the season in one image: Phil Coke slamming his glove in celebration after closing out Game 4 of the ALCS for a sweep of the Yankees. After all the ups and downs, after the closer controversy, after everything else, the Tigers had battled through it all to head to the World Series, and it was time to celebrate like only Phil Coke could.
So that's my image; what's yours?