When someone experiences a sudden death, or learns of their own impending demise, they will go through five stages of grief. Being a Tigers fan watching World Series dreams vanish into the ether we all experienced our own version of these same steps. During the final two innings of last night’s game, and most of today, Tigers fans took to Twitter or text to work out their feelings about the death of the 2013 season.
After riding the high of a 2-1 lead into the seventh, we were all preparing ourselves to cancel Sunday plans and watch Game 7.
Alas, Morales couldn’t pitch in sub-par relief for the Sox all night, and Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson both committed some unforgivable base running errors. But the night was still ours. After all, nothing could go wrong with Max on the mound, could it?
Well, sure, not with Max.
Then Jose Veras threw an 0-2 curveball to Crazy-Eyes Victorino and all our World Series dreams were gobbled up by the Green Monster.
But maybe not? Right? The game wasn’t over yet. I mean, we all remember the September 20th game against the White Sox where the Tigers trailed by 6 runs in the bottom of the ninth. Hope seemed lost then, too, but we came back with 6 runs to tie, and won it in extra innings. We could totally do that again, right?
WHO CAN WE BLAME FOR THIS?
The sound of thousands of Tigers fans collectively looking for a witch to hunt could be heard around the country the moment Iggy struck out and the Red Sox flooded the field in celebration.
Just look at what Torii said about their night: "You make mistakes at this time they get magnified. They cost you. We made mistakes. We can't do anything about it."
But we can. Dombrowski can fire people. So who should we blame? Captain Belly-Flop seemed to be the most obvious target, along with the perennial favorite of, "Fire Leyland!" Prince didn’t help his case with fans by seeming cavalier about the loss in the post-game press conference.
Fire him! He costs too much! Fire Austin Jackson for sucking in lead off! Fire Max because he can only pitch seven innings! FIRE SALE! 2003 Redux! TIGERS FANS SMASH!
Okay, okay… now that we’ve all taken a moment to collect ourselves and we’ve slept on the loss and had a beer or twelve, we should look at this reasonably. We lost, but surely we can do something to prevent the same tragedy next year. Ilitch will do anything for a World Series win, so here are some solutions:
- - We trade Max Scherzer (hush, peanut gallery, I don’t want this any more than you do), and in return we get a reliable closer, moving Smyly into the 5th starter slot. We need to admit the Boston bullpen spanked us every time we saw them.
- - We clone Justin Verlander so he can pitch every day. Surely with five of him we won’t notice any of those "off" days.
- - We sacrifice Prince Fielder and the remaining balance on his insane contract to a demon god who can guarantee wins, put Miggy back on first, give Santiago a shot on third, and laugh maniacally all the way to the pennant.
- - We start cheering for the Red Sox (tsk tsk bandwagon jumpers)
Hanging up our jerseys for the last time of 2013 we look at the names and numbers and ask ourselves, "Will this player even be on the team next year?" Pulling up the MLB Trade Rumors website we punish ourselves with discussions of Max potentially being shuffled off to another team. We watch video clips of the Red Sox doing their victory celebration over and over like the outcome might somehow be different. Some of us will shed a tear (What? Don’t judge.). We’ll look back over the season that was, remembering Anibal’s crazy 17 strike out game, the handful of near no-hitters, and all the amazing memories that got us here, and we’ll be sad we couldn’t have just one more week. One more series. One more shot at that ring.
And once we’ve wiped our tears and put the jerseys back in our closets, we’ll sit on our couches and turn on the World Series, because when it comes down to it, we’re baseball fans. And we know…
There’s always next year, right?