There is no doubt the Detroit Tigers have been a major disappointment this season. You could point to Al Avila, Brad Ausmus, or a number of under performing stars as the culprit of their demise and you would be right in your assumption. But regardless of whether or not they win another game this season, the Tigers will always have at least one fan rooting for them.
I grew up about twenty minutes outside of Detroit. Every summer, that I can remember, there were at least two Tigers games that I always attended with my father. From the time I was talking I was captivated with sports–and even though my dad wasn’t a huge sports guy he helped to foster my love of the game and the Tigers. Each summer we would attend an old community game that they put on for churches called “Home Plate,” which was a father-son breakfast and game. The other game was usually mid-summer when we would take my grandmother to the old Corner for her birthday.
It was at the “Home Plate” events that I started to root for Travis Fryman and it is also where Lou Whittaker became my favorite Tiger of all time. The anticipation for attending these games were week long events, where I got dressed up in my Tigers uniform, hat, and even Tigers batting glove (It was a right handed glove, so I couldn’t wear it under my glove, but still rocked it). These are some of my favorite memories as a child.
Maybe that’s why I get so emotionally invested in the team’s success a few decades after those memories were created. It’s why I was elated when my son, Jack, was born at 8:36 on June 19, just in time for the Tigers to take on the Mariners (and you better believe that even though he was only minutes old, he was in my arms watching the game).
The 2017 Tigers season has not been an easy one to watch, there is no argument there. However, even though they are in a perilous situation, with the handwriting all over the wall of what lies ahead, I will lay my head on my pillow every night a Tigers fan. And, I’ll do so with zero apologies.
That’s the thing about sports. I grew up with the Tigers, my son will (hopefully) follow that same way, and at the end of the day whether they are good or World Champs, I’ll fly that Old English D with pride. There will be mountains and there will be valleys–that’s natural, and expected–and I will weather each of them accordingly.
Putting a T-shirt on my son that said, “Future Tigers MVP,” on the day he came home from the hospital was a great day, the best of my life. I’m sure it’s a little of what my dad experienced when he would take me to games, and I can’t wait to share in the same memory creating moments with Jack. It’s coming in the near future no matter where the Tigers are at that time. Because at the end of the day, we’re Tigers and we’ll always be just that.