Detroit fans now have a reason to sell out Comerica Park other than to see Eminem and JAY Z live in concert.
As the boys of summer prepare to march into the fall classic, the sporting world’s attention has shifted from Major League Baseball’s elite franchises (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies) to the post-season to the resurging Detroit Tigers.
The 89-64 Tigers, who struggled mightily all season long, since August 30th have dominated baseball, having won 16 out of 19 games, including a recent 12-game win streak – the longest for the franchise since 1934. On Friday (September 16), the Tigers captured the 2011 American League Central title by defeating the Oakland Athletics (3-1), also winning their first pennant since 1987.
The Tigers recent success has been met with relief and ovation, as fans welcome their team’s new direction while abandoning their shortcomings of previous seasons. It’s been five years since the Tigers made their run to the World Series in 2006, and since then Detroit fans seemed to have lost their fervor, as the team unexpectedly developed a propensity for late-season collapses. While there were lone bright spots along the way, hopes for another late-season rally were doused with each Tigers error.
Recently, the Tigers’ performance has shown there is no room for mistakes as they charge into the post-season. Detroit is led behind the Cy Young arm of Justin Verlander and the bats – and wisdom – of first baseman Miguel Cabrera and veteran designated hitter Victor Martinez. Along with a cast of young ball players who are eager to taste post-season victory, this season just might be the Tigers’ year to get over the hump.
Verlander is undoubtedly the leader of the team. He was recently declared “the Tom Brady of Detroit,” by fans and Detroit natives Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. And his performance this past weekend supports the ecstatic duo’s praise. Verlander led Detroit over the A’s (3-0) to win his 12th straight start, pitching three-hit ball over eight innings, striking out six with three walks. He became the first pitcher in nine years to reach 24 wins – the most wins in a season since former Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson’s total in 2002 – and the first Tiger pitcher to do so since ‘71. JV’s stellar performance has not only warranted talks of earning a Cy Young Award, but puts him in direct consideration for the American League MVP Award. He leads the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts, and as of today, sits atop of ESPN Sports Nation poll as the player most deserving of AL MVP, with 42 percent of the vote.
With the Tigers clinching the division this past Sunday, Detroit fans hope their beloved team can continue their winning ways all the way to the World Series. With all three potential ALDS home games selling out in less than an hour, the fans will be out in roaring numbers at Comerica Park to support Verlander and the Tigers. Now, it’s up to the boys to keep the streak alive.