I have to admit it first. A mid-September swoon and a bonus loss to the White Sox did it to me too. I finally cracked and became one of those every-game-counts guys, proclaiming the Tigers finished.
It happens to the best of us. But I did it once. Not dozens of times, so I still feel like I have the right to say this: I told you so.
I told you the Tigers early season struggles didn’t matter.
I told you the division would be decided with at-most 45 games to go.
I told you you were freaking out.
I told you to take it easy.
I told you not to be like Kraftery’s Dad.
I told you Miguel Cabrera would win the Triple Crown this year.
OK, I didn’t tell you that. But I almost did. No I didn’t.
The bottom line is I told you so and (except for a little hiccup in September), I was right. Think about your life. Think about the stress you caused yourself. Think about the hours you wasted pacing around your living room and the energy wasted by pointing and yelling and throwing and punching.
Now think about your life if you listened to me, happily going along with your day, being the eternal optimist in the midst of a world of people just being bummers, man. You wouldn’t have taken years off your life. You would still be ready to go as the Lions and the Pistons and the Red Wings got into full swing. Because make no mistake, this is where you’re going to need it.
Remember the beginning of the season when thoughts of Cherry Pie danced in Prince Fielder’s head and the World Series danced in yours? That’s still the expectation. The Tigers were supposed to be in this position. If they don’t win the American League, then it’s a failure. So get ready for a lot of crappy food and moments that jolt you out of your seat and heartburn, either from the food, the Tigers or both.
The baseball playoffs are unlike any other. You’ll spend half the time wondering what the hell is going on. Starters become relievers, closers become 7th inning guys and star pitchers become closers. After 162 games of figuring out who the best all-around teams are it’s only right to have a format that allows and even rewards teams for milking a select few players as much as possible.
Justin Verlander is going to start Game 1, Close Game 3, then start Game 4, and you older fans will have to look to whoever is next to you and say, ‘Didn’t he pitch yesterday? What the hell is going out here!’
The other half of your time will be spent developing ulcers. Baseball goes on forever. Most of the time that’s spent waiting for something that you think is about to happen but really doesn’t happen for another seven pitches. So you just sit there tensed up, trying to figure out if Verlander is available for this game should this next pitch be disastrous.
It’s high risk, high reward. The payoff could be that much better when it finally happens. Or it could just lead to a debilitating letdown.
That’s sports. But with the way baseball is set up it’s even worse. The journey that has a very high probability of letting you down starts tomorrow.