Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tiger fans, these New Yorkers know your pain

One of the nice things about going to a game at Comerica Park is that you occasionally bump into another New Yorker.

I ran into Liberty near the carousel food court last month and a Tigers photog snapped this shot. Both of us are dressed for the occasion, though I’m wearing Pedro Martinez’s Mets All-Star Game jersey from 2005.

My relationship with the Tigers is complicated.

There are two big strikes against the team.

First, they play in the American League. Ick.

Second, they’re not the Mets.

Neither are entirely the team’s fault. But I can only obsessively follow one heart-breaking franchise at a time and I certainly cannot abandon my roots.

After all, I’m not a Michigander who was born in New York. I’m a New Yorker who lives in Michigan.

The former fondly remembers eating great poppy seed bagels for breakfast every day. The latter still eats poppy seed bagels for breakfast every day and bemoans that they’re just not as good as the ones in Massapequa Park.

I don’t root against the Tigers. I treat them with friendly indifference.

A lot of friends here are big fans, and the Tigers have provided a venue for some amazing baseball adventures for me over the years, including a World Series game.

It’s nice to see former West Michigan Whitecaps wearing the Old English D. I make an annual late-season trip to Comerica. I watch some games on television while on the treadmill.

This year, however, was a little different.

With the Mets decimated by injuries, I started paying a little bit of attention to the folks in Detroit, checking the scores each night and looking to see if Curtis Granderson was doing well.

I cared, for a change.

And I commiserated with co-workers as losses to the Royals and White Sox mounted and the Twins crept closer.

I followed Tuesday’s disaster on my iPhone, and felt a very familiar feeling setting in.

On Wednesday, a distraught co-worker slumped into her seat, saying she was still unable to get over that the Tigers lost first place on the final game of the season, blowing the tie-breaker in extra innings.

After months of planning and looking forward to post-season baseball, there would be none for her.

"Oh, I know how you feel," I said with a sigh. "Exactly how you feel."

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