FLINT - This is not the sports page and I am not a sports writer.
But I do not care. I am going to write about the Detroit Tigers anyway. After all, this is only the fourth time in my lifetime they have made it to the World Series. Who knows if it will happen again? The New York Yankees we ain't. A Tigers fan rejoices when he can.
Especially when you're talking about this team.
For this, my friends, is Team Schizophrenia. One minute they're good ... the next my grandma could get them out. Even worse, I could get them out. One second we're mourning the loss of Victor Martinez ... the next we're rejoicing at the signing of Prince Fielder. One second, Jim Leyland is the next best thing to sliced bread (which, I might add, he is probably older than) ... the next people, including me, want to ride him out of town on rails, but only after he's been tarred, feathered. One second we're hating our second baseman (Brandon Inge) ... the next we're, uh, still hating our second baseman (Ryan Raburn) ... the next we're really, really hating our second baseman (Ramon Santiago) ... the next we're loving our second baseman (Omar Infante), but only after hating him when he made that bonehead play against the White Sox that could have probably should have cost them the season.
Yes, it's been a rollercoaster season. And I see no reason for the weirdness to stop now. That's why I think the Series will go like this:
Game 1 The day before the game, manager Jim Leyland - a known mumbler - announces that he wants Brandon Inge at second base. Figuring the skipper knows what he's doing, a puzzled GM Dave Dombrowski quickly arranges a trade for Inge, who promptly commits 12 errors, causing the Tigers to lose 15-1. After the game, Leyland says, "I didn't say I wanted Inge at second base,
I said the game could hinge on how do at second base." Or at least that's what everybody thinks he says. To be honest, no one is quite sure.
"We really gotta get him elocution lessons," says Dombrowski.
Game 2 Miguel Cabrera hits eight home runs, leading the Tigers to a 22-1 victory and evening the series at 1-1. After the game, Cabrera tells reporters he is furious at himself for missing an absurd ninth home run in his final at bat. "What can I say," he says, "Off night."
Game 3 The Tigers win on a ninth inning suicide squeeze, causing 403 heart attack deaths across Michigan. Says a survivor: "Leland called for a bunt - an actual bunt. He's never done that before. I think it was too much for some people."
Game 4 The Tigers lose after an excited Prince Fielder dislocates the shoulders of five teammates while giving them high fives following a first inning home run.
Game 5 With half the lineup mending, the Tigers are forced to call up and start (insert the intro to Beethoven's Fifth here) ... Ryan Raburn. When his name is announced in pregame introductions, the collective groan from the crowd is so loud Willie Horton's statue in left topples over, taking out a popcorn stand. To no one's surprise, Raburn's five errors and four strikeouts contribute mightily to a Game Five loss.
Game 6 Starting on short rest, Justin Verlander pitches a complete game shut-out, giving up just three hits and walking two.
A disappointed Verlander vows to do better next time.
Game 7 - Owner Mike Ilitch orders Dave Dombrowski to order Jim Leyland to again start Verlander, who shrugs and says OK, then pitches eight innings of shutout ball. With the Tigers up 4-1, Leyland summons (cue Beethoven) Jose Valverde to close out the ninth, causing another 4, 047 Michiganders to keel over dead. To everyone's surprise, Valverde pitches a perfect ninth, and the Tigers win the World Series. The post-game celebration is marred, however, when Leland is arrested on hundreds of manslaughter charges.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.