As is probably unsurprising, what with my gushing over Justin Verlander, the Tigers are my team this post-season. What is probably also not surprising, the New York Yankees are the one team of the eight postseason teams that I can’t stand and want to see lose and lose quickly. Then there are the six other teams which I am mostly indifferent to. If I had to rank them it would probably go Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rays (well, they’re already out), Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies. But really, as long as there is good baseball played, I’m not invested in who advances out of those six teams.
And so that leaves me with one divisional series I watched every pitch of: The Evil Empire vs. the Guys From Near My Old Stomping Grounds Who Have The Best Pitcher In The Game In Their Pen And Delmon Young. (Hmm… that is a long moniker for the Tigers. I should shorten it to GFNMOSGWHTBPITGITPADY, although even that is longer than “The Evil Empire.”)
Game 1 got postponed after an inning and a half, ruining the Verlander vs. CC Sabathia start and turning it into an Ivan Nova vs. Doug Fister disaster on Saturday. Game 2 featured some brilliant pitching by Max Scherzer. Game 3 featured some not-always-brilliant-pitching-but-who-cares-because-he-won from Justin Verlander. Game 4 was really ugly and I’ve wiped it from my memory. Game 5 was a stressful game because even though the Tigers were never behind (and after the second batter of the game were always ahead), it was never a big lead and with the Yankees, I can really only relax when it’s a big lead.
After A-Rod struck out to end the game, I was finally able to exhale. The combination of wanting the Tigers to win and wanting the Yankees to lose was enough to make me tense whenever I watched it — and exhilarated when the Tigers finally clinched it. That exhilaration is why I watch baseball. It’s certainly not for the anxiety that comes before it… but the anxiety is a necessary precursor to the joy.
For better or for worse, now that this ALDS is over, I don’t think I’ll be getting as emotionally invested in the ALCS or the World Series. The Tigers aren’t really my team and they’ve already vanquished the team it’s fun to watch lose. (Seriously… click the link to watch A-Rod strikeout. It’s just so satisfying if you know anything about him — plus Avila’s glee is infectious. If you’re unaware of why Rodriguez is a guy it’s fun to root against, let this Google image search be your primer.) For the remainder of October, I’m going to be a lot more relaxed when I watch baseball.
But it also means I won’t be as elated when the Tigers take it all as I was tonight.