The team I called “heartless” yesterday showed more than enough Wednesday night and, lo and behold, they are one win away from clinching the American League Central title. How often have you been able to say that?
For me, it’s been just four times — 1981, ’84, ’87 and ’06 — and in three of them they reached the postseason. I was in the Tiger Stadium bleachers, upper deck in center, the last time they won a division crown. (Who knew it could be 22 years, a marriage, two kids, three houses and four states before I’d get to see it again?)
So, what does 2009 have in store? Nothing certain, that much I know.
That is, I’m not certain a win is in the cards on Thursday. And it’s not the obligatory “this-thing-isn’t-over-yet” cliche when, deep down, you feel it’s a done deal.
Nope. The Twins have proven time and again they can cause heartbreak for the Tigers. And they’re pesky enough to do it again. Maybe.
But the Tigers have something to draw on here. Imagine this pre-game scenario tomorrow in the Tigers’ clubhouse: Players leftover from the 2006 squad — the ones who couldn’t get a single win in three tries against the pathetic Royals to clinch the Central, and lost it on the last day — will let the guys who weren’t there know precisely how much that memory still stings. And how they don’t want to feel it again, ever.
Forget what I said earlier. The Tigers will win the division in front of a matinee crowd on Thursday. Because the only way to end this the right way is to defeat the Twins at home — not in a one-game playoff next week in the Hefty Bag.
Though, it would be nice to celebrate in front of Ozzie Guillen.
Nah. Never mind. This thing’s over on Thursday.
Keep in mind: if the Tigers lose 8-0 on Thursday — at home — the “heartless” thing may come up again in this space.