Watching the Tigers celebrate in the visitors clubhouse Friday night was surreal in a lot of ways. There they were, spraying champagne on the likes of John Keating and generally, in the words of George Kell, kicking up their heels in Oakland.
I was pleasantly surprised that MLB Extra Innings allowed extra airtime for the revelry. Usually they clip the broadcast right after the final out. Here are some things that came to mind as I watched:
The Unexpected Crew. Brandon Inge fielding the final out was, as noted elsewhere, fitting as the longest-tenured Tigers player. Two months ago it would’ve surprised no one if we never saw Inge again given his miserable first half, but there he was. … Then there was Ryan Raburn, another frustrating player (understatement?) that emerged from his first-half slumber to get some big hits – none bigger than this one two weeks ago. … Don Kelly‘s homer on Friday only solidified his position as an essential piece of this team. I have to admit that I cringe whenever I see him in the starting lineup but he rarely disappoints … Delmon Young has effortlessly worked his way into this team’s lineup and it seems less and less odd to see him in a Tigers uniform … Magglio Ordonez seemed about as done as a player can be, but has hit enough to be a scary option off the bench and especially in the playoffs. What other team can boast someone of Maggs’ caliber in a pinch-hitting role?
Dour Dave Lightens Up. It’s not often that you see Dave Dombrowski smile, at least not like this. Friday night was something to behold, watching the usually buttoned-down CEO getting doused with champagne and wearing that God-awful hat. It really is too bad that Mike Ilitch couldn’t attend, and what sad circumstances too.
The Brookens Factor. The last two times before Friday night that the Tigers have won a division title, Tom Brookens was in uniform. I wonder what it felt like for him as a coach to be a part of Tigers division crown. Too bad it couldn’t have happened with Tram, Gibby and Lance on staff.
With the Central title in hand, let’s see how far above 90 wins the Tigers can get while we wait for the ALDS matchup.