It sure wasn't the most eye-pleasing of seasons. At times, it was downright terrible. We were kept on the edge of our seats until the very last possible moment. When that moment finally arrived, however, it was as joyous an occasion as any sports fan could have hoped for… and much more of a relief that it was finally over.
On October 1, with just a mere two games left in the regular season, the Detroit Tigers ended their hotly-contested American League Central Division battle with the Chicago White Sox, capturing the division title with a 6-3 victory over Kansas City and sealing a much-anticipated playoff berth.
The final month of this turbulent season was not without its trials. Falling three games back of Chicago just a few short weeks ago, it seemed all but certain the team was nearing a painful, season's end. However, a devastating losing streak by Chicago and several gut-wrenching victories by the Tigers have dramatically reversed their fortunes, allowing for the climactic finish that was anticipated to be a forgone conclusion as the season began.
The team, led by last season's MVP and Cy Young Award-winner Justin Verlander, and this season's potential Triple-Crown winner and eventual A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera, now awaits their potential playoff opponent to be revealed. In another division battle, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles have yet to decide which of the two A.L. powerhouses wants it more. Regardless, the playoffs will begin in Detroit, this weekend.
For fans, it hasn't been an easy road. This season, like many of those throughout the tenure of manager Jim Leyland in Detroit, the complete disdain for many of his managerial moves has escalated to a massive, sweeping fervor. How they managed to overcome these missed opportunities is remarkable in itself. Coupled with the lackluster on-field performance that managed to appear at the worst-possible moments, the Tigers' clinching of the division crown feels all the more relieving.
It could have been worse. It could have been better. They did it with top-level, star players and they did it with Triple-A standouts. Pitching was dominant, then it wasn't, then it was again. The offense wasn't producing, then suddenly it was, and with extreme prejudice. Regardless, the fact remains that the boys in orange were able to pull out the division championship that many had predicted they would. It may not have been the road anticipated, but it did lead to the next stop along the road to the World Series.The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
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