Pic via Matthew Mowery
With a 1-0 victory over the Twins, the Tigers clinched their third straight AL Central title Wednesday night. Fun was had by all. Players danced. They cheered. Leyland cried. Little Victor dumped non-alcoholic champagne on Don Kelly's crotch. It was great.
But it's not enough.
Less than ten years ago, I would have killed for a moment like this. Decades of misery while following your favorite baseball team will make you feel that way.
When the 2006 miracle happened, I wasn't even that upset when the Cardinals won the World Series. I was just happy to be there. Thrilled, in fact.
Since then, we've been through the disappointment of 2008. There was the infamous Game 163. 2011 and 2012 saw Division Titles for the first time since 1987. The Tigers reached another World Series.
And they lost. Again. This time, I wasn't just content to be there.
I started watching baseball and the Tigers in 1985 when I was 8 years old. Yes, I missed the famous "Bless You Boys" season by one stinking year. 28 years later, I've now seen it all. Except for a World Series title.
In an attempt to entertain others (and myself), I've written and made fun of the Tigers for a few years now, both here and at DesigNate Robertson. I've ranted about Jim Leyland. I've mocked Don Kelly. I've questioned Jeremy Bonderman's ability to tie his shoes by himself. And more.
The fact is, I love this baseball team more than anything in the world, outside of my family. From Tram to Higgy to Maggs to Miggy, I have lived and breathed Tigers baseball for my entire life. I can't tell you what I had for dinner yesterday, but I can describe to you details of Mike Maroth one-hitting the Yankees in 2004.
So yes, winning another AL Central crown is awesome. Winning the ALDS, advancing past the ALCS, and making another World Series would be outstanding.
But anything less than a World Series championship in 2013 will be a disappointment and a failure. This team needs to take the final step and they have the pieces to do it.
Am I greedy? I don't think anyone in the organization would disagree with me.
It's time. Now.
So as I begin to grow my ugly playoff beard and put on my ratty hoodie I wore to Game Four of the 2006 ALCS when Magglio became a legend, I am ready.
It's time. Second place is not good enough, anymore. Fucking do this.
Enjoy the ride.