It has been a nice holiday season for me. I'm an easy person to shop for, just give me something sports related and I'll be happy. Gifts included a new Tiger cap (a gray 1935 replica to replace my old, smelly, tattered home cap), a nice framed picture of the Olympia, and a XM Radio so I'll be able to listen to the Tigers wherever I travel.
Shifting to year end mode I wanted to look back at the amazing ride that was 2006 for the Tigers. But DTW beat me to it, and did a better job than I could ever do. So I'll make it a little more personal and list the 10 best games I was at this year.
#10 vs. St. Louis 6/25
The final game of a weekend sweep by the Tigers over their World Series' foes. Fueled by the third sellout in a row, an amazing Brandon Inge play at third, and a Curtis Granderson double that Mr. Diving Catch Jim Edmonds couldn't catch up to the Tigers beat the Cardinals 4-1.
#9 vs. Boston 6/3
With the Pistons being knocked out of the playoffs the night before, the Tigers became the only team in town. Jeremy Bonderman had another Jack Morris impersonation with a shaky 29 pitch first inning. But he settled down and the Tigers' bats heated up with home runs by Thames, Guillen and Ordonez leading the Tigers to a 6-2 victory. This also marked one of the last times a noticeably presence of the other team's fans were in Comerica. From here on out Detroit was TigerTown once again.
#8 and #7 vs. Minnesota 4/29, 5/17
The first game gave me hope that the Tigers would be good, the second game had me convinced. The first one was an 18 run, 23 hit outburst that showed the Tigers could score runs in bunches. The second game was a pitchers duel between Johan Santana and Justin Verlander that showed me the Tigers could also win a close one too.
#6 vs. Cincinnati 5/20
Ken Griffey Jr. took a Joel Zumaya fastball deep to rightfield for a grand slam in the 7th that put the Reds up 6-5. Curtis Granderson tied it with a 2 out solo shot in the 9th. Craig Monroe hit a ground ball to the Reds shortstop Felipe Lopez, which he bobbled and threw away allowing Carlos Guillen to score the winning run from third.
#5 vs. Cleveland 8/5
Kenny Rogers had a rough first inning, giving up two home runs to Travis Hafner and Casey Blake and the Tigers were down early 3-0. But Rogers and the rest of the Tigers staff bounced back and only allowed one hit the rest of the game. The offense chipped away with A Thames solo shot, and Brandon Inge scoring on a Polanco hit in the 7th. In the 9th Inge led off with a bunt single. Granderson couldn't bunt him over, and Polanco just beat out a double play ball to keep the inning alive for Pudge. A fastball over the plate, and a flyball over the fence. Pudge with the walk off homer and a 4-3 win.
#4 vs. New York 6/1
Having had last the first two games in the series to the Yankees pretty handily, the final game didn't start out any better. The Yankees got to Verlander, and were up 5-0 in the 3rd. The Tigers bounced back in the 4th with three straight singles to open up the inning and a walk from Magglio bringing in the first run. Carlos Guillen and Omar Infante followed with one run singles of their own and the led was down to 5-3. Juicambi made in 6-3 with a solo home run in the 5th, but the Tigers returned the favor with a Magglio 2 run single in the bottom of the 5th to make it 6-5. The bottom of the 9th rolls around, and the mood in the stadium is "oh no, here comes Rivera" and a save and a loss for the Tigers. Little did most in the stands know that he had hurt his back tying his shoes and in place the Yankees were sending Professor Farnsworth in to close it. A Marcus Thames walk, a Pudge single, a Magglio single (bringing in Thames, and a base hit from Guillen wins the game 7-6.
#3 World Series Game 2
It was freezing cold. I was in the top row behind home plate. But it was the fricking WORLD SERIES. And I was there to watch the Tigers get their only win.
#2 ALDS Game 3
Kenny Rogers gave up 5 hits the Tigers scored 6 runs and the Tigers took the lead in the ALDS.
#1 ALCS Game 4
I was there for this.
So there you have it, the top ten things I witnessed in the flesh this year at the CoPa.
Have a happy and safe New Year, and toast to the hopes of more great games in 2007.