Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, July 20, 2006

With one mighty swing...

Had I posted yesterday, I would've made a joke about the Tigers suffering a power outage, like many other thousands (including me) in metro Detroit during Monday night's thunderstorms.

One run against Jon Garland? Ouch. That's enough to get a general manager on the phone to ask for Alfonso Soriano.

And last night, after Jeremy Bonderman gave up home runs to Joe Crede and Jose Uribe, while everything off the Detroit bats seemed to land in White Sox gloves, you might have been entitled to wonder just what the Tigers had to do to beat these guys. As Rod Allen said (dutifully transcribed by Big Al), the world champs were flexing their muscles. How would the challengers respond?

Do any of you guys watch Deadwood? Something similar happened in an episode two weeks ago. (Here's a blow-by-blow account from a guy with too much time on his hands.) There was a big brawl between the main villains' muscle men. But one was clearly more imposing than the other. Everyone expected the smaller guy to get pounded, if not killed. And once his face was being held underneath a puddle of mud, the outcome appeared certain. Even the smaller guy's boss was resigned to defeat, slumping with resignation and embarrassment.

But it didn't end there. He wasn't going down like that. So he fought his way out of the predicament, got back up to settle things, and (with the help of some dirty tactics) finally beat the man who looked unbeatable.

It's amazing what one swing of the bat can do, eh?

I went from slouching in my armchair to standing up and cheering, once Craig Monroe yanked a ball down the left-field line for a grand slam. (Is anyone else more impressed by a home run when it goes over Comerica Park's old left-field fence?) I imagine the fans at the ballpark were roused from their malaise a bit earlier, with the bases loaded and the possibility of something big about to occur.

And that's exactly what happened. From down and beaten to proud and still fighting. It was a triumphant moment, one that could make you believe that something bigger and better might be in store for this team.

Let me know if I'm overstating this. But hasn't it been happening all season? Just when you think these guys might finally fall back to not-ready-for-prime-time status, they show that they're not going down that easily. I know we've moved beyond the "bona fide" questions with the Tigers, but it's always nice to see some affirmation.

From there, Detroit's pitching was outstanding. Bonderman kept the White Sox in check until the eighth inning. And each of Jim Leyland's calls to the bullpen worked out beautifully, particularly bringing in Jamie Walker to face Jim Thome in the ninth.

Can the Tigers carry that winning feeling into this afternoon's rubber match? We'll see. But at least they know they won't be pushed around.

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