Tigers fans have waited patiently

The unrealistic expectations remained, as did a roster that looked like something out of “Major League.” Eh, make that “Major League: Back to the Minors.”

It was your standard Detroit Tigers off season – high on favorable predictions, low on evidence to support those predictions.

Well, those fans are wrong again. Growing a nose like Pinocchio, wrong.

No one – not even Darren “Follow me to the Future” Daulton – predicted in March that the Tigers would be in the World Series. But after embarrassing the Oakland Athletics and dismantling a New York Yankees team that was so rich in talent, Cooperstown is considering adding another wing, that’s exactly where they are.

Good for the Tigers. More importantly, good for the fans. You guys stuck with this organization when it was a mess. OK, it was in absolute shambles.

Before this season your Tigers hadn’t experienced a winning season since you were purchasing Dad’s Root Beer for $1.50 at old Tiger Stadium.

You had your Red Wings to root for, but it wasn’t the same. The NHL is like a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Yeah, a privileged few enjoy it, but a much larger audience doesn’t even acknowledge its existence. Same goes for your Shock.

(For those who are confused, the Shock is Detroit’s franchise in the WNBA. I did a little research and apparently this WNBA is a women’s basketball league that’s been around for 10 years despite attracting minimal revenue and fewer fans. Additionally, the WNBA only makes the sports section when a player dunks or comes out of the closet).

I want to commend Tigers fans. Despite your team’s recent futility, you haven’t let this season go to your heads. You’re similar to Bengals fans, as both of your teams have risen to the top after years of pain. On second thought, you’re nothing like those fair-weather clowns. You guys proudly wore your Tigers paraphernalia in 2002 and 2003, an era when your club won just three more games (98) than it did all of this season (95). Unlike the “Who Dey” goons, you were never embarrassed of your team, which makes it that much easier for an Indians fan to write this column.

(To be fair, the previous paragraph was not directed toward loyal, die-hard Bengals fans – all nine of you included).

The Tigers are going to win the World Series (I promise I wrote this Thursday, when the Tigers were up 2-love on Oakland). They’ll overwhelm the hopeless National League representative, using excellent pitching – solid bullpen, dominant rotation.

Still, ESPN – which is quickly becoming as annoying as Bengals fans – continues to lead off its programs with the Yankees’ future rather than Detroit’s present. Leading with Alex Rodriguez’s address rather than Ivan Rodriguez’s impact. With Shaun Alexander’s foot instead of Sean Casey’s calf.

The Worldwide Leader has missed the boat on a great story. In April the Tigers were a group of “B-list” names. Six months later, they’re a memorable ending away from becoming a blockbuster hit.

Morgan Freeman should play venerable manager Jim Leyland. Both old men, both full of wisdom and insight. Neither, and for no apparent reason, has landed a huge gig during their respective careers. Freeman is regularly casted in supporting roles. Leyland stays away from the spotlight, too. His resume includes stops at Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado – three of the smallest markets in the majors.

Ryan Gosling should play rookie pitcher Justin Verlander. Only knowledgeable fans truly appreciate each one’s worth, probably because they’re overshadowed by other young “stars” – Verlander by Papelbon and Liriano, Gosling by Kutcher and Hartnett.

Lindsay Lohan should play All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Each has lost some serious weight over the past couple years, opening themselves up to criticism from the media. Lohan was accused of sticking her finger in her throat. Pudge was accused of no longer sticking a needle in his, uh, rear.

Ice Cube should play veteran closer Todd Jones. You cringe when either pops on your TV, but you’re usually satisfied with the end result. Cube, despite obviously being overmatched, used heady fight tactics to take down Deebo at the end of “Friday.” Jones, despite looking like my plumber, routinely fools opposing batters to end games.

And regardless how this film ends, it’s comforting to know that Tigers fans never left their seats.

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