Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2nd Round, Games 3-6, Detroit Tigers vs Rangers

With the Rangers up 2 games to none, the series moved to Detroit for 3 games.

Just before the Tigers played the Yankees in the final game to see who would face the Rangers for the American League Championship, I put a DFW to Detroit plane reservation on hold before the price went up, and I reserved a hotel room close to Tiger Stadium (now Comerica Park).

The Tigers beat the Yankees in their deciding game, and I headed for Detroit on the morning of Tuesday, October 11.

Jeannie and I had been to Detroit in June for a game and we really enjoyed it along with eating at the Pegasus restaurant in nearby Greektown.

Upon arriving at the Detroit Airport about 1 p.m., I asked a lady if she would like to share a cab (about $50) to go downtown.  She said that she was on the company dime, and invited me just to ride with her.  An auspicious start to the trip.

I was back in Greektown.

About 6:30 I headed toward Comerica Tiger Park to find a ticket.  I encountered this trombone player, and I offered him $1 to play "The Eyes of Texas."

He played it great, but I think he did not realize the significance.

This is Bill.  He sold me a ticket.  His friend was not able to come.  We had a beer before the game.  Bill had recently moved to Detroit from Boston, but he said that he was going back to Boston in a few days to see his Patriots play the Dallas Cowboys.

This is a view from our seats of the Tigers' opening ceremonies.

And National Anthem

The Rangers scored 1 in the first, but by the 7th inning stretch, the Tigers were ahead 4-1.
The Tigers went on to win 5-2 to get their first win in the series.

View of Comerica Park after the game from my hotel room.

Game 4 would start at 4:05 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday.
This is a view of downtown Detroit from my hotel room on Wednesday afternoon.  A cloudy dreary day that would be a harbinger for Detroit Tiger fans.
This is me and Bob, who sold me a ticket, from his season ticket seats.  The game was delayed over two hours by rain.  Bob used to work in public relations for the Tigers and Baltimore Orioles, but he has been a Social Studies teacher for the past few years.

The First Pitch
The Tigers scored 2 in the second inning, but in the top of the 6th inning, the Rangers scored 3 runs with 4 hits and Tiger Manager Jim Leyland went to the mound to change pitchers

In the bottom of the 7th, Tiger Brandon Inge hit a homerun to tie the game at 3.

The game went to extra innings, and I moved to a standing room section behind the plate.  In the top of the 11th, Josh Hamilton his a double, and he scored when Napoli (NA-PO-LI) singled.  Rangers up 4-3.

Then with two Rangers on base, Nelson Cruz came to the plate. 

Naturally Cruz hit a 3-run homerun to make the score 7-3. Here is the celebration at the plate.
The Tigers did not score in their half of the 11th inning, and the traditional victor celebration near the mound began for the Texas Rangers.
I worked my way down to the Ranger dugout and got a picture of the great Nelson Cruz.

A spectacular game 4 in Detroit.  Rangers lead the Series 3 games to 1.
Game 5 would start at 4:05 p.m. (Eastern) on Thursday.

The game 5 pitcher for Detroit is possibly the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander, and Texas would have its best regular season pitcher going, C. J. Wilson.
Fans ready
Detroit statue legends immortalized behind centerfield ready
Mascot Paws and Tiger Girls Ready
Fountains ready
But Rangers were not quite ready, as the Tigers won 7-5.

View from my seats sold to me by three old intoxicated Detroit guys whose friend was not able to make it.
Texas scored first, and it was 2-2 going into the bottom of the 6th inning.  Detroit had four batters in a row hit for a combined cycle.  Rayburn-single; Cabrera-double (the one that hit the third base bag); Martinez-triple; Young-homerun.

Rayburn also hit a homerun in the 7th to make it Tigers 7, Rangers 2.
7th Inning Stretch
However, the Rangers were not quite done scoring.  In the top of the 8th inning, Nelson Cruz hit a two run home run to cut the score to 7-4, and in the 9th after two outs, the Rangers scored a run to make it 7-5 and had two men on base as Napoli grounded out to end the game.

On the walk back to the hotel with lots of happy Tiger fans, I stopped in a Greektown restaurant for some seafood.
I did not go to Game 6 back in Texas, but enjoyed watching it on TV Saturday night, especially the Rangers 9-run third inning, Nelson Cruz's 6th series homerun -- a baseball record, the Rangers winning the American League Pennant with a 15-4 victory, and the post-game celebration.

Next - the World Series begins on Wednesday, October 19 in Saint Louis.

Thanks to all star AP Biology teacher, Alan Cotten, who is helping me fly to Saint Louis on a Southwest Award ticket, and a hotel right next to Busch Stadium obtained through Priceline, I am heading to Saint Louis on Wednesday for games 1 and 2 of the World Series.  Gregg Fleisher is flying to Saint Louis from Washington DC for game 2.

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