So, if you’ve met me in real life, you know that I’m a ridiculously loyal fan of my hometown sports teams — all of them. Detroit is a serious sports town. There isn’t a WHOLE lot else going on there to unite people besides sports, and most people you meet in Detroit have been there for at least three, four, five generations (let’s face it: people live in Detroit because they were born there, not because they want to be there — but maybe soon that will change?). They learned to love the Wings by watching them with their grandfather at Olympia Stadium, or they learned to love the Tigers like I did — by trekking down Michigan avenue in the summertime with their father and hoards of other fans toward the old Tiger Stadium, swinging pennants and singing “Bless You Boys.”
“Sports” is a way of life in Detroit. The sports report takes up half the nightly local news cast. The NHL playoffs are a boost to the local economy, whether the Wings are in them or not (but when aren’t they?).
I was born and raised in this serious sports culture, and that’s how I ended up with the Detroit Tigers logo tattooed on my arm. Why on earth would I ever regret that tattoo? The Tigers will always be my team, forever and ever. I can’t even fathom having a team besides them, regardless of where I live.
So the Giants won the World Series two years ago. Who gives a crap? They’re just the Giants from some other city to me. The Tigers won the World Series in 1984 when I was seven years old, and my father put my sister and I in the car and drove us around town all night and honked the horn and let us throw streamers out the windows of the car. We were up way past our bedtime and I fell asleep with my stuffed tiger in my arms — it was one of the best nights of my childhood.
I’ve been stingy with my sports love since coming to the Bay Area over six years ago because my childhood sports memories are so vivid like that. I just haven’t been able to make room in my heart for the Giants or the 49ers or the Warriors or the Sharks.
Ick. The Sharks. Gross. Teal and purple PALM TREE HOCKEY.
Something feels different now. I live in Oakland. And for some reason, I feel like I might have room in my heart — just a little itty bitty bit of room — for Oakland. There’s something about Oakland’s teams, and its fans, that feel familiar at times to me. I might be warming up to them.
The Raiders, maybe — not the Warriors! And maybe, just maybe — the A’s.
AFTER THE TIGERS. Only AFTER the Tigers (after all, Kim and I were the most obnoxious people in the stadium last year when the Tigers were finishing their stellar season by putting a beating on the A’s).
And, if the A’s were REALLY going to give me a reason, well… They had to go and have a “Dog Day at the Coliseum.” 750 dogs on the field and in the stands, for the A’s vs. the Yankees this past week.
Well — for crying out loud. That is the F#@%ING CUTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN IN BASEBALL. And I love baseball. And I love cute.
And I love my pup. And I took him. With his doggy friends, Dexter and Pancake and Apollo. And the A’s beat the Yankees. And I’m happy about that.
(but just so you know — I’m ALWAYS happy when ANYBODY beats the Yankees)