Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One of the most fun nights I've had

I went up with three friends to see the Indians beat the Tigers tonight. It was more fun than I could possibly describe (but I'll try anyway).

Using the last of my Indians free-ticket and buy-one-get-one coupons that I bought in April, the four of us went for a COMBINED 7 dollars and sat up in the corner in section 521. It was also dollar-dog night, so we went for a pretty low cost (by the way, they sold over 67,000 hot dogs in one night). Sold-out crowd, and about 39,000 of the 40,000 in attendance were Tribe fans (the Tigers fans got the royal treatment, too....more on that later).

Justin Verlander on the mound for Detroit, and he was spotted a 4-1 lead...it looked like we were in trouble. And then the September Magic kicked in.

Verlander walked Sizemore and Cabrera, seemingly losing control for a bit. Then he found the ability to throw strikes again, but it was right in Travis Hafner's zone. A 3-run blast that went 420 feet later, and the game was tied. The Indians never looked back, and used clutch hitting to pick up their 89th win of the season.

The Tigers' season is all but over now. They're 6.5 games out of the AL Central, and 4.5 games out of the Wild Card. Kiss it all goodbye, Tigers fans. Ohio still owns you.

The Magic Number is now 5. Win at Noon tomorrow with CC Sabathia on the mound, and the number goes down to three. We can win this division in the confines of Jacobs' Field this weekend.

The atmosphere? It was as close to being at an Ohio State-Michigan game as you can get, with the exception of the real thing.

Enormously loud chants of "Detroit Sucks", and "App-a-la-chian" rang out, supplemented with "O-H-I-O"s. The Tigers fans near us couldn't do anything but hang their heads. Some of them left in the 6th and 7th innings to loud boos and laughter. One Tiger girl got really upset and freaked out with middle fingers raised to Cleveland fans. She got the loudest "Detroit Sucks" chants of the night, and I'm sure she heard it as she walked the ramps downward. It was comical to say the least.

When Joe Borowski took the mound in the 9th, the noise was deafening. Every pitch raised the roof, and it felt like it was 1995 in that building. Magglio Ordonez struck out looking and slowly walked back to the dugout with his season ruined. Guillen shot a grounder to Ryan Garko, and the second out strained the vocal chords of the crowd even further. When Jhonny Peralta threw out Ivan Rodriguez to end the game, it was an explosion of noise. Hugs all around the crowd, and celebration in the bowels of the stadium began. Most of us stuck around to see Jensen Lewis get the celebratory pie in the face. Cheers and chants continued for at least an hour after the final pitch, and the horns sounded on East 9th Street, reminiscent of the Cavaliers defeat of the Pistons in Game 6.

We had these tickets for a couple of weeks, and I really wanted to clinch the division on this night...but I can't imagine it being more fun even if we had clinched it tonight (and practically speaking....we did).

Oh, and one more piece of good news. Boston lost. The Indians are 0.5 games out of having the best record in baseball.

Freakin' Sweet stat of the night - They say you win your division within your division. The Indians are now 45-23 in the AL Central (.662 win percentage). Freakin' Sweet!

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