Innovative Health - Summer 2017
I’ve Got the
Tigers By the Tail
I sat down to write this essay, having decided to make it a
tribute to my beloved Detroit Tigers.
Before writing a word, I went to name the computer file
“tigers” and found to my astonishment that I already
had a file with that name. What? I’ve already written
something about the Tigers? It turned out to be a poem
I’d written about an away game late in the 2011 season
against the Texas Rangers. Apparently, I’m starting
to have “senior moments,” because I only vaguely
recognized the poem. I tweaked it a bit.
So, it was Saturday night after Thursday’s game changer
When a hush fell on Arlington and nothing felt stranger.
Then Miggy and Victor and Delmon and Max
Seemed more fueled than ever to mount their attacks.
The crowd tried to yell and help their guys fight
But the Tigers came back with a much bigger bite.
What had once been a purr now was a roar
And Texas wondered if they ever could score.
Finally, Nolan and Ron and the rest of the Rangers
Had a terrible feeling that they were danger.
Detroit was as good as they knew they could be
And the red and the blue proved no match for the D!
You’ve really got to love a team to write a poem about
it. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got this attached to a
group of very highly paid strangers who flee the state the
minute the season is over.
I watch so many games that I can recognize each player
by his build, without getting a look at his face or number.
I think they’ve become surrogate sons to me because,
as much as I love watching them play, I find myself just
as interested in their personal idiosyncracies: Alex Avila
who can grow a beard during a game; Ian Kinsler with his
post-play hand gestures; Miguel Cabrera grinning and
chattering to opponents.
Like a mom, I feel proud of the Tigers, as if I had
something to do with their success. One of my proudest
moments occurred a couple years ago while sitting alone
in my car in my garage during a blacked-out game. Don
Kelly was up to bat and needed a fly ball out to win the
game. “Come on, Don; You… can… do this.” As soon
as that ball flew, I raced up my stairs and into my living
room to turn on the TV post-game and there they were,
all jumping around in a group hug with Don in the middle
of it. I think I cried as I jumped
It was a beautiful evening,
September 4, 2014, when I
walked out of my oncologist’s
office and toward my car. I was
the last patient to leave the office
that day. It was nearly 8 p.m. I’d
just gotten the date set for my
mastectomy, something I’d come
to accept some time prior, but
now it was official.
I quietly got in the car. No tears,
but a sinking feeling. As I drove
away I reached over and tuned
in the radio. “The Tigers must
be about to the fourth inning
by now; I wonder how they’re
I drove home with a smile. “Bless
– Stephane Irwin