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Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder wear the faces of Tiger warriors this fall as they enter the World Series. But the team players aren't the only ones suiting up for victory this year. Northern Michigan has our game face on permanently for the next month as we watch the Tigers put Michigan on the charts once again. This all-American sport has officially locked Northern Michigan into the Tiger Fever.
Although I have been unable to attend a live game since I was about 7 years old, these past three years have been an exhilarating journey for an at-home game watcher. I was never much of a baseball fan until three years ago when my now 12-year-old brother became an avid baseball fan. He knows anything and everything there is to know about baseball, he's like a baseball encyclopedia, spitting out facts, statistics and stats about all teams every second he gets a chance to. He's constantly challenging my step-dad and my boyfriend (who are also baseball fanatics) with baseball opinions and favorites. In all honesty, I don't think there is a person out there who loves the game more than my kid brother.
But as we progress into the madness of the World Series, I'm beginning to think otherwise. Northern Michigan is a kid again, pecking away at cheap hot-dogs, singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and living in every second of victory the Tigers bring to us. And I'm not complaining, (and neither is my brother, because at this point you can talk baseball with just about anyone in Michigan).
You want to see some team spirit? You've come to the right place. The Detroit emblem is flying high outside local bars, restaurants, boutiques and homes all around Northern Michigan. Subdivisions are lined with flags supporting our Tigers. Fashion? I have never seen so many people sporting 'Verlander' or 'Fielder' proudly across their backs (which reminds me I'm in desperate need of some Tigers gear, asap). In fact, game one of the World Series is being featured at the Traverse City State Theatre tonight, for free. Talk about a good show!
The best part? We all have a common understanding and passion for the game. I had no problem talking to a complete stranger about how absolutely insane that game against the Yankees was when Valverde gave up a home run to tie the game during the 9th inning. Or how sad it was when Derek Jeter broke his ankle. Or how absolutely exhilarating and prideful is was to watch our Tigers win against the Yankees in an effortless sweep. And Justin Verlander? We won't even go there. All of us Michiganders can come together and meld our love for the Tigers into some of the strongest Michigan pride any of us has ever committed to.
So as we bombard our way into the World Series with (undoubtedly) the best pitcher in the league, an extremely favorited candidate for MVP, an unbelievably dedicated coach, and some of the most prideful and spirited fans out there, I want to take the time to say congratulations to not only the team, but to all the other Michiganders out there with Tiger fever. Our die-hard devotion to this team is what has truly brought them to the next level, and it shouldn't stop here.
Go out for the game tonight. Have a beer. Share a basket of wings or a tray of 7 layer dip and connect with those around you, because nothing feels better than sharing a celebration.
Whether they win the World Series or not, I know all the Tigers fans out there will have no problem saying we have bragging rights regardless, due to the amazing players we have and the prideful state we live in. The Giants just better be ready for mitten domination.
Without further adieu, Play Ball! And go Tigers!
(Okay, I had to share this too)
Traverse Magazine Intern: Kaitlyn Pettinato