Gladdening the hearts of baseball fans in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, the Detroit Tigers are in the playoffs for the second straight year. They begin their first-round series this evening at Comerica Park against the Oakland Athletics.
This season's team hasn't been quite the powerhouse many fans expected after the Tigers signed slugger Prince Fielder to form the game's most fearsome one-two punch with star Miguel Cabrera. But they're still in a position to return to the World Series for the first time since 2006.
Even if they don't make it, Mr. Cabrera has given fans plenty to cheer this year.
He won major-league baseball's triple crown — highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in. That had not happened since 1967, when then-Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski took the crown.
Mr. Cabrera began his superb season with an act of selflessness: He relinquished his former position, first base, to Mr. Fielder and switched to third base, where he has fielded unexpectedly well.
Despite his success, he has maintained an air of modesty and been a clubhouse inspiration. He appears to have overcome past problems with alcohol abuse.
Few sports franchises have such a storied history of lifting fans' spirits as the Tigers. The team's triumph over the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series helped heal some of Detroit's scars from riots a year earlier.
The Tigers' wire-to-wire domination of the American League in 1984 was something no other team had achieved since the days of the New York Yankees' Murderers’ Row. The World Series triumph that followed over the San Diego Padres gave this region a lift, as it emerged from a deep recession.
This year, too, the Tigers' season seems part of this area's broader comeback.
Go Tigers, with special kudos to Mr. Cabrera for reminding us what's possible with the proper attitude and renewed focus.