When the Detroit Tigers open Major League Baseball’s 108th World Series tonight against the San Francisco Giants, a story line will emerge that goes beyond their participation in the fall classic.
Baseball fans, locally and around the world, are likely to associate the Tigers’ post-season success with the hard-fought comeback of another icon of Detroit and America: the domestic auto industry. Scrappy winners. Models of ruggedness and determination.
Nine years ago, the Tigers set a major-league record for losses in a season: 119, against only 43 wins. But to paraphrase the late, beloved Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, those days are long gone.
Hopes are high again. The Tigers are back in the World Series for the first time since 2006, when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. Just as the domestic auto industry is posting its best sales in years, the Tigers are seeking their first World Series championship since 1984, when they beat the San Diego Padres.
The Great Lakes region and the nation continue to face serious challenges. For now, though, it’s time to kick back, enjoy the World Series, and take comfort in realizing that the Tigers’ roar is back.