Tigers Book a Ticket to World Series
LIANE HANSEN, host:
For the first time in 22 years, the Detroit Tigers are going to the World Series as participants rather than observers. Detroit defeated the Oakland A's 6-3 yesterday to advance to the fall classic, capping a turnaround for a team that had a dozen consecutive losing seasons until this year. Detroit Public Radio's Quinn Klinefelter has more.
QUINN KLINEFELTER: The Tigers, the worst team in the Major Leagues for more than a decade, were in the bottom of the ninth inning, one score away from reaching the World Series. Up stepped Magglio Ordonez, who had tied the game earlier with a home run. With one swing of his bat, Ordonez turned the Tigers from the annual laughing stock of the American League into its champion.
(Soundbite of baseball game)
KLINEFELTER: The home run capped a miraculous turnaround fit for any field of baseball dreams. Behind a stable of strong and mostly young pitchers, typically throwing 100 miles an hour, the Tigers had compiled one of the best records in baseball after years of futility. Experts predicted they'd be easy prey for their first-round playoff opponent, the mighty New York Yankees. But the Tigers' pitching out-dueled first the Yankee hitters and then the potent lineup of the heavily favored Oakland A's. For Tiger Magglio Ordonez, his home run heroics were a dream come true for himself and his much-maligned team.
Mr. MAGGLIO ORDONEZ (Detroit Tigers): You know, it was a really exciting moment. You know, I've been waiting for this for a long time - all my career, all my life - and this moment's really exciting, you know. These people, these fans, this city, this organization really deserve it.
KLINEFELTER: To many fans, the previously struggling Tigers were a symbol of a city reeling from massive cuts in the auto industry. Even the Old English script D on their uniforms has been woven into signs and shops throughout the Motor City for decades. Now the Tigers' improbable run to the World Series is weaving excitement and hope in an area desperately in need of both. For NPR News, I'm Quinn Klinefelter in Detroit.