Monday, July 17, 2006


Bring On The White Sox! Tigers Ready, Willing, & More Than Able

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 3-1
This Week: (7/18-20: CWS; 7/21-73: OAK)

In June 1988, when the Pistons were on the verge of finally doing away with their playoff nemesis, the Boston Celtics -- up 3-2 with Game 6 of the Conference Finals scheduled for the Silverdome -- center Bill Laimbeer was seen carrying a long duffel bag into the lockerroom before the game.

"What's in the bag, Bill?," the media types wondered.

"I'll show you after the game," Laimbeer said.

The Pistons won, earning their first trip to the NBA Finals. Later, Laimbeer revealed the contents of the bag.

A sickle.

He explained to the very curious. "When you have a snake down," Laimbeer said with that cocksure grin of his, "you have to cut its head off. We cut the snake's head off tonight."

This week, the Tigers better bring their sickles to Comerica Park.

It's far too early to be able to cut anyone's head off in this playoff race, no matter how much you'd like to do so. The Tigers have a 4 1/2 game lead over the White Sox in the Central Division, and a 7 1/2 game lead over the Yankees for the Wild Card. There are still gobs of games to be played.

But the sickle reference is relevant, for if the Tigers can at least win two of three from the White Sox, who visit Tuesday-Thursday -- and better yet, sweep them -- they'll have at least taken a swipe at them with their imaginary sickle. Maybe they might make some contact with the sickle, and scalp the Chisox a bit in the process.

There's no better time to establish something against the White Sox than now. Detroit is 1-5 against Chicago, and that of course has led to the whispering: The Tigers aren't for real until they can beat the White Sox. And the Yankees. And the Red Sox. Their record against those three ballclubs is less than stellar.

I have been one of the whisperers.

But that kind of talk will be washed away, flushed down the toilet, if the Tigers can spank the White Sox this week. Chicago is 0-3 out of the All-Star Break. And didn't I write something the other day about the team taking control after the break is the team with the advantage?

I have whispered about that, too.


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