Jennifer Hammond on 2012 Tigers - KMSP-TV

Jennifer Hammond on 2012 Tigers

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It had all the markings of the most spectacular roller coaster ride you've ever been on. White knuckle anticipation, fear, the climb, a pit in your stomach followed by a huge drop and finally overwhelming exhilaration. Yes, these are the 2012 Tigers that we have come to know and love (and at times despise) this season - but for better or worse, to follow them means submitting to their twisted fate. Sure you can bemoan Benoit, and curse Coke for all that went wrong on Sunday but the final overwhelming thought I take away from this game is the amazing and uplifting story of Don Kelly. A guy who, at one point this season, was being mocked by fans after Jim Leyland's tearful admission that sending him back to Toledo was one of the toughest things he's ever done as a manager. Today's final swing of the bat by the man who lost his spot on the 40-man roster earlier in the season is a story of disappointment, determination and finally a comeback. The real life version of what Rocky and Rudy could only portray to be. When Kelly stepped to the plate,with the game tied, bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, you could see his shoulders lift and drop as he took a deep cleansing breath before stepping into the batters box - as if to say, 'Okay, I got this.' Lifted by the confidence of his teammates and manager and his belief in himself, Kelly delivered and during the ensuing celebration on the field, the 190 pound utility outfielder actually lifted his 270 pound teammate Prince Fielder off the ground with a little help some adrenaline of the "Moment you dream of as a player." Sunday's celebration was once again a reminder, that it takes every player on the roster to win games this time of year and it also takes dozens of signature moments to run deep into the playoffs. But until Tuesday, the best message from Sunday's game 2 win by the Tigers is that, nice guys don't always finish last.

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