by | Apr 7, 1986 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

I go to the attic. I reach into the box. I take out the glass ball and bring it downstairs. It is dusty. I blow on it and the dust coughs up in my face.

“What about the Tigers?” you say.

“Patience,” I say.

I close my eyes. I begin a chant. Something from India. Or maybe the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island.” One or the other.

“What about the Tigers?” you say.

“Hummmmmmmm,” I say.

Suddenly an image appears inside the glass ball. I see New York. I see Dwight Gooden. I see him walking off the mound and being congratulated by his teammates. I see a movie producer offer him a cigar. I see David Letterman beg for an interview.

I see signs “New York Mets! NL East Champions!” I see a riot at Shea Stadium. I see two men in ski masks. I see them kidnap Mr. Met, the team mascot. I see police cars. I see a headline: “CROOKS TO CITY: PAY OR WE PITCH HIM.”

“Yeah, but what about Detroit?” you say.

“Hang on,” I say.

A new picture emerges. I see the Dodgers and the Reds playing on the final day of the season. I see a tie score in the bottom of the ninth. I see Pete Rose chewing his fingernails. I see Tommy Lasorda chewing a dinner roll. I see Don Rickles sitting in the dugout next to Lasorda, saying, “Pinch-hit for Niedenfuer, you hockey puck.”

I see Lasorda motion down the bench. I see a handsome blond batter come out. I see the crowd gasp. I see he is bleeding from the stomach. I see his bat. It says “Wonderboy.” I see him hit an 0-2 pitch halfway to Redondo Beach. I see a seven-figure movie deal. I see the Dodgers win the NL West. I see all this.

“What about Detroit?” you say.

“Just a moment,” I say.

Another image. I see Kansas City. I see Steve Balboni at bat. I see him hit a home run. I see him do it again. And again. I see Royals manager Dick Howser reward him with a fresh bag of Doritos. Every time. “Five home runs!” Howser exclaims. “Five bags!” Balboni exclaims.

I see the Royals jumping into each others’ arms. I see George Brett spitting out his wad of chewing gum, he’s so happy. I see Kansas City over the Seattle Mariners to win the AL West crown. I see all this.


“OK, OK,” I say.

I rub the ball. I close my eyes. I begin a new chant. Something from a Hindu religious ritual. Or maybe “Da Doo Ron Ron.” One or the other.

The glass goes cloudy. And then . . .

I see pitchers. And more pitchers. I see curveballs and fastballs and sliders. I see Jack Morris and Dan Petry. I hear them say, “Nothing to it.” I see Frank Tanana and Walt Terrell and Dave LaPoint. I hear them say, “Piece of cake.” I see the Tigers winning game after game, 2-1, 2-0, 3-2, 3-0, 3-1.

“Do they beat the Yankees?” you say.

“A moment, please,” I say.

I see Kirk Gibson clout left. I see Kirk Gibson clout right. I see Larry Herndon return to form. I see Lou Whitaker maintain form. I see Mike Laga find a form.

“But the Yankees . . . ” you say.

“One more moment,” I say.

I see Sparky Anderson taking a hard line. I see players angrier. I see them playing better. I see fewer errors. I see improved relief pitching.

I see newcomer Darnell Coles having a decent season. I see newcomer Bill Campbell surprising people. I see newcomer Dave Collins not playing that much.

“But the Yank–” you say.

“Please,” I say.

I see Detroit in the thick of September. I see Toronto close. I see Baltimore not close enough. I see Cleveland next. I see Boston struggling. I can’t see Milwaukee.


I wiggle my fingers. I close my eyes. I grab the ball and squeeze. A smile comes to my lips. I begin a new chant. It sounds vaguely like “Hello, Detroit.”

“Will they? ” you say.

“Yep,” I say.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

🛍 For just $2.99/mo or $29.99/year, you get access to every weekly issue

🎁 All proceeds will be donated to help the daily operations of the orphanage, Have Faith Haiti Mission

🗞 Paid subscribers also get to hear directly from the kids through the “Have Faith Haiti Chronicles.” It’s a monthly/quarterly-ish newsletter written and published by students in a media and journalism class.


Subscribe for bonus content and giveaways!