Detroit Tigers fans at 24 Seconds Bar and Grill cheer after the Game 5 win against the Oakland A's. (Tony Briscoe / The Detroit News)
Berkley — It was do-or-die Thursday night for the Tigers, and even though they were on the road, bars held screaming fans pledging support, even through a nail-biter like Game 5.
Berkley resident Rae Houle wrung her hands in the last inning as the tying run was on base for Oakland. Suddenly, 200 Tigers fans let out a final, raucous cheer at the 24 Seconds Sports Bar and Grill in Berkley when the final out was caught.
“I had no doubt they were going to win it,” said Houle, who is a season ticket holder. “I knew our offense would be too much and Justin Verlander would get it done. We’re going to the World Series.”
The Tigers head now to the American League Championship Series against Boston.
A celebration didn’t seem certain at first. Seema Bardwaj is a relative newcomer to Detroit, but she went to 24 Seconds more than an hour before game time to rally with fans of her new favorite team.
“Detroit is one of the best cities I’ve lived in,” said Bardwaj of Royal Oak, who moved from Los Angeles about two years ago. “I think one of the great things about it is the sense of loyalty and never-give-up attitude. You fall in love with it instantly.”
Through six innings, superstition took hold among the crowd as Verlander held the Oakland A’s hitless.
“We can’t say anything, but Justin Verlander is having a really great game,” said Bardwaj. “We won’t say the NH words.”
When the no-hitter was broken up in the seventh inning, fans sighed. Then, the bar erupted in applause when Verlander struck out the next batter.
Meanwhile, Rahna Connell was hoping her birthday wish for a Tigers win would come true, but she didn’t want to jinx it.
“Usually, I like to watch at home so I can see more of the action, but it’s been awesome: the cheering, the excitement.”
Nearly every seat was filled. An overflow crowd was transfixed on the TVs.
Some people were even listening in to their car radios in the parking lot.