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 Early clinch brings some relief to Dombrowski

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PostSubject: Early clinch brings some relief to Dombrowski   Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:41 am

Early clinch brings some relief to Dombrowski
By Jason Beck / | 09/17/11 9:36 PM ET

OAKLAND -- Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski was talking with reporters Saturday morning in the visiting dugout at Oakland Coliseum when somebody pointed out the Indians-Twins score on the out-of-town scoreboard. For the first time since maybe April, Dombrowski didn't have to give a second thought about it.

For Dombrowski, whose tradition of reading the box scores every morning is well known, it was a good feeling.

"It's like, right now, we don't have to worry about our division anymore," Dombrowski said. "Now we can try to finish with the best record over Texas or even the Yankees. But it's a situation where, yes, it is a good feeling to say, 'So what?' It is really good. I wish them both well."

Among the multitudes of text messages and emails he received when the Tigers clinched was an email of congratulations and best wishes in the playoffs from Twins general manager Bill Smith. Given their longtime friendship, plus the memorable Twins-Tigers races over the last six years, it meant a lot to him.

He took a little extra satisfaction that many didn't expect his team to end up here.

"We're 13 1/2 games in first, and I don't think many people picked us to win the division," Dombrowski said. "There might have been a couple. I remember sitting there at the All-Star break, we were watching [the All-Star Game] with my family and two kids and my wife. We're watching all the shows, and nobody picked the Tigers to win. Most people picked the White Sox or the Indians.

"'Well, that's good,' my wife said. 'Everybody's looking past us, and that's probably better.' But that shows you, the guys have really done a tremendous job."

When asked about the 12-game winning streak that propelled them out of reach, Dombrowski said, "You sometimes shake your head in amazement when they go on a roll like that. It's hard to believe it now."

As much as the messages from around the industry meant, the congratulations from the team were more special for him. He was in the clubhouse during the postgame celebration Friday and was hugging his ace, Justin Verlander, when fellow starter Max Scherzer poured champagne over his boss' head.

Dombrowski laughed and hugged Scherzer.

"I think he started it," Dombrowski said. "There were others. You'll take that. You'll take that burning in your eyes and the dousing of champagne. I hope we do it a few more times this year."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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