Mike Lupica remembers his friend Elmore Leonard:

He loved writing and his family and jazz and the Tigers. One of the great days I ever had at a ballpark was at old Tigers Stadium one time when the Yankees were in town. All his years loving his team and all his years living up in Bloomfield Village and all the times he had been to the ballpark, but he had never been on the field at Tiger Stadium.

And then he was behind the batting cage with me that day, talking away with the legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell.

Driving home that night he smiled in the car and said, "I finally made it down on that field."

...Of course he was talking about the Tigers that last afternoon, too. George Kell had once been his favorite player and then there was Al Kaline and now, when he was old, even though he never thought old or acted old and certainly never wrote like an old man, he had been given the gifts of Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, and was talking about how maybe this was going to be the year when the Tigers didn't just make it to the World Series, but won it.

I asked him if he planned to go to some Tigers games before the end of the season and he said it took too much time, he was happier to be watching them on television.

"I've got a book to write," he said.

For more on Elmore, Tigers fan, check this out from Ron Kaplan.

[Photo Credit: Tom Stanton, Spike]