Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/18/12
DETROIT -- Prince Fielder said it was the longest out of his career. With the Tigers up 8-1 and two out in the ninth, Jayson Nix hit a perfectly routine pop fly to first base -- perfectly routine to everyone in the stadium other than Fielder. Fielder waved his arms in celebration, a grin spreading across his face, as he waited to make the catch. "I thought the ball was never going to come down," he said. "It was an awesome feeling because I knew I was going to catch it, but it stayed up there forever." Enough time for Fielder's teammates to start the celebration early. "As soon as the ball came off Nix's bat, I knew the game was over," Justin Verlander said. "I was already onto the field by the time Prince caught it. At least I think Prince was the one who caught it -- I never did see that part." Austin Jackson was also celebrating long before Fielder actually caught the ball. "You never want to take a game for granted, so I kept trying not to think about what was happening," said Jackson, who will be playing in his first World Series. "But when that ball went up in the air, and I knew Prince and Omar were both under it, that's when it all became real. That's when I knew we were going to the World Series." COURAGE OF COKE There are some things that only Phil Coke can do. Yes, he somehow transformed himself from a struggling middle reliever to a lights-out closer in the middle of the ALCS, but that's just a matter of pitching superbly at the most important time of the season. That's nothing compared to his gutsiest achievement of Thursday night. While his teammates were spraying each other with champagne, and Doug Fister was adding to the mayhem with large buckets of water, it was Coke who did what no one else was going to do. In the middle of the craziness, it was the eccentric lefty who grabbed a bottle of champagne, sprinted down a clubhouse hallway and doused Jim Leyland with a massive dose of bubbly. Leyland attempted to get away, racing into his office bathroom, but Coke was relentless -- finishing the job as emphatically as he had knocked off the Yankees in each of the ALCS' final three games.
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