Yet another great day to be a Tigers fan. For the first time since Kirk Gibson was selected back in December 1985 (cover line: The Superstar Nobody Wants), a Detroit Tiger — namely, 23-year-old fireballer Justin Verlander — appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Behold the glory:

Of course, the infamous S.I. curse could temper my excitement, but it’s high time the 2006 Tigers, the team that’s held the best record in baseball since May 21, received the national attention they deserve. (For a dead-on and very funny analysis of what this year’s Tigers mean to long-time fans, check out this recent Slate article.) Are they going to be shown on Fox’s Saturday telecasts more often than the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees down the stretch? No way, because, you know, who doesn’t love those teams? (Uh, me?) But at least media types finally seem to be stepping out of the cave. Let’s see if that translates into the dominating Verlander (15-6, 3.05 ERA) garnering the number of votes required to win the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young awards, both of which he truly deserves consideration for. I, for one, don’t believe in magazine-borne curses.

The expression “natch,” when used by men. Weak!