DETROIT -- The last World Series that Tigers catcher Alex Avila experienced was one of the most grueling times of his baseball career. It wasn't the games. It was the practices.
Avila was a fan during the Tigers' World Series run in 2006, rooting for his father's team. Avila was a student at the University of Alabama, where he was working out for the baseball team.
"I was going through fall practices, which were pretty unbearable physically," Avila said.
He headed home to attend the first two games of that series in Detroit. Once the Tigers hit the road for St. Louis in that series, though, Avila was back in school, and back in practice.
He was still paying attention. To him, though, it's much easier to play than to watch.
"I knew what he was going through," Avila said of his father, Tigers vice president/assistant general manager Al Avila. "We went through it when he was with the Marlins, even though I was much younger then.
"You're hopefully a lot more emotionally involved when you're watching the games, rather than playing. That's probably the biggest difference. When you're playing, it just seems like a baseball game. Obviously the intensity's there, but it's more just going with your gut and you're just playing. You're just allowing your ability to take over. When you're watching, there's so many more things racing through your mind."