Way back in spring training, Hunter Pence hit a wicked grounder that smacked Miguel Cabrera in the face. A few months later, Pablo Sandoval launched a bases-loaded triple off Justin Verlander in the All-Star game.
Here they all are again, with everything at stake.
Tigers-Giants in the World Series.
A driven team from Detroit, loaded with power bats and arms, guided by wily Jim Leyland and coming off an impressive sweep of the Yankees. A surging squad from San Francisco, boosted by its rotation and talented catcher Buster Posey, fresh from a Game 7 win over defending champion St. Louis.
A Triple Crown winner in Cabrera vs. a perfect game pitcher in Matt Cain. The Motor City vs. the City by the Bay, starting with Game 1 on Wednesday in the California twilight.
A unique pairing, too. Both franchises have been around for well over a century and are stacked with Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Carl Hubbell, Al Kaline and many more -- yet they've never faced each other in the postseason.
Not too much recent history, either. The clubs have played only 12 games since interleague action began in 1995, most recently last year at Comerica Park. That series was notable because the Tigers fired pitching coach Rick Knapp following the final game, a day after Barry Zito and the Giants trounced Max Scherzer in a 15-3 romp.
Much has changed since then.
Prince Fielder arrived in Detroit this year after a season-ending injury to Victor Martinez, and teamed with Cabrera as a most formidable tandem in the middle of the lineup. Cabrera recovered from that spring training accident -- Pence's bad-hop grounder left him with a broken bone and eight stitches -- and went on to become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
The Tigers, back in the World Series for the first time since 2006 and trying to win their first crown since Sparky Anderson's gang in 1984, relied on excitable closer Jose Valverde until the playoffs. But when he struggled against the A's and Yankees, Leyland looked for other options.
Leyland has certainly had time to prepare for this matchup -- not that it's a good thing. The Tigers will have had five days off since dismantling the Yankees, and the 67-year-old manager has done more than figure out how to use ALCS MVP Delmon Young when there's no designated hitter in San Francisco.
The Tigers also had nearly a week off before starting the 2006 World Series, and the team from the Rust Belt looked rusty. Detroit pitchers made five errors in a five-game wipeout by the Cardinals.
Three previous times one LCS ended in a sweep while the other went seven games, and each time the team that played Game 7 easily won the World Series.
Then again, the Tigers have Verlander totally rested for the opener. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA this postseason. Hardly the form he flashed in the All-Star game, when Sandoval's triple highlighted a five-run first inning. The Giants, with Cain getting credit for the victory, earned home-field advantage in the World Series that night.