the great Tiger fan rooting debate

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I’ve had this discussion with a lot of people recently. Now that the Tigers are out of it, what to do? After all, the season marches on and nobody wants to ‘waste’ the few precious remaining weeks of baseball before the Long Dark Winter without a rooting interest.

Of course this isn’t even a debate for me; my proclivities are known. And it was easy when the Yankees were in the running still, because then if you had to decide a rooting interest you could just answer in the negative sense (i.e. anyone BUT the Yankees). A perfectly reasonable response, as I’m sure most of you would agree. But now that the Yankees have been eliminated (yay!), what do you do?

So far there seem to be several Tiger-fan schools of thought.

1. Root AL Central. The people who lean this way believe that, with no Tigers to root for, another AL Central team is the next best thing. The reasoning is varied, but a lot of people either treat it as a regional thing (Cleveland being midwestern-relatively close to Detroit) or a divisional pride thing (if we prove how good the AL Central is, it makes all the teams in the division look better!). A lot of Detroiters have fairly strong ties to other midwestern cities, so I can’t really knock that, but I think everyone understands how good the AL Central is without having to see the Racist Logos win in the postseason.

Side note: remember when the AL Central used to be considered one of the worst divisions in baseball? It wasn’t that long ago!

2. Never root for the divisional enemy. These are the people who spend the whole regular season hoping every AL Central team except for the Tigers comes down with ebola, and they aren’t going to start changing just because it’s October and the Tigers are sitting at home watching the games on TV. Some of these people temporarily rooted for the R.L.s, unnatural as it may have seemed to them, because they were playing the Yankees. All normal enmities must be set aside when it comes to the Yankees. We must present a united front. Etc.

Anyways, most of these people reverted to anti-R.L. rooting as soon as the Yanks fell out of contention. This means that they’re rooting Red Sox at the moment. No shame in that, my friends, no shame in that at all.

3. Never root for the league enemy. These are people who simply cannot stand to see anyone in the American League win, ever, if they’re not wearing the Olde English D. If these people follow a second team at all during the regular season, it’s a National League team. This cuts down on the amount of mental and emotional stress they have to go through, because their teams will meet rarely, if at all. I envy their clarity of mind.

These people would be currently rooting either D’backs or Rockies. Personally speaking, I don’t really care about this series, but I’m vaguely rooting Rockies. I don’t have any particular like for them, but a) purple! b) their mascot is a freaking triceratops and c) I don’t like the D’backs at ALL this year.

4. There is but one team in baseball, and that team is the Detroit Tigers. These people lose all interest in baseball when the Tigers are eliminated. I do understand baseball burn-out, so I guess this basically makes sense to me, but… it’s awfully hard to comprehend. WE WILL BE WITHOUT BASEBALL FOR MONTHS soon, surely you’d want to squeeze every last drop out of the season.

So far as these people are concerned, though, the season is already over.

Like I said, this isn’t even a debate for me, because I am a two-hat kinda fan, and my other hat has a B on it. But I’m sure most of you are sorting yourselves into one of these categories, or something else altogether. Best of luck: whatever gets you through this tragically Tiger-less postseason.


6 responses to “the great Tiger fan rooting debate

  1. my plan was thwarted after the Cubbies left me crying too!
    I had such a hard time watching the Sox/Indians game, deciding who I wanted to lose MORE. but because of YOU, I’ll root Sox.
    Go Sox. Gah – I can’t believe I’m saying that.

  2. ivantopumpyouup

    I am rooting for the Rockies, but Jenna and Cathryn are trying to lure me to the Red Sox. The HORROR!

  3. For me it’s been easy. Cleveland fans are jerkholes and I don’t have to really deal with Boston fans gloating, so go Sox.
    In the NL, the Rockies owner’s “God loves the Rockies” crap was a real turnoff to me to the point that I can’t get behind that team even though I admit they’re a pretty good story.

  4. Well, I’m in the same boat as you, Sox-wise. No debate! Only Red Sox!

  5. On the AL side, I go under this theory: The Tigers are out of the playoffs more or less because they went 6-12 against the Indians. Well, if we’re going to get knocked out by a thing like that, the very least the Indians can do is go out and win the whole damn shebang. “At least we lost to the best, there’s no shame in that,” we’ll be able to tell ourselves. Plus, I was never there for the bad years when the Indians fans would come up to Tiger Stadium during the years when Jacobs Field tickets were just plain unavailable and make asses of themselves. Plus-plus, I have some good online friends that are Tribe fans. Plus-plus-plus, it’s been 59 years for them. That seems like enough.
    On the NL side, meh, I mostly couldn’t care less, but the Rockies certainly are becoming a compelling story, and they have voted a full playoff share to the family of Mike Coolbaugh, who was coaching first base down in AA for them and was tragically killed by a foul line drive. I’m also vaguely aware of the “God loves the Rockies” drivel, but if they’re gonna do a cool thing like that for the family of some poor guy who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, I can’t help but root for them. Besides, with them up 3-0 now, there’s really no point in rooting for ex-Tigers such as Bob Melvin, Kirk Gibson and Tony Clark any more.
    When the Rockies face off against the AL entrant, whichever that may be? AL all the way… I’d like to be able to claim that the Tigers were within the top 6 or 7 teams in baseball in 2007, just that 4 of those teams that were better happened to be in our same league.
    Within a week of the end of the regular season, I predicted that Game 1 of the World Series would be AL team 32, NL team 5, and by golly, I’m sticking to it.

  6. Boston is very New York like in spending habits though so it’s hard to pull for them now being the other big East Coast superpower. Cleveland has a bunch of young kids that are hard to dislike yet. I’m not sure if I care much who wins out in the AL right now.
    The Rockies are fun to watch though and I’m enjoying seeing them continue to race towards the Series.
    As long as the games are close and the action is exciting I’ll enjoy the road there… I think I’ll root for the Rockies.

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