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.