As we make peace with the fact that the Twins are not in the playoffs, it’s time to find another team to root for this year. We’ve already made the case for Arizona, Atlanta, and Boston. Next up is the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers have some prominent supporters in Twins Territory already. The excellent Twins website Twinkie Town recently posted an entertaining article supporting Detroit. Arguing in favor of the Tigers is the very talented writer John Parent of Motor City Bengals. Here’s John’s take:
The Tigers have the game’s most dominating pitcher and a dynamic lineup full of accomplished hitters, but that’s not why the fans in Minnesota should be pulling for Detroit. The Tigers have two players on their 40-man roster who have spent time as Twins, but Brad Thomas is hurt and Delmon Young wasn’t well liked by Twins fans, from what I gather.
No, Twins fans should pull for the Tigers in the post-season because unlike the Twins, the Tigers have a history of success against the Yankees. New York has made a habit of unceremoniously dumping the Twins from the playoffs, seemingly every single year. The lone exception was 2006, when the Twins fell in the first round to Oakland. That same season, the wild card Tigers toppled the Yankees in four games. New York has all the money, all the high-profile talent and the best record in the American league, but the Tigers won the season series against New York this year and has never lost a postseason series to the Yankees.
The enemy of your enemy is your friend, Twins fans. Should the Tigers and Yankees meet up in this postseason, Detroit has the talent and experience to knock them out yet again.
Puckett’s Pond’s Notes:
I can’t speak for all Twins fans, but I certainly never disliked Delmon Young. I just kept hoping that he would play better. He finally seems to be doing so; since being shipped to Detroit after the trading deadline, Young is hitting .285/.301/.446 with five home runs. As for Thomas, his time with the Twins was pretty short – he pitched a grand total of 22 innings with Minnesota from 2001 through 2004. But he does have a pretty interesting (and eerie) connection to current Twin Michael Cuddyer, whom he credits with saving his life.
But if Thomas, Young, and the Yankee-Killer argument aren’t enough for you to want to root for the Tigers, maybe their two legends in the making will help tip the scales. Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are candidates not only for the MVP and the Cy Young, but eventually the Hall of Fame. Verlander has temporarily suspended the debate over whether it’s okay for Cy Young voters to ignore win totals, since he has a good chance to become the first 25 (or even 26) game winner since Bob Welch. And Cabrera is quietly enjoying another season where he hits .330 with near 30 homer power.
I’m sure Tiger fans are already mentally comparing these two to Denny McLain and Hank Greenberg, and it’s hard to blame them for it.
On the other side of the coin, the biggest reason not to root for the Tigers is that they’re division rivals of the Twins. In a normal season (one where the Twins are competitive), we spend 162 games eyeing the Tigers suspiciously, hoping they’ll start losing so the Twins can walk away with the division. It’s tough to spend so much time cheering against a team and then suddenly switch sides. And if the Tigers did win it all this year, the Twins would have to play 18 games against the World Series champion, which pretty much guarantees that Twins fans would be subjected to jealousy-inducing images of gold jerseys, rings, and trophies on a regular basis.
Does the division rivalry outweigh the positive attributes? You’ll have to decide for yourself. But make sure you read the rest of Puckett’s Pond’s profiles first. Next time, we’ll check out the Milwaukee Brewers.