Two teams, one game, and the winner moves on to the postseason while the loser goes home for the winter. Sox fans know this scenario oh too well as we needed the famous “blackout play-in game” in 2009 to earn our central division crown. For Twins fans, it is as Yogi Berra says, “dejvu all over again!” So as the Twin vs. Tigers game on Tuesday approaches, several perplexing questions are likely peculating through White Sox fans minds:
Who do I cheer for? Is it wrong be interested in this game at all? To pick a side? Can I cheer for my enemy and still be called a Sox fan? As Hawk Harrelson would say: “YEEEEAAASSS.” Before you read my pick, understand a couple of things.
First, while I’m a diehard Sox fan, I’m also a fanatic of the game of baseball…period. A tiebreaker represents all that is exciting in this game, even if a team only needs 87 wins to reach the postseason. Second, there is no right or wrong answer in this equation. That’s the beauty of the game. Let’s examine some points of debate:
The “ex” Sox factor
The Tigers have Magglio Ordonez and former coaches Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont. “O wee OOOO…MAGGGLIO,” left Chicago via the Scott Boras express, and the perception among Sox fans was he used the Sox to get a better offer from the Tigers. It was the first shot heard ’round the Cell, that the Sox would refuse to play ball with Boras. The Twins have Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Orlando Cabrera and World Series Hero Joe Crede. Crede was a “Don’t Stop Believin” voice of the 2005 World Champion Sox.
The Underdog Factor
Often synonymous with payroll, this year there is even more at play. The Twins will be without their best power hitter Justin Morneau, and defensive stalwart Joe Crede, who both are out with back issues. The Tigers are without Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya. Team Payroll? Detroit has the 5th highest in baseball at just over $115 million. The Twins rank 24th at about $65.3 million. Advantage: Twins
With the flaying automobile industry and a depressed economy, Detroit has been referred to as a city “that needs the play-offs” as an emotional shot in the arm. Opponents argue, the Detroit Red Wings domination should be plenty. People then counter argue with the Detroit Lions. Seriously though, according to a 2007 census study, Michigan has a 12% poverty rate, while Minnesota has an 8.1% poverty rate. Advantage: Tigers
Always the Bridesmaid Factor
While the Tigers won the AL Pennant in 2006, they did it as the AL wildcard team and have never won an A.L. Central Title since the 1998 realignment. The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984, their 4th in team history. The Twins have won the AL Central 4 times since 1998. They last won the World Series in 1991, their third in team history. Advantage: Twins by numbers, Tigers by Underdog Factor.
The Sox Hate Factor
This is pure opinion here. I hate the Metrodome as a Sox fan because of our record there. I hate the Metrodome as a baseball fan, as it’s a horrible place to watch a game. I respect the Metrodome as an outsider because of the electric advantage it gives the Twins.
Detroit Tiger fans invade U.S. Cellular Field at a far greater rate and with a higher rate of irritability than Twins fans do.
For me, its always about the underdog, or the little guy. I’ve got to go with the Minnesota Twins. With a total team salary that is 45% less than their opponent, and two of their better players injured, it’s amazing they made it this far. Say it is so Joe…Crede that is. So for now….big gulp….larger swallow…Go Twins! At least it’s not the Cubs.
And as Sox fans we can always say that we helped the Twins get there by taking 4 of 6 from the Tigers to end the season. To Twins Fan and Sportsbank Writer Peter Christian, remember who said your team would be here in August? You can remember me in the Call Outs. Now that all the information has been presented to you, who are you cheering for Sox fans?