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How to decide who to root for in the World Series

Oct 24, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

World Series Logo

Obviously most of us are neither Tigers nor Giants fans, so how do we choose a rooting interest for the next eight days?  Just some out loud thinking:

  • If you’re a Dodgers fan or a fan of whatever team has decided that the Tigers are their big rival lately — White Sox maybe? — your path is clear: you root for the other guy because eff those Giants/Tigers.
  • The Tigers have a pretty high payroll: $132 million, which is fifth in baseball this year. The Giants are eighth at $117 million. Not a big difference, but if you like to root against a team that spends more, the Giants are your huckleberries.
  • That said, San Francisco has a larger media market than Detroit — 2.5 million TV households to 1.8 million — so they are presumably the richer, better-supported team overall, which kind of blurs the finances and changes the Tigers story from “rich team with bigger payroll” to “generous owner spending what it takes to win.” If you’re into that whole game, maybe the Tigers should be your horse.
  • I have always liked the Giants standard uniforms a lot (though I hate the orange alternates), but the Tigers are far and away the best-dressed team in the game, especially at home. If you’re a uniform junkie this is a great series, really, but you probably need to root for the Tigers.
  • The Giants big star is Buster Posey. It’s hard to find anything to dislike about him. The Tigers big star is Miguel Cabrera. He has had his past issues. If you follow the star power and if that sort of thing bothers you, go for the Giants.
  • If you’re looking beyond the biggest names, you have a bit of a mixed bag. And almost too-quirky-by-half thing with the Giants (Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson) that can be a bit annoying. Some Tigers who are either execrable (Delmon Young) or at the very least kinda douchey (Jose Valverde and, to some degree, Justin Verlander, even if he is a freaking pitching machine). Call that a tossup.
  • The Giants play in what I consider to be the best ballpark currently in use in all of baseball. The Tigers, however, used to play in the best park to ever exist in baseball and in a current park that is definitely top five. If you care about home park optics, the Giants probably get the edge.
  • Fan bases are an interesting way to determine a rooting interest. The Giants definitely have a wild-and-crazy vibe in the park and, as I mentioned this morning, the city is currently bonkers for the team.  Detroit, however, has what I consider to be one of the most knowledgeable and sophisticated fan bases around, even if they haven’t drawn as consistently as the Giants have over the past 10-15 years. I’d caution you against going with stereotypes here — not all Detroit fans riot and burn things when the team wins and not all Giants fans are latte-drinking liberal weenies who just discovered the team in October 2010 — but I do think you have a clear choice between a lower-intensity but sophisticated fan base with Detroit and a higher energy but maybe a bit more touristy fan base in San Francisco. Pick whichever floats your boat.
  • Playing styles: The Giants get good pitching and a are an opportunistic balls-in-play kind of offense. The Tigers get good starting pitching — and have the best pitcher on either team in Verlander — but on offense they’re a slower, more power-oriented team. The Giants may be a bit more aesthetically pleasing in doing what they do if that kind of thing matters to you.
  • What’s your take on history? The Giants have had more overall success and have won more World titles, but a ton of that came a looong time ago. They certainly have the more recent title — 2010 — but since 1945 both teams have exactly two championships, with the Giants winning seven pennants and the Tigers five. Just an insane amount of overall history here regardless. Cobb, Mays, Greenberg, Matthewson, McCovey, Kaline, Bonds, Trammell and on and on. This is a traditionalists dream.

Personally: I’m not rooting for anyone. This is less a fancy media “I must remain objective since I’m here on the scene” kind of thing than it is me really being at a loss as to how to choose. When my team is out of it I tend to go for the team that has had the longest championship drought, but it’s not like the Tigers are plucky underdogs or something. There are players on each club I like and players on each I do not like, but no serious man-crush that would tip the scales one way or another.

I want good baseball. I wouldn’t mind it going seven games. Short of that, one of these guys is gonna have to win me over on the fly.

112 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. libertynchurch - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    I root for the Tigers because they kicked the snot out of my Yankees! It eases the pain knowing that you got beat down by the best.

    Their pitching staff made a true believer out of me.

    • moogro - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:41 PM

      Craig forgot the one other thing: underdogs. What could be more fun for those that don’t care than rooting for Zito over Verlander?

  2. IdahoMariner - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    I grew up in Central California hating LA teams (even though I was born there)…
    …and Miguel Cabrera may or may not have addressed his alcohol problems, but the alcohol isn’t what made him assault his pregnant wife, drive drunk, or threaten those people in the bar in Florida…and he didn’t suffer any real repercussions from any of it.
    Plus, Hunter Pence has some wicked scary intense eyes when he gives his motivational sermons — and it should give me the willies, but it just makes me laugh.
    ooo, ooo, and also — I love that SF has home field advantage, because I love seeing the bay and the hills on the broadcasts (I’m not normally homesick, but sometimes I do get nostalgic).

    on the other hand, Verlander is just plain awesome.

    Nah. Giants.

    • IdahoMariner - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      ….even though Brian Wilson? meh. a douche, for sure.

      but buster posey and marco scutaro balance that out.

    • Hunter Pence's Eyes - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      IIINTEEEENNNNSSSE!!!!!!

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        I’m surprised you didn’t go for “Hunter Pence’s Broken Bat”

  3. Gamera the Brave - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    I return to my roots at HBT, fall 2010. The Giants were underdogs then, as now, which is fine from a betting standpoint, I guess. But Craig took one of my first comments and built a whole post around it – “Please, can we put an end to the “nobody believes in us!” nonsense?” when I was mostly poking at alleged East Coast Bias.
    At least it gives me the chance to again invoke Graham Chapman’s immortal line – “We Yellowbeards are NEVER more dangerous than when we’re dead!”

  4. 49erscott - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I’m from the bay area and find it completely dumb that people think that everyone is gay there. Liberal yes. I bet the guy who said san fagcisco lives in his Kansas basement eating hot pockets. I’ve been a fan since I could remember. The giants have a strong core of knowledgeable fans.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      I am a lifelong Cardinals fan Scott and I tire of seeing the San Franciso “gay, queer, fag” thing all the time. I do take one exception to your post though. Whaddya’ got against hot pockets?
      Are they great? No. Are they quick? Yes. Are they cheap? Yes.
      So again I ask…whaddya’ got against hot pockets?

      • indaburg - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        Wouldn’t it be faster to just take the hot pocket, dump it directly in the toilet, and flush? (Source: Jim Gaffigan)

    • philsieg - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      Scott, I’m the poster that referred to him as a half-wit for his bigoted and stupid comment. I’m a 64-year-old white Southern male who, though well traveled (including lovely San Fran many times), has lived all but 10 of those years in the South. I’m an atheist who has self-identified as a democratic socialist for over four decades. I tell you all this because, well, youneverknow,as Joaquin Andujar used to say.

      Your comment about Kansas, basements and hot pockets is in the same league as the original poster’s. it’s stereotyping, too. You do yourself, as well as all the rest of us who objected to the original post, no favors when you pick up that broad brush. So stop it.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        southern socialists, woot!

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        Wonderful post Phil.
        Since you are a “self proclaimed democratic socialist” I am going to nominate you as Paul Ryans running mate in 2016. You talk about crossing party lines!
        In all seriousness…great post. You are dead on.
        Curious about something:
        What do/did you do for a living?

      • philsieg - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        SaintLooey1,

        We won’t go through the odd admixture of jobs that got me through the first part of life and grad school. I was a consultant in human health risk analysis related to low-dose, long-term exposure to environmental contaminants. I’ve provided expert witness testimony on the subject in the US and the UK. (BTW, you know what a consultant is, don’t you? He’s a guy who knows 1,000 different ways to make love to a woman. His only problem is he doesn’t know any women.)

        I worked with and eventually led an interdisciplinary group of scientists that consulted to industry, the military, and law firms. I used to call what we did environmental plea bargaining because we often found ourselves trying to find a way to balance environmental concerns with economic ones. It’s one thing for Green Peace (and I’m not opposed to their goals in principle) to say “not one molecule” and quite another to go into a town of 10,000 and try to find a way to keep a place that employs 500 of them from being closed while ensuring that the neighbors of and workers at that facility aren’t exposed to unacceptable risk. Those guys weren’t being offered golden parachutes and no headhunters were calling with six-figure relocation packages to…well, San Francisco ;-)

  5. mazblast - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I’ll root for the Giants, since that was my late father’s team growing up in Washington Heights, but only mildly. I like the Tigers, too. I’m happy for any team that wins the Series, so long as it’s not the Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, or Reds.

    I’d be ecstatic if my team were even IN the Series, but that last happened when Jimmy Peanuthead was the President.

    As for the comments about the uniforms, there’s one team that beats the Detroit home whites. As much as I hate to say this, the best uniforms are still those “Damn Yankees” pinstripes. Detroit and SF are near the top, though.

  6. gmenfan1982 - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    As a Yankee fan I say Go Giants!

  7. 49erscott - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    I meant mamas basement not Kansas. and yes hot pockets are delicious.

    • philsieg - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Oh,well. That makes it all better, doesn’t it? Easy to see how you could confuse “mama” with “Kansas”, they’re being so similar and all.

  8. richwizl - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Any team that beats the bag out of the Yankees is all right with me. Go Tigers!

  9. juanhughjazz - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    One riot, 28 years ago and people think that that’s a regular occurrence. Think of all the Red Wing and Pistons championship celebrations(since 1984) without any mayhem. If you spent a little time in Detroit, you’d find it’s a pretty cool place. Stop bagging on Detroit. I think it’s Baltimore or St Louis’ turn by now.

  10. Gamera the Brave - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Life-long Giants fan (got to see Willie Mays play for my 6th birthday), but I just had a weird couple of memories – first Little League pitching experience (2 hits, 1 ER). Even remember the names of the two kids who got the hits (40 years ago)! Then the next year, winning the LL city championship, made the final out of the Championship game (slow roller to first). Great memories.
    The LL Team I played for?

    Yep. The Tigers…

    Screw it – GO GIANTS!

  11. quizguy66 - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Surprised no mention at the fan base that stood by Barry Bonds through all of it.

    Loyalists I guess would endorse the Giants. Those who took a dim view of what Barry did would go Tigers.

    -QG

  12. foreverchipper10 - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Wait a minute here………isn’t your lady friend a Tigers fan? That should sway your vote.

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