White Sox fans, there’s something that I think you need to know about Tigers fans and that something is this: don’t waste your energy booing us or hating us, because we really don’t care.
It’s not that we don’t care about the Tigers as a team, because we do very much. We just don’t care that you don’t like the Tigers because the Tigers are not really our team the way the White Sox seem to be your team. And the reason for this is quite simple:
We have better things to worry about.
You may remember a decade known as the 1990s. You in Chicago had a certain team who I hate so much I won’t mention them by name, but they won quite a few basketball championships. Do you remember how that felt? When you could cheer and know you were the best team in the world, maybe in history, every single year, how great was that? How great was it being united behind a dynasty? Of course that team isn’t quite what it once was, but imagine if it was! Imagine if every single year that team was a legitimate contender to win it all. How much would you really invest of yourself into other sports? A lot?
Actually, you wouldn’t, and I know this from experience.
You see, we have this thing in Michigan called hockey and we have a team called the Red Wings. They are the guys you may know better as the reigning Stanley Cup champions, or the only reason people go to Chicago Blackhawks games, or the guys who kept you out of the playoffs this year. Michigan is hockey country, and even Canadians call Detroit “Hockeytown.” The Wings and Tigers have the same owner, which is probably the biggest reason no one cares.
See, when that basketball team of yours was scooping up the likes of Steve Kerr and Dennis Rodman, you could sense the owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, really wanted to win. He knew he could, too, and he would spend money to do so. Now look at what happened with the White Sox during that same time period. With the exception of 1993 when you won the division, and the strike year, you guys were a joke. Albert Belle? John Kruk? Jaime Navarro? Come on. But you had another team in a different sport made up of great players that always won, so it was probably easy to overlook the White Sox’ problems.
So we sort of have that now in Detroit. Since Mike Ilitich bought the team in 1992, the Tigers have pretty much been the worst baseball team imaginable. Don’t even get me started on the Travis Fryman years. In fact, here’s a terrible fact to brighten up your day, White Sox fans: in 1998, our pitchers’ four highest win totals were 14, 11, 8, and 6. In 2003, our closer had almost as many saves (five) as our ace had wins (six). You don’t know pain until your team plays a season of .265 ball.
But at least for all our suffering, we got a respectable new park out of the deal instead of that thing you guys play in. And at least we still have the Red Wings.
Ed Yieklak lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.