“Forget the other teams,” [Tigers designated hitter Dmitri] Young said to the strains of “Cripple Creek,” “it’s going to come down to us and Cleveland. No disrespect to the Twins and White Sox, I just feel that club, the doggone Indians, is going to be the thorn in our side.
“That’s our rival,” he said. “There are a lot of parallels between us. We’ve progressed the same.”
I’m not sure I’m ready yet to subscribe to Dmitri’s assessment: the conventional wisdom has me leaning towards believing that the Minnesota Twins are the team to beat in the American League Central. But the long baseball season has scarcely begun, and the outspoken Tiger hitter may prove correct after all.
And hey, I like the idea of a two-team contest for the division title between my boys in blue and the latest incarnation of “The Mistake on the Lake.” Such a pennant race could bring out the best – and the worst – in this baseball fan.
And, yes, it is true the Tigers may have lived in Cleveland’s shadow for a long decade-plus stint, but I have one question for Mr. Hewitt, two decades my senior: which of us can remember our respective team winning a World Series crown in our lifetime? (Unless Hugh wants to claim childhood remembrances of the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline – 1948 was Cleveland’s last world championship – I think we all know the answer.)
A heated pennant race between my Detroit Tigers and those pesky Cleveland Indians this year? In the words of Vietnam veteran John Kerry, who also is a United States Senator: “Bring it on!”