Well, we’re two games into the 2012 World Series, and so far it’s been an exciting one. Pablo Sandoval put on a show in San Francisco in Game 1, and we were treated to a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel in Game 2. But in all the excitement of the postseason, there’s one question that’s been completely ignored by the national media: What’s in it for Tribe fans?
Representing the American League are the Detroit Tigers, they of the AL Central championship and minor rivalry with the Indians. Obviously Cleveland fans aren’t inclined to root for Detroit, though a Tigers championship would make the Tribe look better by comparison. In addition to playing in the same division, the Indians went 10-8 against Detroit this year, and it would be pretty cool to have had such success against the team that won the World Series.
The only Indians connection on the Tigers roster is Jhonny Peralta, who played shortstop and third base for the Tribe from 2003-10. Peralta was never a fan favorite in Northeast Ohio, but a lot of that’s just because he had the unenviable task of replacing Omar Vizquel. He’s never won a World Series ring, and it would be quite unsportsmanlike for Cleveland fans not to hope he gets one.
Meanwhile, from the Senior Circuit come the San Francisco Giants. The Giants, of course, have been our longstanding rivals since 1954. (No? Nobody cares about that anymore? Well I’m sure somebody does.) Beyond that, though, I think I speak for most Tribe fans when I say I feel totally apathetic about San Francisco, though I suppose in the interest of fairness I’d rather see the World Series winner be a team that didn’t win two years ago.
Only one Giants player has ever suited up in an Indians uniform: Guillermo Mota, who came over along with Andy Marte and Kelly Shoppach in the 2006 Coco Crisp trade and pitched to a 6.21 ERA before being sent to the Mets in August. But there are two other San Franciscans with connections to Cleveland: NLCS hero Marco Scutaro, who spent five years in the Indians organization before he was dealt to Milwaukee in the Richie Sexson/Bob Wickman trade; and Tim Lincecum, whom Cleveland drafted in 2005 but failed to sign.
From a Cleveland perspective, this is kind of a boring World Series: A team Indians fans don’t particularly like that has a former Indians player whom Indians fans don’t particularly like versus a team Indians fans don’t particularly care about that has two key players who slipped through the Indians’ fingertips. Your best bet is rooting for San Francisco, if only because they’re already winning.