|Prince Fielder, tagged out in the second inning Thursday|
by Buster Posey, is a great hitter but considerably less than
that as a baserunner or defensive player.
American League as opposed to National League. Big Ten country as opposed to California. The best uniform in baseball. The best pitcher in baseball.
I wore my Tigers cap to work Wednesday evening. And as soon as the first game started, I found myself pulling for the Giants instead.
Part of it, I'm sure, was that my immediate supervisor is a big Detroit fan, so there was an opportunity to needle him. Part of it likely comes from rooting against a Twins division rival so much during the regular season.
And a big part — maybe most of it — is aesthetic.
The kind of baseball represented by the Tigers — a couple of bashers in the middle of the lineup, a rotation of power arms, sloppy defense and poor baserunning — doesn't hold a lot of appeal for me.
The Giants, on the other hand, are the team the Twins aspire to be. The real difference between the Giants and the Twins, obviously, is the starting pitching; San Francisco got 160 starts from its top five starters this year, and even in their best seasons, the Twins haven't gotten that kind of durability and quality. But the lineups — both teams emphasize contact hitting over power (the Giants were dead last in baseball in home runs), both teams value gloves, both teams have a superstar catcher in the middle of the order.
The Twins hitters had the second-fewest strikeouts in the American League; the Giants had the second fewest in the National League.
Rooting for the Giants feels a good bit like rooting for the Twins. It just feels better than rooting for the Tigers. And I'm going with it.