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Great Lakes Series dream now possible/The Red Line

September 29, 2011
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor (bveale@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

For the first time in baseball history, we face a previously unthinkable possibility: a Tigers-Brewers World Series.

To the rest of the country, such a series would be completely random and not particularly appealing. It would get a remarkably terrible television rating.

Then again, pasties and chow-chow don't seem like they would go together, either, but Yoopers know better.

The relationship between the Tigers and Brewers highlights one of the bizarre dichotomies of being a sports fan in the U.P. I've been a Tigers fan all my life, and I've been to more games at County Stadium and Miller Park than I've been at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. My happiest moment as a Tigers fan, meeting Ernie Harwell, happened in Milwaukee.

It seems like simple math: 330 miles to Milwaukee from Houghton, 553 plus Mackinac Bridge fare to Detroit.

However, sometimes borders and geography don't mix well. In many parts of the U.P., it's easier to find Bob Uecker on AM radio than Dan Dickerson (thankfully, this part isn't one of them). However, with Fox Sports Detroit being the default cable option, I honestly can't tell you who the Brewers television broadcast team is without looking it up.

I see you, Rod and Mario.

I have Tiger baseball paraphernalia all over my apartment, but I was still rather disappointed when, last Friday, I knocked the Italian racing sausage bobblehead I got at Miller Park off my desk and broke it.

Since they left for the National League after the 1997 season, the intersections between the two have basically been limited to Justin Verlander's first no-hitter.

When they were in the American League, Tigers games in Milwaukee were a regular mini-vacation option for my childhood summers. Since Miller Park opened in 2001, the Tigers have played there once (in 2006). Though Detroit will play primarily the NL Central in interleague play next year, Milwaukee is not on the schedule. Of course, the Brewers play the Twins six times every year as an interleague 'rival,' but the Tigers are left out of that scheme, which inevitably means games against the Rockies or Diamondbacks.

As for meaningful baseball, it's not like either team's been playing a lot of that over the last 20 years.

The Tigers enter the Division Series Friday in New York having played in the postseason just once since 1987. The Brewers have one playoff appearance (2008) since 1982 and both were wild card teams.

In between, there's been a lot of mediocre names out there. Brewers fans probably don't remember much the Bobby Higginson/Damion Easley era, and my memories of Jeff Cirillo and Jeromy Burnitz are pretty faint.

I think it's a safe assumption to say that the Copper Country is majority Tiger fans, but whenever I get asked why we bother to run Brewers recaps, I tell them there are fans out there. I know some of them by name. One of them (name withheld to protect the innocent) told me last week he was carrying champagne in his truck.

If the two were to meet for the championship, I would certainly be happy for them.

However, all I'm going to say is that they're a good fallback option. I've got faith that this could be that year - my playoff beard is up and running and my Tiger hat is in hand, not to leave my side until the final out.

The Copper Country's odds are down to 1-in-4 and we haven't played a game yet. Place your bets.

Brandon Veale can be reached at bveale@mininggazette.com.

 
 

 

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