My first finding is that people are busier than they used to be. Only 14 people responded, and once again, I received no responses from fans of the teams involved (I thought maybe Twitter would bring one or two my way, but nobody really follows @replevel on Twitter. By the way, have I told you that @replevel is on Twitter now?).
There were, of course, some interesting trends in the small amount of data I collected. As preferences go, we’re a pro-Tigers group. Including myself, 12 of 15 people are rooting for the Tigers, with two undecided and only one rooting for San Francisco. That one Giant-backer, Hoffer, won’t exactly jump out a window if the Tigers win. As he writes, “Giants, but only slightly. This is the first time in memory I truly like both teams and it’s hard not to root for the Tigers after they exposed the Yankees in such wonderful, humiliating fashion.”
So we’re on the same page here. Seven responders, all Red Sox fans, cited a preference for the AL in general (or, in some cases, the AL except the Yankees). Three of us (including Dan, a Yankees fan) cited the Tigers’ 28-year title drought as a reason to root for them. Three cited Miguel Cabrera and/or Justin Verlander as players worth rooting for. Two A’s fans would rather not see the Giants win, and Dave wouldn’t mind them going another 56 years without a title, but nobody else had anything negative to say about the Giants (though Kate still hasn’t gotten over Barry Bonds).
In terms of predictions, we’re much more split. Eight think the Tigers will win, while six expect the Giants to win. Unsurprisingly, Verlander’s name came up five times in response to this question, with Joe J. asserting that Verlander may start and three games, leaving the Tigers needing just one more win to take the seriers. Bill added Doug Fister, predicting that Detroit can win three of the four games Verlander and Fister start. Among the less commonly cited theories were Kate’s belief that the Tigers will want it more due to the long drought and Dave’s guess that the emotional effort from playing from behind all October may take its toll on the Giants.
Of the six who think San Francisco will win, Dan believes Detroit underperformed for most of the season and is likely to do so again after a strong ALCS. Joe G. and John see momentum in the Giants’ favor, having won six straight elimination games, including three while the Tigers sat around and got rusty. Ryan thinks the Giants’ pitching is slightly stronger and Buster Posey is the man (though I think he’s only 13). Toho cites the Giants’ 7-5 advantage in head-to-head games. Those interleague meetings in 2003 and ’05 loom large, I suppose.
I’m picking the Giants because I picked them at the beginning of the postseason, kind of changed my mind during the NLCS, and finally decided I’d rather stick to my original prediction. Of course, I originally made that prediction primarily because the playoffs are a crapshoot, weaker teams have been winning in recent postseasons, and I thought the Giants might be the weakest team in the playoffs. One could also make a case for the Tigers as the weakest team, since they had the worst record of any playoff team and probably played in the weakest division. Nevertheless, here we are, and I’m taking the Giants.
And I wouldn’t bet a penny on it.