Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rust Cannot Sleep Now

I have been watching the 2011 post-season with a couple who are from Detroit and Milwaukee.  It has been enjoyable to do so, even as disappointment has deteriorated towards fatalism.  Their home teams, for which they have never stopped rooting after moving east, are down 3-2 to the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals in the respective league championship series.

Starting tonight, the Tigers have to win two on the road to advance to the World Series.  The Brewers face the same challenge but at least play at home, beginning tomorrow.  Back when post-season kicked-off, I offered to take my friends out to dinner if the teams played each other in the October classic.  Increasingly it looks like my actuary was right.  (That's a joke.)

Everyone who has expressed an opinion has told me they would like to see Milwaukee and Detroit play each other in the World Series.  Many have told me such a match-up would be a "battle of the rust belt," going on to say, "it would be good for the region."  I have heard comparisons to the New Orleans Saints winning the 2009 Super Bowl four-and-half years after Hurricane Katrina devastated that city.

Image by Philippe Van Wolputte adapted from Christopher DellaMea,
author of Exploring the Rust Belt.  (Full sized image.)

I don't know about that.  Sounds like sympathetic projection by people far from a city suffering misfortune.  Milwaukee has a fairly strong and diverse economy, so the general statement is really referring to Detroit.

Did you look at the fans as Fox panned the stands in Comerica Park?  Not a lot of black faces.  Metropolitan Detroit has not lost significant population.  The city is shrinking but the suburbs have grown.  I suspect that if the Tigers win it all, the championship will be celebrated more in places like Bloomfield Hills.  Not much consolation to the people suffering the highest unemployment rate in the country.  [Bureau of Labor Statistics.  August 2011 non-farm employment, not seasonally adjusted.]

Those critiques notwithstanding, I too would like to see a Brewers-Tigers World Series.  Neither team has made it that far in almost 20 years, 1982 and 1984 respectively.  I might add that Milwaukee has only been in one World Series—losing as it so happens to St. Louis, a fact my friend has not forgotten—but the same can be said of Texas, although that was just last year.

I won't go so far as to say, as I have heard others state, that "it would be good for baseball."  It's just my preference, one that I would be able to enjoy with my neighbors.

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