Friday, May 6, 2011
Restore the Blue Jays/Tigers Rivalry
By Ian Hunter
One would think that two cities so close to each other that they would have their fair share of series, but MLB's unbalanced schedule says otherwise.
The Blue Jays and Tigers will get together for the first of only six games this season; a four game set at the Rogers Centre followed by a two game series in a few weeks at Comerica Park. Considering how much history their is between these two teams, it just doesn't feel like enough.
A piddly six games against a team that's only a four hour bus ride down the 401? Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather see the Blue Jays play the Tigers a few more times instead of 18 times against the Rays or Orioles.
For those living in London Ontario, you basically have the best of both worlds smack dab in the middle of both teams. It's almost equal distance to get to the Comerica Park as it is to the Rogers Centre.
There are undoubtedly a lot of Tigers fans in London, and maybe part of that has to due with the London Tigers. Growing up in the Forest City, I remember seeing the Tigers play at Labatt Park was one of the hottest tickets in town.
I even remember their jingle - "London Tigers Baseball: tear 'em up Tigers, let's go!"
It's amazing to look back on how the Detroit Tigers had their AA affiliate in London. I think it helped cultivate an interest in not only the Detroit Tigers, but the Blue Jays as well.
After 1993, the London Tigers left town and set up shop in Trenton, New Jersey. London was essentially the link between the Tigers and the Blue Jays, and when the London Tigers left, sadly that link was severed.
The remnants of Tigers feverdom remain in London, though. If you head to Joe Kool's, when you walk in you'll see a photo of Kirk Gibson's iconic home run plastered on the wall.
Although London is technically closer to Toronto that Detroit, I get the sense that London is a Tiger town more than it is a Blue Jays town.
Whichever side of the fence you're on, it's just a shame that the Blue Jays and the Tigers only get together for 6-8 games a season because there is a vast amount of fans in the 401 corridor from London to Windsor.
Even back in 1999 and 2000, the Blue Jays and Tigers played 12 times a year. That's even after the Tigers moved to the Central division. Prior to that, it was typical for them to meet 13 times every season.
I'm not saying that adding a couple series here and there is going to bring baseball fever back to southern Ontario, but would go a long way to restoring the rivalry between the Tigers and the Blue Jays.
Plus, it's nice to have an excuse to road trip to Detroit a couple times a year.