The Detroit Tigers just got slapped around by the Cleveland Indians to the tune of 11-2. A blow-out. Detroit currently finds itself 8 games back of the Tribe in the AL Central with over half the season played.
Worse, they're only a game out of last place in their division and a couple from the basement of the entire American League.
Chances they could rally and make the post-season appear to be slim or none. Even winning roughly two our of every three games the rest of the way, an excellent percentage, might not be enough. And there is precious little to suggest the Tigers are capable of rattling off a couple long winning streaks.
The pitching is, for the most part, weak. The hitting sporadic. The defense shoddy. Little to no team speed.
And the trade deadline quickly approaches. Even if they're "sellers", who's going to buy what they might have to offer? A few guys on the back sides of their careers with whopper salaries?
After being contenders not long ago, this team is in serious trouble.
On the other hand are the Cleveland Indians. They appear to have everything the Tigers don't. A solid starting rotation, a formidable line-up, stellar defense, and a few speedsters to light up the basepathes.
The question is -- how come it took them so long to start coming around and playing like they're capable of? Could it be the hangover of having the World Series snatched away from them at the last second last year? Maybe.
Watching the two teams play, it quickly becomes obvious the Indians are far superior to the Tigers. It almost seems shocking they're only 8 games out in front of them. Fifteen or twenty would seem to be more appropriate. These guys are the real deal. Barring a slew of major injuries, it's just another question of how far they'll be able to go. In the post-season, and color them in, anything can happen in a short series, particularly against another good team.
So let's see. Cleveland has the Cavaliers with Lebron and company. But for that pesky Golden State, the Cavs are arguably the best team in the NBA. Detroit has the woeful Pistons with a bunch of nobodies.
True, Cleveland doesn't even have a team in the NHL any more. Detroit has the Red Wings, but they were overdue to bottom out -- and have. Their future looks bleak in coming years.
The Browns of the NFL remain awful. But everybody knows that, including the people in Cleveland. Conversely, Detroit has the Lions. They, and their snake-oil peddling local media keep getting the suckers to come back every year thinking this just might be the one. It never is. It won't be this year, or the next one, or the next one after that either. Other teams around the NFL have had their ups and downs, but the Lions remain flat-liners stuck on about the equivalent of a C-minus grade in the league.
So on the one hand, Cleveland has a team they KNOW is going to lose, but Detroit refuses to come to grips with reality and still thinks they're going to win something notable.
Which is sorrier? Let's call that a push.
It likely safe to say the cities themselves aren't high on the places tourists would want to come and visit. A couple arm pits. Another push.
Yet in the sports world, hockey team or not, Cleveland's got a whole lot more going on for them right now than Detroit does.
Unless Lebron leaves again after this year -- and he might. That would upset the applecart in a big way.
But the Indians compared to the Tigers isn't even a close call.