The Overblown Reaction to the 'Detroit's Bankrupt' Chant



My seat for last nights game
  • My seat for last night's game

Wouldn't it be great if people were talking about actual baseball after the 14-inning game between the Indians and Tigers? Is the story about the matchup between a promising young pitcher and the Triple-Crown winner that boring? Is a well-played game between the top two teams in the division not enough?

According to the apparently offended Detroit media, I guess so, because the "Detroit's bankrupt" chant inside Progressive Field last night seems to be that hot topic:

Here are some headlines from Michigan:
Detroit News: "Stay classy, Cleveland: Tribe fans heckle with 'Detroit's bankrupt'"

"No records could be found whether Tigers fans ripped Cleveland back in 1978 when the Ohio city defaulted on $15.5 million dollars in short-term loans."

Detroit Free Press: "Indians fans chant 'Detroit's bankrupt' at Tigers game"

"What are your thoughts on the matter? Classless? Clever? We’ll remember this, Ohio!" "Video: Ouch! Indians' fans heckel with 'Detroit's bankrupt' in response to 'Let's go, Tigers' chant"

"Tied a 4-all in the ninth inning Wednesday night, a group of Indians fans threw chin-high insults in Detroit's direction with a controversial "Detroit's bankrupt" chant during a dramatic showdown between the division rivals in Cleveland."

CBS Detroit: "Cleveland Fans Sing 'Detroit's Bankrupt' At Tigers Game"

That’s right, Cleveland fans responded to a Tigers’ fan chorus of “Let’s go Tigers,” by mocking the city’s recent bankruptcy filing. Miguel Cabrera blasted one 429 feet and the Tigers won their 11th straight. Were they still laughing in Cleveland?

National websites picked it up, too, but they at least weren't crying about it. It showed up on, Yahoo Sports, Breitbart, SB Nation, Deadspin. It's all over the place: Google "Detroit's Bankrupt" and "Indians". On Twitter, you'll find people still arguing over it.

I'm in a unique position on this issue. I was at the game last night, but I was there as a Tigers fan. Even though I've been in Northeast Ohio since 2006 and will live less than two miles from Progressive Field in a few weeks, I'm from southeast Michigan and my allegiances are with Michigan teams (Go Blue).

As a Tigers fan inside Progressive Field last night, I was amazed by the amount of outrage (OUTRAGE!!) coming from people on the outside to the "Detroit's bankrupt" chant. I get that it was a dig at Tigers fans and not the actual Tigers players (and their $150 million payroll), but I wonder if the people upset about this ever attended a football or basketball game in high school.

It lasted 20 or 30 seconds and, at it's peak, was likely chanted by no more than a thousand or two Indians fans between sips of overpriced warm beer. Only 20,000 people fans showed up to the game (a half-full or half-empty Progressive Field, depending on your outlook) and the stadium was quiet at the time, so pretty much anything said in unison by more than a handful of people is going to be heard. ("Dog here!" could well have been that chant, too.) Was it audible? Yes, given the circumstances (I could hear a vendor selling beer from two sections over, too). Was it loud? No. Was it essentially accurate and moderately distasteful? Yeah, probably.

Detroit media and scorned Tigers fans: move on. Enough with the righteous indignation and "revenge" comments about Cleveland's economic problems. Cleveland fans: we get it, Detroit has a better baseball team, but a worse economy.

Arguments about the chant read like the famous "Bill Brodhagen" column in The Onion ("You Will Suffer Humiliation When The Sports Team From My Area Defeats the Sports Team From Your Area"):

On numerous occasions, you have expressed the conviction that your area's sports team will be victorious. I must admit that every time I hear you make this proclamation, I react with both laughter and disbelief. "Ha!" I say to myself with laughter. "What?!" I say to myself in disbelief. How could you believe that your sports team could beat my sports team? It is clear that yours is inferior in every way.

When the sporting contest begins, the players on your team will be treated as though they are inconsequential. It will be remarkably easy for my team to accumulate more points than yours. There are many reasons for this, starting with the inferior physical attributes of the players representing your area. Strength, speed, and agility are just three of the qualities that the players on the team from your area lack. The players representing my area, on the other hand, have these traits in abundance.

I would not be a bit surprised if the individuals on the team from your area were sexually attracted to members of their own gender. That is how ineffective they are on the field of battle.

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