Friday, October 27, 2006

World Series game 4 thoughts: Baseball is a game of inches, but it might just as well be miles

It's the little things that drive you crazy.

Fernando Rodney throwing like the best reliever in MLB. Then he picks up a bunt, and he throws like the last kid picked for dodgeball in gym class.

Joel Zumaya being just wild enough to get himself in trouble. Walks are the tool of the devil, Joel.

Pudge and his Chris Osgood sized 5 hole. Dinged up or not, Pudge has to corral that pitch. It's a passed ball, not a wild pitch, in my book.

Magglio Ordonez's constant first pitch swinging. What's the last thing you should do after the preceeding batter gets a 4 pitch walk? Just ask Maggs...

Jeremy Bonderman continual inability to hold a lead. It's been his achilles all season, and why he's likely trade bait for a HUGE middle of the order bat this off season.

Curtis Granderson striking out looking on an OBVIOUS high pitch. It was above the letters. When did that become a strike? I guess the rule book is only enforced at the whim of...Hell, I have no damn idea. The ump was squeezing the strike zone all night, but suddenly has a stike zone bigger than Eric Cartman's Ronnie Belliard's massive gut?

The turf monster that took down Granderson. You can't blame him. Hell, for a fleeting second, I thought Granderson was still going to be able to catch Eckstein's would be easy out.

Craig Monroe not wearing a glove that was an inch longer. It could have been a catch for the ages. Instead, like this World Series, it's just another "What might have been."

An inch here, an extra step there, better turf everywhere, and it's 2-2. The Tigers were "THIS CLOSE" to evening up the series. Instead, they were just short, a half step slow, and found all the bad spots on the turf the Cardinals missed. That's the sort of ifs and buts that drive Tiger fans batty.

About all you can do is shake your head, much as Jim Leyland did in the post game presser, and say, "That's baseball." It sucks hard, but that's baseball. Even the most staunchly loyal Cardinals fan has to admit that they didn't win that game, the Tigers lost it. Not that they would care...

What's become obvious is that the Tigers are inexperienced on the biggest of stages, and that inexperience tends to rear it's ugly head at the most inopportune times. Detroit depends heavily on several young players who appear overwhelmed by the spotlight, as evidenced by their sometimes inexplicable play. On the other hand, St. Louis plays like an experienced team that is accustomed to playoff pressure. They've been there before, and it shows. You have to tip your cap to them.

It's become appearent that the week off just absolutely killed the Tigers momentum. They were on a roll, and didn't have much time to dwell on their success during the first two rounds. Then they finish off the the sweep of the A's, and while the Cardinals are fighting for their playoff lives, the Tigers had plenty of time, too much time it turns out, to think about what they've done. They haven't been the same team since.

So now what? The good guys are down 3-1. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. You can tell yourself that the Tigers are a better team than the one we've seen in this series. That the Cardinals aren't a juggernaut, far from it, in fact. Remind yourself that it takes 4 victories, not 3, to win a title. Despite what you might hear and read, the series isn't over.

But it's easier to actually tell yourself all that, than actually believe it. At this point, logic trumps your heart. And logic says that the Tigers chances are slim, and closer to none.

The big question now is this. Do you pitch the next coming of Christy Mathewson, the Gambler, tonight? Or do you stick to the rotation, send Justin Verlander to the mound, ignoring the fact that he's a rookie who may be running on fumes? The Marlboro Man says that they have to win 3 games, so it doesn't make any difference. But what if you lose, and you had the best pitcher in the playoffs left on the bench? You don't pitch Kenny Rogers for what might be? I'm not sure I can agree with Leyland on this. I don't expect the Cigarette Smoking Man to change his philosophy, though. That's why he's paid the big bucks, and I'm making snarky comments on a piss ant blog...

Personally, I'd like to see the Gambler on the mound. He may not win, but he would give the Tigers he best chance to bring the series home, where anything could happen. Plus, when you factor in all the extra-curriculars, it sure as Hell would be riviting drama to watch.

But no matter what happens, win or lose tonight, you cannot take anything away from what the Tigers accomplished this season. It's been the most unexpectedly enjoyable season I've ever experienced as a fan of Detroit sports. I just hope that enjoyment doesn't come to an end tonight in St. Louis.


  1. Hey! As one of those last kids picked for dodgeball, I think I'm offended by that! ;)

    That was so hard to watch last night.

  2. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti believes that cold weather cities such as Philadelphia don't deserve to host the World Series.

    Check out our response:

    Sign the Petition to have Mariotti fired.

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