posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 06:53 PM
This was the worst of the 49 World Series I've watched, and whatever #2 was, it's not close. Yeah, there have been quite a few sweeps in my lifetime,
and there have been several Series where the games were more one-sided, but at least those looked like MAJOR League Baseball.
St. Louis is the greatest baseball city in the U.S., on a per capita basis. It's a place where there's no doubt baseball is still the great national
pastime, and to hell with football. Boys grow up listening to their fathers and grandfathers tell them about Gibson, Musial and, if the old guy goes
back far enough, Dizzy Dean, Jim Bottomley and even Rogers Hornsby and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Those are big names. Gibson has become overrated, but he was a great pitcher. Musial is probably one of the 10 greatest MLB players ever--I have him
at #7. Dean was an early-day Sandy Koufax, with a meteoric peak period that they still rave about, but a career done far too soon. Bottomley doesn't
belong in this company, but he had a brief period of greatness and is the last person to win the N.L Triple Crown. Hornsby is arguably the greatest
2Bman ever (I go for Morgan), arguably the greatest RH-hitter ever, and, with all due disrespect to Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Ted Williams and Barry
Bonds, the biggest jerk of any great player ever. And Alexander is arguably the best Dead Ball pitcher and, by an attenuated stretch of reasoning,
perhaps the all-time greatest pitcher, period.
So St. Louis has an extraordinary baseball tradition AND a huge base of die-hard fans who pass that tradition on through generations. They've won
more World Series than any team except you-know-who, and they've played in more World Series than any team except the Yankees and my perennial losers,
the Giants. And I'm happy that, after what must have seemed like an endless drought in that city (24 years), they've won it all.
But jeez Louise, wasn't that a HORRID excuse for a World Series? Jim Leyland is a class act, and it's nice to hear him talk about how St. Louis won
it, but those of us who watched the Series know Detroit LOST it--and did so with a farrago of fielding and throwing blunders you would expect to see
from a bad Little League team. In fact, I saw them do things I got chewed out for in Little League, when my age was measured with a single digit and
I most assuredly was not paid a seven-digit sum to play the game I loved.
And here's the pity: The St. Louis players will get those rings and wear them for the rest of their lives, but it's a foregone conclusion that this
World Series will forevermore be remembered as the Series that was given away. People will always talk about it as the Series in which a bunch of MLB
pitchers threw the ball around the infield like blind men, and other fielders chipped in their own Keystone Kops routine, with a St. Louis right
fielder apparently empathizing and contributing his own comical fielding efforts in the final game.
And no, this isn't the first time godawful fielding has played a big role in the World Series. In 1941, the Dodgers had apparently tied the Series at
2 games apiece. The Yankees had 2 outs in the 9th and their batter struck out. But Dodger catcher Mickey Owen couldn't hold onto the pitch, and it
became baseball's all-time most famous passed ball. Instead of losing the game 4-3, the Yankees exploded to win 7-4, seizing a 3 games to 1 lead.
The characteristically silent Joe DiMaggio came off the field and into the clubhouse gloating, "No way they come back from THIS!"
He was right. The Dodgers went quietly in Game 5.
And, of course, there was 1986, when the Red Sox had the Mets beaten in Game 6, thereby winning the World Series, only to have the following events
(1) Their idiot manager removed Roger Clemens, who'd gone 24-4 that year and would win both the Cy Young and the MVP, and who had a 3-2 lead at the
time, for a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th inning--all to no avail;
(2) "Relief" pitcher Calvin Schiraldi promptly coughed up the lead in the 8th; put two on with no out in the 9th, but got out of it; then, when given
a 2-run lead in the 10th and after getting 2 men out and being 1 out away from the championship, proceeded to cough up 3 straight singles;
(3) "Reliever" Bob Stanley committed the biggest defensive blunder that NOBODY remembers, wild-pitching home the TYING RUN and putting the winning
run in scoring position, making him every bit as guilty as:
(4) Bill Buckner, whose blunder needs no description, but who should be no bigger a goat than Stanley, who's somehow gotten off the hook
However, while these and other past teams have made monumental blunders in the World Series, there has never been a World Series team like this years
Tigers, giving away game after game with Little League-like gaffes. I mean, if you know anything about baseball, what was your reaction when that
pitcher decided to initiate a freakin' pitcher-to-THIRD-to-first double play?!
This St. Louis team will be remembered for winning a thrilling NLCS over the Mets, with Yadier Molina (of all people) stealing that young Mets backup
left fielder's spot in the history books, after his belief-defying catch of Rolen's seeming HR. In that sense, they're worthy World Champs. But
sportswriters and baseball historians decide how a team is remembered, and I guarantee you this St. Louis team is destined to be remembered for
all-time as the team that won a World Series by default.
And that's a lot better than the way this Detroit team will be remembered. A team of historically terrible proportions just a few years ago, and
pretty bad proportions last year, they were the best team in MLB this year and blasted highly touted Yankees and A's teams from the playoffs. They
were big favorites in the World Series, and well should have been. But the vulgar reality is that they will be remembered for the grotesque,
humiliating spectacle of self-destruction we just witnessed. And that is a shame.