Just for everybody’s information, I’m writing this at a quarter after ten this morning, but I have no idea when it’s going to be posted. We’re looking at some more houses after work today, so no guarantees about when I’ll be home or what I’ll be doing once I get there.
And another note before we go on. A big congratulations to the Indiana Fever. I don’t write too much about the WNBA, mostly because I don’t really follow it. I have been to a Fever game, and I followed it semi-closely a couple years ago. I guess that would have been 2009. Back then, Eddie White and Bob Kravitz were still the afternoon show on 1070, and they gave pretty regular updates on the Fever. Just another way they were much, much better than JMV is now.* But I digress. Back in 2009, the Pacers weren’t showing the improvement they should have been, and were quickly losing what little was left of their support in the city and the state. The Simons, as Mel was still kicking it then, were worried about the money they were losing on the Pacers, let alone propping up a failing team in a failing league. The feeling, and maybe the mandate from above, I don’t remember, was it was championship or bust for the Fever.
*Really, his radio show is terrible. Better than Cowherd, but that’s about it. I’ve written it here before, but I would very highly recommend the other two daytime shows on 1070, though. Grady & Big Joe and Dan Dakich are very good. I would put them up against local programming anywhere else in the country.
And, you know, the Fever had a very good roster. It was more or less the same core as this year’s group: Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Tammy Sutton-Brown. It wasn’t exactly a pipe dream. But that added pressure of “win the whole thing or it’s over” made it feel a little Major League.* Except, you know, real and with less Charlie Sheen. As far as we know, anyway. And wouldn’t you know, they got all the way to the finals and pushed Phoenix to a deciding game five. They came up just a bit short, but that was enough to convince the Simons to keep this train a-rollin’.
*Of course, even that crew was just looking to win their division and get into the playoffs. Apparently nobody cared what they did come October.
So, yes, it was pretty gratifying as a sports fan in this state of the sport of basketball to see the Fever break through. I didn’t follow them very closely this year, but once I saw they were in the playoffs and were doing well, I definitely took note.
In other sports, it’s official, we have a Giants-Tigers World Series. The Giants were pretty emphatic about it, putting nine runs across. Not sure how many of those were unearned, because Pete Kozma suddenly turned back into a backup shortstop. I suppose I shouldn’t say “turned back into.” He has actually had a pretty eventful go of it in the field in the playoffs. I mean, remember Atlanta? Suffice to say, the past few Cardinal teams have not exactly been the Rolen-Edmonds era Cardinals. If not for Yadier Molina, there may not have been a single redbird even sniffing a gold glove.
Another amusing oddity about that game was the ninth inning. I mean, seriously, if that game hadn’t been over since the third inning, is there any way that’s not delayed? I thought they were going to have to start breaking out some kayaks to navigate the infield. And poor Javier Lopez. A sidearm pitcher trying to throw the ball in those kind of conditions? It’s a wonder he got anybody out. But, as much as that wasn’t really baseball, I can’t blame Gary Darling one bit for his determination to get that game over with. The Cardinals had definitely turned into Old Yeller by that point. It was past time to take them behind the shed.
Sorry, Cardinal fans. They’re called miracle runs because they aren’t supposed to happen. There was no way you were getting two in a row. That’s just getting greedy.
Turning our attention to tomorrow, on paper, and by the last few games, as hot as the Giants have been, I don’t see how they beat the Tigers. The Tigers have looked like the team they were supposed to be all year. They’ve got their rotation set up so we could very well see Jason Verlander three times if necessary. And, yes, as has been widely discussed, Verlander seems to have figured out the playoffs. Assuming Verlander keeps pitching like the stud he has been, that leaves the Tigers to win one game behind the likes of Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez. Seems like if you can’t figure out how to win one or two out of those three, you don’t deserve to win anyway.
But, you know, there is hope. The Tigers have been off for a long time. We’ve seen this before. Back in 2007, the Colorado Rockies caught fire, made the playoffs in game 163, and proceeded to sweep the division series and the NLCS. The Red Sox had a devil of a time with the Indians, and were dead to rights at one point before the Indians do what Cleveland teams do best: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.* Then came the World Series, and the Rockies could not have looked any flatter. There’s a chance the long layover could do the same to the Tigers.
*I know that line has become a cliche itself by now, but I’ve been saying it for a long time and I still get a kick out of it, so I’m sticking with it.
That said, I don’t think that’s going to happen here. The Tigers were just here six years ago, where they had a bit of a layover themselves before erroring their way out of that series against the Cardinals. I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson. The Giants’ rotation is all out of whack. If you would have told San Francisco (or anybody else, for that matter) that they were going to make the World Series, and Barry Zito was starting game one, there would have been a visible cringe.
Granted, Zito looks like a very credible and solid choice now, but do you like his chances against Verlander?* And we don’t even know what the plan is for game two. If it were me, I’d probably turn to Lincecum. Any other year, you do that and start marking that game in the win column. Lincecum has looked a lot better as of late, but not well enough where you start doing that just yet.
*On the other hand, do you like anybody’s chances against Verlander?
So, on the surface anyway, I think the Tigers will take this one, and may take it fairly quickly. Still, the Giants have proven they are determinators of the highest degree. I was going to pick Tigers in five, mostly because I pretty well never pick a sweep, but I’ll give the Giants a few moments. Tigers take this one in six. You know, just long enough that they’ll clinch it on the west coast.
Does Detroit only riot when they lose, or do they still riot when they win just because they don’t know any other way?