The Cardinals won the World Series last night, finishing off one hell of an improbable playoff run. Nobody, and I mean not even die-hard Cardinal fans, thought that the Cards had a chance to win it all when the season ended. After starting the season like a house afire, they limped home due to injuries and abysmal pitching, backing into the playoffs only because the Astros managed to lose their games in the final weekend. Few picked them to get by the frelling Padres for crying out loud. When they got by the Pads, and then the Mets, excuses were made for the teams that lost. The Tigers, a team that hardly distinguished itself down the stretch, blowing a huge lead over the Twins and falling into the wild card slot on the final day of the season, were installed as overwhelming favorites. A number of sportswriters went so far as to jokingly opine that the Series would only last three games, because the Tigers would crush the Cards in the first three games so badly that Bud Selig would be forced to cancel the fourth game for humanitarian reasons. Now folks are decrying the Cards as the worst team to win a World Series ever.
People who make statements like that have no idea what baseball is about. Even the worst MLB teams win 40% of their games. Last year, playing with mostly the same players, the Cards won 100 games. the year before that they won 105. This group of players has been very good for a long time, and their experience showed in the playoffs. They don't make many mistakes. More than that, baseball is a game of streaks. Unlikely players get hot, and entire teams get hot, and that heat carries them through. The Tigers got some of that with Kenny Rogers, but he could only pitch every fourth day. OTOH, the entire Cardinals pitching staff caught fire in the playoffs. Anthony Reyes, arguably the worst pitcher EVER to start the first game of a World Series, threw eight innings of four-hit ball in game 1 for the win. Last night it was old friend Jeff Weaver doing the same the close out the Series. I was glad to see Weaver get the win. He's had a terrible season, even getting released by the Angels to make room for his little brother. Still, he did yeoman's work for the Dodgers in 2004 and 2005, so I'm happy for him.
Meanwhile, the Tigers very much resembled the Cleveland Indians team of has beens and never will-bes assembled in the movie Major League. There was Pudge Rodriguez playing aging catcher and team leader, Jake Taylor, Magglio Ordonez as the enigmatic and streaky Pedro Cerrano, and crusty Jim Leyland as crusty manager Lou Brown. Justin Verlander became fireballing rookie Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, while Kenny Rogers played the part of crafty old Eddie Harris, who never met a substance he didn't want to apply to a baseball. And like that team, the Tigers didn't win the World Series (which you don't find out until you watch Major League II).
To be honest, I didn't watch much of the playoffs, especially once the Dodgers departed. Fox's coverage is just so awful. At least last night I could watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown instead of watching Kevin Kennedy and Jeannie Zelasko. I mean really, there are good female baseball announcers out there, women who earned their baseball announcing gigs through hard work and experience. Suzyn Waldman comes to mind. Zelasko wouldn't know a baseball if it hit her in the face. Fox has the baseball contract now through 2013. Ratings this year were the lowest ever. Fox has managed to drive away both casual fans (by not starting the games til almost nine o'clock on the East Coast), and hard core fans (with their terrible kiddie show coverage). By 2013, there may be no body left watching.
In other news, we're getting a major storm, with wind gusts up to 60 mph. A few minutes ago I heard a loud crack, and sure enough, most of what was left of my previously damaged Bradford pear tree is now lying in the street. Bother.