Saturday, October 28, 2006

We Have Met The Enemy And They Are Us

Years from now the record books will show the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 1 in the 2006 World Series, but for those few souls who actually watched these contests, the closer truth might be that the Detroit Tigers defeated the Detroit Tigers.

To give them their due, the Cardinals’ pitching stifled the previously hot Tiger bats throughout the series, but had Detroit’s own pitching staff fielded and thrown batted balls more cleanly – they made five disastrous errors in the five games – thing might have turned out a whole lot differently. A partisan sign in the stands at Busch Stadium said it all: Hit it to their pitchers.

Thus ends one of the least interesting or dramatic Series in history as the underdog Cardinals triumphed before the smallest television viewing audiences in recorded history. The series did feature the usual quota of unexpected heroes including Cardinal shortstop David Eckstein, who provided more offense than the vaunted Albert Pujols, and St. Louis starter Jeff Weaver, who began his major league career with the Tigers in 1999 and then bounced around to a few other clubs before being traded to the Cards by the Dodgers at mid-season for cash and Terry Evans.

Terry who? Precisely.


RickSchuBlues said...

Maybe it was just the aftereffect of yet another Phillies-related letdown, but I can't think of a postseason that interested me less than this one - and a lot people seemed to be in the same boat.

There's no question baseball had to have noticed. The Lasorda promo testified to the fact they already had begun taking notice. Something will probably be done to revive the prominence of the World Series, but I shudder to think of what it might be...

Nat said...

If Bud Selig is involved, you'd better plan on covering your eyes while shuddering.

Maybe MLB will take a cue from ESPN's Monday Night Football and do extensive celebrity interviews during the games. This must get ratings. You can tell that many people are watching by the large number of people bitching about it the next day.

Sometimes baseball games are interesting and exciting. Sometimes they are dull and routine. This year's post-season got stuck with a lot of the latter. Game 2 Tigers-Yanks was a good one. Game 7 Mets-Cards was fun. Other than that, it was a lackluster bunch of games with no compelling story line. You could say the Cardinals were a story -- an 83-win underdog knocking off a succession of favorites. But that's not a line that was going to appeal to the media-makers on the coasts, especially after their teams were eliminated.

Meanwhile, if it's going to take the Phillies in the post-season to get you interested, all I can say is to remember that patience is a virtue.

RickSchuBlues said...

I don't mean to sound like I don't care about baseball games if the Phillies aren't involved. I have greatly enjoyed many postseasons other than 1993. But you're right, Nat, about the virtue of patience, and there's no doubt in my mind that the Phils' time will surely come - though only when we least expect it - and it will surely be sweet.

George S said...

I also did not seem to have any interest in watching this year's WS.
If they want to revive interest without further prostituting the game, they should start by dis-continuing interleague play.

And as much as I'm totally against it, I can foresee the day when Selig and his pals push for pre-designated warm-weather locations for future WS. There's no question that sub-50's temperatures (at game time) affects pitching and fielding and leads to sloppy play. Since MLB will not shorten the season, or play the games during daylight hours, I can envision them going the way of the SB in the future. This would also allow them to create a week-long carnival atmosphere, ensure good weather, eliminate travel, and facilitate plenty of national (and international) coverage. If that happens, most MLB fans will never get to see a WS game in person, unless their team is located in a warm-weather area or has a dome.

It's ironic to me that the game that was designed to be played in any weather, football, decides it wants perfect weather for it's championship, while the sport that's best played in warm dry weather continues to play it's championships in cold, windy, damp weather. (If anything, the weather is one reason I usually enjoy watching the NFC and AFC championship games more than the SB. Watching teams adjust to snow, rain or high winds is part of the game of football to me).

Tom Goodman said...

Football plays its championship game at a neutral site because it is a single game and thus cannot be awarded fairly to either participant.

I do not foresee MLB moving its WS to a neutral site, especially since it can run seven games. At that length, only the home crowds would continue to turn out no matter how bad the weather.

Nat: As for the virtues of patience, I am more than willing having only been a Phillies fan for a "mere" ten years give or take a season or two, but there are some of you who have logged many more years than that and must be wondering exactly what the "virtues" are! Clearly they cannot be their own reward.