Table of Contents

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Thoughts on the series

This year's World Series was a strange one....and ultimately not a very good one. I say that not because the Tigers lost or because the Cardinals won, but just because it wasn't very compelling. Part of the problem was that the Cardinals, who, according to a variety of stats employed by Nate Silver, are statistically the worst World Series Champions of all time--just edging out the '87 Twins. They absolutely have some genuine stars -- any team with Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Scott Rolen, and (even though he's declining fast) Jim Edmonds is definitely one that I could get interested in. But the rest of their team really underperformed this year...or just wasn't good to begin with. And I prefer to watch good teams in the World Series, not sub-par teams who use starting pitchers with 5+ ERA's in three of the five series games.

But the thing that bothered me more about this series was that the losing team, Detroit, played miserably. I'm not just talking about the 5-game offensive slump of all Tiger hitters not named Inge or Casey. Their defense, which had been so noticeably brilliant in the first two postseason series, not to mention the regular season, was plagued by an unbelievable series of screw-ups. All told, they made 8 errors in 5 games. I'm not one to get too caught up in errors as the end-all in defensive stats, but that's absurd for a team that led the majors in run prevention. And it's not something you expect to see from a league champion. There were other problems as well. Granderson falling down in the outfield allowing a double...Zumaya throwing to third (and throwing it away) instead of starting a 1-6-3 double play...Tigers pitchers not being able to find the strike zone...

It just wasn't good baseball. It'd be one thing to have a hard-fought series in which the underdog over-performs by outplaying the better team to win. But in this case, the Tigers just imploded, and the Cards managed to play decent enough baseball to win.

There are a few things that I'm happy about. Pujols got a ring, so no one will be able to bring that up against him when we elect him to Cooperstown in ~15 years. Sean Casey got to play in the World Series at least this once, and did himself proud. And, of course, the Yankees were no where to be seen. But I'll definitely be hoping for something more enjoyable next year -- and maybe, just maybe, that'll include the Reds!