What a disappointing World Series! The Tigers, whom everyone including this blog, thought would win in a walk, lost in an unfunny comedy of errors.
The fact that teams from two blue collar cities that have been in the major leagues since the beginning were playing should have held interest for me, but, alas, it did not. The Tigers had sucked for so long, I wanted to be pulling for them (As a kid, when the Tigers would visit Washington to play the hapless Senators, I became fascinated with the visitors’ Olde English logo.
Anyway, my allegiance switched when the Tigers’ pitcher Kenny Rogers was caught by the TV camera with pine tar on his pitching hand, a clear violation of the rules of baseball that should have had him ejected and suspended for the rest of the Series. But since the Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa didn’t actually make that point, the umpires didn’t do their job, and everyone pretended it wasn’t a banned “foreign substance” but just a clump of dirt. The same clump that appeared on tapes of Rogers’ previous outings back at least to July!
Yet, I couldn’t quite root for the Cardinals either, mostly due to LaRussa. Aside from traducing the rules so as not to harm the opposing team – managed by one of his best friends – he is a lawyer by training. And George Will keeps writing books about what “genius” LaRussa brings to the game. Finally, LaRussa managed Mark McGwire on two different teams and claims he had no idea steroids were being used in his locker room.
The games themselves were not particularly dramatic, except for providing a highlight reel of how not to field your position – starring the Detroit pitching staff and outfield. And this series provided more evidence that championship games these days in baseball, football and college basketball are rarely as compelling as the playoff games that got the two teams into the final round.
It’s because getting to the final round is the goal of every time, and the thought of elimination right at the brink makes the semi-final rounds life-or-death struggles.
As a baseball fan and purist, I am always a little saddened by the end of the season, especially when the Series was so blah.
But there are two silver linings. One is that this Series drew the lowest television ratings ever and it was Fox that had the broadcast rights. Two, there remain but 154 days till Opening Day.