Despite inserting Quintin Berry into the lineup to bat second during the World Series, and thereby make a mockery of baseball, the Detroit Tigers have decided to bring back Jim Leyland for another season. I half-jest about his World Series decision-making, but the flip side of that is that the 67-year-old, who doesn’t look a day over 75, has taken the Tigers to the playoffs three times in the seven years that he’s been in charge, twice going all the way to the World Series.
Obviously, it’s difficult to measure how much of that success is due to Leyland, and how much is due to the rosters that have been compiled for him to use. However, I suppose it’s understandable that a team wouldn’t want to “fix” something that isn’t broken. And despite some glaring holes in the lineup and bullpen, the Detroit Tigers made it all the way to the World Series this season. That’s the type of result that one would assume doesn’t need fixing.
With the corpse of the 2012 baseball season still warm, the stand-up individuals at Bodog realize it is time to focus on the future. Why delay publishing the odds for the 2013 World Series? Heaven forbid a few scant moments in time go by without the ability to throw one’s hard earned wages at a total and complete shot-in-the-dark guess before a single off-season transaction even takes place.
Looking to capitalize on the eager scorn of jilted Tigers fans, the tall foreheads at BoDog install your Detroit Tigers as the early favorite to capture the 2013 crown, paying out at 6/1. The expected return of Victor Martinez is enough to assure the odds-makers that maybe next year will be the season defense truly counts for nothing. The defending champs go out at 10/1, showing not everyone is a bandwagon fan of the Giants.
Because it wouldn’t be a World Series victory without the fine folks from Next Media Animation giving us their interpretation of the events that transpired. And accordingly, those events are sensationally awesome.
As the dying medium with which news is delivered continues its decline into irrelevance, the last part of a newspaper to go gently into the good night will be the iconic status which we give to a front page after something on a large stage occurs.
Here are the front pages from newspapers across California.
About an hour or so before Game Four of the World Series, I got hit by a car. I was walking across the street, and a vehicle rolled through a stop sign, and turned right into me. The driver wasn’t going very fast, but the impact was great enough to knock me down. My first thought was that I wouldn’t be able to jump up and down if the San Francisco Giants won the game, which is telling, not only of my poorly ranked priorities, but also the seriousness of the collision.
Nonetheless, I probably should’ve gone to the hospital, but I toughed it out so that I wouldn’t miss my favorite team winning the World Series. The first few innings were fine, but as my right knee began to stiffen up and the dull pain became a little bit more throbbing, I wondered if I might have made a mistake. By the bottom of the ninth, I felt like Omar Infante looked after getting hit in the hand by a pitch from Santiago Cassila.
The Giants are lucky. They are getting all the breaks and the snake bitten Tigers can’t do anything right. That seems to be the overriding emotion of the World Series up the this point.
While no single baseball game or seven game series is without an enormous amount of variance and random chance, the Giants are often the authors of their own good fortune. Not to mention the helping hand the Tigers provide. The Giants are indeed lucky that Jim Leyland insists on hitting Quintin Berry second. The Giants are also lucky enough to get to face the Tigers beleaguered bullpen. Getting a great start from Barry Zito while Justin Verlander lays an egg (relatively) is pretty much as lucky as it gets but the Giants, like it or lump it, are good.
San Francisco is a good team getting good pitching and playing tremendous defense facing a team providing little in the way of resistance at the plate. All that good pitching and great defense and enough hitting to counteract the “none” offense of the Tigers gives the Giants a commanding 3-0 series lead after a second consecutive shutout, beating Detroit 2-0.
The Giants have a two-game lead in the World Series because they been blessed by a leprechaun having a love affair with a unicorn. Any other analysis beyond that is circumstantial at best.
“But why are the Tigers losing?” asks a Tigers fan who started watching baseball last week. Obviously that’s because randomness and clutchiness of a short series is amplified; pitchers make mistakes and hitters miss pitches. If you’ve watched 162 games, you’d understand that. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Jim Leyland knows this.
What he can control, however, is the handling of players in serious situations. Which brings us to the Gregor Blanco line drive that went off Doug Fister’s noggin and into the outfield in the second inning. It became a scary moment for me once I saw the replay and realized that, no, it didn’t wick off his glove or shoulder, but rather the top of his head.