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Tigers Getting Skinned...

Detroit are now in a deep, deep hole after losing two straight in St. Louis. No team has come back from 3-1 down to win the World Series in more than twenty years; however, in what might be considered a slight omen, the last team to blow that lead were the Cardinals, in 1985 against Kansas City. That will be small comfort in Detroit tonight, who - more or less literally - threw the game away in the late innings tonight.

Firstly, with the Tigers 3-2 up in the seventh, Eckstein reached second when Granderson slipped on the wet outfield grass in center. The pitcher, Rodney, then made a horrendous throw to first, on a bunt attempt by Taguchi, which allowed Eckstein to come round to score the tying run, and Taguchi to reach second. He scored as well, on a Wilson single, putting the Cardinals 4-3 up. Though the Tigers came back to tie it in the eighth, Eckstein doubled home the eventual winning run, when Monroe took a bad route on another fly ball, which bounced off his glove for another double to Ecksten.

Overall, he went 4-for-5 on the night, and good to see Eckstein do well. He's always struck me as a Counsell-like player, one who makes up for in sheer effort, what he may not have in natural talent - he was only a nineteenth-round draft pick in 1997. Put it this way: the player the Diamondbacks selected that round was Tony Hausladen. Who? Exactly. Suffice it to say, he will never be the MVP in a World Series game, like Eckstein was today. In a world where it seems even shortstops in the third millennium have to be over both six foot and 210 lbs (paging Carlos Guillen), Eckstein, a mere 5'7" and 165 lbs, seems like a throwback to ye olden dayes. Long may he prosper.

It would certainly be nice to see a National League team win the World Series, though I confess I am finding it difficult to keep up enthusiasm. Seems a common problem outside of St. Louis and Detroit: as noted previously, the World Series has been getting record low ratings, and Game Three was no different. It managed only a 10.2 rating, below the previous worst for a Game Three, the 10.8 for the Angels-Giants contest in 2002. And it's not even as if there was some kind of CSI-shaped juggernaut on at the same time. No, to put that figure into context, the televisual feast which is Dancing With the Stars rated a 13.8 on ABC against the World Series.

Yes, this apparently indicates that more people want to watch Jerry Springer than the sports finest showcase. And it's not even the good Jerry Springer - y'know, with the strippers, midgets and Security Steve breaking up the fights. That I could understand [one of the guilty pleasure of the past couple of months has been renewing my appreciate of Springer's show]. No, the preferred viewing on Tuesday night was Jerry Springer doing the frickin' foxtrot. This is symptomatic of something: either the apathy around this World Series is truly pandemic, or the sport is in deeper trouble than we all imagined, and should be replaced immediately as our national pastime by Emmitt Smith doing the mambo. :-)

The AFL guys must be pulling their hair out by the roots about now. They carefully scheduled the first ever Arizona Fall League All-Star game for Friday, expecting it to be the travel day between Games 5 and 6. But now, thanks to the rainout, their contest will have to compete with the possible clinching game in the World Series. Wonder how that'll work out? To make matters worse, some idiot decided that the inaugural event should be staged, not in any of the metropolitan stadia in and around Phoenix, but in Surprise. Now, I'm sure it's a lovely town. But I don't think I know anyone who has ever actually stopped there. For any reason. So, it seems a bit of a stretch to expect everyone to drive out of Phoenix, in rush-hour, to attend the game - even if there wasn't a World Series contest calling, siren-like, from your front room. But I guess we'll see tomorrow.

Piece in the Tribune on the new labor deal - specifically, the change which means we get to keep all our minor-leaguers for an extra season. The result of this is, there's no need to juggle the 40-man roster this winter, since all our players will be automatically protected because of the additional year. It also discusses the impact of various other changes: nothing too spectacular, but the increase in the minimum major-league salary to $380K, from $327K this year, will cost us about half a million extra next year.

Well, guess I should do the regular catch-up of AFL coverage, but it's already late, and I want to get this up here before the World Series ends - which is looking increasingly like it will happen tomorrow night. That's pretty much the Doomsday scenario for Fox: a series nobody wants to watch, is over in five games with little or no drama. However, I guess that's a little better than the sweeps we've seen the past two years. And, hey, it ain't over till it's over! The Tigers could still come back and force a Game Seven! Or not... Anyway, AFL catch-up to follow tomorrow, all being well, and instead, I'll just leave you with this:

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ-- A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a Phoenix courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents, and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Arizona Cardinals football team, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Thanks to EvilJuan for that one. ;-)