So, the Cardinals just played the Mets in a series that, frankly, I think is one for the ages. Lots of drama, lots of very good pitching, lots of great defensive plays–the obvious best was ex-Royal Endy Chavez jumping about 14 feet in the air to snowcone a would-be Scott Rolen homer, but there were others–and just a lot of other good things. The Cardinals supposedly had no business winning, but the patchwork team did.
Now they’re in the World Series. And I’m not sure if anyone knows, frankly.Two years ago, when the Cardinals were in the playoffs, to hear any St. Louisan tell it, the series was all but won. And this year, the electricity just doesn’t seem to be in the air. It’s almost like nobody can believe it.
I was in Kansas City in 1985 during the World Series. It was… different. Nobody outside Kansas City thought they belonged in the series either, but the city was electric. Everywhere you went, people were wearing Royals hats and shirts. Many–maybe even a majority–didn’t expect them to win, but hey, their team was playing in October and they were going to enjoy it.
St. Louis is usually like that too. But not this year.
As far as the Tigers, I do have to say I’m happy for them and for Detroit. The Tigers haven’t been to a series since 1984 and they haven’t been to the postseason at all in more than 15 years. But now the Tigers have a young team that’s a good foundation for years to come.
But is Detroit beatable? Sure. My 100-loss Royals swept them to end the season. Detroit has a good team, but it has weaknesses. They’re free-swingers. They don’t swing at pickoff throws to first like my Royals’ Angel Berroa, but they haven’t learned the Yankees’ secret of running every count to 3-2 and then fouling off seven pitches before putting the ball in play either. Don’t expect Detroit to wear down Cardinal pitching.
The Cardinals’ main weakness is that the team is beat up. Pujols, Edmonds, Eckstein, and Rolen are all battling one thing or another, and that’s pretty much the heart and soul of the team. But I remember telling one of my coworkers, every time he complained about the Cardinals, that things could be worse. The Cardinals never lost their biggest bat for the season like the Royals did (the not-quite immortal Mark Teahen). And then I said things could be worse, the Cardinals’ biggest bat could be Mark Teahan.
If the Royals without Mark Teahen can sweep Detroit, I think the Cardinals can make this series interesting.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going to enjoy watching them try.