Thursday, October 28, 2004

Out like suckas

A relatively brief World Series breakdown because this Series was such a colossal arse-whipping and so skill-deprived that it deserves little more. Here are my notes:

First, I think the Cards' flop is the worst roll-over by any team since I've been a baseball fan starting in 1977. The second-worst is the A's flopathon against the Reds in '90 both because the Reds crushed the A's AND because the A's had won 12 more games that season. There have been overmatched teams in previous World Series: the '98 Padres were completely outgunned and gave the Yanks trouble in three of the four games; the '76 Yanks were outclassed, but at least most of those games were tight for 7+ innings; and in each of the two worst offensive performances in World Series memory, the '63 Yanks loss to the Dodgers and '66 Dodgers loss to the Orioles, two of the games were tight one-run affairs. In all of postseason baseball, only the '63 Yanks, '66 Dodgers, '89 Giants and '04 Cards have never led in the WS. In 35 seasons of divisional play only the '70 Pirates, '81 Royals, '81 A's, '84 Royals, '97 Astros, '98 Rangers, and '00 Braves never had the lead (after completion of an inning) in divisional or LCS series (all in 3/5 series, not 4/7).

But no team has been both completely overmatched by the opponent's hitting AND simultaneously unable to hit a lick to this degree. And worse yet, the Cards did not have a pop-gun offense like this season's Padres -- they were the top scoring team in the NL. The Cards looked downright heartless (except Pujols and Walker) and gutless.

Second, the Tankees have to be kicking themselves even harder after watching the Sawx' whitewash. The Skanks would not have won in four, but they would have won in 5 or 6 because Mooooooooooooose is still top-flight, Lieber is better than anyone the Cards have and El Duque tends to baffle hitters who've never seen him before, especially righty power hitters. By the way, no more knocking the Moooooooooooose for his postseason performances -- three starts and he was good enough for three wins, once his offense betrayed him, once his manager frakked up the game.

Third, there have been few managers who have been as attuned to the pulse of their team as Francona was this postseason. He did a fantastic job managing, like Scioscia in '02, McKeon in '03 and Torre in '96.

Fourth, compare the relative success of the managers in the playoffs who managed every game like the last game of the season and those who didn't: Francona led his team back from 0-3 down to the AL title and won the WS; Garner led a shoddy and depleted Houston team to within a game of the WS exceeding all expectations; Torre's Stanks fell short; LaRussa's mountain men were clobbered and he never could stop the bleeding. Why do Torre and LaRussa manage during the season like every game is a must-win and then baby their players even a slight bit in the postseason? Baffling.

Fifth, considering all he meant for his team in the postseason, it was appropriate that the final out came to Keith Foulke's hands on Renteria's weak-snot bouncer to the box to end a dismal Series.

Now, on to college hoops and the Hot Stove League. I'll keep tabs on both.

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