Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Tigers, We Presume?

This afternoon, around 4:30, I tuned in to the Detroit Tigers playing the Kansas City Royals, in extra innings. Detroit loaded the bases against the Royals with one out. They were the home team. That's a pretty good chance to win.

The Yankees had already lost--that was incidental, however. Sunday's game was the let-your-hair-down relaxed affair it has been just about every year for the Yankees. Torre lets one of his veteran players manage--this year, Bernie Williams--and others take the roles of some of the coaches (I didn't notice if they allowed players to replace Bowa and Pena as the base coaches). Just about everyone plays, like an All-Star Game or Little League. The Yanks lost on a two-run dinger off of Kyle Farnsworth, which I think is an issue we'll revisit when we review the week tomorrow.

Anyway, more significant to the Tigers, the Twins had already won. So Detroit's fate was in its own hands--a win, and they're the division champ, playing the A's in the first round. A loss, and they're the Wild Card, playing the Yankees. It was very evident which match-up the Detroiters preferred. Kenny Rogers, potentially the Tigers' Game 1 starter for the ALDS, came into the game in the top of the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th, the Tigers blew that beautiful scoring opportunity I mentioned in the first paragraph. Then, in the top of the next frame, the Royals scored a couple of runs, and that's all she wrote.

It's here that my brain and my heart get all cross-wired. The Tigers are a better matchup for the Yankees than the Twins. The Twins have big, scary Johan Santana and young pitching. The Tigers' pitching is young, but they're coming into the playoffs cold as ice. They've lost their last five in a row, and for those of you who like larger sample sizes, they're a .500 team (actually, a game under) since the All-Star Break. Over that same stretch, the Twins are 48-27.

Still, I was hoping to avoid the Yanks/Tigers matchup. I wanted the Tigers to win their division, then lose to the A's in the ALDS, clearing out of the way so the Yanks could take down the A's, then face whoever the National League decides to send out there this year. So my fantasyland desires had the Yanks parading through ticker tape down the Canyon of Heroes, all without setting a single postseason foot in Comerica Park.

Mind you--this wasn't my prediction, or what I thought made the most sense, just simply what I wanted. Naturally, this was the path that put me least in Dutch with my wife.

You see, my wife's from Detroit. My in-laws--who, by the way, are visiting this week--live in Detroit. Ironically, none of La Chiquita's kin are baseball fans (my mother-in-law favors the Pistons, my brother-in-law is into football) but they are all about civic pride.

I know, this is not something to complain about. Not making the playoffs, like the Red Sox, the White Sox, the Angels, the Astros, Reds and Phillies did, now that's something to complain about. And it's particularly not something for Yankee fans to complain about. None except one, that is.

More tomorrow...

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