By now you’ve probably heard about my "Bag O’ Wins" theory regarding the success of a team in any given season. I invented it in 2004 after our remarkable collapse to the Red Sox. So, this year, using that theory as my foundation, I was not surprised after our regular season struggles that we had made it to the post-season and have thrived ever since. (In case you aren’t familiar with my "Bag O’ Wins" Theory, I’ll post it– in it’s original form– after this entry for your baseball karma enjoyment.)
And now we’re back in World Series play, and basing their views on our regular season performance, everyone (including John Kruk who is usually a faithful friend of the feather!) can’t help but feel that all the cards are stacked against us. And, seeing what they’re seeing, I can’t really say I blame them.
After all, the Tigers’ pitching staff is all but lethal. They have five solid and consistent starters ranging from rookie phenoms to hardened veterans. Some would say that’s the perfect mix of fire and steel. Then, of course, there’s their lights out bullpen that consistently drills opponents into submission. (As opposed to, say, ours that, instead, has a few holes drilled in it.) Now, there was a time when our lineup was quite potent. But then, that was before Edmonds came down with a harry case of Post-Concussion Syndrome and turf toe; David Eckstein suffered a concussion of his own, along with a strained oblique and a sprained left shoulder; Albert Pujols became hampered by continued pain from heel spurs and a strained hammy; and Scott Rolen still hasn’t made peace with his surgically repaired left shoulder. And those are only the injuries that have plagued them coming into the post-season! Detroit’s closer is a beast. Um, we don’t really have one. Nor do we have a left fielder, for that matter. Jim Leyland spent his formative years (as a former professional player) under the tutelage of current Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. He watched him, studied him and learned from him. If there was one person out there who knew the workings of TLR’s baseball mind better than Tony himself, it might be Jim.
All that combined with season records, league difficulty and myriad other little aspects that in the end make a difference, it’s not so hard to understand why folks want to side with the Tigers. And with all signs pointing to Detroit, that’s why the Cardinals are going to pull this thing off… or at least give the Tigers a real run for their money. A real champion doesn’t win when he’s supposed to, but when it’s least expected of him.
Welcome to St. Louis baseball. Go Cards.