The Commish Online www.thecommishonline.com
2006 MLB Playoffs
For Detroit, It's Not in the Cards
October 31, 2006
It's fitting that this column is written on Halloween because the 2006 World Series was downright scary. Rarely has a series had so much focus on who lost the games rather than how they were won. Even in 1986, the losing wasn't a focus until Games 6 and 7, and the focus was prominent because Boston had the series and gave it away. Twenty years later, Detroit didn't give the Series away because they never owned it to begin with. Night in and night out, the Tigers handed St. Louis a victory on a platter. That type of baseball does not make for intriguing viewing.
Take no credit away from St. Louis, however. Everyone believed they were a mediocre team (just 5 games over .500) heading into the playoffs and, regardless of what you may still believe, the Cardinals knocked off the best team in the National League (New York) and the best team in the American League (Detroit). In short, St. Louis earned this World Series so, ugly as it was, they took advantage of Detroit's mistakes.
Everyone already knows about Detroit pitching and their failure to make throws. Looking at what went RIGHT, however, was: Chris Carpenter, Jeff Weaver, David Eckstein, Scott Rolen, and just about everything else wearing a jersey with a bird on it. Scott Rolen picked a fine time to start hitting again, Albert Pujols continued to make the hitters around him better just by stepping up to the plate and talking walks, and Jeff Weaver pitched nothing like the man who was released by the Angels earlier in the season. In the end, it was the little guy doing the little things that earned the Series MVP, as David Eckstein's minor heroics throughout the series were enough to claim the award.
History will not look kindly at the 2006 World Series, but for Cardinals fans everywhere, a ring of any kind has the sweetest sound.