The worst World Series team ever: Is that really the Cardinals? That's a bold claim (made by, among others, Thomas Boswell), but you all know I'm a sucker for the superlative. And that would certainly qualify.
I'll leave it to the experts, analysts and historians to battle that out -- it bolsters the case that the Cards have the second-worst record ever for a World Series team (just a game ahead of the '73 Mets).
Though I was extremely sympathetic to the Mets' cause, there's something appealing about the fact that, less than a month ago, the Cards were on the brink of the worst miss-the-playoffs collapse in MLB history. And yet here they are.
The Cards' run confirms the playoff-success-as-random theory (most recently explained by a certain Cards fan-slash-sports blogger who must be plenty happy today).
How fitting that the signature moment of an NLCS won by the Cards is a did-you-see-that play by the OTHER team -- Endy Chavez's HR-saving catch over the wall.
Or that the second-biggest signature moment came from the light-hitting catcher, when Yadier Molina provided the winning margin in the top of the 9th.
Or that the NLCS MVP was an otherwise forgettable pitcher, Jeff Suppan, who went 7 IP allowing only 2 hits and 1 run -- his second straight clutch performance in an NLCS Game 7. Speaking of superlatives:
That arguably crowns him the NL's top big-game playoff pitcher of our era. Try to find a player who tops "won 2 NLCS Game 7s in 3 years."
(I'd say the only pitcher who could top him is Randy Johnson in 2001, but that was just for Unit's work in one series; Suppan did it in two different series over three years -- in the first, beating Roger Clemens and in the second, stifling his league's top offense.)
What about the Mets? As will be pointed out today, it was their offense that failed them, not their pitching, as originally predicted. (Shows what the "experts" know.)
Between the payroll and the talent, I have no doubt they'll be back in the playoffs a year from now – the NL East's equivalent of the metronomic Cardinals?
I'm sure the Mets' offseason focus will be on pitching -- whose won't? -- but it's worth noting that these final two games were anchored by lightly regarded cast-offs, not pricey imports.
Now, about that World Series: I'm not buying that the week off will slow the Tigers' momentum; as has been pointed out, the White Sox had five days off between last year's ALCS and the World Series.
As I point out below, this is a hugely intriguing series: The winner will either be a team completing the greatest turnaround in MLB history (Tigers) or a team that is arguably the worst champ in MLB history. (Cards) Either way, superlative-lovers rejoice!
Much like the Cards' fate in 2004, I predict another hard-fought 7-game NLCS title yields a World Series sweep to a Team of Destiny.
The Tigers have too much pitching, too much hitting, too much
Tigers in 4.
So, for the Comments section, a few suggested topics (though by all means, say whatever you want):
(1) Are these Cards the worst World Series team ever? If not, then who?
(2) Where does Suppan's performance and history put him among all-time NL clutch pitchers?
(3) What's your outlook for the World Series and why? Who are the biggest X-factors?
I'm traveling this morning, so I might not be able to post until later. See below for the usual Friday A.M. Quickie and the NFL Week 7 picks.