Grossman’s Big Night
Grossman has always told me that my posts are a thousand times better when the Yankees lose, and I’m at my best when they lose in some kind of gut-wrenching fashion. I’m not sure if that’s true, or he just enjoys them more because he’s a Met fan and has no use for Yankee wins. But tonight was a big night for Grossman. I got the text message around 10-ish. First division championship in 18 years, he crowed. Good for him and good for the Met fans. Enjoy it. I remember the last one. I was in High School, barely. The night they were shocked by Orel Hersheiser and the Dodgers in the NLCS, I was at a Van Halen concert at Nassau Coliseum with my buddy Howie, also a huge Yankee fan. At one point in the show, Sammy Hagar, who was the front man at the time, announced to the crowd that the Mets had just lost. Not sure if they played any encores that night….
Torre was goofing around again tonight. Again Mike Myers out there pitching against righties with the game on the line. Poor Ron Villone. The old Jersey guy pitched his heart out all year long, earning Torre’s trust, which isn’t easy to do, but now seems to have absolutely no gas left in the tank. I wonder if, at this point, he doesn’t even make it on the playoff roster. Or he may pull a Graeme Lloyd and turn it around to be lights-out in the playoffs. And Aaron Guiel made it in the game again tonight. And of course, just as I’m railing against him pretty much every night right here in BPS, he makes a spectacular catch and hits a huge double with two outs, which eventually scored on the big fly by Jeter. Shows you what I know, just in case anyone forgot.
Well, it appears top be good night White Sox. This is not what their fans want to hear right now, but the truth is that the team was not that good last year. The BPS had repeated it over and over, right into this year. They just had one of those perfect years last year. Their fans who had visited BPS this year were convinced that the pitchers from last year were somehow going to re-emerge. Only last year was not normal for those guys. The truth is that those guys were a perfect storm last year, and this year they had reverted to their true form. Contreras, Garland, Freddy Garcia. Those guys aren’t blowing anybody’s doors off. Buehrle was the best of the bunch, historically, but this year he might be the worst of them. And they didn’t add anything throwing Javy Vazquez in. So they were a contender this year. A legit contender. Just not good enough. It was a good run, and they pulled a pretty big monkey off of their backs.
So now the Tigers are playing that role. Here’s how they could be this year’s White Sox (or ’04 Red Sox, more likely). It is very likely that the two best teams in the American League could meet in the first round. And by that I mean the Twins and the Yankees. The Tigers may finish ahead of the Twins, but right now the Twins are a better team. The A’s are the worst hitting team in the American League. They are highly beatable. So if the Tigers beat the A’s, and the Twins upset the Yankees (and it would certainly be an upset), the Tigers could get home field in the ALCS against the Twins, who will very likely have to empty every single tank they have to get past the Yankees, much the same way the LA Krypotonite did last year. The Angel rotation was blown to smithereens last year, their bullpen was completely shot, and the players were exhausted from traveling across the country three times in five days, with no time to rest before the ALCS started. By the time Mike Scoscia’s shattered team limped into Chicago last year, they were ripe to be plucked. And they were. The Yankees are a spectacular team, and the Twins are not that deep. Even if they get past the Yankees, the Yankees will extract their pound of flesh, and they will most likely do it at Yankee Stadium. So that leaves the Tigers with only four games (with home field advantage – thank you Trevor Hoffman and Michael Young) standing between them and yet another great resurrection story for MLB. The White Sox were able to sneak through last year because they didn’t have to play the Yankees. Again, I’m sure the White Sox fans don’t want to hear that, and I’m sure they would dispute it, but it is what it is. The Tigers have a shot if they can do the same. But that’s not the way I see it.
I think the Yankees will carry the day because they are the best team, and they have the team built to win. No other reason. You can never predict baseball, so they might get upset. So might the Mets. But somehow, I think the Yankees use their experience and find their way through. My preference of teams to play is the Tigers, A’s and Twins, in that order. The Tigers because their young pitchers are breaking down, they haven’t been able to beat the Yankees all year, and they don’t have anybody in the lineup that really scares you, now that they released Dmitri Young. The A’s have absolutely nobody outside of Frank Thomas that scares you. Even Eric Chavez has had a very sub-par season at the plate. But they are the only team left that has consistently beaten the Yankees this year, and they are a five-plus hour plane ride away. The Twins have at least one arm that scares you, and a few bats that scare you. But they are still nowhere near the caliber of the Yankees. I will say it again. It will be a major upset if the Yankees don’t win the pennant.
Smile away on your night, Grossman. Welcome back to the playoffs. It seems like just yesterday that …. well… I won’t bring that up now….