On paper, the 2012 World Series appears to be the proverbial mismatch.
Best pitcher. Best hitter. Best sidekick.
All reside on the American League champion Detroit Tigers roster. It almost seems unfair.
Except for one nagging, gnawing factor – the X factor.
Whatever X is no one can really put a finger on, but the National League champion San Francisco Giants certainly have it. Down 2-0 in the best-of-five NLDS, they won the next three games against the Cincinnati Reds. On the road.
Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven NLCS, they ripped off three straight wins in dominating fashion, almost as if to say, “you gotta be kidding us” to the St. Louis Cardinals, authors of their own improbable “comeback kids” tale in their prior series against Washington.
Now they get Detroit, and the aforementioned “bests” in Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
They should be overmatched. They should be out of rallies. They should be cooked.
But will they?
Anyone going against the Giants at this point, after they just posted a 6-0 mark in elimination games the last two weeks, would have to be crazy.
There’s that old adage that certain athletes are “once-in-a-lifetime talents.” And while the phrase may be played out, there are definitely a handful of athletes that actually fit into this category. There are some talents that are just too amazing to not enjoy watching, regardless of what your favorite team may be. Some may be older players that have a limited window of playing time left while some may be young stars that are just too good to miss. The first installment in this series will highlight ten baseball players that fans should watch in person. Keep in mind this list is NOT solely comprised of guys on the verge of retirement. Here is part 1 of 2 (Players are in no particular order).
Derek Jeter- SS, New York Yankees
It needed to be a closed-casket ceremony. With Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and the rest of the Detroit Tigers presiding over the viewing and then dancing around the gravesite, the 2012 Yankees season finally, mercifully was laid to rest Thursday.
If only the offseason could be so cut and dry … and over.
Reality is, the drama didn’t even wait until the final out was recorded in a fate-sealing Game 4 of the ALCS at Comerica Park. The diva that is Alex Rodriguez and all the silliness that follows had superseded poor play by his teammates, making him the ultimate fall guy for the flaws of many.
The Yankees are old. They’re tired. They’re key players, save for Robinson Cano, are well past their prime … or injury riddled … or overrated – none more so than A-Rod.
Indeed, A-Rod would take a 3-for-3 on that scale, marking his best performance this postseason. While everyone with a fancy for the NY insignia and pinstripes seems to be caught up in the – gasp – flirt-and-sign session the third baseman had with an Australian swimsuit model and her friend during Game 1 back in the Big Apple, the problem with him is that he just isn’t that good anymore.
According to multiple sources, the New York Yankees are so eager to move Alex Rodriguez that they have already begun trade talks even though the team is still alive in the playoffs. Keith Olbermann has identified the Miami Marlins as an interested team, which makes some sense since A-Rod spent a good portion of his childhood in South Florida.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has denied that such talks have taken place, which is understandable considering he is currently focused on the ALCS.
OK, let’s get a little clarity going here.
We already know Detroit has the best hitter in baseball – Miguel Cabrera.
Can we cut to the chase and just anoint Justin Verlander as the best pitcher, too?
Would it be so hard to admit he is unbeatable when he’s on, either?
Apparently when a tough-talkin’, talented New York writer turned online opinion-giver is so geared on making his point about how lame the Yankees’ offense, it is.
The premise: a depleted Bronx Bombers’ lineup, bordering on deplorable, actually had a chance against the hard-throwing right-hander in Game 3 of the ALCS … if they just hung in there and took a few more pitches.
Sorry, this is like the reverse image of the Philly media in a different era shrinking Charles Barkley to enhance his rebounding exploits. Chuck checked in at 6-7.5 at Auburn, but actually managed to stretch the tape to a mere 6-4.75 in the NBA. Pundits in the City of Brotherly Love, so enamored with the little guy dominating the glass theory actually slipped him down to 6-3.5 at one point.
If not for a trade to Phoenix, Barkley may have ended up playing in an under 6-foot league.