We’ve already seen the Detroit Free Press reduce AT&T Park to a teddy bear factory and attempt to name the team’s third catcher without using Google. Now let’s take a look at USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who pulled no punches in his World Series prediction, which he describes as “performing an autopsy while the body is still breathing.”
“The Detroit Tigers sat back in Motown this past week and watched the cute little story unfold in the National League.”
Judging by the way the Tigers fell flat in Games 1 and 2, maybe “sitting back” was the wrong way to spend their off days. Perhaps they should have “jogged on a treadmill in Motown” or “took batting practice while watching this cute little story unfold.”
“[The Tigers] saw the San Francisco Giants pull off their Lazarus act time and time again… They’re starting to wonder if these guy dress in a clubhouse or a TV studio, where they can rehearse their zany skits and goofy pregame antics.”
Someone should tell Nightengale that the redemptive, “you can’t script this stuff,” Lazarus nature of baseball is why he gets a paycheck. If every series was won in four games without contest, then why would people watch? It would be bland, boring, dull. But then that makes sense – considering his disdain for all things “zany” and “goofy,” sports shouldn’t be fun anyway.
“The Tigers are sorry to ruin the ending to this charming show, but the Giants’ season is over.
Detroit will win the World Series in five games.“
Nightengale goes on to take a super-original shot at “black beards,” and says something about the Giants’ previous competition not living up to the power of the Tigers. He’s got no statistical evidence to back up his claims until utilizing ERA and BAA while describing this “starting pitching mismatch,” which starts with “Justin Verlander pitching a shutout in Game 1”:
“Ok, do you want to talk about starting pitching? This will be a mismatch. The New York Yankees were absolutely clueless against the Tigers’ rotation, so can you imagine how the Tigers will destroy the Giants’ pea shooters. This rotation went 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA this postseason, yielding a .162 batting average. Now, they will be facing the weakest lineup they’ve seen all year, with not a single left-handed slugger available to counteract the Tigers’ right-handed staff.”
“Not a single left-handed slugger”? Apparently Nightengale has never heard of a switch hitter; you know, like Pablo Sandoval, who ballooned Justin Verlander’s postseason ERA with two LEFT-HANDED swings of his bat. But the Giants didn’t need left-handed hitting in Game 1 anyway, because right-handed “pea shooters” Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey got the best of this “mismatch” too.
Oh yeah, and Barry Zito hit an RBI single of Verlander. HOW ZANY!
He goes on to tell us all about how amazingly wonderful at baseball Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are before finally yielding the that the Tigers’ weakness is the bullpen, saying that “this will what prevents them from completing the sweep” (his typo, not mine). Then he concedes that the Giants “have a whole lot of mojo going on”:
“The Giants should have never recovered when the Cincinnati Reds had them down 0-2 with the next three games in Cincinnati. They never should have gotten out of St. Louis alive, down 3-1, and having Barry Zito on the mound.”
Except the Giants did recover from being down 0-2 in Cincy. They did get out of St. Louis alive, down 3-1, having Barry Zito on the mound.
Then they sent Zito back out to the mound in Game 1 of the World Series and he out-pitched Justin Verlander. Unlikely? Sure. But then, that’s baseball, a game that makes the most confident writers sound like blowhards year after year.
Alright, you guys ready for the best part?
“If they try those same rope-a-dope tactics against the Tigers, they’ll be knocked out cold, and sprawled out on the field. The Tigers don’t play. They go for the jugular. That’s the way of the streets in blue-collar Detroit. You sense a weakness, you exploit it… The Giants’ glorious wine-and-cheese party, with Tony Bennett crooning in the background, is over… The World Series trophy is coming to the D.“
Ahh yes, the old “wine and cheese” stereotype. Obviously, San Francisco is nothing but bear builders, gay people and turophiles. Even a city regaled by the national media for its diversity is still, in its best moments, narrowed down by classless journalists to no more than five basic typecasts. Maybe he just needs to see a little more of the city; I’d be happy to give him a tour when/if he gets back to cover Game 6.
There’s plenty more to pick apart, but why bother? It’s cruel, “like performing an autopsy while the body is still breathing.”
Even though the Giants have a commanding 2-0 lead heading into Detroit, it’s far from over. This time though, it’s the Tigers with their backs against the wall. Guess they’ll need “a cute little Larazus act” if they want to win a world title this year.