Tigers most responsible for uninspiring postseason
Posted: Friday October 13, 2006 10:37PM; Updated: Friday October 13, 2006 10:56PM
DETROIT -- Can this postseason be saved? Thanks mostly to the juggernaut known as the Detroit Tigers, who are so hot they can bat Neifi Perez second and watch Kenny Rogers become John Wayne, baseball is giving us an October with almost no drama, no moments for posterity and no storyline for the FOX people to hook the viewer who needs a reason to come to the tube.
Welcome to a non-competitive October, which is the last thing we've come to expect from baseball. If the 2006 baseball playoffs were a sitcom or talk show --- hate to break it to you, folks, but we're sitting through the Arsenio Hall of postseasons -- it would have been cancelled long ago.
My kingdom for a comeback. Chicken dinner for the first one with a late-inning clutch hit. Hey, I'll take a controversial umpire's call, a baserunning gaffe or an exquisitely timed error. Where are Doug Eddings, Jeremy Giambi or Tony Graffanino when you need them?
Listen, nobody has been standing around the office water cooler talking about how the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics can't buy a hit with a runner in scoring position.
The absence of action may make for happy pitching coaches, but can somebody remind us just once what late-inning October comebacks look like?
Entering Game 2 of the NLCS, there had been 18 postseason games played this year. In only three of them has the winning run been scored after the sixth inning -- none of them after the seventh inning.
In other words, you could have gone to bed or left early and been confident you weren't going to miss anything, which sort of describes The Love Boat reruns.
What's also been missing is the push-and-pull of a competitive series.
It's long been true that the length of a series is just as important as the teams playing in it as far as generating viewers. And yet poor FOX still doesn't have a competitive series. The 14 Division Series games tied the all-time low for the first round (but it had not been so non-competitive since 1998 and 1996) and now the way the ALCS and NLCS are going you might be looking at an all-time low inventory of games to decide pennant winners since the wild-card format came into play. (Only 25 games were needed in 1995.)