Thursday, October 6, 2011

They Ain't the Prettiest. But They'll Do.

As I sit and watch Game 5 of the ALDS and pray Detroit can take the Yankees out (3-1 Tigers in the top of the 6th right now) I got to thinking about all the things about not having the Yankees, and to a lesser extent the Red Sox in the playoffs for the rest of the way would make me happy.

10. No stupid re-hashing of 1978, 2003, and this September. And you KNOW if the Yankees or Red Sox make the World Series FOX is dusting each and every one of them off and running it into the freaking ground.

9. Tony LaRussa micro-managing the game like some demented chess player. He may be one of those guys who is actually too smart for his own good.

8. Being able to sit back and watch the game without developing a bleeding ulcer. This happens whether it's the Red Sox or the Yankees. Combine the two and I'm main lining Tums until Christmas.

7. The Brewers. Animal House meets the 2004 Red Sox with the added bonus of the bigg
est "vegetarian" in Prince Fielder I've ever seen.

6. The random come out of nowhere player that you never imagined turning into this years October hero. My money this year is on Delmon Young; if only for the sightings of his brother Demitri in the stands. When I last saw this guy he looked like the Yokuzuna version of a baseball player, and that was when he was PLAYING.

5. Giving the casual fan the experience of seeing just how good Miguel Cabrera really is.

4. The World Series could be played in Detroit. After the recession and the decline of the automobile industry and the 25 percent unemployment in what was once a great industrial c
ity, how cool would it be for the Tigers to rally the state of Michigan together, if only for a few weeks?

3. Roy Halladay vs Justin Verlander THREE separate games? This is the 2011 version of Gibson vs. Koufax.

2. This guy.
A baseball lifer who finally got his break and then almost threw it all away by doing cocaine, Ron Washington has a infectious love for the game and his players that makes my heart happy. He's a players manager and every quote from every Ranger I've ever read gives me the feeling they'd run through a concrete barrier for the guy.

And finally,

1. Jim By God Leyland.

He's looked like this since 1991 when he managed the Pirates and he's only 66 years old. He chain smokes Marlboro's, drinks his weight in coffee every day, uses the word Horse*(&% the way most of us use "OK" and mumbles his way through every stupid in game interview MLB makes him do. He's one of the last links to "Old School" baseball the game has left and he's been a winner almost everywhere he's been.

I love guys like Jim Leyland. He'll cuss a guy out and then start crying when talking about how much he loves the guy. He's an AL manager who'll double steal, put on the squeeze play, and tell a guy to hit away at 3-0, all in the same inning.

He reminds me of Sparky Anderson and Earl Weaver and Casey Stengal and in this age of Sabermetrics and new age technology and Bill James "Hot Chart" or whatever it's called it's nice to know there is a guy who will play a guy like Don Kelly and hit him second in the lineup just on the basis of "his gut".

I love this game.


~**Dawn**~ said...

#1 is my favorite. I wish there were more like him. (Think the Tigers would let us borrow him, purely to whip our clubhouse into shape?)

Ted D said...

Maybe like a "Special Consultant"? Man, do I wish.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Someone we could deploy in a "Man, you just wait til Jim gets here. You're gonna be sorry!" role. (Think along the line of "Just wait until your father gets home!") I think that would be just about perfect.

sittingstill said...

When Beth and I went to Detroit, we saw a game where Dontrelle Willis pitched and was having a hard time with the strike zone. He started grousing at the umpire. Can't remember if he got tossed, but Leyland came out and gave the umpire hell. After the game, Leyland was asked if he thought Willis was getting squeezed. He smiled and said, basically, "Nah, he just needed me to come out there and stand up for him." That's a manager who understands how to take care of his guys.

Ted D said...

Kelly, that story, in a nutshell, is why I love the guy. The book about the Marlins in 97 is really good as well; he is old school.