That means the next time channel 25 (ESPN in these parts) appears on my cable box, the weather will be warmer and the Phillies will be ready to head north.
Seriously, does anyone think I’m going to spend any time watching Chris Berman?
Anyway, the final baseball game of the year revealed a little bit about the Tigers, Jim Leyland, Jeff Weaver, the Cardinals and Kenny Rogers.
Better yet, Leyland had to map out his post-season rotation so that Rogers only had to pitch at Comerica Park.
Could you imagine Curt Schilling or Pedro Martinez not pitching at Yankee Stadium during the 2004 ALCS because they were too delicate?
Then again, Rogers was the guy who attacked a camera man and pump his fist and carried on as if he just got the last out of the World Series following every out during the playoffs. ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote this about Rogers:
Back to Rogers: Does anyone else believe that he planted that brown stuff on his left hand to deflect attention away from the fact that he fits every possible profile of a steroids/greenies guy? I mean, let's say you just returned from a three-week safari in Africa and I told you, "Yo, there's this veteran pitcher in his early 40s with a storied track record for choking in big games, only now he's working on a 22-inning scoreless streak in October and punctuating each start by screaming after every out and stomping around like a crazy homeless guy trying to clear out a bus stop?" Wouldn't your first thought be, "What's he taking?" Instead, we're worried about some mud on his hand? Somebody make this guy pee in a cup, please.
Not bad for a guy bounced out of New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and then designated for assignment in July with the Angels so the team could create a spot for his little brother.
La Russa didn't outsmart anyone or himself during the playoffs. He didn't second-guess himself or mull over decisions to the point where he turned smart baseball moves into issues of national importance. Simply, La Russa put his players in the position to perform well.
That's his job.
Though his batting order was different every night, La Russa didn't get too tricky during the World Series or NLCS. When he "benched" Scott Rolen, La Russa said it wasn't for any reason other than the All-Star wasn't swinging well and needed a break.
The result: a 10-game hitting streak in which Rolen went 13-for-37 (.351) with five extra-base hits and nine runs scored. During the World Series, Rolen would have been the MVP if he had driven in a couple more RBIs than the two he collected.
Guess we'll never know.