Does it seem as if with regards to predicting the result of the World Series, our sportswriters are demonstrating even less common sense than usual? Here is what I mean. This has been one of the most upset-ridden postseasons in memory. Nobody had the Tigers beating the Yankees in the first round. The Cardinals' and Athletics' division series wins were at least somewhat surprising. St. Louis beating the Mets in the NLCS was a bit of a shocker as well. Obviously, the fact that some weird things have happened in October to this point is no guarantee that weird things will continue to happen in the World Series, but the assured tone that a lot of writers have taken in flatly guaranteeing that Detroit will dismiss St. Louis in short order seems a little imprudent. If anyone ever held any of these guys accountable for anything they wrote, it might be different, but no one does (save the slavering minions of political correctness) and people can continue to blithely assert that the Tigers are the lockiest bunch of locks who ever locked in the World Series mere days after the Yankees were 100%, no-doubt, bet the farm guaranteed to sweep Detroit out of the first round. I'm just saying.
That said, it's hard to contruct an argument for the Cardinals to win this one. They aren't as good. However, while Detroit's obvious superiority as a team is a perfectly good reason to name them the favorites -- also home-field advantage, a rested bullpen, the chance to order their rotation however they choose and so on -- it doesn't guarantee they will win. Seven-game series are extremely random. The Cardinals aren't a great team, but they're hardly pushovers. I haven't really gone around reading too much of the coverage leading into the Series, because the mismatch here has really taxed sportswriters' limited ability to do anything besides restate the obvious or ignore the obvious for no reason other than attention-getting contrarianism. Honestly, the only people I have seen pick St. Louis are Mike Golic from the ESPN morning show, because he is a retired football player and doesn't remember anything that happened longer than four days ago, and Will Leitch of Deadspin, because he loves him some Cardinals. I'm not making a pick, because I wouldn't have gotten a single series in the playoffs right so far, except for Oakland over Minnesota. All I am saying is that the best team doesn't always win. The Tigers are not infallible, and they do have the rather large handicap of a manager who is pure suckitude from his spikes to his evil, evil moustache. (Which my sources say is actually Alex Trebek's. Yeah, that's where it went.)
Today's reason why Jim Leyland sucks comes from Jeff Pearlman's book Love Me, Hate Me, the tale of an idealistic, delicate young ballplayer who was ground down by the system and all but forced into becoming a steroid-injecting, reporter-dodging leftfield Vader. Pearlman's book makes it evident that the instrument of Barry Bonds' corruption was none other than Jim Leyland, his manager with the Pirates and clearly a more pernicious mentor than Senator Palpatine and Ike Turner combined. (I would watch that movie.) "Shut the f--- up, you spoiled Hollywood brat," Leyland would tell Young Barry. In spring training, 1991, the manager didn't back his young star up when he threw one of his random endearing temper tantrums at a group of cameramen filming him playing long toss. Leyland: "I said don't f--- with me! I've been kissing your a-- for three years and I'm not going to do it again! I'm the manager of this team and I'm gonna tell you what to do and if you g--d--- don't like it you can go play someplace else. I'm the manager of this f-----' team!"
Leyland was part of the brain trust that decided Pittsburgh was better off giving Andy Van Slyke a contract extension than Bonds and also failed three times to get one of the most talented Pirates teams ever past the NLCS, losing to the Reds once and the Braves twice. (Not only did Leyland ruin Barry Bonds, he's probably responsible for sabotaging the entire Pittsburgh franchise.) Clearly, Leyland's harsh treatment was directly responsible for crushing Barry's delicate artist's soul and all but injecting him directly with the steroids that have made his entire career an ugly mistake most baseball fans would sooner forget. You turned Barry Bonds to the dark side, and that's why...YOU SUCK, JIM LEYLAND!