Tuesday, October 10, 2006


That's FOX Sports' promo for The MLB playoffs ... "You can't script October."
Lame, no doubt ... but it's better than ESPN's pre-playoff teaser, which was, "The Hunt for October."
Ergo, according to the Worldwide Leader, October may never come your way.
Unless you hunt for it.
Anybody need a musket?
What about a crossbow?
Slingshot, anyone?

Think about it, though. If "you can't script October," then, maybe you're not trying hard enough.
With Detroit's 5-0 win in Oakland last night, America "inched" that much nearer to a World Series wherein the best matchup will feature Brandon Inge's dorky asswipe-stain-of-a-soul-patch on his chin vs. Scott Spiezio's super-queer, bright-red-ponytail-of-a-soul-patch on his chin.
On the late highlights on the Worldwide Leader, Steve Levy informed America that Pudge Rodriguez is the first Tiger catcher to hit a playoff homer since Matt Nokes in 1987.
That's weird ... considering that '87 was Detroit's most-recent trip to the playoffs.
Note to Levy: Inge is the first player in MLB history with the last name beginning with an "I" to homer in the playoffs since Pete Incaviglia went yard in Game 1 of the '93 playoffs.
That's the thing about Detroit, though.
You give 'em an Inge ... they'll take a mile.
Note to America: Inge's homer off Barry Zito marked the first time in MLB history that a catcher who batted .202 with 101 strikeouts in only 321 ABs for a team which lost 106 games (which Detroit did in 2002) ever homered in a playoff game against the pitcher who won the Cy Young Award (which Zito did in '02) in THE SAME SEASON in which the catcher batted .202 with 101 strikeouts in only 321 ABs for that team which lost 106 games.

This just in: There exists a secret, hidden text for these so-called "unscripted" playoffs.
If Detroit wins, the players will follow the text: "Nobody believed in us" ... "After we beat the Yankees, everybody said we were a fluke" ... "Jim Leyland makes everyone else around him better. He forces you to believe in yourself" ...

And, if Oakland wins, you can read along from the A's cue cards:
"No one ever gives us any respect unless it's to talk about Billy Beane and 'Moneyball' " ... "Everybody's been talking about the Yankees Dynasty, the blue-collar Twins, the Cinderella Tigers and they forgot about us on the West Coast" ... "When the Tigers carried Leyland off the field after they beat the Yankees, they acted like they'd won the World Series. Nobody said, 'Oakland's waiting for Detroit.' " ... "It's okay if nobody believes in us because we believe in ourselves" ...

Due to this lack of credible-and-creative scriptwriters, Game 1 of the ALCS didn't make it onto the telly at Haystack Headquarters. Furthermore, anyone who allows Lou Piniella to get anywhere near an open mike WITHOUT a script is committing a crime against humanity.
Hint: Lou's a tool.

So, rather than curl up with FOX Sports coverage, it was more important to spend the night cuddling with the Baseball-Reference.com Retrosheet ... just for the sake of gettin' '72 back into the bloodstream and remember what it was like to be a 5th grader.
Fireman's Fund Flashbacks are good for the soul.
But, maybe not Dave Duncan's.

It makes ya wonder -- does the St. Louis Cards' pitching coach (Duncan) wanna talk about "the unscripted"? After all, it was he who was the Oakland A's everyday catcher back in '72 -- until Sept. when Fiore Gino Tennaci played the bulk of the games behind the dish.
Fiore Gino Tennaci went by the name of what it is when you wear denim and pick up the racquet.
"Jean Tennis."

Of greater concern to the Detroit Tigers the last time they met the A's in the postseason was a pitching staff which featured a postseason rotation of Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Blue Moon Odom with Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers coming out of the bullpen.
Fiore Gino Tennaci batted only .225 w/ 5 HRs during limited duty in '72 -- and he was 0 for 14 heading into the decisive Game 5 at Tiger Stadium.
With a trip to the World Series on the line, it was Fiore Gino Tennaci's passed ball in the first inning which helped Detroit take a 1-0 lead ... then, it was Fiore Gino Tennaci who was called out on strikes with runners at the corners in the second inning (Mr. October was on third, SuperJew on first).
Only ... Reggie Jackson was NOT yet known at "Mr. October" (but, yes ... Mike Epstein was the one who called himself "SuperJew").
And, it was that mix which pulled off the double steal which tied the game, 1-1.

The thing was ... Jax injured himself on the play -- and since Campy Campaneris had been suspended for throwing his bat at Tigers pitcher Lerrin LaGrow in Game 2, this is how the top half of Dick Williams' lineup looked by the third inning:
Matty Alou (acquired Aug. 27 from St.L) was batting leadoff; Dal Maxvill (acquired Aug. 30 from St.L) was in the No. 2 spot; Joe Rudi batting third; and youngster George Hendrick in the cleanup spot.
Although Hendrick would blossom into a talent for mid-'70s Cleveland and the early-'80s Cardinals, he was in over his head.

Game 5 of the '72 ALCS was the last A.L. game played before the DH -- which was a shame, considering that with light-hitting Alou, Maxvill, Hendrick, Tenace and Dick Green, Odom was the second or third best stick in the Oakland lineup that day (in fact, he led off the 5th with a double).
That occurred one inning after Tenace snapped his 0-for-15 slump by singling home Hendrick (who reached on an error) with the go-ahead run.
With Vida pitching four shutout innings, Oakland reached the World Series in only their fifth year in its new West Coast home (but their FIRST season while wearing their new green caps and green shirts, replacing the yellow pants, yellow vests w/ green sleeves and those heinous yellow helmets).

Since the "Alou & SuperJew" combo was a brick in the World Series (a combined 1-for-40), Oakland needed "other" means to take down The Big Red Machine.
Fiore Gino Tennaci set the tone with his 2-run homer in Game 1 @ Riverfront which gave the A's a 2-0 lead and his solo shot which stood up as the winning run in a 3-2 victory.

In 24 postseason games in '73, '74 and '75, Fiore Gino Tennaci would compile a woeful .139 avg (9 for 65). Although he did draw 23 walks in those 24 games, he came nowhere near matching his World Series MVP production.
During the '72 World Series, though, Fiore Gino Tennaci was the toast of baseball (4 HRs, 9 ribbies, .348 avg).
Dave Duncan? 1-for-7 in the '72 postseason with 4 strikeouts.

Discussing 1972 is good for the soul.
And, it helps us to understand the greatness of Mickey Lolich (who had an average record of 17-13 during a 12-year span, which, even though was a pitcher-friendly era, did include an 18-loss, 19-loss and 21-loss season in that span because Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson were victimizing him in the Tiger Stadium bandbox).
It beats the hell outta yakkety-yak-yakking about the heroism of Barry Zito (whose average record is 14-11 since the 23-5 Cy Young season of '02 ... that's 14-11 in a pitcher-friendly ballpark ... pitching for a contending team every year).

Barry Zito vs. Mickey Lolich ... that's like comparing Frank Viola to Warren Spahn.

No comments: