Concerning the rest of Hardware Week, a few sobering observations:
* Kris Bryant, the National League’s MVP, was a no-questions-asked solid pick. And yes, it’s rare that a guy follows a Rookie of the Year campaign with an MVP and a World Series ring. Maybe the least controversial award pick this year was Bryant. But if they’d given the award to one player across the board, Bryant would probably have finished second to Trout. And there’s no shame in that.
What does it say that Vin Scully was shown the love even by the Giants’ home audience?
Vin Scully ended his broadcasting career in the home ballpark of the Dodgers’ age-old rivals, receiving an affectionate pre-game visit from Willie Mays, awash in a sea of placards (THANK YOU VIN) and maybe the only known standing ovation ever afforded a Dodger in San Francisco. His final words were as gracious as you might have expected from this excessively modest man who always seemed to believe his gift from God was merely something on loan.
Dombrowski hoisting one of the Tigers’ AL pennant trophies.
First, the Tigers all but threw the proverbial towel in on 2015 when they unloaded three otherwise key parts at the non-waiver trade deadline. Then, they showed they weren’t kidding by letting general manager Dave Dombrowski go just months before his current contract would expire.
“They basically told me they decided to change direction of leadership in the organization,” Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press a day later. ”It’s kind of like an end of an era. You never like to see it end.” But he said he saw it end when his assistant GM Al Avila showed up at the ballpark Tuesday and looked as though something just wasn’t right.
Arrivederci Romo and Ring Around the Posey whoop it up with a Series sweep . . .
“We could not find our game in the World Series,” Miguel Cabrera mourned, while the San Francisco Giants partied heartily in Comerica Park’s visiting clubhouse. Actually, the Detroit Tigers found their game in Game Four, when they needed it most. The problem was finding it against these San Francisco Giants, who were so accustomed to playing with elimination a game away they didn’t know how to get comfortable on the threshold of a sweep.
Allen Barra has dared to say what others, seemingly, can’t bring themselves even to think. The New York Yankees, who may or may not survive the postponed American League Championship Series Game Four, will be a rebuilding team once this postseason ends, perhaps one way or another, though no one now expects the Yankees to survive the current round. Possibly including the Yankees themselves.
Of the current aggregation, and not even thinking about the fallen Derek Jeter, who was performing well enough before he stumbled uncharacteristically into an ankle fracture, Barra thinks the Yankees are bound to retain first baseman Mark Teixiera, despite a second consecutive season of falling performances that are tied, perhaps, to increasing injury proneness, though he, Barra, would still try to unload him.
Even if you knew in your heart of hearts, you could only feel for the Oakland Athletics as they got pushed away from the postseason Thursday night. When Sean Smith pushed a meek grounder to second that Omar Infante fed to a Prince Fielder who must have felt as though it took forever for the final out to reach his mitt.
Whoever said losing hurt worse than winning felt good is probably going to be a grudgingly respected figure by Oakland’s half of the Bay Area.
Home on a wild pitch to tie, a game-winning sac fly ahead . . .
All of a sudden, the Oakland Athletics don’t necessarily look like the magicians they spent the season and the wild card game proving themselves to be. The Detroit Tigers, all of a sudden, do.
These Tigers—who got to within a hair’s breadth just about of losing the American League Central to the Chicago White Sox—now sit halfway toward an engagement in the American League Championship Series, after spending Games One and Two proving they have a few spells of their own to cast.
Some speculation commences that precedent argues against Justin Verlander, the American League’s Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player Award winner for 2011, facing other than sobering after-effects. Well, now. It’s worth a look to see just what are the precedents involving pitchers who have scored both awards for a single season.
Jim Leyland was emphatic enough. Seeing Justin Verlander on the mound again this postseason was going to be the best thing, he said, because it would come in the World Series. As for the rest of the American League Championship Series, Verlander wouldn’t even be a topic.
Not in the Detroit Tigers’ manager’s mind, anyway. And it proved a moot point after the game, gutsy, but gimpy Tigers took one of the worst elimination beatings in postseason history in Arlington Saturday night.
Barely 24 hours pass since the New York Yankees were nudged out of the postseason, and at least one Yankee muckety-muck pronounces the season a failure.
“We are the Yankees,” team president Randy Levine told ESPN New York this morning. “That is the way The Boss set it up. When you don’t win the World Series, it is a bitter disappointment and not a successful year.”