Call me anything you’d like, but from the start this World Series has driven me crazy.
Absolutely crazy because neither the Detroit Tigers nor the St. Louis Cardinals are any good. These two teams are simply the two teams that have survived the longest. In a season that started in April.
Have you ever heard of anybody on the Tigers? Nope.
The Cardinals? They weren’t that good during the regular season, and during this Series they look like nothing more than a team that simply has handled the situation better than their younger and less experience counterparts from the American League.
This has been a World Series decided by guys falling down in the outfield, not being able to defend a bunt, guys looking at a called third strike in a key situation, balls tipping off an outfielder’s glove. The Tigers have played awful baseball, and the Cardinals have taken advantage.
Why is that driving me crazy? Because I told you several months ago that the Giants would be pulling their hair out around this time of the year because there wasn’t a good team that stood between them and the World Series. And I still haven’t seen one.
Does either one of these teams look any better than the Giants when they were playing well? They just played that way longer. This World Series has proven to me that a team has to have nothing more than a solid bunch of veterans — and some good pitching — to make a championship possible.
What I’m saying is that neither one of these teams is all that different than the team the Giants put together for 2006. What I’m saying is that the Giants — despite how it looked the final three weeks of the season — had the players to do whatever they needed to do. They simply stunk up the joint.
Don’t tell me these teams are better talent-wise. Other than Chris Carpenter, who is bonafide ace — something the Giants haven’t had for a couple of years — neither the Tigers nor the Cardinals had a player who dominated this World Series.
Albert Pujols? A great player, but an afterthought in this series.
Think back about this season. The New York Yankees? No pitching. New York Mets? Fell apart at the end.
It doesn’t take a team of superstars to win. It takes a team that plays well. And most teams have veterans who can play well. The Los Angeles Dodgers? Good enough. So were the San Diego Padres. And so were the Giants.
What I’ve come away believing is that Felipe Alou was not able to get the most out of the his players. The Giants played the game terribly more times than not. Made errors. Didn’t advance runners. Failed to convert opportunities into victories.
What the Giants are going to need — in addition to the players to replace those veterans who became free agents — is for newly hired manager Bruce Bochy to demand his players play baseball at the highest level. And that he figures out a way to make those demands reach the players.
Players who reach the majors have incredible talent. There are a handful of truly great ones, but the rest are guys who fill out rosters who have jobs to do.
It’s going to be up to Bochy to get the most out of the fill-ins they put around Barry Bonds. That’s going tobe the key to 2007. And beyond.
Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).
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