WORLD SERIES 2012 – WE’VE COME FULL CIRCLE

24Oct12

This has been a strange season indeed!    At the beginning of the year, you could hear predictions from all over the sports world, justifying nearly every team’s guaranteed spot in the World Series.  (Sorry Houston and Cubby fans, I don’t remember hearing either one of those teams mentioned!)

Most early projections did not pan out very well.  Given the way the season went, the predictions changed several times over the next six months, with disappointments and surprises along the entire journey, right up to this week.

I reluctantly jumped in with both feet with my early season projections (see Baseball Has Finally Started – and the Winners Are…, dated 4/12/12), picking Detroit over Arizona in the World Series.

By midseason, neither team was playing well and it looked like I was going to be way off by season’s end.  By mid-August, I had completely changed things up (see MLB – Homestretch Predictions For 2012, dated 8/22/12), going with Texas over Cincinnati in six.

Only two weeks ago, I was forced to make yet another a change of scenery (see My World Series Prediction….Someone Will Win!, dated 10/7/12), as I boldly selected Cincinnati over the Yankees.  I did add a stipulation (I had to get a big word in there eventually) to my prediction, stating that, with the history of the season to date, one of those two teams was sure to fall in the divisional round, now that I had selected them to get to the World Series.

True to form, the Reds were knocked out in the divisional round, while the Yankees fell in the ALCS.  Ironically, the two teams that knocked them out of the playoffs are set to meet in tonight’s game one of the big series.

With all of the changes of heart throughout the 2012 season, I could easily become discouraged.  However, I choose to look at it another way — a more positive way.

My initial projection, back in April, was nearly perfect!

If you’re done scratching your head and questioning my mental stability, I’ll explain.  Which teams did I pick six months ago to be in the World Series?  The Detroit Tigers and the NL West division champions.  Which teams are in the World Series?  The Detroit Tigers and the NL West division champions.

Okay, if you want to get picky about it, I picked the Arizona Diamondbacks, not the San Francisco Giants.  But that’s just a technicality.  The bottom line is the NL West division champion is hosting the Tigers in game one tonight.  Complain all you want, but I’m taking it!

So who should we pick to win the whole thing now?  That’s a very good question.  Thanks for asking.

The quick answer would naturally be Detroit.  Not only are they the team that I had selected to win it all back in April, but they are playing extremely well right now.  They have great hitting, good defense and fantastic pitching.  They are also well rested, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing at this point.

But we cannot ignore what the Giants have done over the past few weeks, or the past two months, for that matter.  First of all, back in August they lost their leading hitter, due to policy infringements.  Okay, he got busted for cheating!

At that point in time, when the rest of the team was struggling to score runs, they were written off by most fans as finished for the season.  I admit, I didn’t see how they could possibly overcome the setback, believing that the division was there for the taking for the Dodgers.

Not only did they come together as a team, they walked away with the division, wrapping things up with a couple of weeks to spare.

Then they quickly found themselves down 2-0 in their best of five series with the Reds, losing both games at home.  So what did they do?  They visited the town of Cincinnati and swept the next three games to advance to the NLCS against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals.

Once again, they quickly found themselves down 3-1 in their best of seven series with the Cards, before rattling off three straight Ws again to make it to the World Series.

Do they have a chance against the mighty Tigers?  Absolutely!  Will I pick them to win it all?  Absolutely not!

Listen, the Reds and the Cards came into their respective series as favorites against the Giants and quickly took the series leads.  All they needed to do was win one of the final three games to win the series.  That’s where the problem was.  They both played like they merely had to show up to win one of those games.

Meanwhile, the Giants showed up as a team that fully believed they could come back.  Ultimately, they did.

I think the Tigers, led by one of the greatest coaches in the game today, will remember what the Giants have done over the past couple of weeks.  When (not if) the Tigers take the series lead, they will finish the job before the Giants can put together a head of steam.

Remember, in order for the Giants to win the series, they must, at the very least, beat the Tigers #3 and #4 pitchers and beat Verlander or Scherzer at least once.  I don’t see that happening, but then I didn’t see the Giants getting past the Reds.

The bottom line is this – the Tigers are a better team and are playing like I predicted back in April.  The Giants have all the confidence in the world that they can win this series, and if the Tigers leave the door open just a little bit, the Giants will kick it down.

Detroit won’t make that mistake.  Tigers will win this one in five games!

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