NOAH’S ARK – Into each playoff series a little rain must fall…or you can bunch all of that rain into one playoff series if it’s in New York. The ninth inning yesterday looked like a scene from The Fan…hard to watch. Valverde was villainous for both sides: for the Yankees in keeping his perfect record in save situations intact, but also for the Tigers for causing them much more stress than they wanted to deal with. Like the rain, or only getting one Verlander start, Valverde then proceeded to add to the pressure by stupidly predicting victory for the Tigers in 4 games. Thanks for that bit of locker room wall material, Jose!
However, there is precedence and we only have to go back five years for it. Does this sound familiar? The Yankees win the AL East with a 97-65 record, and get home-field advantage for the division series against a Tiger team that finished 95-67 . The Yanks win the first game handily, but then muster only three runs and lose a Game 2 that had to be pushed a day because of rain. The series then moved to Detroit where the Yankees’ highest paid pitcher lays an egg and the Yankees’ bats go absolutely silent (Alex Rodriguez goes 1 for 15 in the series). Detroit would go on to the World Series that year, and lose to the St. Louis Cardinals – who like this year probably had no business even being there (oooh, Endy Chavez).
Now of course I’m not saying that the Yanks are going into the same spiral; this is a better bunch than that dysfunctional group in a lot of ways – A.J. Burnett notwithstanding or A-Rod’s thus far 0-8 – and I like them to come back home and win Game 5.
But it got me thinking about this past weekend in comparison to 2006, and not just in baseball. The first thought occurred while I was watching the Steelers play the Texans yesterday, suffering through not only a terrible loss for my beloved Steel, but also Dan Dierdorf. The Offensive Line is in tatters, and Mario Williams is an absolute beast. Remember when, in the 2006 NFL draft, it was a foregone conclusion that the Houston Texans would take Reggie Bush with their first overall pick…and they chose Williams instead. The Texans’ fans (I know, they had fans back then?) went ballistic, the pundits all scratched their heads, and then-GM Charley Casserly and owner Bob McNair had a lot of explaining to do. Wonder what those fans who cancelled their season tickets think of that decision now?
The second recollection from 2006 was from the playoffs, when Dallas’ young QB Tony Romo muffed that extra point that lost the game. Everyone felt sorry for the kid, he had proven to be a fun spark for the team and was undoubtedly the QB of the future. That was just a small brain-fart – part of the learning process – and those kinds of mistakes forge character. Five years later and a horrendous fourth quarter collapse to the (4-0) Detroit Lions that can pretty much be laid on his shoulders (just don’t put your hand there, Jerry Jones!), Romo’s brain-farts now resemble the bean-eating scene from Blazing Saddles.
Wow, 2006, so prophetic…so sucky!
Grote2DMax will make all this a distant memory tomorrow.