October 14, 2006
Oakland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and added another run in the fourth, but stalled after that, while Detroit gradually clawed their way back on top. Magglio Ordoñez tied the game with a homer into the left field corner in the sixth inning, and won it with a three-run walk-off homer in the ninth. What a perfect way to win the ALCS! Without that blast, which cleared the bullpens and went into the seats, where the outfield fence used to be, it would have become the first extra-inning game in the 2006 postseason. Congratulations to the Tigers and to the city of Detroit, which richly deserves a championship. Veteran Kenny Rogers was at the top of his game last night. Late in his career, he has been given a second chance to prove himself in clutch championship situations, and he passed the test with flying colors -- first against the Yankees and then against the A's. He and Tom Glavine are the only starting pitchers to have allowed no runs in consecutive postseason games since Roger Clemens in 2000; see MLB.com. As a result, Comerica Park becomes the sixth of the fourteen neoclassical / "retro" ballparks to host a World Series.
Just when the Mets thought they had the Cardinals on the ropes, they let victory slip through their fingers last night. Now, they're on the defensive, having to win at least one of the three games in St. Louis. Back home again, the Cardinals have taken back the momentum, leading 5-0 in the third inning of Game 3. This will be an appropriate occasion for me to make the touchups in the Busch Stadium III diagram, based on Jonathan Karberg's very detailed and helpful feedback.
For the fifth year in a row, a wild card team will be in the World Series. (In 2002, both teams were wild cards.) That leads us to an obvious question:
Bud Selig is pondering future format changes in the playoff series, such as having at least one day game for the World Series (yes!) and creating a bigger hurdle for wild card teams, presumably meaning fewer home games. See MLB.com. I strongly support both ideas, and more than once have called for having the first three games in the first round playoffs at home.
Possibly motivated by his team's winning ways, Cardinal fan James Sutton has added his impressions of past visits to Wrigley Field, Tiger Stadium, and over a dozen other ballparks. You can do so too, after you have registered. Just go to the bottom of any stadium page, and click on the "share your impressions" link.