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The Worst World Series Team? Oh and Football Picks Go 6-4.
2006-10-20 22:10
by Scott Long
Notes:
Scott Long is now blogging at NSFWsports.com.
Will Carroll can still be found at Baseball Prospectus.

Are the St. Louis Cardinals the worst team ever to play in a World Series. No honestly, I really wonder. Let's go over really quickly what they bring to the table. They have 3 all-star regulars in Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds. All 3 are banged up to a certain degree. Actually, you could argue with the injuries, the biggest hitting threat is Chris Duncan. Not exactly a dynamite offense.

Now let's get to the pitching. This has been a starting rotation of one good pitcher, (Carpenter) and a bunch of below average arms. The game 1 starter (Reyes) is a guy who won a total of 5 games. Here are the WHIPS of Cardinals pitchers who started at least 15 games for them during the regular season. Suppan (1.45), Reyes (1.38), Weaver (1.50), Ponson (1.62), Marquis (1.52), and Mulder (1.70). The bullpen has been sharp in the playoffs, but the Tigers have 3 guys who would all be closers for the Cards. Wow is the National League pathetic that they could produce this team as it's representative. Please Tigers, make this short and relatively painless, because if the Cardinals win it all, it would be bad for baseball.

********

I wrote when the trade went down that the Pirates were crazy to give Oliver Perez away for so little. In a world where starting pitching is at such a premium, how do you make this move? Oh yeah, because they are the Pirates.

********

Conan O'Brien does a segment where he casts actors for "made for TV movies." He did this Friday night for the LCS and my 4 favorites were the following:

Jim Leyland would be played by UN representative John Bolton
Joe Buck would be played by Martina Navratilova
Chris Duncan would be played Fred Durst
Albert Pujols would be played by the Genie from Aladdin.

Later on the show, Joe Buck was the guest and when Conan put up the picture of Buck/Navratilova, Buck had a great quip saying that he has never looked so manly. Buck actually was in the ring with Conan, trading line for line with the funniest Network talk show host on TV.

I tire of the relentless bashing I hear around here in regards to Buck. The guy is smart, witty, and knows the game. Sure he's a bit swarmy at times, but so are a lot of quick-witted people. I wouldn't say he's the best I have ever heard, but outside of Vin Scully and Jon Miller there doesn't seem to be any baseball announcer that a majority around here like. I think all professions need to be graded on a curve and if you only think 2% of the people who do the job are any good, then you might want to reconsider your standards.

*********

Went 3-1 in the NFL, while splitting in the college ranks. Usually I have 6 college games and 5 pro games, but this week I'm switching it around.

One NFL note. Michael Vick was on the cover of Sporting News and featured in an Inside the NFL interview saying that he feels disrespected. He believes he should get to audible more at the line of scrimmage and now wants to throw the ball more. At one point he mentions that he would study harder if he was allowed more of a free reign. Vick is not an accurate passer and hasn't shown the leadership skills that top QB's have. Atlanta has playoff talent, but Vick holds them back. He makes them too one-dimensional on offense.

Colleges

4 star Miami(-17.5) Duke
3 star Purdue(+7) Wisconsin
3 star Texas(-5) Nebraska
3 star Syracuse(+18) Louisville
3 star Iowa(+13.5) Michigan

The Hurricanes are reprehensible, but the past week sets up a great opportunity to get a team with a chip on its shoulder. Talent-wise, Miami is 40 points better, so I like the spot a lot.
Wisconsin has quietly put together a great record, but once again, talent-wise, the Boilermakers are slightly better.
I don't see what the Huskers have done to deserve to be only a small dog.
Iowa has traditionally played well in Ann Arbor under Ferentz and I think it will be a close, as I'm still not sold on Henne in a big game.

NFL

3 Star Carolina(+3.5) Cincy
3 Star NY Giants(+3.5) Dallas
3 Star Pittsburgh(-2.5) Atlanta
3 Star Minnesota(+7) Seattle
2 star Buffalo(+6) New England
2 star San Diego(-4.5) Kansas City

An example of 2 teams going different directions. Bengals o-line banged up, which is not good when facing the NFL's best d-lineman (Peppers.)
The Giants defense is starting to play to their potential. Bledsoe has another tough week against an NFC East foe.
The Steelers defensive speed keeps Vick from running wild, as they are starting to hit their stride on offense.
The Vikings are a team that is built to play games decided by field goals. Should be another close one.
I suspect the Bills will find a way to lose at the end, but win the stats battle.
I've been promoting that the Chargers are the best team in the NFL for awhile and even though Arrowhead is a brutal place to win at, this appears to be a transition season for the Chiefs.

Comments
2006-10-21 06:04:17
1.   Philip Michaels
I used to intensely dislike Joe Buck back when my only exposure to him was through the courtesy of Fox. Then, when I got the MLB Extra Innings package and heard him call Cardinal games, I was shocked at how good he was. I suspect there are two reasons behind the dramatically different versions of Buck that I've seen:

1. Fox's apparent "Let's assume everyone turning in for the game is watching the sport of baseball for the first time" policy toward play-by-play.

2. Talking to Tim McCarver for three hours will make anyone sound like a dullard.

2006-10-21 06:27:50
2.   Philip Michaels
Also, I am reminded by this SF Chronicle article -- http://tinyurl.com/ycm7ac -- that this St. Louis squad may not even be the worst Cardinals team to appear in the World Series. Strong consideration must be given to the '87 Cardinals, who were without the services of Jack Clark (led the team in homers, finished third in MVP voting) for all but one game of the playoffs. Instead first base duties during the series were handled by a platoon of Dan Driessen and Jim Lindeman -- a considerable drop-off from Clark.

Other immortals who got playing time for the Cardinals during that series: Steve Lake, Curt Ford, Jose Oquendo, Tom Lawless. Your Game 1 starter at DH for the Cards? Tom Pagnozzi. I'd take my chances with Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds over that crew.

2006-10-21 08:40:50
3.   Scott Long
Philip, can't go along with you on the 87 Cards. They were a classic Herzog pitching, speed, and defense team.
Clark was awesome that year, while they had superior defensive players like Ozzie Smith, Terry Pendleton, and Willie McGee. These guys were also plus offensive players at the time, as well.

The pitching staff that year was the antithesis of the 2006 Cards, with solid arms at every spot. Tudor, Forsch, Magrane, Danny Cox. They also had a quality closer in Todd Worrell.

The 2005 Cardinals with a healthy Pujols and Rolen, plus a staff with Morris and Mulder would compete with the 1987 Cards. I repeat the 2005 team.

The current makeup of the 2006 Cards is really, really bad.

I would agree 100% on your points about Buck.

2006-10-21 09:45:22
4.   gswitter
This Cardinals teams isn't nearly as bad as the '88 Dodgers (and this Tigers teams isn't nearly as good as the '88 A's). That series turned out OK for the (apparent) underdogs.
2006-10-21 13:40:18
5.   Suffering Bruin
The '88 Dodgers were not a bad team. They had the NL MVP and Orel Hershiser who was pitching like he was worth half a pennant by himself.

Now, the '59 Dodgers... they were weak.

And thank you, Scott, for your comments about Buck. I like him and I find him likable, FWIW. And thanks again for e-music (no, I don't work for the site, I just like it).

2006-10-21 18:33:13
6.   underdog
Still think the Cardinals are the worst world series team and should roll over and die?

As a Dodger fan I'll defend the 88 Dodgers, but their lineup overall was very weak on paper. Got the job done, but man, they were not... scary.

The 87 Cards did have good pitching but their game 7 line up that series included Jose Oquendo in right field, Tom Lawless at third base and Steve Lake at catcher. Jim Lindeman batting cleanup. Makes this year's model look pretty intimidating by comparison.

But more often than not pitching wins out. The Tigers just need to actually remember that this series isn't already won on paper.

2006-10-21 22:51:01
7.   Xeifrank
Cards win. Crow is being served in yet another Toaster blog. vr, Xei
2006-10-22 18:36:39
8.   Will Carroll
Buck actually wore that ugly tie to Game 1 as well. Points.
2006-10-23 13:09:42
9.   Ruben F Pineda
Yeah, I actually like Buck, he seems to call it pretty fair, has an opinion that is usually right, and does a pretty good job explaining his point of view in the 2 sentences he gets on a topic. And any guy that is willing to make fun of himself like on Conan or his commercials with Leon the WR should be given the benefit of the doubt. He definately doesn't deserve the Joe Morgan treatment.

Yeah, I don't know if the Cardinals are the worst team ever. They definately aren't the late 90's yankees. But a team with the best hitter in the game, a top 5 pitcher, the best defensive catcher, young but solid bullpen can't be that bbad compared to their WS peers, can they?

I dunno, maybe, especially when there are rumblings for "So Taguchi for MVP".

2006-10-23 15:28:57
10.   rbj
I actually do not like Vin Scully.
2006-10-24 10:14:23
11.   Comrade Al
... and the winner is the 2005 Houston Astros.

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