Dead and Buried
Oh, 2005 NFL Champions, we hardly knew you.
Many, myself included, had you pegged to retake the AFC North and make a run to defend your hard-earned Title. However, your record was never better than 1-0 after being fortunate enough to defeat a Miami Dolphins team who was a dark horse pick for many before the season, but has only won one game since.
You gave the Heinz Field faithful a chance to see what they expected all year long with a 45-7 drubbing of the Kansas City Chiefs. This lucid moment, however, has given way to that same fan base now throwing dirt over your casket. We watched you hold the Oakland Raiders to under 100 net yards on the road, but surrender 14 points to them when your offense was on the field.
Between motorcycle injuries, appendectomies, and degenerate pit bulls, you also acquired a talent for opening your own avenues for defeat. Benjamin Roethlisberger has found receivers wearing other uniforms 11 times, at least four of these in the end zone. Receivers and running backs alike keep misplacing the handle on the pigskin, allowing others to find it.
'Twas said best during the Steelers Locker Room Show with Craig Wolfley on the radio yesterday by one member of the organization: The difference between this year and last year is that last year we didn't beat ourselves. If we lost, you came in and beat us.
A frightful end to the season two days shy of All Hallows Eve.
It will now take a Halloween-esque resurrection to still be around in January: it won't be pretty, but we'll sure be glad to see you.
Your passing will not be grieved so much in Pittsburgh, yet when a franchise that has not missed the playoffs since 1993-1994, notice must be served. While the season is still young, the Philadelphia Flyers have shown some signs that the postseason is already out of reach. There has already been a shakeup in the front office and the coaching staff. Despite a favorable advantage in shots on goal (3 more per game on average), you trail the league in goals scored (19) and in save percentage (.856) through 10 games.
Perhaps the most obvious sign that the 2006-2007 Flyers have passed on at a young age is that they've lost twice to their cross-state archrivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, including an 8-2 blowout loss at home. This game featured a rare moment of ineptitude featuring a 1st Period collision between hockey's dirtiest player and Simon Gagne at the Penguins blue line (during a power play) that resulted in a shorthanded Penguin goal.
Perhaps a new coach can play Dr. Frankenstein and turn this lumbering dolt of a team into a monster, but the turnaround time will have to be quick.
There were signs of failing health down the stretch of the regular season wherein the Tigers lost a division title most had assumed they had won by August to the Minnesota Twins. They backed into the playoffs and were able to overcome two opponents with home field advantage before having that HFA to themselves (no doubt thanking Michael Young for a largely-forgotten performance in July) in the Fall Classic.
For all the good it did.
The Tigers forged a 1-1 tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, but did not win again. St. Louis won all three games at New Busch without hitting a single home run. The Cardinals won game five without an extra-base hit.
Yes, it will be argued that the lowest-rated world series (to date) was lost by Detroit more than won by St. Louis.
The Tigers did not play one error-free game.
Placido Polanco did not have a hit in 17AB (1 BB).
The other three players who began the series between lead-off and clean-up went a combined 7-for-60 with 3 walks and two solo home runs (Craig Monroe had both of these).
Former Pirate Sean Casey did all he could to keep the Tigers from going quietly into the night be recording highs for the 2006 World Series in:
Batting Average: .529 (2nd - Rolen: .421)
Slugging %: 1.000 (2nd - Rolen: .737)
OBP: .556 (2nd - Molina: .500)
RBI: 5 (2nd - Eckstein: 4)
HR: 2 (tied w/ Monroe)
Incidently, he did all this after going 0-for-3 in the Series opener.
If you don't grieve for the Tigers, at least doff your cap in a moment of silence for Sean Casey, whose efforts were among the best in (especially recent) World Series history.
-------Jim Edmonds...consoles?...Jeff Weaver--------------------------------Congratulations, Darth LaRussa