Friday, October 20, 2006

St. Louis vs. Detroit: A World Series Breakdown

Tomorrow night begins the third World Series in history between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won in 1934, and the Tigers took their turn on top in 1968. This season, both clubs struggled down the stretch before rebounding in the postseason. These playoffs have been rather unpredictable, but the following analysis sheds some light on what to expect in the Fall Classic.

Ballparks: The Cardinals play in the newest Busch Stadium, while the Tigers call Comerica Park home. If you’re hosting a party for the game, you can’t have a keg of Comerica. Advantage: St. Louis

Wildness: The Tigers are a wild card, but the Cards are not a wild tiger. Advantage: Detroit

Sports-Related City Nicknames: St. Louis is well-suited for the Fall Classic as “Baseball City USA.” Detroit is at a disadvantage as “Hockeytown,” since commissioner Bud Selig has prohibited the use of a Zamboni between innings. Advantage: St. Louis

Ed McMahon: Johnny Carson’s sidekick was born in Detroit. So unfortunately for the Tigers, the city embraces second bananas. Advantage: St. Louis

Rocky III: Rocky used the Eye of the Tiger to defeat Clubber Lang. The Eye of the Cardinal doesn’t intimidate anyone. Advantage: Detroit

Gibsons: Bob Gibson was the World Series MVP for St. Louis in both 1964 and 1967, but his Cardinals fell to the Tigers in 1968. For Detroit, Kirk Gibson won a World Series more recently, as his game 5 home run put away the San Diego Padres in 1984. According to St. Louis skipper Tony LaRussa, no Kirk Gibson highlight could ever top that one. Advantage: Detroit

Vatican City: Tigers don’t get to elect a pope, but Cardinals do. Advantage: St. Louis

College Spies: In Division 1-A, there are Missouri Tigers. But there are no Michigan Cardinals. Advantage: Detroit

2005 Conference USA Basketball Tournament: The Cardinals (Louisville) edged the Tigers (Memphis) 75-74 for the title. Detroit will be in trouble if this series comes down to free throws. Advantage: St. Louis

Guys Named Louis: St. Louis is named after Louis IX, the only king of France to be made a saint. But Detroit’s Joe Louis would pummel that French pansy. Advantage: Detroit

Rivers: Detroit is appropriately bounded by the Detroit River. But even though Missouri does not border Mississippi, St. Louis lies along the Mississippi River. Do they take us for fools? Advantage: Detroit

Charles Lindbergh: Lucky Lindy was born in Detroit. But the Spirit of St. Louis got him to Paris - after a layover at JFK. Advantage: St. Louis

Movies: Judy Garland delighted audiences in Meet Me in St. Louis. But there’s no way she could compete in 8 Mile, rapping off against Eminem. Advantage: Detroit

Roy Williams: In 2005, North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams won a national championship in St. Louis. Lions receiver Roy Williams has no hope for a title in Detroit. He’d settle for one shining moment. Advantage: St. Louis

Music: St. Louis has been a hotbed for the blues and other forms of music, but it can’t compete with Motown. There’s also “Detroit Rock City,” which has often inspired Tigers manager Jim Leyland to wear Kiss makeup in the dugout. Advantage: Detroit

New York, New York: Both World Series participants eliminated a New York team. But the Cardinals had to beat the one without A-Rod. Advantage: St. Louis

2005 World Series: Last year, the winner was an AL Central club with a Guillen (Ozzie). Detroit’s Carlos Guillen hopes that the White Sox started a trend. Just to be safe, he should regularly make comments that offend people. Advantage: Detroit

Tallying up the results, it’s Detroit 9, St. Louis 8. So the Tigers will win a tight series, which goes the full 17 games.