In short, the Yankees stink and so does major network broadcast coverage of them

Tigers shortchanged despite sweep

Oct. 21, 2012

I love New York. I love the food, the sights, the museums, the shows, the whole concept of the entire world being represented in this tiny geographically but enormously influential hub of entertainment, politics and money.

I even proposed to my wife there 14 years ago.

But I do not love the Yankees, haven't since old Billy Martin finally ticked off George Steinbrenner one too many times and "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson finally hung 'em up.

No, I don't at all.

In fact with their obscene payroll, their overbuilt stadium and their arrogant ability to buy any player they want off almost any team possible, I've come to dislike them greatly.

And what really bugs me is that because they are the Yankees, with their 20-plus World Series titles and their ridiculously recognizable brand, the broad-based media glom onto their every game, every pitch, every starlet the players date and even their every trip to the toilet.

Even if it's not positive press (and not much of it has been the last few weeks), it's still attention sucked away from more deserving teams.

It's part of the miserable East Coast bias that major networks like ESPN and the MLB Network have latched onto baseball like a leech. ESPN continued broadcasting every Boston-New York game this season even after the Red Sox had tripped and fallen over Ted Williams' cryogenically-frozen body with their worst season in more than 40 years.

Where am I going with this, you might ask?

I'll tell you.

I was born and raised in Menomonee Falls, but of no news at all to my friends, family and co-workers, I have been a Detroit Tigers baseball and Detroit Lions' football fan since 1967. It has caused me no end of grief and misery (especially on the Lions side) but I have remained loyal (if occasionally cranky) throughout this time.

Portly pitcher Mickey Lolich is still almost a deity in my eyes for his three wins in the 1968 World Series and 1984 World Series MVP Alan Trammell is the greatest shortstop the team ever had.

And there have been other rare rewards.

Like this miraculous late-season run by the heretofore underachieving Tigers, who now find themselves in the World Series having used superior pitching and timely hitting to sweep the payroll kings from the Bronx in four straight.

"I'll give you the 10 best hitters and I'll take the 10 best pitchers and I'll beat you so bad, you'll want to go home and cry."

The late World Series winning manager of the Reds and the Tigers Sparky Anderson

But did the Tigers get recognition for this marvelous sweep that included a miserly 0.66 earned run average by their starting pitching staff, the anemic .157 team batting average that the Yankees accrued during the American League Championship Series courtesy of those selfsame pitchers (second-lowest in league championship play history dating back to 1969), or the fact that despite that they hit a league high 245 home runs during the season, the Yankees could only manage six runs in four games (only two if you discount Detroit closer Jose Valverde's one disastrous outing in game one)?

No, they didn't. All the announcers could yap about was the benching of the enormously overpaid Alex Rodriguez, the miserable hitless streak of Robinson Cano or the endless strikeouts of former Tiger favorite Curtis Granderson. Even after the Tigers won games, the on-field people often asked them inane questions about the Yankees.

Really, if future AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers had gotten hurt in game one instead of the Yankees' Derek Jeter and then New York had won the game, could you see the on-field reporter asking a Yankee afterward, "Oh, isn't that too bad about Cabrera?"

Somehow, I think not.

And oh, by the way, this makes three straight series that Detroit has beaten New York during the American League playoffs dating back to 2006. In that time, when money and glory are on the line, the Tigers are a dazzling 10-3 against the Yankees.

And isn't that worth a little more on-air time, and a little less navel-gazing toward the overpaid Bronx Bums?

You would think so.

At the time of my writing of this (Oct. 19), the network execs were wringing their hands again, because the Series looked to be an all-Midwest affair with the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals likely to take out the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS resulting in fewer ad revenues than they would like as a result.

Get over it people. Go out and watch two great teams play baseball, especially those guys who wear the classic Old English "D" on their hats. It'll likely be a fun series with two gritty and battle-tested teams going at it with great pitching at the forefront.

I'll be the one with oversized Verlander jersey on, yelling my head off in front of the TV.

Feel free to join me.

Go Tigers!

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