Random observations from Game Six

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You saw it, and even if you didn’t, Matthew has told you all of the details (any he missed can be found here). Now’s the time for some random impressions:

An obviously gutsy performance from Andy Pettitte on short rest. He didn’t seem to suffer much for it, which is amazing considering the mileage on that left arm of his.

A just as gutsy performance from Pedro, even in defeat. He certainly knew before anyone — and probably well before the game
started — that he had nothing last night. He’s Pedro, though, and he
did his vain best to figure out a way to work around it. It’s weird: for a
Hall of Famer, I’ve always thought that Pedro’s character as a
pitcher was better defined by his losses than his wins. In the 2003
ALCS, last night, and many other times, I’ve come away strangely more
impressed by him when he leaves a game in defeat, and I’m not sure why
that is. Your theories are welcome.

Matsui. What can you really say? For a guy who often looks like he’s in
pain when he’s hitting, he made it look rather easy last night. He was
as good an MVP choice as anyone else.

Nine years ago is when Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte last won it
all. I know that beyond them there has been massive roster turnover
since 1996, but I’m struggling to come up with an example of a team
with at least a handful of core players winning World Series outside
the context of a continuing dynasty. This would be like Mickey Mantle
and Whitey Ford hanging around to win one with the 1971 Yankees, or
Chipper, Maddux and Smoltz doing it in 2004. I suppose this is mostly a
function of them being so young when they were winning them back in the
90s, but it is kind of odd to think about it.

Factoid I found on ESPN: “Wednesday’s clincher marked the sixth time
New York has defeated the defending champ in the World Series.” Without looking it up, I’ll say the Phillies last night, the Braves
in 1996, the Braves in 1958, the Dodgers in 1956, Cardinals in 1943,
and, um . . . I’m blanking. First one to figure it out wins a fully paid subscription to Circling The Bases.

I, along with all of you, wait with great anticipation to hear what the “PHILLIES IN __! MARK MY WORDS!” guy writes in the comments today.  Don’t disappoint us, dude.

After an offseason of terrible predictions, I’m rather pleased with myself. I picked the Yankees in six based on the strength of their rotation, but noted that Cliff Lee will get his.  Hey, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while, right?

151 days until Opening Day.  I wish it would hurry up already.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.