The Rainout

Final thought for the ALDS:

What if they had played The Rainout?

They would have gotten in close to a full game because that storm never came in until about 11 that night. Maybe nothing would have been different and it’s just baseball But it makes you wonder. It was rescheduled for the next afternoon. The world changed in a hurry after that, the Yankees stopped hitting, the Tigers did everything right.

That’s the first thing I thought about the morning after the Tigers shocked the Yankees. I am always going to wonder about The Rainout.

Leaving Motown now…adios.

Game 4 Pregame – Colors of October

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Perfect day for Game 4 as you can see above in 2 p.m. ET shot outside Comerica Park. The major news here is that A-Rod is hitting eighth. And Melky is in, Giambi is out. That tells you all you need to know about the shocking turn of developments in this American League Division Series.

Expect to see a lot of orange today…

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Waiting to welcome a tremendous throng (which is now making the stadium shake again as I am typing this at the start of the game)…

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You have to love the Mini-Donuts stand right behind home plate. Enjoyed my brunch…

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It’s a baseball town again. You also can find these goodies here if you don’t want to stand in line.

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Jim Leyland before the game: "We’re
not going to do anything different. We’re going to see how the game develops, and obviously we’re going to
do the same thing the Yankees are going to do. They are going to do everything they can to win it, and we’re going to
do everything we can to win it."

Joe Torre before the game: "We obviously don’t feel good about ourselves and we know what
we’re capable of doing and we have to go out there and do it. Yeah,
you hope the experience helps you, you really do. Again, I don’t care how much you’ve played
this game, and how successful you’ve been, that taste of losing is never a nice
taste. So you really have to reverse it,
and we have to do something about that today against a very good team."

Pregame video, about an hour and a half before first pitch as the Yankees were taking BP:

OK, Game 4 is on. There was a really nice moment of silence before the game for Buck O’Neil. We’re going to miss him.

Game 3: Tigers 6, Yankees 0

Nothing to say other than total destruction. One of my favorite moments was chatting for 10 minutes with Ernie Harwell in pregame press dining room while he was filling out his lineup card he used during his two innings on ESPN that night. Great guy with invaluable knowledge and coming out with "Ernie Harwell’s Audiobook" at end of October — hopefully available at MLB.com.

Game 3 Middle of the Sixth Video

Middle of the sixth, here’s a Canon Powershot video from my vantage point in the aisleway close to the field and amid an absolutely stoked and stadium-shaking throng.

A-Rod cleanup, Bernie DH, Giambi at first

Full report forthcoming from MLB.com, but news flash: Bernie Williams will DH because of his good numbers against Kenny Rogers, Jason Giambi will play first after Joe Torre was assured he’s physically OK to do so, and A-Rod is cleanup instead of sixth. Torre is in the press interview room right now and here is his announcement:

"Johnny first, Derek, Bobby, Alex will hit fourth, so I can
make everybody happy (laughter fills room), Giambi, Posada, Matsui, Bernie and Cano."

Game 3 Pregame

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We’re here now and pregame interview sessions are under way. Jim Leyland is mixing it up against the lefty (Randy Johnson). Tonight’s Tiger lineup he just announced here in the media interview room:

1. Placido Polanco
2. Craig Monroe
3. Marcus Thames
4. Magglio Ordonez
5. Carlos Guillen
6. Pudge Rodriguez
7. Sean Casey
8. Brandon Inge
9. Curtis Granderson

JeremyLeyland also said, when asked what it meant to Tiger fans that the series came back here 1-1 instead of 2-0 down: "If we’d come here 0-2, I think they would have had a good time, but probably wouldn’t think we can win the series in their heart." Then he added that now they obviously do.

Jeremy Bonderman will start Game 4 for the Tigers. He paid Yankee fans a compliment when asked what it has been like to take everything in during this series. "When we were in New York, the crowd there was phenomenal," he said. "They’re on their feet 90 percent of the game."

Here is video I shot with the Canon Powershot A540 during the pregame interview session with Jaret Wright, the Yankees’ scheduled Game 4 starter. People want to know what he thinks of A-Rod. Obviously many people do back in NYC. Don’t mind the shaking, remember that 99 out of 100 reporters here aren’t also holding a camera, trying something new.

Got you in a stranglehold baby

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Thanks to Wednesday’s rainout, it was travel scramble mode so I slept exactly three hours last night and then caught an early flight this morning for Cleveland. Then I rented a car for the three-hour drive up to Detroit, and that was OK because it was a chance to play Cleveland rock as loudly as possible while driving. Once I got to Toledo, Ohio, I saw these overpass signs and I couldn’t resist aiming the Canon Powershot A540 up while I was surrounded by big rigs on both sides.

It just seemed kind of fitting. If you had asked me last offseason where I might be at this time of year, I would have bet Eric Byrnes would comb his hair before the Tigers would be playing right now instead of the Indians. At least as the Wild Card behind Chicago, maybe AL Central champs. So here we are now, driving from Cleveland to Detroit, only because of flight availability to get to Motown. Sorry, Tribe fans. Maybe the "CLOSED" stripe will be removed in 2007.

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There’s another shot from I-75 heading north into Detroit. But first back up some miles. This really happened: Exactly as I crossed over the state line into Michigan, the FM station that said "we play EVERYTHING" (have you noticed that trend around American FM dials in today’s myspace world?)  decided to play "Stranglehold" by the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent.

You bes’ get out of the way.

The playoffs are coming to Detroit in a matter of hours. The storied New York Yankees are here. Jeter’s back in the state where he grew up. It’s 1-1, gametime at 8ish ET. Rogers vs. Unit. AL All-Star starter vs. MRow2. If you want to see what kind of excitement the Tigers have stirred in this city at an unfamiliar time of year, then consider this pic I took driving through downtown:

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That also tells you everything you need to know about the weather. That was about 12:45 p.m. The temp is just going to go south by the time a night game arrives. October baseball is really here now. No more of that first-day-of-postseason subtropical action.

For nostalgia buffs, here is another highway pic taken of the place that last saw a Tigers postseason home game:

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Memo to driver’s ed students: Do not attempt to take pictures like this these while driving on the highway with three hours’ sleep. . . . unless Nugent is playing loudly. Of course, you probably never have heard of Nugent, hence the Wikipedia link.

More from Comerica soon.

Game 2: Tigers 4, Yankees 3

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Justin Verlander must have slept just fine. Who cares if he threw 10 soft-tosses before word got to him last night about the weather? He was pure pre-Zumaya gas until slowing down to 92 and being taken out by Jim Leyland with the 1-1 count, and the rookie is a 1-0 postseason pitcher now. Marcus Thames said he still has plenty of Yankee memorabilia from his days in the organization, but he just went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI as another of Detroit’s young catalysts. Thames is now 6-for-7 all-time against Mike Mussina, explaining that he just stays aggressive against the Moose.

Was that the last Yankee home game? That’s the thing about short series — you never know. One minute the Yankees are spectacularly dominant against a club some people said shouldn’t be here — and the next minute, you’re a Yankees fan just hoping you see your guys again in 2006. Now it goes to Detroit with no off-day for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Saturday, then a Game 5 if needed right back here. It’s a series, and watching Zoom throw heat is second to nothing. Or  maybe the Yanks go to Detroit, win behind Big Unit and then take it the next day. It’s a series.

Joe Torre just announced that Jaret Wright is his Game 4 starter. Torre said not to look at A-Rod’s 0-fer, Cano’s early struggle — focusing instead on fabulous Detroit pitching.

Leyland just called it "a great playoff game." And he said the thing he is happiest about is, "I hope in my heart that everybody realizes we are a playoff team, and I hope we proved that today."

Yep, at 103 mph.

Game 2 Pregame (Again)

We begin with the Daily D Train Shot. . . .

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And here is my daily YouTube upload for you from Yankee Stadium. Thought that a little caliope music from out front of the Press Gate/Players Entrance would set the mood.

Forecast for today’s 1:09 pm ET game: PERFECT. That storm that finally arrived brought with it cool temps from the north, so we’re in the 60s.

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Ron Guidry was just asked about a Yankees Game 4 starter and he replied, "I haven’t gotten that far yet."

Jim Leyland was asked if Justin Verlander got some sleep, and he said, "I don’t know, I don’t bunk with him."

Fans are rolling back in, carrying the same tickets they brought with them here last night. A car took me home from the park at midnight, and we were sloshing through puddles all over streets and passing emergency rescue vehicles en masse. You can see why MLB and the clubs made the decision they did — it was an onimous blob on the radar screen. Even though, yes, we could have played close to a whole game last night with some annoying spritz. Better safe than sorry was the decision. Now we’re back and gametime is creeping up.

Final look back at what last night felt like for more than 50,000 people here:

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Postponed

Several minutes ago we were told that tonight’s game is off. It will be made up at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, which means a lot of things, not the least of which is heavy-duty scrambling among all of the media here who were planning to fly to Detroit in the morning. Jimmie Lee Solomon of MLB will be in the interview room in 10 minutes to explain what happened tonight . . . and thousands of fans filing out right now are very curious based on everything I was overhearing in the concourses during the long delay for provisional bad weather.

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