So, as harsh as everyone (including me) has been on baseball analysts whose predictions were less-than-right-on this playoff season, I don't think that even the most astute baseball mind--or the most adept fortune-teller--could have predicted this outcome. Nico pointed out some commonalities between the A's and the Tigers this post-season, two teams that swept their competition, only to turn right around and let everything fall apart in their next series. For me, the only consistency about the 2006 post-season is that the opposite of everything I thought would happen, actually did.
Mark Newman from MLB.com makes a similar point in the front page article yesterday:
- When I initially learned that the A's were playing the Twins, I was devastated, thinking a sure first-round exit was in store. I saw the Tigers as the team that they were the end of the season, and in the World Series; a team that we had a better-than-average chance of beating. And going up against Johan Santana with our Barry Zito seemed a recipe for a 0-1 start in the series. However, we won that game, much to the surprise of even the most stalwart Zito supporter.
- Despite us being up 2-0, I still found myself surprised that we won the ALDS. Color me pessimistic, but there have been four recent seasons when we haven't, and with the pattern of this roller-coaster season, I wouldn't have put it past the A's to at least make it interesting. I was stunned at how easily the final series win came.
- Once they were knocked into the Wild Card slot, I never thought we would see the Tigers in the playoffs. Like most people, despite their amazing pitching potential, I never thought the Tigers could defeat the Yankees' lineup in a short series. The Tigers did just that, and it wasn't even close.
- Once the A's defeated the Twins, and were slated for the Tigers, I expected that series to be--at the very minimum--a great display of baseball. I guess I was half-right. The Tigers played great baseball. With the lone exception of Milton Bradley, the A's didn't show up.
- I absolutely expected the Mets to beat the Cardinals in the NLCS. I didn't even think it would be close. Yet...it was close, and to my surprise, the Cardinals ended up victorious.
- I thought the Tigers would beat the Cardinals, possibly in four. We all know how that ended up.
However, I will say that there was one thing that I could have guaranteed, and it did happen. Baseball columnists everywhere got their heart, grit, and intangible model. It may not have been Derek Jeter, but heck, David Eckstein is close enough, right?
So...all that to say that one of two things is true for me right now: Either the playoffs are a crap shoot, or all those years of watching baseball have been for naught, since by my calculations, I'm was a really terrible 0 for 6 in the above postseason predictions.
[jumps on bandwagon]