I was going to use this space to write something about this year’s team, probably about Carlos Silva and how he shouldn’t be in the rotation next week. I discovered last night, however, that FSN was replaying game five of the 1987 ALCS. Since Silva has been discussed at length, I thought I would write some impressions from the stroll down memory lane.
-There’s something about Tiger stadium. I have been to games at both Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, but I never got to see Tiger Stadium. That’s a shame, because I would have loved to sit in the upper deck bleachers in the outfield. What’s more: it was a day game. An ALCS day game.
-I forgot how good Bob Costas was at calling a ballgame- easily better than any of the network guys today. In fact, I think I would take him over just about anyone going, save Vin Scully. Throughout the game Costas discussed history. Not history as in who was in the World Series last year history, but relevant facts that related the two teams playing to the past (lots of references to the ’68 Tigers and the ’65 Twins). I suppose that wouldn’t play well to today’s FOX audience. He and Tony Kubek were a great team, and neither felt the need to talk when the pictures were telling the story; something lot of broadcasters would do well to learn.
-Man, are those pants tight. I love the socks though. Bert Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame if only for his stirrups.
-Greg Gagne was my favorite player for a long time, and watching him play short stop in ’87 reminds me why. He was so slick, made it look almost effortless. Full disclosure: he made an error in the third inning, though on the play he attempted to play a short-hop on a ball on the infield grass- it probably would have been ruled a hit by most official scorers. Kubek and Costas even said it should have been a hit.
-For all of the good numbers he put up since arriving in Detroit in late 1987, Doyle Alexander really unraveled in the post season. That is rarely mentioned in discussions of the merits of the Alexander-for-Smoltz deal of 1987.
-I’m pretty sure that, apart from the grand slam in game six of the ’87 World Series, Kent Hrbek didn’t have much post season success (Baseball Reference confirms this: .154/.252/.264 in 24 career post season games).
-As good of a hitter as Kirk Gibson was, Kubek and Costas sure didn’t think much of his fielding. Kubek almost burst out laughing considering the notion that Gibson might have had a chance to throw out Dan Gladden at home.
-I missed a big chunk of the middle of the game because the little guy needed a bath. Incidentally, he cried a lot during the game. I’m not sure this is a good sign for the upcoming season.
-It is difficult to watch an older game now that I am so accustomed to having the score, inning, and count on the screen at all times. It takes a while to get used to actually remembering the count (and it is hard to do with a crying kid in the room). I don’t, however, miss the other graphics that come with the modern-day broadcast.
-I hope FSN does this more often. Previous “classic” Twins games have mostly been important games from last year. While baseball is baseball, and I will take what I can get in the off-season, it is nice to see them go a little farther back in team history.
“What a bunch of unlikely champions we are looking at here” – Bob Costas while the Twins were celebrating on the field at Tiger Stadium.