The Tigers will win the World Series based on the Pincus Theory of Low Expectations. In the regular season, the Tigers, clearly a much better team than virtually anybody thought back in April, started out strongly but everyone expected it to end quickly. Everyone, that is, except the players and, most importantly, Manager Jim Leyland. We even had low expectations of Leyland. The Tigers had to have a reason to hire him but we couldn't figure out what it was. He was away from the game, and he didn't seem to want to manage anymore so why was he taking this job; was it just for a big paycheck before retiring?
Your Detroit Tigers are a lineup of players who define low expectations: Craig Monroe, Marcus Thames, Brandon Inge. Even the pitchers had low expectation levels: Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers, Todd Jones. Justin Verlander has raised people's expectations but he is a rookie after all. And each one of these guys was key to the Tigers success, particularly in the postseason.
You doubt the Theory of Low Expectations? Let's go to Thursday's Game 7 between the Mets and Cardinals. Mets Oliver Perez? We didn't have low expectations for Oliver, we had NO expectations. So, naturally he pitched six innings and kept the Mets tied while they waited for their big, high expectation bats to get going. Score tied, ninth inning, Cards Yadier Molina at bat with a man on first. Yadier Molina? He hit .216 this season. Enough said?
High expectations? Mets David Wright hits a weak ground ball to Scott Rolen in the sixth. A meeting of third basemen with high expectations. The result? The weak ground ball is fielded and heaved into the seats behind first base by the Gold Glove Cardinal.
Low expectations? Endy Chavez has no chance to catch Rolen's big fly to left in the top of the sixth. High expectations? Bases loaded after Rolen's error and here comes Chavez. He's getting that big hit to bookend his spectacular catch. Popup to center.
High expectations: Carlos Beltran, the Cardinal destroyer, at bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. Are you convinced, yet?
So what is it? What do the players really feel as they get ready to make that easy toss to first or bat in the clutch? Do the great ones feel they have to be perfect? Get Alex Rodriguez on the phone. He can answer that. And do the lesser ones feel that they're about to do what they'd always believed they could but few others believed along with them? Look at Yadier's face in that last at bat or Craig Monroe's at bats against the Yankees for the answer.
And surely the Tigers are the team with the lower expectations coming into the Series starting Saturday night in Detroit. Even though the Tigers had a much better record than the Cards did this season, who can expect that they will continue their remarkable roll? I can.
Craig Monroe seems to be in the position to get a key hit every time he's not expected to do it. And then he does it. Brandon Inge? He hits ninth, of all things. We expect nothing good; except he seems to do it all good.
There's more. Todd Jones as the closer? Please. He throws stuff that I could hit. Except I can't and, it seems, no one else can either.
And your St. Louis Cardinals? Back in April was there anyone who would be surprised if they reached the World Series? C'mon Met fans even you had to think that was the way it would go. And then poor St. Louis had to play a baseball season. Pujols was Pujols but had some injuries and as a result had some stretches where he was only great and not supernatural. Everyone was sure the Cards would thrive: They had Edmonds and Rolen; Mulder and Isringhausen. This was a team that had been in the World Series two years ago, the NLCS last year. There was a genius managing the team, there was a new ballpark. What else? Oh, yes, high expectations.