That is the scene at 1 a.m. ET at Comerica Park. The first rain is just now approaching, and now all eyes will be on the weather for Sunday night. It is expected to rain much of the day, and the hope is that it will taper off for 7:30 gametime, but you can’t help but look at the word "snow" in that forecast for late in the evening and think back to the 1997 World Series in Cleveland or even last year’s cold/wet Game 2 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Either way, it won’t exactly be Spring Training conditions. It’s late October in the upper Midwest. Get ready.
Game 1 will be remembered for at least a couple of things: Pitching to Albert Pujols, and the pitching of Cardinals rookie Anthony Reyes. St. Louis has just stolen home-field advantage away from the American League, which will not have a third consecutive World Series sweep. Tigers fans are relying on Kenny Rogers being the same guy who shut down the Yankees and A’s at Comerica in the last two rounds. Jeff Weaver will be on the other side for the Cardinals, and he has been much better this postseason than his regular-season numbers.
The 102nd World Series has one game in the books, and it wasn’t what most people expected. That’s life in the 2006 postseason. Let’s hope for playable conditions, and if that falls through, then there’s always a Vince Gill concert about 300 feet away at the nation’s original Fox Theatre.
There are only a couple of people riding this in the Big Cat area of Comerica Park right now for obvious reasons. If you want to see what Standing Room Only really means, here’s a Powervid that shows how ushers are allowing fans to pack tightly against the wall of the main walkthrough from pole to pole behind the box seats:
This gentleman on the left participated in the pregame unfurling of an
outfield-sized American flag, and now he’s doing what countless others
here are: Just trying to find a spot to see the action and record some
This fan loves to read Nate Robertson’s Gum Time MLBlog…
This is baseball …
The gates just opened, and there was a loud ROAR right before 4:30 when they did. There is a World Series here in Detroit tonight for the first time since 1984. Here is a picture I took of Kaden Dailide, 3, who was born when the Tigers were putting together 119 losses. Sports Illustrated ran a photo of him recently in this gear (he’s going as Superman for Halloween), and a local TV station found out and he was on his way after this photo was taken to meet Magglio Ordonez before the game.
Meet Len and Pam Kantola of Petersburg, Mich. In 1984, Pam had her wisdom teeth removed and Len left her to go to Game 4 of the World Series and watch Kirk Gibson homer. "He left me suffering!" she said after this photo below was taken. "I even had to go to the emergency room that night." Now married 27 years, Len says, "The good news is the Tigers won. It was a good day. By the time I went home, she was under medication so it was OK." Len is "making up for it" tonight. He paid $2,600 for four tickets for both of them as well as his son Kyle and son-in-law Ken Drollete. "I’m thinking we’re winning in four," Len says. "The Tigers are well-rested. St. Louis is tired."
No one expected the Detroit Tigers to be in the playoffs, no one expected them to demolish the Yankees in the ALDS, no one expected them to sweep Oakland, and no one expected them to be here. So that explains Christine Wofford of Canton, Mich. An administrative analyst for the Wayne County Road Commission, she "heard on the radio they were talking about this series being a Cinderella story, and now we’re the best. This happens so infrequently here." She is making the most of it, and her daughter is being her official videographer on the scene.
At about 4 p.m., this guy ran right past me while I was cruising Comerica with the Canon. It reminded me of high school ball, running the stairs. His name is Todd Jones. He could be closing out a World Series victory hours later. Jones is a bigtime Auburn football fan, and this also is a reminder about that.
Whenever you see a closeup of Tony La Russa or a Cardinal player in the dugout this weekend, here’s the culprit. It’s a remote-control camera just inside the opening to the visitors’ dugout. Tony wears sunglasses, so it still won’t tell you what he’s looking at.
There was a little leftover water on top of the visitors’ dugout at 4, but it could not be a more perfect night for ball. Some rain could fall later, maybe 10 or 11. Thought you would like to see a closeup view of the top of the dugout, because most people will think they painted the big block "WORLD SERIES" letters in white on top of each dugout. It’s a Velcro pad, a really long one.
This place is just breathtaking, even on an off-night. At 8 p.m. ET, some of the final touches are being applied by groundskeepers. It’s going to hit every Tigers fan like Goose Bump Mountain when they walk in and see "World Series" in giant block letters on top of the dugouts. Everything about Comerica Park is gorgeous, and when you look at the backstop screen, you can’t help but think of Jim Leyland giving a celebration hug right through it after the American League Division Series.
Game 1 of the World Series between the Cards and Tigers is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday — watch on FOX, listen live on MLB.com Gameday Audio and on MLB.com‘s Enhanced Gameday killer app to track TRUE Justin Verlander (and maybe Joel Zumaya) speeds now that radar guns are gradually being replaced by a foolproof pitch tracking system (30 frames per second via three-camera video triangulation) spearheaded by MLB Advanced Media.
I was going to have a "Count the Comerica Tigers" contest on this MLBlog, but the more you walk around the stadium, the more you realize that they can’t possibly be counted. First of all, each of the green seats has a tiger on the side, so suddenly it’s up in the high 30,000s, as capacity is 41,070, and some of those are suites/special seats. Then you look down and notice a napkin with the Comerica tiger logo. How many napkins are in the stadium? Thousands? I decided that judging the contest will be impossible, but you are totally free to pose a guess here in the comments.
We covered the Tigers in the first entry, and then the National League champions showed up fresh off their Game 7 thriller over the Mets at Shea Stadium. They worked out late in the afternoon. Rookie Anthony Reyes, who struggled in the last series, will oppose Verlander — amazingly, the first time two rooks have squared off in a World Series Game 1.
The best player in baseball, Albert Pujols, met the press at his locker below, fresh and welcoming all-comers. But keep an eye on his hamstring. He said that it still bothers him, and we’re looking at chilly/damp weather this weekend — playable but not hammy-loving weather. "I know it’s gonna be tough. That’s a great team," Pujols said. "Hopefully, we’re ready to go tomorrow. One of us is gonna be champion." He noted that when the Cards were swept by the Tigers in Interleague Play this past summer. "We weren’t playing well in June, and they were playing awesome."
Look who else is surrounded these days. The day after one of the most dramatic saves in postseason history, Adam Wainwright said: "Today is the last day of gettin’ here. Then it’s all about being here." He said of the clincher at Shea: "We look at it like, celebrate it today, then throw it out." But many people will never throw it out and will tell stories about it.
Predictions for the World Series
Will the Cardinals win it all for the first time since 1982? Will the Tigers win it all for the first time since 1984? Will it become a legendary seven-game thriller like their 1968 matchup, when Gibby whiffed 17 in the opener and Lolich beat him in Game 7? Or will it be another American League sweep for the third year in a row? You have until 7:30 Saturday night to post your pick right here, and don’t forget to start your own MLBlog and be a World Series chronicler, too.
Welcome to the 2006 World Series. The last time the Tigers and Cardinals met in a Fall Classic, "blog" wasn’t even a word. Tiger Stadium is now replaced by beautiful Comerica Park, which will be the setting for Game 1 on Saturday night and Game 2 on Sunday. Busch Stadium is now replaced by beautiful new Busch Stadium, which will be the scene of Game 3 on Tuesday. The goal of this blog will be to take you behind the scenes in a different way than in previous World Series, with my notebook, a Canon Powershot A540 for pics, video uploads and a lot of friends.
To get it started, I just snagged the first official "Web Gem" of the World Series. Manager Jim Leyland has a good view of it, too. You won’t find this one anywhere else…
Just a bit on the chilly side for workout day this afternoon, but that’s to be expected and no one really cares. It’s the World Series. Last year, it was a crazy mix of cold and rain throughout Game 2 of the World Series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, and it might as well have been St. Thomas.
Here’s your Game 1 starter for the Tigers. Rookie Justin Verlander told us during the first World Series interview-room session today that he found out about his assignment after the Cardinals finally beat the Mets in that NLCS Game 7 classic at Shea. When did he go to sleep? "I think like 2, 2:30," he said. "It’s not too bad. It’s kind of a regular schedule for me to go to bed that time and wake up at noon. But I really wanted to go to bed a little bit earlier, because I’m under the impression the night before is the most important night’s sleep. Especially when I found out they won, I went to bed and tried to go to sleep and that wouldn’t happen."
By the way, the headline on the front of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning was so good, it is worth noting here: "Yadi! Yadi! Yadi!"
Here’s Pudge showing up for batting practice. Three years ago, he and the Marlins shocked the Cubs at Wrigley and then laughed at the Yankees’ home-field advantage in the World Series. Now he and the Tigers have the home-field advantage. "Mr. [Michael] Illitch and Dave Dombrowski came to me and told me they were going to put together a winning team," Rodriguez recalls of his signing days. "It took time, but they didn’t lie to me. Here we are in the World Series."
The Hair. The Homer. Magglio Ordonez. . . .
Some of the hottest seats in baseball. . ..
This worker was busy affixing street-lamp signs outside the ballpark. The NFL’s Lions have a long way to go to help this slogan, but the Tigers are working on that one now. . .
The Cardinals are here now, more to follow from the National League champs.