How many heart attacks does it take to win a Stanley Cup?

Here’s a stat I’d love know: incidence of fan heart attacks during the NHL Stanley Cup playoff season. I couldn’t even hazard a guess. This year, in the first round alone, the playoffs have been a statistical marvel. The Bleacher Report lays it out pretty concisely here. Watching them is mentally, emotionally, and possibly, physically … Continue reading

Suggested Halloween costumes for my party Saturday, baseball playoffs edition

1. A-Rod Wear: street clothes, South Beach-chic Have: a blonde with you; suggestions: Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Madonna Accessories: pile of damp Monopoly $1000 bills. Tell everyone you’re crying into your money. 2. Ryan Howard Wear: Phillies uniform Have: stunned, vacant look Accessories: a whole bunch of Ks, and a bat that stays right on … Continue reading

Five is not the same as seven

Remember last week when I listed my playoff predictions?

No? Admittedly, the column was pretty long, and the predictions were slapped onto its end, well after your attention had waned. (It’s probably happening now, at the end of this sentence. All these parenthetical statements wear you down, my high school English teacher said.)

Well, obviously, no one read that far/was in full possession of their wits when they got that far, because no one noticed my hilarious mistake (part Freudian wishful thinking, part Courvoisier.)

Let’s take another look:

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Happy trails

Watching the wonderful new installment of Ken Burn’s Baseball (the original, I sheepishly admit, I have yet to watch), The Tenth Inning, a player mentioned something similar: the chemistry comes when you’ve been winning together, when you are all bought into the plan, when the games get tough and you all— each of you—grind out each at-bat, each pitch, to get the right ball to hit and the hit that drives in the run that wins the game.

That kind of focus and workmanship has been missing from the Tigers since, well, 2006. And it’s the kind of thing you don’t get by building, or retaining, guys for amorphous reasons, like “He’s a veteran,” “He’s a leader,” or “The sound of the ball off his bat is different, like all the greatest hitters the game has ever known.”

So the Tigers have already announced who is not coming back—at least, not at this pay scale.

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What happens in winter

It’s the seasonal equivalent of Sunday dread, that moment as the last of the weekend turns into the first of the work week (or, years ago, fresh seven days of school) when you begin to feel your entire life weigh heavily upon you. Somewhere recently I read that Sunday dread is the bit of evening where you are nearly smothered by the choices you’ve made, and the doubts you have about them – should I have gone to grad school when I was young? Is it too late to become President? Why didn’t I try harder in fifth grade? Will we ever be the people living in the same neighborhood as Tom Izzo?

It’s when September is just about out of days and the Tigers, God bless them, are officially, mathematically, scientific-method tested and retested and confirmed, out of the playoff picture. Again.

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