Shame on you, Cleveland. Back in 1997, you put words in the mouths of the baseball gods.
You called the Indians a team of destiny that fall. You said it was written in some celestial document that the Indians were destined to be the World Series champions that year.
But you were living in a world of make believe. The baseball gods smited you for such fanciful thinking with a Jose Mesa-led sock to the gut in Game 7.
The truth is, the baseball gods are very upfront about what they ordain as a "team of destiny."
The 1997 Indians: Not a team of destiny. The 2003 Cubs: Not a team of destiny. The '04 Red Sox, '05 White Sox and '06 Tigers: Teams of destiny.
It's not like a mysterious, trench coat-wearing man handed the message to Bob Woodward in a deserted parking garage. It's pretty obvious which teams have been blessed in recent years. The Red Sox became the first team ever, in any major league sport, to rally from an 0-3 playoff series deficit, knocking out the hated Yankees in the ALCS, then sweeping the Cardinals in an anticlimactic World Series for their first title in 86 years.
The White Sox had good pitching in 2005. In the postseason, their pitching became unreal as they posted an 11-1 playoff record en route to their first title in 88 years. We won't see a postseason pitching performance like that of the '05 White Sox again for decades.
This year, the Tigers disposed of an overrated Yankees team in four games. While that was going on, the A's -- a team that we can now say, in retrospect, didn't belong in the ALCS -- were busy sweeping the Twins. Sabermetric egghead Bill James could spend the next five years trying to quantify mathematically how, exactly, the halfway-decent A's could sweep the vaunted pitching staff of the Twins right out of the playoffs, and never figure it out.
The A's found Minnesota on the one week since June that they didn't play well. Oakland's victory eliminated Detroit's biggest obstacle to a championship, then the A's went back to being the champions of a weak division they always were.
These things don't just happen by accident.
The Tigers have nothing to fear as they await the winner of the NLCS. The baseball gods make damn sure their teams of destiny have no problems fulfilling their purpose. The winner of the NLCS is guaranteed to be a lamb to the slaughter.
Just in case the momentum and talent discrepancy isn't enough, the baseball gods will probably let the Cardinals and Mets slug it out for seven draining games, just to be sure the NL champion arrives in Motown not only overmatched, but dog tired as well.
The Tigers appear primed for a World Series sweep befitting a team of destiny. If that comes to pass, the NL will be on a 12-game losing streak in the World Series.
Detroit, Chicago and Boston, they know destiny. Cleveland, you have no idea what destiny is. And don't try to find out. The baseball gods, they'll let you know in no uncertain terms.