Saturday, October 29, 2011


This is auto show week, which means not just the opportunity to look over a field of great new vehicles but also to enjoy many residual benefits as well.
There probably is not a better example of how overprivileged automotive media can be than the week of the South Florida International Auto Show in Miami Beach.
Many PR folks from auto manufacturers are in town with their expense accounts aching to be emptied.
So it was dinner with Mazda poolside at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach on Wednesday night.
Lunch with Subaru at Smith & Wollensky in South Beach with a  preview of the company’s new Impreza on Thursday.
Dinner on Thursday night with Mark Fields, president of Ford of the Americas, at Morton’s in Miami Beach. I should rephrase that. It makes it sounds as if Mark and I were the only ones there. There were 15-20 or so in attendance, though I didn’t count and a few at the table were Ford folks.
On Friday, we had our own media association (Southern Automotive Media Association) luncheon the auto show, attended by more than a hundred members, media, and others there for the media day events, which were capped off by not just one but two cocktail receptions later that afternoon.
And tonight there is another awards presentation and reception hosted by the company of SAMA members Tony and Woodie Lesesne, also at the Miami Beach Convention.
But what really set the week apart from past auto show weeks, for me any way, was the Cardinals’ victory in the World Series.
I didn’t think the baseball playoffs could top the way the regular season ended, with four teams (among them the Cardinals) contending for the last two playoff spots. But the way this World Series went may have matched that (but maybe not if you’re not even a Cardinal fan).
That thing that baseball’s World Series week has over the Super Bowl is that the week is one full of games, especially if the Series goes seven games as this one did. Super Bowl week, for all the hoopla, is 80 percent talk, much of it meaningless or over-analyzation, and 20 percent action.
Baseball has it over both the NBA and NHL championship weeks as well because of the game itself.
Consider Game 6 of the Series. The Cardinals went into the last of the ninth inning down two runs and needing a win to stay alive. They were down to their last strike when David Freese tripled in those two runs to tie it.
They were down two runs again in the last of the 10th inning and again were down to their last strike when Lance Berkman singled in the tying run.
Then Freese won it with a home run in the last of the 11th.
That kind of drama is hard for other sports, run on a clock, to match. There comes a point when there simply isn’t enough time for the trailing team to overcome a deficit of more than one score. That just isn’t so in baseball. With a time limit, the Rangers would have won in six games.
The Cardinals were down to one strike not once but twice when facing a two-run deficit and still won. (Some team in the regular season overcame a nine-run deficit in the last inning, but I don’t remember which one.)
It’s a cliche, but it’s true. The game isn’t over until the last man is out, not when time is out.
The only thing about the Cardinal win is that I felt for both ex-pitching great Nolan Ryan, the Rangers president and owner, and Rangers manager Ron Washington. They deserve a title, too. Ryan has been one of baseball’s good guys, and Washington was fun to watch.
I hope they can get to a third consecutive World Series and win next year.
Unless they are playing the Cardinals of course.

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