They deserved to be American League champions. They were the best team.
The Tigers fell apart at the end of the regular season, but they were without Placido Polanco for most of it, so we'll forgive them for that. The dropoff from Polanco to Neifi Perez--it's about as big as the dropoff from Mark Ellis to D'Angelo Jimenez.
I wish the A's could have put up a better fight. The Tigers might have won anyway, but I would have loved to have seen this series with both teams at full strength. The A's style is to play solid defense, keep the game close, and then win it late with a deep bullpen. But without Ellis and his MLB-record 2B fielding percentage, and without Justin Duchscherer, who can throw two shutdown innings in the middle of a ballgame, the A's M.O. was gone. Those two guys were the keys, the very heart and soul of the A's success in 2006.
Defensive miscues cost the A's game two, and the short bullpen cost them in game four. If the A's had won one of those games, we'd get to see Barry Zito give one last effort in an Oakland uniform. Instead, his last appearance was a stinker. That's a sad way to go out.
And now, once again, I'd like to say this to the many, many people who ridiculed me and questioned my sanity back in April, when I picked the Tigers to win the AL Central: