World Series Game Seven’s are best watched from the edge of a seat.
I learned that last night as the Cardinals slowly, systematically – thankfully – secured their eleventh World Championship in franchise history.
What a game. What a series. What a season.
The Texas Rangers were the perfect, formidable foe for this season’s Fall Classic. Strong offense, good pitching, a manager invested in his players and his organization, almost to a fault. Sound familiar?
After Game Six’s epic, classic finish the discussion, as tends to happen, turned to momentum and how the Rangers would respond. The answer? By putting the Cardinals behind early, yet again. They were not going to allow the prior disappointment affect their pursuit of a celebration – their pursuit of being immortalized among the great teams in Major League Baseball history. Sound familiar?
Like a thief in the night, David Freese once again pulled momentum and a lead from the Texas team and faithful – more than one person watching wrote on Twitter that they expected Freese to come through there – as if it were written somewhere, say, the stars? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
And so the score was 2-2 until Freese’s contemporary, the guy who had just as unexpectedly as Freese helped propel the Cardinals into such a position, into this opportunity of a lifetime, stepped to the plate. And like Freese on Thursday night in Game Six, it only took one good swing for Allen Craig to make Cardinals fans believe that this improbable dream, this improbable season could end so positively.
It seemed fitting that for such a backward season, one that was turned upside down for the Cardinals in mid-season, then right-side up on the last day of the regular season – the Cards would once again make something of nothing in the fifth inning. Not long removed from the manager’s disembowelment of the movie Moneyball and its focus on on-base percentage, the Cards would score two runs in the fifth inning without getting a hit. Fitting.
By that time, the buzz was rising in Busch Stadium III. The body language was looking weary and beaten in the Texas dugout. The strike zone seemed to be shrinking. Before long, the Cardinals found themselves in the same position as the Rangers were on Thursday night. Six outs. Then five. And so on, until only one out remained between Jason Motte, Yadier Molina, and the rest of their teammates finding a cool spot on the ground to celebrate.
“Come on, baby!”
Jeff Passan says that Motte said “Come get some!” as Yadi approached the mound. My amateur lip-reading skills saw “Come on, baby!” Nevermind, it was awesome.
So it was that the Cards’ thick-bearded closer had set the opponent down in a deciding Game Seven, in St. Louis, in front of the home faithful. Sound familiar?
I mentioned yesterday before the game that we as Cardinal fans have been, and continue to be, spoiled. Thank you, Cardinals. Thank you Bill DeWitt. Thank you John Mozeliak. Thank you Tony La Russa.
Thank you Chris Carpenter – if only your ovation last night could’ve gone on longer. What a masterful performance.
Thank you David Freese – you’re living not only your boyhood dream, but that same dream for many of us.
Thank you Allen Craig – I sincerely hope you are rewarded with six hundred at-bats next season.
Thank you Yadier Molina – just, you know, for everything.
Thank you Jason Motte – for being the best not-closer in baseball for the last two months.
Thank you Lance Berkman – for finding the fountain of youth and sprinkling just a little on the rest of this team. See you next season.
Thank you Texas Rangers – for providing all of us with such a great spectacle of sport, and doing it with class. See you next season, same time and place?
Thank you Cardinal fans, everyone who reads this site, follows us on Twitter, and all the amazing well-wishes and congratulations I’ve received (even though I didn’t do anything) since last night’s final out.
Thank you Dennis and Josh – this site is infinitely better for your work on it. I know you will enjoy this as much as I am.
The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Champions for 2011. Happy flight.