The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Monday, October 30, 2006

World Series Survived

Unfortunately I was not in St. Louis this past weekend to enjoy the festivities surrounding the World Series victory by the Cardinals. In fact, in the past 10 years, I've probably only spent about 30 total days in the the Lou.

Some of that has to do with the fact that St. Louis is apparently the most violent city in the country. More probably has to do with the fact that if you live in Chicago or another large city why would you really even want to go to the city except for those required holidays.

Either way, even though I managed to escape that black hole of the Midwest I haven't been able to leave my allegiance to the premiere sports team of the area behind.

Being a Cardinals fan the past 10 years has been kind of difficult. Not difficult because they've been horrible but rather the opposite, the fact that they've been so good for so long and hadn't managed to win a World Series.

2004 had to be the most painful. As you can tell by the explosion of Red Sox hats you still everywhere, the Cardinals didn't beat the curse. In fact, that hundred win team dropped like a sack of suckery in 4 straight games. Having never led a single inning of a single game of that series, it's easy to admit that the Cardinals went down much more meekly than the Tigers did in this past series. After not having been to a world series in 17 years, they blew what was probably their best chance.

The next year, things looked to be much better. The team actually even improved. They finished that season with 105 wins. However, they didn't even make it to the World Series that year. Instead they ended up losing to the wild-card Astros in the NLCS (in fitting revenge for that defeat the Astros were also swept).

This year started off much the same way, the Cardinals dominating the first several months of the season. In 2 months they were 15 games over .500. Then it started. They lost ace pitcher Chris Carpenter for a couple weeks because of bursitis, then Pujols went down with an oblique strain, then they lost pitcher Mark Mulder to shoulder problems. During that span they had an 8 game losing streak.

Still, somehow, before the All-Star Break they began to turn it around, it looked like the tough stretch was behind them. Jim Edmonds got red-hot for a month. But then in August things began to go bad again. It started to become evident that 4th start Jason Marquis should really be more like a 15th starter, then Jim Edmonds began to suffer from Post-Concussion Syndrome, then once Mark Mulder came off the disabled list, he came out and pitched like crap, giving up an insane amount of runs. Eventually they concluded that there was still something wrong with his shoulder. In this time there was another 8 game losing streak.

September wasn't much better, but thanks to their excellent start (and the amazingly bad NL Central) the Cardinals were still somehow in a pretty commanding division lead. Simple .500 baseball would get them into the post-season handily. That's when they lost Eckstein to an oblique strain and began what could have been the Greatest Late Season Collapse in History. Unfortunately for sports media everywhere, the Cardinals managed to hold onto their division lead and limp into the playoffs with a great 83-78 record (after another losing streak ... 7 games this time).

But as had happened all year, after a big losing streak the team began to play better. They managed to tear through the favored Padres in 4 games. Held on to beat the tattered Mets pitching in 7 games. And somehow capitalized on the Tigers' mistakes to win the World Series 4 games to 1.

The chattering is already going on about how either A) The Cardinals shouldn't have been in the post-season or B) The Tigers blew the World Series with their costly mistakes. I don't agree with either of those sentiments but it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that after a 24 year drought and 2 supposedly superior teams not winning it all, this tattered club somehow managed to win those 11 games in October and bring home the trophy. It was a blast.

For me, this post-season will always be represented by a phrase thrown around at StL blog Cardinals Diaspora by commenter The Inspiration. His rallying cry of, "We might just fuck around and win this thing" ended up representing these unexpected champions to a 'T'. It may not have been the prettiest but man it feels good!
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At 10/31/2006 2:41 PM, Blogger fulsome said...

This poor post looks very lonesome. Ye olde effort:comment ratio strikes again.

Oh, and AMEN! Now I only have to try half as hard to refrain from punching BoSox fans in their cobag faces.


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