Hence with today marking what I consider the second anniversary of my virtual soapbox, which has received hits from all 50 States and 73 countries (since July 2010), I find a bit of contrariety in composing another sports-themed post in observance of my two years working on this largely politics- and socially-themed blog. Thankfully, at least, it centers on a team that’s been near and dear for most of my life:
They were 10.5 games out of the final spot in the playoffs with 32 games remaining in the brutally long season. A collapse by the frontrunner Braves seemed more than unlikely. But Tony La Russa, the Cardinals manager of 16 seasons, wouldn't let his team quit. And so the Redbirds charged.
The generally unenthusiastic appraisal about the Cardinals depth, and their bullpen more specifically, was bandied about through most of the year even after the 'birds improbable run to the playoffs became reality upon earning the last playoff spot on the last day of the regular season. And despite the doubters, they found a way to defeat the heavily favored Phillies and the division champion Brewers. Their reward: a young, feisty and powerful Texas Rangers team making its second straight appearance in the World Series.
The Cardinals were done in Game 6. They weren't just down to their last out. They were down to their last strike. Twice. But the Cards battled back, yet again, in a way that literally no other team ever has. And now, after an extraordinary seven-game series, the St. Louis Cardinals are champions of baseball for the eleventh time.
Although the Rangers are the first team to lose the World Series after initially being one out away from winning it since the '86 Red Sox, they're also the first team to make back-to-back appearances in the Fall Classic since the Yankees played in four straight (winning three) from '98-'01. The smart money says we'll be seeing the boys from Texas again in the very near future.
Such determination has become rare in the sports world, especially on the professional level. The Cardinals weren't just fun to watch. They were also inspiring. La Russa retired practically hours ago and the legendary Albert Pujols could be moving on as well, but the 2011 Cardinals will always be remembered for all the right reasons.