The World Series is all red

The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Boston Red Sox in the World Series starting Wednesday.  For the first time I can remember, both of the teams that I was rooting for in their respective league playoffs were victorious.  The playoff games were indeed fascinating, and the pitching was awe-inspiring.  In the World Series, I’m for the Cardinals.  I predict they will win it in six games.  What do you think?

Midwestern virtues vs. Hollywood star power

Sportswriter Thomas Boswell sees two worlds colliding in the National League playoff between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers:

When the Dodgers meet the Cardinals on Friday with the Gateway Arch framed in center field to start the National League Championship Series, we’ll see a clash of baseball worldviews and a collision of regional cultures, too.

The Cards have always hugged Midwest virtues while the Dodgers loved movie stars in the box seats and star power on the field. But this year both teams are such extreme versions of their traditional selves it’s just delicious. [Read more...]

The agony and the ecstasy of playoffs

The baseball playoffs are on another level of sports enjoyment.  These games are not relaxing, as baseball usually is, at least if you have a favorite team in the mix.  You find yourselves fixating on every pitch.  The games are intense, suspenseful, stressful.  To be sure, they are great fun, but they are draining and exhausting.  This year, in the first round, every one of the best-of-five contests went to five games, the first time that has ever happened.

I stayed up until well after midnight watching the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Nationals, my new home team, jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings.  But the Cardinals chipped away.  In the 9th inning, the Nationals led by two points, 7-5.   With two outs, the reliable closer Drew Storen on the mound, though with the bases loaded, the team and its fans could taste victory, especially after two strikes to low-in-the-batting-order Daniel Descalso.  But then he hit a two-run single!  The score was tied!  Once again, Storen, letting Descalso steal a base so with runners on 1st & 3rd, had the next batter, Pete Kozma, down to the last strike.  And he got a hit, putting the Cardinals ahead 9-7 for the win!

It could have gone so many different ways.  The Cardinals had two last-bat, last-strike miracles in a row.  But then again, this is exactly the kind of things that the Cardinals did last year, over and over again, in the playoffs and then in winning the World Series.  So now I’m going to pull for the Cardinals, though I’m not sure how many games I can take.

What a game

UPDATE:  The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series!  They did to the Texas Rangers what I have seen them do over and over again to the Milwaukee Brewers, not only in the playoffs but when I lived in Wisconsin and went to lots of games.  They become just relentless, coming back again and again, even when you think you’ve put them away.  Coming up with that clutch hit just when they need it and consistently performing improbable heroics.   I admire the Cardinals.  I’m going to add them to my list of teams I follow.

[The following is about Game 6, being hailed as one of the best games ever.  I discovered that I taped it!  I'm going to watch those last innings that I missed.]:

After a long, long day, I couldn’t stay up any longer.   In a game filled with mistakes, strange events, and passionate intensity with every pitch, I gave up and went to bed, violating my own baseball rule, and thus missing the extra innings in which St. Louis came back TWICE to win the 6th game of the World Series.

In one of the greatest thrillers in baseball history, the St. Louis Cardinals twice rallied against the Texas Rangers Thursday night when they were down to their last strike of the season to send the World Series to a pivotal Game 7 for the first time since 2002.

First David Freese saved them with a two run triple in the ninth, then Lance Berkman delivered a tying single in the 10th.

“Turned out to be one for the ages,” said Daniel Descalso, who keyed a Cardinals comeback.

Hours after Freese’s home run plunked down on the grass patch beyond the center field wall, long after the ballpark emptied, a message still burned bright on the scoreboard: “See you TOMORROW NIGHT for Game 7 of the World Series!”

Whatever happens, whether the St. Louis Cardinals or Texas Rangers win, they’ll have a hard time topping Thursday night.

“You had to be here to believe it,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.

via World Series: St. Louis Cardinals Thrilling Win Forces Game 7 Against Rangers | Fox News Latino.

The World Serious

Even though the St. Louis Cardinals broke my heart by beating the Brewers in the playoffs, I find myself wanting them to win the World Series.  Not too long ago, the Cardinals were written off, 10 games back, with no hope for the wild card even.  But here they are in the World Series.  On paper, they are supposed to lose to the Texas Rangers–a team I also liked, especially last year in the series–but they have been defying whatever’s on paper with incredible clutch performances.  Chris Carpenter shutting down the Philadelphia Phillies, no less!  Albert Pujols batting close to .500!  And then the other performances all the way through the batting order!  And the manager Tony la Russa, said to be playing chess while all of the other managers are playing checkers!

What is your analysis, prognosis, and prediction?


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