Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, October 17, 2011

Loving the Cardinals - It's Hard for the Fans

Tony LaRussa at Spring Training
It's been about eight months since my husband and I flew into Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and headed to Jupiter for Baseball Spring Training with the St. Louis Cardinals. The first day we were there, we learned that the co-ace of the pitching staff, Adam Wainwright, would be out for the season with Tommy John surgery. That was a terrible blow for the team and diminished their hopes for a post-season run. All the while, Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, remained upbeat. Spring training is such a special time because every team has hope, some teams more than others. Despite everything, Tony and the Cardinals had that hope.

In late March, the Cardinals started this season with a flurry of losses, making their prospects seem even more dismal. With a multitude of injuries, they plodded along and eventually spent a while in first place before they eventually went on an eight-game losing streak.

During the baseball season, on every trip we took, I had to find a sports bar with satellite TV so we could see the Cardinals play. We discovered sports bars in Boone, NC, Lake Tahoe, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Hilton Head, SC, and up and down Lake Michigan and Lake Superior in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The last week of August, the Cardinals were far behind the Central Division-leading Milwaukee Brewers and 10 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card race. How could they possibly make it to the postseason playoffs?

But they did.

David Freese at Spring Training
The team began a magical run and overtook the Atlanta Braves on the last day of the season to take the Wild Card. Then, in an unlikely scenario, they defeated three outstanding pitchers from the Philadelphia Phillies that had been hailed as the best team in baseball with the best pitching staff. Who would have dreamed it?

Last night, the Cardinals won over the Milwaukee Brewers and will now head to the World Series against the Texas Rangers. And, it was not Albert Pujols, but it was instead third baseman David Freese who was named most valuable player in the National League Championship series.

All the while, dedicated fans like us watched every game. For the last six weeks, each game we followed was a "must win" situation. It's been really hard on the fans because we have no control over what happens.

Still, this year, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals have been the team of destiny. And we've watched every pitch from beginning to end.

Will this team of destiny become baseball's World Champions? It's still an unlikely scenario, or so I've heard. But, I'm hoping...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Never give up, never surrender!
That is just awesome, Monti. You should write a book about it...

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Alex. I would love to write a baseball book but wouldn't know how to begin!