They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one must be worth about a million. I have been lucky enough to now sit in on six World Series in my own modern era (starting back in 1982). No, I was not there for the Gas House Gangs championship in 1926.
I’ve now seen World Series play from the stands, the press box and the streets outside the stadium. Each offered its different views and unique perspectives. Fans in hotel bars and tail gate parking lots revere their Cardinals as much as those who paid $20,000 for one seat in the prized box area.
I’ve covered the Olympics, the Pan American Games; the NCAA Final Four and countless state prep championships.
Each event has its own story line and unique set of circumstances and values. This one was really fun. As an old grizzled reporter, I got to break in wide-eyed, eager kid reporter Rhonda Weiche, who hails from Oklahoma and calls River City her adopted home town.
Rhonda had never seen anything close to this. Her home town has 3,000 residents and not a single stop light.
She absorbed the world of the World Series like a sponge soaking up water. She wanted to take it all in and embrace each celebratory moment. She was the kid in the candy store the last two weeks. Twelve hours in downtown St. Louis was worth every moment.
It reminded me of the youngsters who were seeing their very first World Series— the tots in strollers, much too young to formulate any kind of memories.
The Cardinals put the punctuation mark on the declarative statement. They put the Rangers back where they belong in their adopted state of Texas. The Rangers finish as runners up for two consecutive years in a state where football reigns supreme.
As throngs of ebullient Cardinal fans surrounded Busch Stadium on all sides after Game 7, Ranger fans quietly exited the gates, slipping off into the night to soak their miseries in their collective beers.
Cardinals’ baseball seems to hold one special ingredient that bonds us all together. Past midnight, I couldn’t help but notice the mix of St. Louisans joining in the action. It seemed like the Cardinals, in their own way help us to bridge gaps and to just get us all away from the daily hustle and bustle and grind of our daily routines.
People ask my wife constantly why I am totally consumed by sports.
Easy to answer. The most sappy Hollywood flick has an ending crafted from a well prepared script. Spontaneity almost never exists. Everyone pretty much knows how the story lines will play out. That's not so for the wide world of sports. The outcome remains a mystery until the end.
In sports, gladiators enter the ring only to battle for supremacy. It's winner take all in sports. Americans aren’t big on celebrating second place finishes.
The Rangers clearly snatched defeat from jaws of victory. That champagne drink-a-thon was just one tantelizing strike away and twice—in the same game no less. But that's why victory is never celebrated until "the fat lady sings."
When the Cards were almost 11 games out in August, Tony LaRussa said effusively, that his team was going to have a strong finishing flourish.
Do you think he had a World Series title in mind in August?
Cards, 2011 version, all I can say is: Thanks for the memories.
Just think, spring training is less than 100 days off. Hope springs eternal.
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