St. Louis Cardinals: World Series Champions

What exactly did we expect? Lately, this bat and ball game has spoiled us to an extreme degree. It would have been awesome to go extra innings again, or end on a walk-off, or witness another remarkable cluster of chaos and transcendence—but after the way the regular season ended, and how things went down in game 6, the World Series will be forgiven for going out with a bit of a whimper. These things happen.

After David Freese plated the tying runs with a double in the first, I got sucked in again. I could envision the game being decided in the ninth, some final strike scenario. But the game went on, the fifth inning got messy—a terrible call and a hit batter later, and the inevitable began to sink in. It was a little depressing, but mostly it just was. One team wins and the other loses. The team leading in the fifth inning usually stays that way. Every game can’t rub up against the boundaries of history.

Speaking of history, let’s do away with this hung-over restraint and give the St. Louis Cardinals their due. As annoying as they could be (very fucking annoying), that team did something miraculous. They are perhaps the most unlikely World Series winners of all time. Regardless of how difficult it is to gather up the proper perspective at this very moment, that’s no small feat. Good for Yadier Molina, who might still manage to stay underrated despite all the attention he was rightfully given this post-season. Good for Allan Craig, who bugged me to no end, but who came through time after time and is living a dream few part-time minor league overachievers ever get to experience. Good for Chis Carpenter, who might be a dick, but who turned in a couple performances of a lifetime on the way to a World Series victory. Good for Lance Berkman, one of the most underrated hitters ever, who after years of epic losing in Houston finally broke though as a champion. And good for Albert Pujols and David Freese, two players inextricably linked to St. Louis for extremely different reasons, but two players whose accomplishments and circumstances somehow managed to equal the force of the narrative surrounding them. Hollywood type shit.

I was rooting for the Texas Rangers. Maybe that makes me a bad Mariners fan, but the heart wants what it wants, motherfuckers. Their team was loaded with talented and likable players, and the Cardinals were annoying, I couldn’t help it. I feel for their fans. As a supporter of Seattle sports born after the year 1979, I’m sensitive to that kind of agony. The kind sports inspire—the kind you feel ridiculous for feeling but it’s there nonetheless. I feel bad for Adrian Beltre, mostly. I love that guy. It’s really fun to watch him play baseball. I feel bad for Josh Hamilton and Mike Adams and Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus and all the other cool and/or interesting players who fell just a bit short. I feel bad for Ron Washington, who seems like a really nice guy who really loves his players, but who is a terrible tactical manager whose decisions cost his team countless times. Bummer, am I right?

The World Series is over, and so is baseball for a while. It was a fun season! It always is.

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