The Improbable Champs

Photo by REUTERS

Looks like I’m owing one of my buddies money after all 🙂 The Cardinals have just completed likely the most incredible three months of baseball ever seen. Their story is well known by now: overcoming a double digit deficit in the regular season to eek into the playoffs, defeating the odds on World Series favourite Phillies on the road against the best pitcher in baseball and then most recently the magical game 6 performance where they were down to their last strike of their season twice and battled back to win. If there was ever a team of destiny, the Cardinals would be it.

Their triumph was truly a team triumph. There were good performances such as MVP David Freese’s, but there were important contributions all over the line-up, bullpen and rotation. Chris Carpenter showed unreal heart with his gutsy game 7 performance when it was clear he was running on fumes. Allen Craig, a little known player to the casual fan, came up with key hits throughout the series and also had a home run saving catch in game 7. Blue Jay castoffs Dotel and Rzep (I’m getting lazy and will not type the full name) were solid when called upon from the ‘Pen. The Rasmus trade with the Blue Jays was likely the turning point of their season. I doubt any of this happens if that trade did not occur. I wonder how Colby Rasmus feels tonight…for Blue Jays fans you’d hope this puts a charge in him to be better next year and beyond.

The Cardinals win is a tough pill to swallow for the Rangers. Losing a World Series is tough enough, losing 2 years in a row is agonizing, but losing after you had the trophy within reach with one more strike…twice…must be devastating. The Rangers pitching let them down in the end, setting a World Series record for base on balls in a series. As all baseball fans know, walks always come back to bite you in the ass. The offence will continue to be the Rangers’ strong point heading to next season, but the starting pitching will be a point of focus in the offseason. It is likely CJ Wilson pitched his last game as a Ranger tonight and he likely cut into his free agent pay day with an awful postseason performance. I do think the Rangers will continue to be a force in the seasons to come as their foundation is too strong to crumble away into obscurity.

Photo By REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/REUTERS

The final thing to address is the future of now free agent Albert Pujols. The best hitter in baseball already turned down a massive contract extension prior to the season and it was looking more and more like his days as a Cardinal were fading. However, most feel this World Series win likely has locked up not only Pujols, but also manger Tony LaRussa. I just can’t either of these 2 men leaving the Cardinals now.

Maybe that’s what the baseball gods wanted in the end…because Pujols in any other uniform just doesn’t seem right.

Image via Wikipedia