Girl Talk – The Best Part

Oh, dear Cardinal Fans, our season has come to an end.  Our Redbirds played 162 games.  The good, the bad and the ugly all combined for a final 86-76 record. The Cardinals ended the 2010 season winning 5 straight games, including a sweep of the Rockies to finish in 2nd place in the National League Central.  It was not the most glorious of seasons, but we certainly had some fun along the way.

It is Monday and we are sticking with our ‘Girl Talk’ round table format for another week. Today we are looking for those golden moments of the 2010 Cardinal season.

This week’s topic:
What one event/game/player was the highlight of the 2010 Cardinal season (for you)?

Cadence:  I have enjoyed plenty this season – yes, hard to believe with the not-so-stellar season but I believe there have been plenty of good things too. I could repeat my first post with CDD saying my favorite thing this season was fan photo day and getting pics with all those players, but I won’t.

Instead, I will say, quite simply, that Jaime Garcia has been the best part of the 2010 Cardinal Season for me.

“Jaime Garcia celebrates his 3-hit complete game shut-out
on August 22nd against the Giants.”
St. Louis Post Dispatch

Not really a surprise that he was as good as he was. When we saw him briefly in 2008, I thought he had some good potential. Now, to see what a great job he has done – coming back strong from Tommy John surgery and stepping up as the #3 starter – I have been blown away! Garcia has definitely been a bright spot in a dismal 2010 Cardinal season; going 13-8 with a 2.70 era (ranking 4th among starters behind Johnson, Waino & Halladay) and putting up his first-career complete game shut-out (which I was in attendance for). One moment in particular that I felt he stepped up was August 10th in Cincinnati; being the starting pitcher during the game of the infamous brawl, he was able to compose himself and pitch like a veteran as the Cardinals went on to win. The kid is good, and I can’t wait to see more from him in 2011.

Erika: Matt Holliday.  Last year during the offseason I spent far too much emotional energy hoping and fretting about the chances that Holliday would be a Cardinal in 2010.  A slugging, handsome Oklahoma boy like that was destined to join my dear Cardinals.  He signed.  I was in heaven.

After watching Holliday struggle to find his groove early on, it was a pleasant relief to see his bat catch fire in the 2nd half.  So many impatient fans were disappointed when ol’ Matty was struggling offensively at the start of the season.  Shoot, even Holliday himself was frustrated.  But since the All Star break he has been the more consistent powerhouse we were hoping for.

Hunky Swing – photo by Erika

Since mid July Holliday has hit .331 with a .413 on-base percentage and a .541 slugging percentage.  In interviews Matt has frequently referred to the baseball season balancing itself out, stating every player goes through phases.  Personally, I really savored Hunky’s hot phase here at the end.  Without a doubt, Holliday has been my bright spot.  He played with 100% hustle in the outfield all the way to the final out, and (the gals knew this was coning…) watching Matt ‘Hunky’ Holliday dig in at the plate has been the highlight of my 2010 Cardinal season!

Jacqueline: Nobody does it bettah, or as I like to say he’s like buttah! Albert Pujols is simply the best player I will ever watch play the game. In 2010 he was without a doubt the best part of the season. Yes, we have grown to expect it. Yes, we are spoiled by his stellar play. But I refuse to hold that against him.

photo Credit: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Since I grew up hearing about Stan the Man and Gibby, I cling to the miracle that I have Albert Pujols to watch every day. But ya don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the individual stats that matter. I’m not gonna bore you non stat heads with a lot of numbers. I’m just gonna tell you his ranking in the National League in those categories that make him an MVP year in year out. Albert ranks 1st in HRS, RUNS, RBI and is tied for 1st in SLG and WAR. He ranks 2nd in OBP, OPS,  and WPA. He ranks 6th in BA and 19th in CLUTCH. All these stats are courtesy of our friends at FanGraphs. Here’s the link if you want to peruse them or need a description of what WAR, WPA and CLUTCH mean. We all know Albert is so much more than numbers. As I watched the Stand for Stan ceremony yesterday, there is no doubt in my mind, there will be one just like it for Albert one day. He is now and forever a Cardinal. I’m verklempt. “Discuss amooangst yooaselves”.

Angela: Get ready for something really sappy (this doesn’t happen very often), but for me, the best part of the 2010 season was the people. I’m sure that I’ll remember the players and I will probably remember the disappointment of the season overall, but this season I got to attend eight Cardinal games (a personal high) in three different cities with people that are closer than close (family members), friends that I hold dear to my heart, and thanks to the miracle of Twitter and this blog, fans that I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise. I saw some fun games (Stavinoha’s HR off Trevor Hoffman in MIL), some unexpected games (Hawksworth’s nice start in the sweltering KC heat), and a laugher or two (18-4 on CDD night at Busch). In just those three examples I met or spent time with 8 different Cardinal fans to the core.

The players might be the ones that make the games happen, but the fans make it the experience. Thank you for sharing it with me. I hope to meet more of you in 2011!

Those are our 2010 highlights.  Add your own in the comments below!  We’d love to read ’em… reliving the good stuff helps ease the pain of *gulp* the reality that the season is over.  =)

Thanks for reading!
The Cardinal Diamond Diary Gals

One thought on “Girl Talk – The Best Part

  1. >I will chime in, since I surprisingly just saw my picture included!The player and game that stand out the most for me are Jaime Garcia and his complete game shutout of the Giants on Aug. 22. After the rough series with the Cubs and Brewers right before that, it was a big boost to see just how much Jaime truly is capable of. That was obviously the highest of the highlights Jaime provided us this year, and unfortunately those starts were cut off too soon.Another highlight is the eight-game winning streak. For the first (and, in retrospect, only) time this season, there really was that feeling of no matter what happened during a particular game, the Cards were going to win.As for how the season ended up — well, that's baseball. Hopefully many improvements are on the horizon for 2011.

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