An anti-climatic and perfectly normal baseball game took place on October 28, 2011 at Busch Stadium.
The night before was magical. It defined the 2011 season and this edition of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. Game six of the World Series will be one that father’s tell their kids about. Cardinal fans will utter the phrase “where were you on the night the hometown kid took control of a championship run?” The most famous of questions that a St. Louisan asks, “Where did you go to high school?” will forever be known when talking about David Freese. Freese may never pay for a meal in St. Louis again. On that Thursday night, the Cardinals made their statement, David Freese lived out every little boy’s dream, and ultimately, a legend was born in October.
The cliches, analysis and legendary statuses were thrown around at the conclusion of game six. Fans piled into Busch Stadium for a game seven that would, in all honesty, never live up to the hype that the preceding games built up. There was very little chance that extra innings would be needed again, it was unlikely that someone would hit three home runs, and the odds were against a home town hero possibly doing anything more to improve upon an already dominant October. Well, two out of three ain’t bad…
Chris Carpenter started game seven off by allowing the Rangers to jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the first. With the first two runners quickly retired, Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman would draw walks. Freese would step to the plate searching for a little more magic from the night before. After working the count full and with the runners in motion, Freese would stroke a double into the outfield gap and the Cardinals had tied the game. Much like the night before, it simply seemed that they would not let the Rangers pull away.
Michael Young’s double that drove in Josh Hamilton in the first would prove to be the final run scoring hit in 2011 for the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, it was another unlikely dominant force, Allen Craig, who would hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third to put the Cardinals on top for good. The team that had battled through the last two months of baseball would settle into six innings of solid baseball to put their opponents away.
The attention will likely turn to the off season almost immediately for fans, team officials and players. Players like Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumaker, Edwin Jackson, Nick Punto, Rafael Furcal and, yes, Albert Pujols might have played their final game in the uniform featuring the birds on the bat. Management will start planning how to possibly repeat this year’s performance. Articles will feature the return of Adam Wainwright to mound and player profiles on free agent signees and rookies with a chance to make the team.
For now, however, the focus is simply placed on what occurred on a cold Friday in October in the shadow of the Arch. The St. Louis Cardinals played an ordinary game without heroics or fireworks. A game that featured very few spectacular moments. A game that featured the pitcher who has won more postseason games than anyone in the history of the franchise simply go out and win another one. A game that featured a pitcher put on the finishing touches in the ninth inning, despite not being the team’s closer. A game that witnessed Yadier Molina drive in two of his nine runs during the World Series. Minor storylines featuring major names played out in a very ordinary fashion. Yet, the dust settled and game seven gave us the one and only thing it promised us in the beginning.
A World Champion was crowned.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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