Tag Archive | "World Series Game"

Cardinals Announce Postseason Ticket Process

2013Postseason

ST. LOUIS – September 10, 2013 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced details regarding the process for fans to purchase postseason tickets.  Wild Card Game and Division Series tickets will go on sale this Thursday, September 12th. Details for ticket sales for each round are as follows:

  • Wild Card Game: Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, September 12th.  Tickets will be available at cardinals.com, via phone at 314-345-9000, and at the Busch Stadium ticket windows on 8th Street. No pre-registration is required to purchase.
  • Division Series: Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, September 12th.  Tickets will be available at cardinals.com, via phone at 314-345-9000, and at the Busch Stadium ticket windows on 8th Street. No pre-registration is required to purchase.
  • N. L. Championship Series: Online Registration for the chance to purchase NLCS tickets begins Friday, September 13th and concludes on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Winners of the random drawing will be notified via e-mail on Friday, September 20, 2013.  Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday, September 24th. There is a four (4) ticket limit for one (1) NLCS game.
  • World Series: Online Registration for the chance to purchase World Series tickets begins on Friday, September 13th and concludes on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.  Winners of the random drawing will be notified via e-mail on Thursday, October 10, 2013, and ticket sales will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. There is a two (2) ticket limit for one (1) World Series game.

Complete details and rules for the random drawing and purchases are available at cardinals.com/postseason. The exact number of seats available is unknown until the Cardinals receive commitments from Season Ticket Holders and Major League Baseball.  Announcements regarding potential Tiebreaker game ticket availability and public purchase will come at a later date.

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This One’s For You: Special moments of joy

Not many experiences are as touching as when a service man or woman comes home from war to reunite with their family. Those situations sadly don’t happen often enough, but they are special when they do, and they are fun for baseball fans when those reunions happen at the ballpark, especially as a surprise.

SoldierChildBaseball

Many service members have chosen to keep their return home a secret until the perfect moment, just before a baseball game begins.

They work with the home team to have their spouse or children throw the ceremonial first pitch, the service member sits behind home plate behind a catcher’s mask to take the throw and then they discard the mask to surprise their family with their return.

Often, the reactions on both sides stir emotions stronger than anyone will experience during the game.

A family’s joy in that type of situation is more meaningful than anybody can experience during a baseball game, even a game when the home team wins a World Series game on a walkoff homerun in the 11th inning after twice being down to its final strike.

However, many people in the military are still deployed around the world, waiting for their moment to reunite with their family.

While they wait, some will at least get a glimpse of home during today’s “This One’s For You” broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium.

Whether they are home or many miles apart, hopefully this is a special day for our country’s true heroes and their families.

They deserve it.

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Baseball’s Greatest Games Giveaway

Our friends at A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions are expanding their Baseball’s Greatest Games set to include a game near a dear to all of our hearts.

From A&E:

BASEBALL’S GREATEST GAMES: 2011 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 Bluray/DVD Combo Pack
The St. Louis Cardinals thrilled Cardinal Nation with a game full of heart-stopping comebacks, including a spectacular 11th inning walk-off home run. Hometown hero and budding star David Freese smashed the solo shot in the final inning that provided a fitting finale to a spectacular Fall Classic matchup.
In Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, on the edge of elimination, the Cardinals trailed five times and were twice down to their last strike. But Freese, Lance Berkman and a resilient lineup evened the score each time until Freese delivered the second of his incredible moments–the wondrous walk-off homer. All of the drama, thrills, exhilaration and jubilation of this Fall Classic masterpiece are here to enjoy for the first time in pristine HD with the roar of the crowd in 5.1 surround sound.

Direct from the archives of Major League Baseball, this extraordinary television broadcast includes the quintessential making of an iconic moment, and one unforgettable baseball game available for the first time on Blu-Ray!

WORLD SERIES GAME 6, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011, BUSCH STADIUM

A special audio feature allows fans to watch the television broadcast and listen to the radio play-by-play in English or Spanish!

In addition, the great box set of Cardinal World Series moments is still available as well.  Again, directly from A&E:

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD SET
History unfolded before our eyes and every clutch pitch, game-winning hit, and record-setting moment is digitally preserved in THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD. Featuring every game of this remarkable Fall Classic–including Game 6 which instantly became one of the greatest postseason games ever played–this eight-DVD set celebrates the Cardinals unforgettable, exhilarating, dramatic, and uplifting comebacks and victories. Each World Series game is now on DVD and wrapped with stats, player facts, and historic notes.

This eight-DVD collection displays the fortitude of the Red Birds under manager Tony LaRussa and the heroics of David Freise, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, and Chris Carpenter along with every glorious Cardinals moment.

A special DVD audio feature allows fans to watch the World Series television broadcast and listen to Cardinals Radio Network announcers!

BONUS FEATURES

Walk-Off Winners; Milestones; Cardinals clinch NL Wild Card: Last Out and Celebration; NLDS Highlights, Last Out, and Celebration; NLCS Highlights, Last Out, and Celebration; NLCS Trophy Presentations; World Series Last Out, Celebration and Trophy Presentation; St. Louis Victory Parade; Multiple Audio Tracks Featuring World Series Announcers: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports), John Rooney, Mike Shannon (Cardinals Radio Network), Eric Nadel, Steve Busby, Bryan Dolgin (Rangers Radio Network), Ernesto Jerez, Guillermo Celis (ESPN Deportes Radio)

See there here

The best part?  We’ve got three of each to give away.

Very simple, in the comments below give us the results of the upcoming weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers.  Do the Cards win one, two, or all three games?  As the tie-breaker, give us the total amount of runs the two teams will score over the weekend.  A sample comment/entry would look like this:

Cardinals take 2 of 3, total runs scored = 12.

On Monday, we’ll announce the winners of the DVD’s and ask you to email us your address for delivery.  It’s that simple.

So, how do you think the opening weekend will go?  Tell us below and you could earn some swag….

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1987 Player Profile – Tom Lawless

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the last Whitey Herzog team to reach the World Series, and an occasional look at the men on that St. Louis Cardinals’ roster.

Tom Lawless. 1987 World Series Game 4.  Today they are synonymous to St Louis Cardinals fans.  Before that October night in St Louis, however, one could be forgiven for not knowing who Tom Lawless was.  After the fourth inning on 21 October, however, everyone knew his name.

Tom Lawless is known for two things.  He hit a 3-run HR off Frank Viola in the fourth inning of Game 4, snapping a 1-1 tie and propelling the Cardinals to a 7-2 win.  Well, he’s known for the home run AND the bat flip that accompanied his trot down the first base line.  The other thing?  He was the player Cincinnati sent to Montreal when they got Pete Rose back in 1984.  In fact, he is the only player ever traded for Pete Rose.

Lawless grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Penn State University, Erie, graduating in 1978.  He was drafted in the 17th round by the Cincinnati Reds, and progressed through their minor league system.  He started the 1982 season in Indianapolis with the Reds AAA club, and got called up on 15 July.  Johnny Bench had gone down with an injury, causing regular second baseman Ron Oester to shift to third and leaving a whole at second.  Yes – HOF catcher Johnny Bench played third base in 1982.  Lawless had hit a little bit in the minor leagues, and was hitting .308/.378/.410 when called up; but he struggled to hit major league pitching, posting only a .212/.253/.248 line in 176 plate appearances.

It was the most plate appearances he would ever get in one season at the major league level.

Tom returned to the minors for the entire 1983 season, and seemingly recovered his stroke, hitting .279/.350/.440.  He broke camp in 1984 with the Reds, but continued to struggle to hit.  He appeared in 43 games for the Reds, and after the trade for 11 with Montreal.  He started training camp in 1985 with the Expos, but in late march was traded to St Louis as the player to be named later in the Mickey Mahler deal.

Lawless stuck around the Cardinals for 4 years, never got more than 80 plate appearances in a season, never appeared in more than 50 games.  Still, he won 2 NL pennants in that 4-year span.  Lawless’ best season at the plate for the Cardinals was 1986; he went 11-for-39 for the defending NL champs.  He appeared in both World Series.  First, in 1985, he came on as a pinch-runner in that infamous Game 6 (eighth inning).  Then, in 1987, he started all 3 games Viola pitched.  His lone hit was that home run.

The most ridiculous thing about that home run was the fact that Lawless hit it.  In his entire major league career to that point, he had hit exactly one home run, three years earlier.  Yes Frank Viola had given up 24 regular season home runs to right-handed hitters, but Lawless was not a home run threat.  The event sent a charge through the hometown crowd and shifted the series momentum to St Louis.  The Cardinals would carry that momentum to a 3-2 series lead.

Lawless spent one more year with the Cardinals, then part of two seasons with Toronto, before retiring in 1990.  He has worked as a coach since, and is currently a roving minor league instructor for the Houston Astros.  His playing career may not have become the stuff of legend, but the 0-1 pitch he drove into the left field seats at Busch on October 21, 1987 certainly was.

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The Luhnow Legacy

Somewhere in the whirlwind that is known as the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals off-season, a very key piece of the organization left the club without much fanfare. Events quickly moved from World Series parade, to Tony LaRussa’s retirement, to the Albert Pujols negotiations, to Dave Duncan’s leave of absence, to the Winter Warm Up. I can not think of another team that had so much turnover  immediately following a World Championship as the Cardinals experienced. In the midst of the flurry of off-season activity it is certainly understandable how a key move made but a small splash.

Lunhow,

Cardinal Nation barely had a chance to catch its breath from World Series Game 7 before Tony LaRussa announced his retirement. In the following weeks Albert Pujols, Joe Pettini, and Dave McKay all moved on to other clubs. Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan announced that he would take a leave of absence to be with his wife as she continues her battle with cancer.  When the Cardinals take the field against the Miami Marlins on April 4, 2012, Jose Oquendo will be the only uniformed coach that has been with the team since 2009.

Despite all of the turnover within the club, there is great optimism within the Cardinals front office, the team, the coaches, and a majority of the fan base at the prospects for the 2012 season. Before completely shifting focus to 2012, I want to reflect on a 2011 departure that gets less attention, but has tremendous organizational impact. On the very same night the Los Angeles Angels were finalizing a deal to sign Albert Pujols, the Houston Astros named Jeff Luhnow their new general manager.

Jeff Luhnow was the head of the Cardinals scouting and drafting department. He established a strong presence in Latin America for the team, and brought the Cardinals into a new era of player development that used both scouting and analytics.  He worked for the team from 2003 until this past December. Since 2005, Luhnow turned the Cardinals farm system from one of the worst in baseball to arguably one of the top five in the league. This was done in spite of the fact the Cardinals never had a top ten pick during any of the drafts he oversaw.

Luhnow is not a “baseball insider” that worked his way up through the ranks. He was more comfortable with spreadsheets than with scouting reports when he was hired by the Cardinals. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and engineering, and earned his MBA at Northwestern University. Prior to joining the Cardinals in 2003, he worked in mechanical and chemical engineering, spent five years in management consulting, did entrepreneurial work, and served as a vice president of marketing for Petstore.com.

In the early part of the last decade, teams had to quickly adapt to the new emphasis on analytics brought about from the release of the book “Moneyball”. The book highlighted the Oakland Athletics success, despite an incredibly small payroll, using advanced statistics to find market inefficiencies in player evaluation. Luhnow was one of the early baseball analytics experts given a front office job. He was hired to make sense of the new analytics and improve the Cardinal’s international scouting. He quickly integrated database analysis into personnel decisions.

Said more simply, Luhnow drafted and developed enough talent to allow the Cardinals to win two World Series titles in six years. He leaves the club well positioned to compete in 2012 and beyond. The Cardinals can not pay top dollar for more than four or five players every year, due to being a bottom-third market city. To have Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter, and Carlos Beltran, they must find production from young, cost-controlled players to have a competitive team year in and year out.

Beyond just analyzing numbers on a page, Luhnow implemented “bio-mechanics” within the Cardinals player development process. Pitchers were taught the mechanics, rhythm, and tempo that aid them in remaining injury free. Former big-league pitchers worked with young Cardinal pitchers on the mental aspects of the game needed to be able to compete at the highest level. Hitters worked with video not only as a means to scout opponents, but to improve their swing and approach at the plate. This does not seem to be such a big deal in 2012, but not many other teams were using video to this level in 2004.

Luhnow was hired by Bill Dewitt against the wishes of then GM Walt Jocketty. It was a front-office riff that would eventually lead to Jocketty’s departure following the 2007 season. Little did Jocketty know at the time just what Luhnow was building between 2005 and 2007. The 2005-2007 drafts produced Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Jaime Garcia, and Jon Jay. Also in those drafts were players used in the trades for Matt Holliday, Rafael Furcal, Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepcynski, as well as Luke Gregerson and Chris Perez.

There are an abundance of prospects in the system that project to be impact players: Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, Tyrell Jenkins, Carlos Martinez, Matt Adams, Ryan Jackson, Kolten Wong, Zach Cox, Trevor Rosenthal, John Gast, Jordan Swagerty, and Joe Kelly, among others.

As the 2012 season fast approaches, there will be a lot of new faces for Cardinals fans to get used to. One of those faces is the man hired to replace Jeff Luhnow, Dan Kantrovitz . If he performs his jobs well, Cardinals fans won’t feel the loss of Luhnow. He has big shoes to fill. Matheny has already made clear that he will place a large emphasis on advanced scouting and metrics.

Any success Kantrovitz has will be built upon the foundation of integrating scouting and analytics that Luhnow brought to the organization. Luhnow should be remembered as a key piece to a great era of Cardinal baseball. I am glad the Cardinals will not have the Astros as division foes but for another year. Although they are a very bad baseball team at the moment, I fully expect them to be a force to contend with under Luhnow’s leadership.

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Game 6 Story: How I Almost Missed History

Editor’s Note: Game Six of the 2011 World Series may end up being one of the moments that people talk about for generations. “Where were you when….?” So, here at i70baseball, I ask you: Where were you when Game Six happened? Do you have a unique story about how you witnessed history? Share with us and we will draw one random entry. That winner will receive this World Series DVD. Just send your submission to: bill@i70baseball.com

Like virtually every other Cardinals fan old enough to watch and appreciate Game 6 of the World Series, October 27th, 2011 is a night I’ll never forget. It’s a game that thousands of Cardinals fans turned off before it was over and a game hundreds of fans left the stands early. I was almost one of those fans who gave up on the Cardinals that night… and was this close to missing the most exciting finish in World Series history. Then, a little bit of fate kicked in…

To refresh your memory a little bit, Game 6 was not exactly the most cleanly-played baseball game. As the 6th inning ended, I remember looking up towards the high ceilings of Buffalo Wild Wings and thinking to myself that this had to be the ugliest World Series game ever played. Cardinals left fielder, Matt Holliday, dropped a fly ball that directly led to a Rangers run, third baseman, David Freese, dropped a pop up the led to another unearned run, and now Matt Holliday had just gotten picked off 3rd base with the bases loaded, one out, and the score tied. You have GOT to be kidding me! Although the Cardinals had just “dramatically” rallied to tie the game on a bases loaded walk, it sure felt like the game was going to go the Rangers way. You just cannot make mistake after little-league mistake and expect to win the World Series. The score was tied, but it felt like the Rangers were in cruise-control.

And in the top of the 7th, Texas had appeared to seize control of the game for good. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back home runs to put the Rangers on top 6-4. The whole stadium was deflated. You just knew it was over. The Cardinals had their chance and gave it away, and now Texas would make team president Nolan Ryan’s prediction of “Rangers in 6” come true. At that moment, I was thinking that the Cardinals had played so poorly they didn’t deserve to win… and my frustration level was so high that I wouldn’t even be happy if they did come back and win.

Now as the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the 7th, I get a text message from my wife: “Out of diapers. Is the game almost over?” At the time, it was already 30 minutes past my son’s bedtime, and there was no way any respectable father, World Series on the line or not, would make his wife and toddler get in the car and make a late-night run to the store to get diapers. So while part of me was thinking “just let him wet the bed tonight, it’s the freakin’ World Series” I decided to go run to the store myself. When the Cardinals went down with a whimper in the bottom of the 7th, I told my buddy who was with me that I wouldn’t be back if the game got any uglier. Just as I arrived at my house to drop of a new package of diapers, the Rangers tacked on another run to make it 7-4 in the 8th, the proverbial nail in the coffin. Staying with the theme of the game, the Cardinals once again gift-wrapped the run for the Rangers thanks to a wild pitch that Yadier Molina should have handled, allowing a runner to move into scoring position who would eventually score.

Translation: it had gotten uglier, and I had just arrived at my house. My wife asked how the Cardinals were doing and I told her they were playing horribly and were basically giving away the World Series. She said she was sorry and thanks for dropping of the diapers and that I could go back to the bar if I wanted to, but I was pretty sure it was going to be a waste of my time and only add to the frustration. I had to work the next morning, and was about to call it a night when I realized Albert Pujols might have one final at bat. With his contract uncertainty, how could I not watch his final at-bat in a Cardinals uniform?

So with that and only that in mind, I headed back to the bar. While I was driving, I heard Allen Craig’s home run on the radio. 7-5. At that point, I still thought the Cardinals had no chance. In fact, it only infuriated me more because I felt like Matt Holliday should’ve been benched and Allen Craig should’ve been in the lineup to begin with. Craig wouldn’t have botched that fly ball and gotten picked off 3rd, would he? And now here’s Craig, filling in for the now injured Holliday (he jammed his hand/wrist sliding back into 3rd base on the pickoff play) and hitting a home run. Just great.

When I walked back into Buffalo Wild Wings, the table I had been sitting at and several others around it were empty. My friend had left… as had several other people. Many people had come to the same grim conclusion that I did, but I went ahead and decided to sit by myself and watch the end of the game anyway. The Cardinals ended up loading the bases but failed to score in the 8th.

Certainly it was over now. Certainly.

In the 9th, Albert Pujols came to the plate with the bases empty and 1 out. Any hopes of him hitting a dramatic, game-tying home run were lost. This was not officially a final farewell send-off. The crowd rose to its feet, flashbulbs were popping, and wouldn’t you know it – Albert laced one into the gap in left center. It was a nice way to end his hall of fame career in St. Louis if this was indeed the last time he was going to take a swing as a Cardinal. Lance Berkman followed Pujols to the plate and drew a walk, making Allen Craig the winning run at the plate. But his heroics were done (at least for Game 6) and he struck out.

Up walked David Freese. Since I only text my mom when the Cardinals win games, I decided to do a desperate, pre-emptive strike on fate and sent a “good luck/here’s hoping” text. The Red Birds were going to need it. Texas closer, Neftali Feliz, was pumping heat all night… and was pounding fastballs in the upper 90s on the Cardinals 3rd baseman. Freese fell behind 1-2 in the count, the Cardinals were down to their final strike… and the rest… is history.

Triple. Tie-game. Rangers take the lead back in the 10th. The Cardinals again come down to their final strike. RBI Single by Lance Berkman. Tie-game. And Freese hits a walk-off bomb in the 11th. Unbelievable.

In the 3 ½ weeks since Allen Craig squeezed the final out of Game 7, the clock and calendar have slowed to a crawl. It feels like an eternity since the Cardinals won their 11th championship, but with the managerial change out of the way and the Pujols talks likely on hold during Thanksgiving week, fans have another chance to relive the magic. Tonight, Cardinal Nation is invited to sit back, relax, and relive all those wonderful memories at Major League Baseball and the Cardinals release the official 2011 World Series Movie. There’s a Red Carpet Event at the Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis. Cardinals VIPs including World Series MVP David Freese will be on hand as actor and St. Louis native, Jon Hamm, narrates us through 90 minutes of magic.

I will not be in attendance and will have to settle for watching the movie on a TV just as I watched the live drama play out on, but that’s OK by me. I just want to soak it all in again. The other day I caught myself daydreaming about Game 6 at work. I have the Springfield News-Leader’s sports page from October 28th at my desk, and the headline “Cards Win Instant Classic” caught my eye as I was going through my daily routine.

How did the Cardinals win that game?

Fortunately, I went back to the sports bar that night… and was able to see it for myself.

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The UCB Awards

It’s time once again to fill out the votes for the United Cardinal Bloggers end of the year awards.

Most awards ballots are anonymous, but not the UCB. In order for a ballot to be counted, you have to post it for the world to see. Guess that keeps us honest, huh?

For the first time you, our fans, get a chance to vote. Head over here and fill out your very own ballot and help show the great people of the internet your love for i70baseball.

Enough stalling, here is the Cardinal and Blogger landscape as I see it:

Cardinal Player Of The Year
Lance Berkman

The Big Puma did it all this year and made an entire city fall in love with him all over again. He put together an impressive season, put another solid bat into the lineup, and even gave the team a bit of a discount to retain his services. No longer “Fat Elvis”, Puma Time arrived in full force in 2011.

Cardinal Pitcher Of The Year
Chris Carpenter

The focus here is the fact that this is the pitcher of the year, not a specific half. Carp put together a solid year by the end of it all and was really the bulldog and ace of this staff when they needed one. He was a leader of this team when the team needed a leader and somewhere along the lines took my advice and held this team together.

Regular Season Game Of The Year
September 28 at Houston (Carp throws a shutout on the last day)

More for the day than the game, this was far and away the best single day in my baseball memory. All over the country the game was contested in highly competitive games with playoff implications and the Cardinals found themselves right in the middle of it all.

Post Season Game Of The Year
World Series Game 6 – Two Rallies With One Strike Left

There really are no words to describe this game. The greatest Cardinal victory that I have ever witnessed. Thank you, David Freese.

Surprise Player Of The Year
Kyle Lohse.

Seriously, I have been the leader of the charge to dump Lohse and his salary (and that manscape beard) at the earliest convenience. By the time the dust settled, he led the team in wins. Again, Kyle Lohse led the 2011 Cardinals in victories. Before you Sabermetric stat heads jump all over me, I don’t care, wins are still important to me.

Disappointing Player Of The Year
Colby Rasmus.

I admit it very openly, I am a fan of Rasmus. Even as a fan, you get tired of saying “this is the year”. Everything in my baseball knowledge pointed to this being a year for Colby to break out. That either shows that I have very little baseball knowledge or that this kid has daddy issues far beyond what even Freud could understand.

Cardinal Rookie Of The Year
Daniel Descalso.

I love me some Danny D. Kid showed some resilience this season, played a strong enough hot corner to be a finalist for the gold glove, and showed some heart. If he does not get serious consideration for the second base job next season, I have to wonder why.

Pre Season Acquisition Of The Year
Lance Berkman.

This award should be a landslide. There were a few of us that kept a positive attitude about Berkman when he was signed, but I don’t think anyone expected that John Mozeliak got that good of a deal.

Mid Season Acquisition Of The Year
Octavio Dotel.

I really did not give Dotel much of a chance coming over and viewed him as draft pick compensation at the end of the year. Now, I find myself hoping the Cardinals find a way to keep him for another season. He was money down the stretch and got the Cardinals out of some tight spots that this bullpen could have never been trusted with before his arrival.

Most Anticipated Cardinal
Shelby Miller.

The tall Texan has a great opportunity ahead of him and it may be coming in 2012. Until then, I will keep checking the minor league box scores every five games to see how well he performed yet again.

Best Individual Blog (Written By One Person)
On The Outside Corner

I may be a little biased here as Bob Netherton also writes for i70baseball. But, honestly, it is impossible to read Bob’s site without learning something. I consider myself a historian of this game and I love the tradition and history it provides. Bob captures that in new ways every single post and that is not easy to do.

Best Team Cardinal Blog (Written By More Than One Person)
Pitchers Hit Eighth

Last year, PH8 and i70 split the votes and were co-holders of this award. I have been a fan of Nick and his crew for quite a while and considered it an honor to be mentioned with them. I still do. From the funny and spot-on analysis of Dennis to Nick’s straight forward and poignant posts, once you sprinkle in some April Fool with Josh and a little bit of Andrew, the site is a must read daily.

Best Professional Cardinal Blog
Bird Land

One of my hardest choices as I have a lot of respect for Derrick Goold and Matthew Leach. In all, I think Goold does a great job of giving the fans what we want to hear about, even if it is not the biggest story of the day.

Best Rookie Cardinal Blog
Birds On The Bat 82

It is not the most catchy name, but the site (and it’s author) have earned my respect this year. Here’s hoping there is many more years of some 1982 love.

Post Of The Year
Diamond Diaries – 9 Years Later

I am a sentimental guy and I’ll be damned if stories of Jack Buck and Darryl Kile don’t get me every time. Angela Weinhold (another of i70′s own) did an amazing job of capturing the moments from nine years ago that rocked the very foundation of Cardinal Nation.

Best UCB Project
Roundtables

Twice a year this group of blogs exchanges ideas throughout discussions started with simple questions in the roundtables. It is one of my favorite projects I have ever been a part of.

Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
Diamond Diaries

Honestly, I do not remember a time when the girls of Diamond Diaries ever gave up on this team this year. We were all ready to mail it in at some point, but they kept the faith throughout.

Best UCB Podcast
Conversations With C70

“You are listening to my Daddy’s show!” may be the best intro I have ever heard on a podcast.

Best UCB Twitterer
gr33nazn

That’s “Green Asian” for those of you that did not know (I didn’t for a long time). Dennis from Pitchers Hit Eighth brings the funny to 140 characters or less better than anyone I know. He is right there with a quip or an anecdote for most anything and is always there with some encouraging words for real life.

Best Fake Cardinal Twitter Account
None

Sorry folks, I just don’t do the fake accounts. The squirrel and tortoise annoyed me all post season and most of the other stuff is pure drivel. I’m abstaining form this one.

That’s my ballot. Hope everyone enjoys, feel free to comment below, and don’t forget to go vote yourself.

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.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Same-Same-Same-Same-Different

Game. Seven.

The emotion those two words invoke, and the implied level of importance are captured in cliches we’ve all been hearing about for weeks and weeks now. (And yes, the feeling is different than hearing the words “game” “five”.) It’s serious for players, but often is more serious for fans, who are sometimes not so matter-of-fact about teams & games that they neither play for or are a part of, save maybe occupying a seat in the stands.

I will obviously not be playing in the 7th game of the World Series at Busch Stadium tonight…or any other night, for that matter. But as a superstitious fan, I will be trying to do my part to “help” the Cardinals in the quest for their 11th World Championship.

I’ve been wearing the same shirt during games for weeks. I’ve sat in the same place on the couch to watch every postseason game. I’ve not shaved in a month (and it looks awful, by the way), or so much as trimmed it, nor have I gotten a haircut. I’ve only gone to the bathroom after the bottom of an inning ends, never the top. I’ve driven more than 25 miles to be sure I had the same meal. I had 5 gallons of milk in my refrigerator at one time, and even my girlfriend’s kids remind me daily to stick to my routine, be it a meal, or anything else they noticed me doing on the day of a win.

I have my superstitions, and there’s no shortage of them.

I’m not sure that I am capable of writing anything you’ve not heard, read or seen by this point, with regard to David Freese, and all the heroics from last night’s thriller. The 5 blown leads, the ‘down to their last strike’ twice, all of those things have been covered very well over the past several hours. I thought Bernie’s piece in particular was one of many great reads on the topic, and Alyson Footer also wrote an interesting piece today–you should check them both out.

All I can do is write about what I know for sure.

  • There hasn’t been a World Series game 7 played in 9 years.
  • There hasn’t been a World Series game 7 played in St. Louis in 30 years
  • For tonight’s game 7 to happen, the Cardinals had to overcome impossible odds.
    • 10 ½ games out of the wildcard in the final week of August
    • They had to win. A lot; Atlanta had to collapse
    • They had to defeat the almighty World-Series-bound-since-December Phillies
    • They had to knock off Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and the Brewers in Milwaukee
  • The National League had to win the All-Star game for St. Louis to host game 7
So many stars had to line up just right for tonight’s World Series game 7 to be played in St. Louis tonight. So. Many. I can also tell you for sure that there is no way I wanted to miss an opportunity to be in the stands tonight. It’s a possible once-in-a-lifetime chance.

I’ve been to the old Yankee Stadium. I’ve been to two major league baseball games in two different cities in the same day. I’ve been to a double-header. I’ve been to National League Division Series games and National League Championship Series games in St. Louis. I’ve been to the All-Star game, the homerun derby, the legends, futures, and celebrity softball games in St. Louis. I’ve been sitting in the stands when a perfect game went into the 8th. I’ve been to a lot of very special games, seeing in person special milestones (and sometimes the milestone plus one). But, I have never been to a World Series game. I’ve had World Series tickets, but I’ve never been to a game.

Tonight, I will be wearing the same shirt I’ve been wearing for these games. I will (or maybe have, by the time you read this) eat what I’ve eaten, avoid shaving, and continue with almost every single one of my superstitious routines. I will not, however, be sitting in “my spot” on that couch for tonight’s game, though a part of me will be nervous for not doing so. I will instead be at tonight’s game at Busch. It is perhaps the most elusive of all games on my baseball bucket list, and tonight, attending a World Series game gets marked off the list. I can only hope that seeing a World Series-winning game also gets checked off tonight. Perhaps then, on Sunday afternoon, I can attend my second World Series parade & ceremony.

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One For The Ages

Improbable. Unbelievable. Impossible. Ridiculous.

For as ugly as it was, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series will be remembered as a classic. Five home runs. Three lead changes. Five ties. A two-strike, two-out, bases clearing triple to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. A two-run home run in the tenth to give Texas the lead. An RBI ground out and broken bat single to tie it again. The first time a team has trailed in the ninth and extra innings in a World Series game and come back to tie. All the defensive miscues that marred the early stages of the game have been forgotten thanks to the late-game drama.

Why do I love baseball? Because Kyle Lohse, pinch hitting in the bottom of the tenth inning, down two, almost bunted for a base hit (he sacrificed the runners into scoring position). Because the Rangers have thrown knockout punch after knockout punch at the Cardinals, and the Cardinals keep getting up. Because Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Mike Adams, David Freese, Lance Berkman, and Jake Westbrook have all been the hero at different points during the game. Because games can’t end because the clock runs out. You have to retire 27 men, and if the game is tied you have to retire 3 while holding the lead.

Bad managerial decisions get trumped by clutch hitting and pitchers making pitches. Tension rises and falls with every hit, every out, every pitch. Fans yell until they’re hoarse. Beer flows until it’s gone. Children wonder why their fathers, mothers, siblings, and relatives shout at the TV on each play.

And then, channeling a Game 6 seven years ago, replicating a feat pulled off by the man St Louis traded to San Diego to get him, David Freese launches a home run deep into the batter’s eye in dead center. 10-9 Cardinals.

Unbelievable. Improbable. Impossible. Ridiculous.

I have no more words. I’m thankful I got to see this one and can’t wait to watch tomorrow.

Mike Metzger is an I-70 Baseball contributing writer. He also writes about the San Diego Padres for Padres Trail. Follow him on Twitter @metzgermg.

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BD: Historic Night Overshadows Postseason

The following post was originally written for and published on BaseballDigest.com.

Legends are made in October.

That is the slogan that Major League Baseball has used through most of the postseason. Commercials that recount no hitters, hitting performances, great plays and moments that echo through baseball fans’ memories for all their lives. It was a marketing ploy inspired by Cliff Lee‘s dominant performance in the 2010 postseason. Network broadcasters FOX and TBS were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and, to most, they found their thunder strike during game three of the World Series.

For those of you that are living under a rock and have no idea what happened in game three, Albert Pujols stepped onto baseball’s greatest stage and wrote himself into the game’s lore. The run down of his single game:

  • Five Hits (ties Paul Molitor for most hits in a World Series Game)
  • Three Home Runs (ties Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth, who did it twice)
  • Six Runs Batted In (sets a World Series Record)
  • Fourteen Total Bases (sets a World Series Record)
  • Totaled line is considered the greatest offensive performance in the history of the Fall Classic

Legends are born in October.

Are they, though? For eleven years, Albert Pujols has defied logic. His career has been littered with “first player ever to…” footnotes. The Cardinal first baseman has become known around the league, nation, and possibly world as the “best player in the game”. Many have questioned if his career is on the decline after the 2011 season closed. The slugger produced career lows in runs batted in, triples, doubles, hits, walks, on base percentage, total bases, and slugging percentage. His home run total was the third worst season he has produced. He grounded into a league high 29 double plays. All of that considered, he was still one of the best players in the league. If his 2011 stats are a player on the decline, it simply reveals just how high he has set the bar.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP IBB
2011 147 651 579 105 173 29 0 37 99 61 58 .299 .366 .541 .906 150 313 29 15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2011.

Albert Pujols may be the only player in Major League Baseball, possibly in the history of the game, that could take the field and have a game similar to the performance he turned in during game three of the World Series and not become a legend.

Legends are made in October.

Albert Pujols was a legend before he even took the field this October. On October 22, 2011, he simply reminded the world that he was still here and still a force to be reckoned with.


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