Well, the remarkable run of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals finally culminated with their 11th World Series championship after outlasting the Texas Rangers in an emotional and gut-wrenching seven-games.
Obviously, the most emotional and gut-wrenching of all the games was the dramatic game six on Thursday night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals entered the night trailing in the Series, 3-2. The Rangers went into the bottom of the 9th inning leading 7-5 and ultimately were within one strike of clinching their first World Series title in team history. However, hometown hero, David Freese, drove in the tying-runs with a two-out, two-run triple off the right field wall.
The Rangers managed to get up by two runs again in the top of the 10th inning and were, once again, one strike away from winning the Series only to see Lance Berkman tie the game with a two-run single.
The Cardinals eventually won on Freese' lead-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.
I figured after Thursday night's dramatics, the Rangers wouldn't have a chance last night. Those of you who remember the 1986 World Series, the Boston Red Sox went into game six against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium up 3-2 in the series. They took a two-run lead in extra innings and were one out away from winning their first World Series since Lord knows when. Well, we all know what happened there.
After taking an early 2-0 lead, the Rangers faded, and the Cardinals ran away with game seven and won fairly easily, 6-2.
Beings that I'm a Pirates fan, I'm not really a Cardinals' enthusiast, but my aunt is from the St. Louis area, so I was rooting for them to win. Besides, I almost always cheer for the National League in the World Series.
The Cardinals were dead-to-rights at the end of August, 10 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League Wild Card race but went on an historic roll that eventually saw them sneak by Atlanta on the last day of the regular season.
The Cardinals weren't given much of a chance to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, but they managed to out-last Philadelphia in five-games.
I think most people figured the Brewers would take care of the Cardinals in the NLCS, but St. Louis won in six-games and advanced to their third World Series since 2004.
Another interesting note: The Cardinals were the seventh-straight home team to win a game seven in the World Series. The last road team to win a game seven? You guessed it, the We Are Family Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979.
Of course, if it wasn't for that silly All-Star game rule, the Rangers would have been at home for game seven.
As you probably know, Bud Selig reacted to fan outrage after the 2002 All-Star game ended in a tie and decided to give the representative from the winning-league home-field advantage in the World Series; maybe the dumbest rule in all of sports.
Anyway, the Rangers won 96 regular season games and the AL West. The Cardinals won 90regular season games and the National League Wild Card spot. Who do you think should have had home-field advantage in the World Series?
I'm not saying the Rangers would have definitely won if things were reversed, but I am saying that a stupid rule by a commissioner that acted in a knee-jerk manner after the outcome of an exhibition game may have cost a team a World Series title.
But, ultimately, home or away, the games are won on the field. However, I do feel sorry for the Rangers. Making it to the World Series two-years in a row is a pretty epic accomplishment. To out-last the likes of the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox in consecutive seasons is a pretty awesome feat.
But the sports world being what it is, people won't focus on the great accomplishment. Instead, the Rangers will probably be labeled "losers" if they don't eventually find a way to win the World Series.
Just ask the 90-93 Buffalo Bills about how society views teams that fail on the biggest stage in multiple seasons.
Oh well, as a Pirates fan, I'd give anything to see my Buccos lose in the World Series two-years in a row. It would be a nice problem to have.
It's all relative.