Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From Rejects To Repeats

Carlos Beltran is still looking for the fastball.

In sports, as in life, there are indelible moments that are burned into our brains, moments that for better or worse, we will always remember to the most minute of details. These moments, above all else, are why I follow sports so fastidiously. For a fan like me, these moments can dictate the fine line between dream and reality, and for one magical October, a collection of these moments came together to make a 22-year dream a reality.

I have been a St. Louis Cardinals fan for as long as I can remember. In 2006, for the first time in my life, I truly gave up on my team. I was physically in Houston for 4 straight heart-breaking losses and suffered first-hand the rightful ribbing from Astros fans. A few weeks later, during a late-night round of golf, I watched on my cellphone in disbelief as Chris Carpenter, Cy Cardinal himself, was allowed to labor far too long and, in the process, blew a seemingly insurmountable 4-run lead. I've always believed that if you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. The "experts are idiots," but even I didn't give the Cardinals a chance. Shame on me.

When Carlos Beltran, Cardinal killer #1, literally froze on (perhaps) the pitch-of-the-year, the look on Beltran's face said it all. That look was the story of the Cardinals year in a nutshell: sheer and utter disbelief. The 2006 Cardinals are not and likely will never be my favorite Cardinals team. Even with the many memorable moments produced by the Cardiac Cards, they all pale in comparison, at least in my book, to "The Edmonds Walk-Off." With apologies to Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, and a handful of other bona-fide ballplayers, what this unlikely group of rejects did produce, however, was the month-long rush of my life. So the question now becomes: how do we go from rejects to repeats?

For many years, my friends and family have been prodding me (some of them seriously I think) to pursue a job as a baseball analyst, announcer, etc. Instead, I want to be a doctor ... and a fan. This blog is my compromise. Along with my brother, who will be my co-blogger, we want this to be a forum for intelligent Cardinals commentary (much like Larry Borowsky's fantastic Viva El Birdos). If you agree with us, great. If not (and my brother and I often don't agree with one another), let us know why.

The Cardinals have many questions to address this offseason that will drastically impact the long-term direction and philosophies of the franchise. "For the first time since 1982, St. Louis has a World Series winner." However, we can't forget that the Cardinals almost suffered their first losing season since 1999. As I finish this inaugural blog, all I can think is ...

How long until opening day?


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