Me, my dad, and the World Series

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

It was no ordinary series. This was personal. Yes, I am a fan and wanted to see the Cardinals win, but there was so much more. In fact, I think Tony La Russa should publicly acknowledge the fact that my dad was silently sitting in the Cardinals dug out since September as his silent partner. I believe that with all my heart. Since his sudden passing 17 months ago, I’m sure  Dad has been planning this all along. The ONLY reason it didn’t happen last year is because I’m positive he has been marking the chalk lines waiting to throw the ball around and have batting  practice with his all time favorite player, Stan Musial. Yes,  my dad is waiting for Stan the Man preparing for when him and number 6 will one day be playing ball together on the ultimate field of dreams.

Let me take you to the end of August 2011. By August 25, the Cardinals had played their 130th game of the season and were 10½ games behind the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves. They were written off to make the play-offs by most people – including myself, because of that large deficit. (enter my dad into the dugout) The team began the month of September at 72-64 and 8½ games behind both the Wild Card and Central Division leaders. Now, my dad has never been a Braves fan, and he clearly decided it was time for the Braves to go into a tail spin – and did they ever. They finished the final month of the season going 9-18. At the same time, the Cards went 18-8 to finish the season at 90-72, one game better than Atlanta’s record of 89-73, and won the National League Wild Card on the final game of the regular season. Exciting way to get into the post season? You bet it was. In fact, it marked the largest comeback in MLB history after 130 games played (only 32 regular season games remained), and the second largest comeback in the month of September. Nice job, Dad. Not only did you work your magic to get them to the play offs, you did it in style.

St. Louis enters post season play against the Philadelphia Phillies for the NLDS. The Phillies were heavily favored to win the 5 game series. Someone forgot to tell the Cardinals that. The Cards took the series 3 games to 2 and advanced to the NLCS for the first time since 2006.  There’s your Philadelphia Freedom, Phillies, enjoy your off-season golf game earlier than expected. Or as my dad would have said, “suck on that, Philadelphia. Take your Philly Cheese Steak and shove it up your asses. ” Dad always did have a way with words.

We go from cheese steak to sausages. I usually like playing with sausages, but not in this scenario. Milwaukee Brewers and the Cardinals meet in Milwaukee for the first 2 games of this series. The teams split 1-1 and headed to St. Louis. The Cards took 2 out of 3 games at home and went back to Milwaukee where they grilled the Sausages in game 6 and won 12-6. This gave St. Louis their 18th National League Pennant.  This ties them with the Dodgers and Giants for the most pennants won in the National League. Not only that, but it proves that Busch trumps Miller beer. Come and get it, everybody….the sausages are done and we are going to the World Series!! I’ll be honest. I had a tear in my eye after this win because I could physically feel the excitement from up above.

Let the REAL series begin.  World Series 2011. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers. The Rangers are making a return appearance as American League champs. They were in this same spot last year when they lost to the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 1. 2011  would prove to be a much more dramatic series.  Especially that epic game 6. Let’s start at the beginning though……..

Thanks to the National League winning the All-Star game, the Cardinals had the privilege of home field advantage. Game one at Busch: Cardinals win 3-2. This is when you just knew it was going to be a good series. You could feel it in the air. Game 2, also in St. Louis was a damn good game. Scoreless through the first 6 innings, Allen Craig pinch hit a single to right field which drove in David Freese for the score. 1-0 Cards. The 8th inning was scoreless and I started getting a little pre-mature moisture – I was thinking, wow – the odds are pretty good we could win this whole thing if we go up 2 games to none. Then comes the 9th inning.  The Rangers score 2 runs and wind up holding the Cards scoreless in the bottom of the ninth to tie the series 1-1 going to The Ballpark at Arlington. The pre-mature moisture instantly became the Sahara Desert.

Game 3 – Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.  After a total of 8 total runs scored in the first 2 games (please don’t let my arithmetic skills shock you into thinking I am some sort of genius) the Home Run Gods decided to make an appearance. Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson laid their long ball hands upon the bat of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and he went yard 3 times. Yes,  3 homers in a one World Series game. And I’m not referring to the presence of George W. Bush, Joe Buck, and Scotty McCreery. I mean Pujols hit 3 home runs in game 3 tying Ruth and Jackson for the most home runs in a World Series game. The score was 16-7 giving the Cardinals the series lead 2-1. Those 16 runs were the most scored in a WS game since 2002. In case you’re curious, the Yankees hold that record at 18 scored way back in 1936. Game 4 was a bust – for the Cards anyway. They were shut out 4-0 as the Rangers tied the series at 2. The St. Louis bats were clearly exhausted from the night before and makes this match up a lot more interesting now. Game 5 is still in Texas, and the Cards took an early lead, however the Rangers came back and took the lead in the series by winning the fifth game 4-2. The Texas Rangers are 1 game away from winning their first World Series Championship in franchise history – BUT – they are going to have to do in St. Louis. I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong when I said the winner of game 5 will be the ultimate champions. Yes I was wrong, but it didn’t come easy for the Cards. Boy was it not.

Game 6 – St. Louis Busch Stadium. First it was postponed because it was predicted there would be severe weather in the area. And THEN the cardinals managed to pull off one of the greatest come-from-behind wins in the Series’ history, twice coming back from two-run deficits in the ninth and tenth innings, both times down to their last strike. It was definitely a roll of Rolaids moment.  David Freese tied the game at 7–7 with a two-out, two-strike, two-RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth against Rangers closer Neftalí Feliz. However, in the top of the 10th, the Rangers regained the lead after Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer. In the bottom half of the inning, Ryan Theriot’s RBI groundout followed by Lance Berkman’s RBI single brought in Jon Jay with the tying run. After holding the Rangers scoreless in the top of the 11th, the Cardinals won the game with David Freese’s solo walk-off home run shot to dead center field. The win forced a Game 7 for the first time since 2002. I could not move away from the TV. I grew up on a baseball field and this was the best game I believe I have ever seen. This is why it is called the Fall Classic. 

 I don’t need to tell you what happened next. The St. Louis Cardinals at home beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 to win their 11th title. 11 in 11. As I did a victory dance around my living room, it did not take long to feel that aura all around me. I sat down on my couch and looked at a shelf looking back at me. On that shelf is a St. Louis Cardinals bear that belonged to my dad. Next to it is what was his favorite Cards cap, and a Stan Musial signed baseball all laying on a pennant that hung on his wall. I then put my head in my hands and cried like a baby. I cried because in my heart, the Cardinals had just won the World Series for my dad and because of my dad. I cried because I miss my dad and didn’t get to say everything I needed to say. And I cried, because at that moment as I felt his smile and I remembered it is because of him I love sports as much as I do. Though that may seem like an odd thing to cry over, sports brought my dad and I together in many ways. I cried because I miss him.

          

So, as another baseball season ends in a Cardinals fan victorious fashion, I will end with this: Thank you Cardinals for an unbelievable season. Thank you Rangers for one of the best series ever. If you are reading this and still have your dad, or if you are a dad, spring is not that far away – take him or  your kid to a ball game and make some memories.

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Comments
  1. that was the best World Series in recent memory; I know your dad is very proud of you

  2. @TheJimPl9 says:

    Well written article by a fine woman who I’m proud to call my friend ! Luv ya Leesa, aka Queen of Boomer F’N Sooner !!!!

  3. RIVOTINGLY MOIST (WITH TEARS THAT IS) lOVE YOU LESSA!

  4. aj says:

    Not really a baseball fan but this one had meaning & well written, nice job supa dupa star!!!!

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