Tag Archives: National League Division Series

“Those Classy Cardinals” …. On and Off the Field.

St. Louis Cardinals

I’m kinda sorta breaking with my tradition of not writing about post season play until we get to the pennant winners.  But not really, since this concerns a story written after last nights game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. It was written by Les Carpenter for Yahoo Sports  (I’m assuming Les is in no way related to Cardinal pitcher, Chris Carpenter).  This is a human interest story about sportsmanship, team spirit and the camaraderie of the players.   Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“The National League Division Series had been decided, the mighty Philadelphia Phillies dispatched like a playoff pretender, and the St. Louis Cardinals raced into their clubhouse and tore into the three giant blue tubs of Champagne. Then they stood in a half circle near the door to the tiny room, late Friday night, shook the bottles, held the corks and …

They waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Five minutes passed, then seven, eight, then 10 and still they would not celebrate. Here was a baseball team, just after the most improbable of playoff victories, and its players were standing awkwardly as if this was a junior high mixer at the VFW Hall. But the national television people had grabbed their pitcher, Chris Carpenter, the one who stifled the Phillies on three hits in nine innings, the one who sent them to the Milwaukee Brewers with a 1-0 victory, and that meant he wasn’t in the room with them.

Carpenter was still on the field doing interviews. Given the way he pulled them through this night, making the postseason last another week longer, they couldn’t pop the cork on anything until he arrived. So with no Carpenter, there was no party. They would wait.

Finally someone spotted him. He was walking up the tunnel from the dugout. Someone waved to the others and they huddled in position near the clubhouse entrance. And as he turned the corner into the room they pounced. Bottles flashed. Liquid poured. And Chris Carpenter could do little else but hunch his shoulders as they doused him with Champagne, screaming for the joy of a playoff win they never could have imagined a month earlier.”

Last April I wrote about the San Francisco Giants Home Opener against the St Louis Cardinals.  The post wasn’t about the game so much as it was about the reputation and tradition of  “those classy” Cardinals.  They’d just been selected as having the best and most knowledgeable of all fans in Major League Baseball.  

After reading this article I think it’s safe to say “Those Classy Cardinals” doesn’t just relate to the St. Louis fans.   It’s pretty safe to say that scene in the locker room represents a pretty darn classy group of baseball players and teammates also.   Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals both on and off the field.

“TEXAS CAN’T HOLD EM” ~ Game 1. Rangers and Pundits Lose!

Whodathunk it?  I had almost as much fun watching the sports pundits after the game than watching the game itself.  Well, almost.   The Giants had no chance, nada, zilch, zero, of beating Cliff Lee in game one of this World Series.  None!  I mean, after all, Cliff Lee had never lost a playoff game.  Won 10, Loss  0!  Whew, who wants to go up against those odds?   I almost believed it myself.  So after the game, when the pundits came slithering out from under the rocks, it was just a lot of fun to listen to their enlightened jibberish.   I believe it’s called “eating crow”?   As Joe buck said in his post-game commentary, “Don’t listen to us folks.  We don’t know anything!”  

The thing that puzzles me about the  Giants getting absolutely no respect before the game, and still now, even after the  game, is the  way they made it to the World Series in the first place.    This is a team of self-proclaimed misfits and oddballs, picked up from the trash heaps of other teams, a couple of rookies, and one helluva pitching staff.    In August, this team was 6 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but they scratched and clawed and fought off not only the San Diego Padres, but also a very good Colorado Rockies team to prevail.  They willed their way to the NL West Championship.    They were the underdog as they advanced to the NLDS against Atlanta, under the leadership of  Bobby Cox, destined to extend his career a few more games.   But, once again,  against the odds, the Giants won the National League Division Series against Atlanta!

So now the pundits had a ball!   I mean now the Giants had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, defending National League Champions, two years in a row, and World Series Champions only a year ago!   Their ace, Roy Halladay, as good as it gets, pitched a “no hitter” against the Cincinnati Reds,  enroute to the NLDS this year, and the Reds were no pansies.  To solidify the belief, earlier in the year Halladay had thrown a perfect game!   And it wasn’t just Halladay, they also had to face Roy Oswalt, a fastball pitcher who the Phillies acquired from Houston specifically for this reason, to dominate in the playoffs.   Again, Phillies fans lost a lot of money through their bookies over this series.   Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies and won the National League Pennant in 6.

So what’s it going to take?  Headlines all over the country projected the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.  Everywhere except in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Even the Los Angeles papers ….. (whoops forget it, that’s Dodger country, doesn’t count!  i.e., LA Times article today by “Bill Shaikin ~ San Francisco takes advantage of a less-than-sharp effort by the highly regarded left-hander on a night when Tim Lincecum is not exactly crisp.”)  Cracks me up, but you know what?  He’s right!   And that’s baseball folks!  And you know what else?   The SF Giants may NOT win the World Series.  But if they do, it will be because they WILLED it, and not because of anything the Rangers and pundits have to say.    Baseball, don’t you just love it?