If you visit the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, a baseball fan's reverie and a lifetime highlight that will remain imprinted on your soul, you might be surprised at the presence of the St. Louis Cardinals. It's significant, with the second most championships in the history of the sport. Clearly, they are laps behind the New York Yankees (someone ought to put an end to that domination - it's painfully similar to the Harlem Globetrotters, for goodness sakes). But the Cardinals enjoy a role as baseball royalty by nature of all those titles, the most recent of which was a scant twelve months ago.
Well, they are right back in the saddle this year, and are winning in the same puzzling, implausible, inspiring, and frustrating ways the Yankees always do. How else can you explain, with one strike remaining in their season on a number of occasions over the last couple of years, rising so comfortably to the moment and emerging victorious? You'll recognize the sort of accomplishment if you are watching the Yankees hang around doing nothing for eight innings before rallying just enough to tie or push ahead at the final buzzer by a run - again and again and again. The Cardinals are Yankee-like. The Cardinals are Yankees-Lite. It's mind boggling.
Similar to the Yankees' Raul Ibanez, the Cardinals' Game Five ninth inning against the ready-to-pop-the-cork Washington Nationals featured improbable stars. Who the heck are Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso anyway? Heck, they conjured Al Weis of the 1969 New York Mets. The difference? The Mets, and other teams, feature that magic once or twice a lifetime. The Cardinals have no such quantity problem.
This is the challenge facing the San Francisco Giants, who pulled off a bit of magic of their own, trailing two games to none, and mustering a grand total of one hit through nine innings in Game Three after also being one-hit in Game Two. They sure didn't seem like a team destined for good things. They persevered, though, somehow. But the pot of gold for outlasting the Cincinnati Reds is the Cardinals. How exactly do you beat teams like the Yankees and the Cardinals, who appear so outwardly calm and insanely patient, waiting to slit your throat - like a serial killer.
As good as the San Francisco Giant pitching can be, they'll be peeking over their shoulders waiting for the magic - Cardinals in seven.
Glenn Vallach has been a New York Mets fan since foolishly abandoning the mighty Yankees in his youth after Mickey Mantle retired. Since the fond, fleeting memories of the Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee years, he sits quietly yearning for a fraction of the success enjoyed annually by the team that inhabits the borough in which I was born...waiting and hoping...waiting and hoping.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Mets page
- · Yahoo! Sports St. Louis Cardinals page
- · Yahoo! Sports Washington Nationals page
- · Yahoo! Sports Raul Ibanez page
- · Yahoo! Sports Pete Kozma page
- · JANIE Mccauley, The Associated Press, Cardinals, Giants each pulled off remarkable rally
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