It was in the Cards: World Series crown fitting for team, fans
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 8:02 pm
By: By DAVID CRITCHLOW JR., Editor
I deserve the sportsmanship award.
You should have seen me after Game 7 of the World Series in St. Louis, praising the Texas Rangers’ fans for being part of such a great series.
Cardinal fans are widely lauded as being the best anywhere for being so knowledgeable of the game — in addition to being such good sports.
“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” some wise man once said and I sure felt that way for the Texas team that had played a great game and a great series.
Would I have acted differently had the Cardinals lost the World Series? Of course not. I was just glad the Redbirds made it that far after a roller-coaster year that saw them qualify for the playoffs on the last day of the season as a wild-card entry.
Once there, they were given no chance to advance, with the likes of the heavily-favored Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers in their path and the powerful Texas Rangers awaiting from the American League.
But I had faith… Sure I did.
When I was attending the Game 2 loss in St. Louis and I stepped out of the way of a hard-hit foul ball — only to see it smash into my friend’s thigh and eventually end up in another friend’s hands — I knew the Cardinals were destined to win the World Series.
If you don’t believe I had faith then, just ask my wife or teenage daughters or dogs how confident I was watching later games. (You may have to be Cesar Millan, the famous TV dog whisperer, to talk to the dogs about it.)
Better yet, don’t ask any of them.
They might claim I have “issues” when it comes to watching sporting events — especially on TV.
Per my recollection, I was sitting there quietly watching Game 5 of the World Series on television when my beloved Cardinals proceeded to leave 12 men on base on their way to a 4-2 loss.
Things didn’t look good, but I seem to recall saying something like, “Don’t worry. It’s a long series. We’ll get ’em next time.”
As I looked around, I noticed I was saying it to an empty room — no wife, no daughters, no dogs.
I searched the house and found the others watching “Dancing With the Stars” behind closed doors.
“This is the World Series. Why are y’all not watching this?” I asked.
“Dad, you act awful,” was the response.
“OK, so I get a little excited and do a little name-calling when my team is not playing up to its potential, but that’s not so bad,” I responded.
“Dad, you were yelling so loud the three dogs got stuck in the doggie door trying to get out of the room at the same time,” they said.
“Aw, come on, it wasn’t that bad.”
“Why do you think we’re back here with the door closed watching ‘Dancing With the Stars?’ It’s because we can’t hear it for all your screaming at the manager, players, umpires and TV. It’s just a game, you know.”
With that, I had to change my approach.
“Girls, do you know what they call a good loser?” I asked. “A loser.”
Getting no response, I tried a different angle by quoting Ricky Bobby, the race car driver played by actor Will Ferrell in a movie: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
“Whatever,” they said as they rolled their eyes at me.
The series shifted to Texas for three games and then, thankfully, returned to St. Louis for its conclusion.
Thanks to a great connection, I was able to secure a ticket and watched one of the most amazing games in World Series history as the Cardinals were one strike away from elimination (twice), only to bounce back and finally win Game 6.
Surrounded by other true Cardinal fans, I had faith “we” would pull out the win. So, no, that wasn’t me stomping off from my seat in the ninth and 10th innings when the Redbirds were down two runs. And that wasn’t me jumping back on the bandwagon when series MVP David Freese hit the thrilling game-winning home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Contrary to what my family thinks, I was there for them all along.
Editor David Critchlow Jr. may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in The Messenger 11.11.11