Saturday, October 29, 2011

Congrats to the Cardinals

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals won game seven of what may have been one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory. The Texas Rangers, who were favored to win, came within one pitch of victory twice during game six before losing to the Cardinals in the eleventh inning. Then last night in game seven the Cardinals won it all 6-2 behind a masterful pitching performance by Chris Carpenter. Although as I said here a few days ago I grew up an avid Texas Rangers fan, I am not all that disappointed about the outcome.

The Cardinals celebrate an improbable victory in game 6
as Rangers catcher Mike Napoli walks off the field
For several years I have very deliberately ignored major league baseball. In the early 2000s I became so disillusioned with the dominance of steroid use in the game that I finally couldn't stand to watch any more. Idiotically bulked-up slugger-robots like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds routinely hitting sixty, even seventy home runs in a season may have been exciting to some, but to me and many others this spectacle destroyed the character of the game of baseball.

I have been aware for a couple of years now that the steroids era has finally passed. This is not so much because of any trust in the people who run the major league baseball front office or the player's union, but because the batting statistics, the numbers that tell the real story, have returned to a realistic level. This season the American and National league home run leaders, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit 43 and 39 home runs respectively.

It took an exciting World Series, together with the assurance that the role of steroids in major league baseball has been curbed, to convince me to start taking an interest in the game again. Perhaps next spring I will start following the Rangers, and root for them to return to the World Series for another try at the championship. Until then, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals. Any team that is inspired to victory by a squirrel can't be bad!

The Rally Squirrel inspired Cardinals players and
fans in the National League playoffs

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