Tony La Russa is one win away from being on the other side of where he was in '88 when he managed the heavily favored A's when they were upset by the Dodgers. In a year when the national spotlight seems resigned to the fact that the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox aren't going to win it all (and to me it seemed like it took until about Game 2 of the World Series for them to actually realize the Yankees weren't going to rally from elimination) so they begrudgingly began rooting for the "Cinderella Tigers".
I'm not ragging on the Tigers. The turnaround that Jim Leyland has done with his team is amazing and Tigers are a very, very good team. It just seems interesting that they somehow managed to get the beloved underdog title for the postseason. My favorite to date is the infamous "Tigers will win in 3" prediction. Or the Fox announcers (with Steve Lyons gone, it seems they've wasted no time in trying to track down someone just as annoying to fill the void…Eric Byrnes anyone?) like Kevin Kennedy who can't seem to help himself to pick the Tigers every game that Carpenter hasn't started. Well, he's been right once; I guess that's something.
I'm almost afraid to see what will
happen if the Cards end up wrapping this up as decisively as they look like
they're going to. I swear other
than Joe Buck and Tim McCarver the rest of the crew will probably be
inconsolable. The smugness that
comes from rooting for a team from the "superior" league seems to be finally
dissipating a bit, although I suspect if the Cards do pull it off there will be
more talk about how
A championship is a championship I guess regardless of what the pundits may say. For myself I guess I just enjoy the hemming and hawing over the poor yokels in the state of Missouri (and the handful of others elsewhere) who in spite of facing the almighty Tigers dared believe the Cardinals could make a series of it, or could even *gasp* win. They were openly mocked before the series started. There was headshaking and knowing looks. It was like at the end of Ol' Yeller where the kid has to shoot his dog—the national media saw the Cards as the rabid dog but the Cardinal faithful didn't have the gumption to polish off their own dog. Well, the Cards are still barking and the Tigers are a game away from being taken behind the proverbial shed.
The Cards will be the first to say they haven't won anything yet. But they've definitely shown up which is more than what most people gave them credit for. With one more win the Cards will erase the memory of the second half of the regular season. With one more win the Cards will have a cast of unlikely heroes in Jeff Weaver, Anthony Reyes, Adam Wainwright, Preston Wilson and even guys like Jeff Suppan and Yadier Molina—guys who had been written off as either too inexperienced or too overmatched to be big game players.
I don't think the Cards would have it any other way.
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