Will the St. Louis Cardinals win their 11th World Series and make more franchise history in 2011? In an instant, the phrase “No. 11 in 2011” rolls off the tongue.
To be sure, that’s the rallying cry throughout Cardinal Nation—a vast conglomerate of fans stretching from Missouri, the "Show Me" State, to America’s three coasts and beyond.
Showing the world just how big Redbird Nation really is, Cardinals fans represented in Miller Park during the NLCS-clinching game in Milwaukee with one of the largest contingencies of rooters ever seen for a visiting team in the playoffs.
As quiet as they were and as fast as they left, Milwaukee Brewers fans seemed stunned.
It was all good for Cardinal Nation. They moved down the stands and gathered around the dugouts while their team celebrated in the clubhouse. The Redbirds came back out to celebrate with their fans after the NLCS and MVP trophies were presented.
I’d say those ecstatic fans don’t expect anything less than a happy ending after this World Series is over. This will be MLB’s 107th World Series and the 18th appearance for the Cardinals.
Their first appearance was in 1926 and the last one was in 2006; they are second only to the New York Yankees for most World Series championships.
Still, St. Louis is without question the king franchise of the NL—the senior circuit—and could be called the best in MLB. Redbirds’ fans are often referred to as the best and most knowledgeable in all of America’s professional sports.
To this historic and electrifying baseball environment, the Texas Rangers will be making their first trip to play against the Cardinals. The legendary Busch Stadium, in its third form, will host the best-of-seven series.
To illuminate, this will be the third World Series appearance for the Redbirds since the legendary Busch family sold the team and new ownership, led by William Dewitt, Jr., took over in 1995.
The Cardinals are National League champions for the first time since 2006 and the third time in eight years. In contrast, the Rangers won their second AL championship in two years; they are, of course, making back-to-back appearances in the World Series.
The Rangers lost to the San Francisco Giants last season during “The Chronic” World Series. In comparison to the Bay Area’s fans, Cardinals fans will be sky high in a different way.
In a strong resemblance to the bedazzled Bay Area last year, downtown St. Louis will be a sea of red spilling over to the stadium. Please believe that controlled pandemonium will be the order of the night.
If the Redbirds take the lead in the first inning, then it could spell disaster for Texas. I project the Cardinals’ trend of scoring early and often to continue throughout the World Series, but Texas has the potential to match every run.
Forecasting the outcome of the series is a tough job, but someone has to do it. In line with that, I present to you my prognostications for the 2011 World Series between the mighty St. Louis Cardinals and the determined Texas Rangers, owned in part by Nolan Ryan.
The Rangers will be overwhelmed by the mystique and spectacle they are sure to witness up close and personal in the best baseball town in America. All in all, they won’t get over it until after Game 2 is over.
I know they experienced Yankee Stadium in last year’s ALCS, but New York doesn’t roll out Clydesdales representing the so-called "King of Beers," and the Cardinals own a 3-2 World Series advantage over the Yankees.
Texas has an advantage with their power and speed to steal bases, but Yadier Molina has one of the best throwing arms this side of Johnny Bench. For sure, he’s still lethal at picking runners off and throwing them out. His rifle will negate the Rangers’ bullets on the bases.
When it comes to trotting around the bases, St. Louis has just as many, if not more, power and high-batting-average hitters as any team in baseball. The winner will be determined by which team drives in the most runs with two outs.
Starting pitching won’t be at a premium. Above all, the Cardinals have the better bullpen, but Texas has the more-experienced closer in Neftali Feliz.
To sum it up, the dream of “No. 11 in 2011” will come true. The Cardinals will win the 2011 World Series in six games.
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