The Cardinals of St. Louis have won the World Series.
In a little less than 36 hours we were able to witness the good, the bad, and the ugly of what was once America’s pastime.
For those of you who missed the last two games, first the good...
Game 6 was incredible. I know we are not supposed to use adjectives like that often, but in this case, it fits. Twice, the Cardinals were down to their last strike before somehow managing to pull even.
The stadium was rocking in the ninth inning when with two outs and two strikes David Freese tripled to the wall in right to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
The Texas Rangers struck quick and the Cards once again saw themselves headed home in the bottom half of the inning. This time the hero was Lance Berkman who singled to bring in the tying run and we were on to the 11th.
As if on cue, David Freese found himself at the plate again. Hometown hero David Freese, a modern day Roy Hobbs, connected and drove the ball over the wall in dead center sending the series to a Game 7 finale.
But that’s the good, now we move on to the bad...
The game ended at 12:45 a.m. on the east coast. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, 10:00 p.m. was my latest bedtime on a school night, and that was the exception.
How is baseball going to draw kids into the fold if they cannot see their sports idols in the Fall Classic? How many young kids in Pittsburgh never would have given baseball a second thought had they not been witness to Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run that beat the mighty Yankees in 1960?
In the 60s and 70s, baseball ruled the US sports scene and the World Series was a huge part of the reason why. With Curt Gowdy, and later Vin Scully, calling the games on television and the home town announcers helping out on radio, time stood still in America for three hours in the middle of every game day.
If you were not watching the game somewhere, you smuggled a transistor radio into school or work and listened on your crummy little earplug.
And then, if you were a kid, you went outside and became not only Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, and Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, but also unlikely heroes Bucky Dent, Gene Tenace and yes, David Freese. Because you had witnessed their greatness on the World Series stage.
But if that is the bad, what’s the ugly?
The St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series.
Now, I have nothing against the storied St. Louis franchise. They won the games they needed to win, and in stirring fashion to boot. Coming back from from the grave during the season, as they did, should serve as a testament to the old cliche “it ain’t over til it’s over.”
But they did not deserve to be in the World Series. They finished second in their division.
Baseball was the last of the major sports to suckle up completely to the teat of television and allow losers into the championship. And the man most responsible for that is baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Since assuming the mantle of commish, Selig has a record that, while delivering millions to the owners, has left the game a shell of its former self.
A missed World Series, an All Star Game tie, interleague play that has diluted the Fall Classic, steroids and the wild card, allowing second place teams a chance to play for the championship are just a few of the foibles of Bud Selig’s reign of terror on baseball.