Sunday, November 6, 2011

A classic World Series

We're into November now, which means yet another World Series is behind us and the baseball offseason has begun. But before we move on, let's remember that the 2011 World Series has been one of the best in years.

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games. The Cards, as a Wild Card team, had homefield advantage and were down 3-2 after the three straight games in Texas. But just like the Twins did in 1987 and 1991, St. Louis won games six and seven in dramatic fashion.

Game 6 of this series will probably be talked about and shown again as a "classic" game. I wouldn't say it's one of the best game 6 contests, but it was certainly exciting, dramatic and a constant swing of emotions. When it was all said and done, just before midnight, the Cards came away victorious with a 10-9 win in 11 innings.

Before the last couple of innings and the extras, game 6 really wasn't that great of a game. There were multiple errors by both sides, and it just wasn't that clean of a game. The hometown kid who turned out to be the man of the hour and the Series MVP couldn't catch a pop-up above his head. But he did own up to it in post-game interviews, which was nice to hear.

Then, things got interesting. Texas was one strike away from becoming the champs. Twice. But they were denied, just like last year when they were on the losing end of the World Series. The bottom of the ninth and extra innings turned into a slug fest.

David Freese hit a triple, which homerun-machine and right fielder Nelson Cruz could have caught to end the season. I think Cruz had a case of nerves. He didn't position himself to get to that fly ball like he might have been able to, and then on a later single he bobbled the ball a bit in between his legs.

After trading leads, homers and nervous-wreck emotions, Freese sent the series to a seventh game with one swing of the bat. It was a smash to center that sealed the deal for the Cards from a momentum standpoint.

Play-by-play announce Joe Buck used his father's, "We'll see ya, tomorrow night" call for the game-winning homer, 20 years and a day after his dad said it for Kirby Puckett's game 6 home run. Some people thought it was a great tribute when son Joe said it, others didn't like it. I was in the latter category; get your own line, Joe. I liked color analyst Tim McCarver's, "How did this happen?" line better, because it was fitting after the game that had just taken place.

You'll notice in my "We'll see ya, tomorrow night" quote from Joe Buck, that I did not use an exclamation point. That was most definitely on purpose because his excitement level didn't deserve one.

Game 7 wasn't as exciting, of course, a 6-2 win for the Cards. Texas was fighting an uphill battle of being on the road and being defeated mentally. It's too bad; I was pulling for them. But in the former Twins category, scrappy infield Nicky Punto has a ring, and so does pitcher Kyle Lohse. Good for them.