For the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals, the highs have been higher and, at times, the lows lower — especially within the past week.
Because just when it seemed things couldn’t get more disappointing than the Game Five loss at home, we had Game Six last night. And thus, now, Game Seven.
Will this be the final Cardinals game of the season?
Or does the team that’s thrilled us for many, many nights throughout this rollercoaster of 2012 have another climb and another hero waiting to be unleashed tonight?
I’m hoping it’s the latter, and know you’re hoping it’s the latter too. And, though none of us know exactly what’s going through their minds right now, I’m sure each player is hoping it’s the latter as well — and that he’s going to be that hero.
Or that hero again.
But we don’t know. Despite what stats and numbers and baseball writer after baseball writer might tell us, no one knows what tonight’s outcome is going to be.
We’re all hoping it’s the Cardinals — and we have Dodgers fans, at least, on our side. And maybe White Sox fans, although they just want someone who can beat the Tigers.
Everyone else in the entire world, so it seems, is hoping it’s the Giants who complete yet another must-win comeback like they did in the division series. Their fans, Cub fans, Reds fans (you think they’d really be rooting for the Cardinals?), Brewers fans, Astros fans, Braves fans, Nationals fans, Twitter’s MLB Jesus, on and on — and FOX too.
Come on, of course they are. More Wacky Brian Wilson and Hyped-Up Hunter Pence and beards and hash tags to talk about for at least four more games? They’re already planning the promos …
Maybe it’s a good position for the Cardinals to be in. The whole must-win-do-or-die-here-they-go-again thing that we’re all so incredibly familiar with now.
We know the Cardinals have heart. If that was all it took to win in the NLCS, the team would have had the weekend off after clinching in St. Louis Friday night. Or, at the very least, we’d be reading yet another chapter of the “Chris Carpenter Story” this morning.
But it takes more than desire to win. It takes hitting. It takes pitching. It takes clean defense. It can take getting a few breaks going the Cardinals way — like they have so, so many times in 2012.
Can the Cardinals win Game Seven tonight and move on to the World Series?
Absolutely. All the things that need to happen certainly can. We watched them all come together as recently as Thursday night. The magical ride toward “12 in ’12” can continue on.
Or is tonight the end of the line?
These things happen too, although we’re getting spoiled and are hard-pressed to remember a time when the Cardinals didn’t emerge victorious when they made it to the NLCS. (It was 2005 against the Astros, in case you’ve already forgotten.)
Only one team’s fairy tale will continue past tonight — and that’s baseball. Twenty-seven teams are done, the Tigers are waiting and in 12 hours the battle to see who they face will be under way.
Here’s hoping it’s the Cardinals.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.