No legendary Game Six magic this time in the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals — unfortunately.
Which means thus ends the 2013 season.
And in the World Series, with just two teams left playing, only one can celebrate as champions. As I said the other day, these October losses hurt more the farther we go — and this final one hurts most of all.
In the big picture of the 2013 season, what a ride for the Cardinals. Best record in the majors, National League Central champs for the first time in four years, two MVP contenders, rookie after rookie shining on the pitchers mound and so much more — plus winning the National League pennant in a tremendous month of October baseball.
Still, despite all the success, it didn’t end how any of us wanted. There should be celebrations by our team, not those terrible sad looks and tears.
And we each mourn that the Cardinals fell short of the final destination in our own individual way.
Some want to be angry, see the lack of offense throughout the World Series especially and the number of runners left on base (particularly last night) and the curious pitching decisions at times by Mike Matheny (once again last night) and just want to rail against it — because if only this move to the bullpen had been made or that pinch-hitter had been used, the outcome would have been different.
Understandable, and acceptable, reaction.
Others want to look at the positive, see that winning 106 games from April through October and playing six games of the World Series really is something to be celebrated, despite the flaws, even if it’s short of the ultimate goal, and see a bright future ahead with all the talent this team has.
That’s fine, and reasonable, as well.
However you choose to deal with today, with the reality that we no longer have St. Louis Cardinals baseball in our lives until next February, is good. If you want to punch that suddenly-bandwagon-Red-Sox-fan-who-you-think-might-be-a-Cubs-fan-even-though-she-never-mentioned-baseball-to-you-at-all-until-telling-you-“Go-Red-Sox!”-yesterday-afternoon coworker, go right ahead. (Or maybe I’m just giving myself permission to do so — depending on what such a person might say to me today.)
There’s no denying watching last night’s game, watching the season come to an end, hurts. And as the late Bart Giamatti, former commissioner, so eloquently phrases it, that’s by design. Because that’s baseball.
“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”
Yes, fall is here with its darkness and rain and we move forward alone with no more baseball.
After last night, all that remains of the 2013 Cardinals are memories.
And, given time, they’ll be less painful.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.