It’s incredible but here they go again in October, breaking hearts and defying baseball logic. The St. Louis Cardinals are the vampires of baseball – they just won’t die. After losing star player Albert Pujols to Los Angeles and manager Tony LaRussa to retirement this off-season, not much was expected of the Cardinals. The guys inside the clubhouse had different plans.
A late run this season helped clinch a National League wildcard playoff spot for the team. They turned the opportunity into a trip to the NLDS after dispatching the Atlanta Braves in a one-game playoff. But the team’s magic took center stage in the NLDS against the young Washington Nationals.
Trailing by six runs after three innings and by two runs in the ninth, the St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the final inning to beat the Nationals 9-7 in the deciding Game 5 of the division series. It was the largest comeback in a do-or-die game in Major League Baseball postseason history. It was nothing new for the team that twice battled back from their final strike in the 2011 World Series to beat the Texas Rangers.
Ace pitcher Chris Carpenter summed it up best when he said they have an organization full of guys who “come to compete every day and do the things that need to be done to win. They get it. They’ve been through it.”
The team now faces the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, with a trip to this year’s World Series at stake. Tied 1-1 in the series, last night’s Game 3 matchup featured a 3.5 hour rain delay, a poor start by the starting pitcher, and the loss of all-star Carlos Beltran – and still ended in a St. Louis win. No matter what happens on the diamond, those pesky Cardinals continue to compete.