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The 2011 Cardinals: How The Fuck Did That Happen?

“11 in 11? Yeah fucking right.” That was my reaction after hearing a local St. Louis news station’s TV promo for the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals were about to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, and I was looking forward to watching what I thought was going to be the baseball equivalent of a prison gangbang. Maybe I was bitter. Okay, I WAS bitter. Just a few days earlier the Cardinals had stolen away what was supposed to be a surefire postseason berth from my Atlanta Braves. Side note: HOW THE FUCK DO YOU BLOW THAT LEAD GODDAMMIT? FUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!

Despite my desire at the time, the Cardinals eliminated the Phillies. Philly fans take note…if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years as a Braves fan, it’s this: Having three Cy Young candidates in your rotation does not guarantee a World Series title. More often than not it just leaves you wondering HOW THE FUCK DO YOU LOSE WITH THAT ROTATION? FUUUUUCK!!!!!! After dispatching the Phillies, St. Louis then eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers in six games. They were set to play the Texas Rangers in the World Series. I couldn’t fucking believe it.

Fast forward five games and eight and two thirds innings and the Cardinals were ready, finally, to lose. Except they didn’t. And then they didn’t again. And then they won. Every Texas Rangers fan was thinking the same thing: “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU BLOW THAT LEAD? TWICE!!!!! FUUUUUCK!!!!”Game Six was maybe the most exciting baseball game I have ever watched. David Freese, the hometown hero, delivered a game tying triple and then two innings later a walk off home run. David Freese now has free reign to make sweet, filthy, weird love to any wife or daughter in the St. Louis metropolitan area that he sees fit. If he’s not single then the world isn’t right.

Up to Game Seven the entire series had been epic, marked by close ballgames and record setting performances. Derek Holland and his brilliant pre-pubescent mustache put on a pitching clinic in Game Four. In the game prior Albert Pujols proved once again that he could probably accrue positive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) simply by pulling down his pants and taking a crap in the batter’s box. It would be a good idea for the Cardinals to resign him this offseason.

After that epic Game Six, the whole country was watching. Game Seven instantly became required viewing for anyone who took themselves seriously as a sports fan. When I was offered a ticket I instantly accepted. But even after Game Six I wasn’t sure if I wanted the Cardinals to win. After all, the Cardinals had eliminated the Braves. Most of my friends are Cardinals fans. I had to turn my phone off for three hours on that fateful final night of the regular season. When I turned it back on I was greeted by thirty text messages, all addressing the same subject, and each one douchier than the last. Why would I want that sort of obnoxious fandom to be rewarded? But when I walked into Busch Stadium Friday night there was no question who I was rooting for. The place was electric. I was swept up in the anticipation. For one night I was a Cardinals fan, rooting for the home team.

No one knew what to expect from Game Seven. Game Six had been so ridiculous that anything was possible, and this game was set up to be in the same mold. Texas starter Matt Harrison was abused by the Cardinals in Game Three. Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter was going on three days rest for the second time in the post season. The first attempt did not end well. At the end of the first inning the score was 2-2. “It’s on.”That’s what I thought.

It wasn’t on. Game Seven ended up being nothing more than an epilogue to Game Six. The only drama was trying to figure out what awful, crack inspired decision Ron Washington was going to make next. The World Series deciding game is no time to fall off the wagon Ron, or to walk the bases loaded on purpose. Seriously who the fuck walks the bases loaded?

11 in 11. It happened. I wasn’t bitter anymore. Eventually it became fun to watch. I’m glad it did, because after the Braves’ epic pants shitting I had sworn off baseball for a while. But this improbable Cardinals team made the game fun to watch again. Honestly though, who didn’t have fun watching Game Six? And who wouldn’t have fun pounding ten dollar beers in the middle of an excited crowd at the first World Series Game Seven in nearly a decade? 11 in 11. HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?

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