Right now, this is my nominee for the best non-Cardinals-win-the-World-Series sports story of the year. Don Carman, he of the 53-54 record and the 4.11 E.R.A. over a ten-year career, is now one of my favorite players.
Close competition is Toby’s excellent eve-of-the-World Series article about Carmi resident and former Tiger and Cardinal Bob Sykes. Toby, is that available online for me to link to anywhere?
And as we enter the holiday season, some baseball things I’m thankful for:
Jimmy Edmonds, and his new contract that makes him likely to retire a Cardinal.
Adam Wainwright’s curveball and its ability to freeze Carlos Beltran, if for no other reason than my mom’s good health. I’m not sure she would have made it had he hit the bases-clearing triple we all were clearly imagining.
Endy Chavez’s catch, and the fact that it ultimately didn’t matter
Manny Ramirez’s swing. And his hair.
Dusty Baker’s firing. Is that too mean for a holiday list?
Jackie Robinson. ‘Cause you can’t ever be too thankful for Jackie Robinson.
Rickey. GMs, he’s ready to play. Just call.
Yadier Molina’s October power surge. And his girlish smile.
Stacey’s jack-o-lanterns. 10-0 in the Fall Classic and counting.
J.D. Drew’s silly, silly baserunning, and the fact that that play also involved Jeff Kent and his mustache.
The Big Unit, even though he’s a Yankee and, apparently, past his peak. Oh, that slider, and that hair.
Mike Shannon. So long as he’s broadcasting, a part of me will still be a kid.
Opening Day, and living a mile-and-a-half from a ballpark, a childhood dream unexpectedly realized.
And, finally and forever, Albert Pujols. ‘Nuff said.
I know I’m forgetting dozens. Feel free, ye millions of readers, to add your own in comments.
Seven Octobers now we’ve been hosting Baseball Open House at the Rocketship, and this year’s has to rank as our most successful: * We had good friends in attendance throughout, ranging from two or three people all the way to a high of eleven (plus me and Stacey) for Kenny Rogers’s glorious (pine-tar-aided?) dismantling of the Yankees in the LDS. * Half a dozen or so friends made their first Baseball Open House appearance. * We hosted people for every night game in the entire playoffs except three, two of which were graciously hosted by TITANIA, and the other, the World Series opener, which we watched with the whole Stahl family at my brother’s house in Indianapolis following my running of the Indy marathon. * We cooked up a mess of food, relying more than in any previous October on the seasonal produce that we get each week from our membership in a local community-supported farm; in that way, we were closer to the autumn outdoors than ever before. * Stacey’s baseball jack-o-lanterns ran their World Series game-winning streak to 10. Damon went 4-0 in 2004, Ozzie Guillen went 4-0 in 2005, and the Yadi-o-lantern went 2-0 to close out the 2006 series. * Despite the brevity of many of the series–the teams only played six games over the minimum this October–we saw some very exciting baseball. As my mom put it on the phone minutes after Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded to put St. Louis in the World Series, “That one nearly killed me!” Even the fans without a rooting interest in the game knew what she meant. * We had champagne in the fridge, and we got to use it. We drank some after the aforementioned strikeout of Beltran, and we put back more of it after Wainwright snapped off the same curveball against Brandon Inge . . . which leads to the final reason this Baseball Open House was such a success . . . . * THE CARDINALS WON THE WORLD SERIES! FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I WAS EIGHT YEARS
OLD AND NOT YET REALLY A FAN! Thanks, Cardinals. Thanks, everyone who came out. Thanks, Jim, for another season of BRPA. I’ll try to be a more reliable poster in 2007, and maybe you can make it for Baseball Open House next October. The only proper way to end this is to turn the mike over to the Rajah:
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”–Rogers Hornsby
Pitchers and catchers report in about 100 days.