In preparation for Opening Day I have been watching the 2006 Postseason the past few days. Having just seen Spiezio's 2-RBI triple in Game 2 of the NLCS I just realized how much I am going to miss him (It's sad what has happened with his life, but I will always appreciate what he did for us). That got me thinking about all the players that won't be here anymore so I decided to do a little reminiscing about some of our departed redbirds from last season.
I realize that this has already been written about, but I figured that this is a great day to ponder my favorite memories of some of the players that won't be with us this season. I guess this is just my calm before the storm that will be the 2008 regular season. So here are some of my favorite memories of the players that are gone:
Scott Rolen: I was so excited when we got him (i love my fellow Indiana boys) even though we had to give up Placido. Obviously he was amazing in the '06 World Series (.421/.476/.737), but it was his glove that always made me happier than anything he did at the plate. I can't think of one single moment that stands out above all the rest only because he was always impressive. I wish I could do anything in life as well as he played defense at 3rd...
Jim Edmonds: No brainer. 2004 NLCS game 7. Not only the catch, but the Home Run off of Roger Clemens. I wasn't able to get a ticket to the game, but I went to the Westin with some friends and we watched the first 4 innings there before going up to the stadium and waiting outside the doors and watching from there until the final out was recorded and they let us in. (I also went crazy when he got the bunt single in the first game of the world series that year. I thought that was a symbol of how we were going to win, by doing whatever it took.)
Scott Spiezio: The aforementioned triple was simply amazing. I feel like he did so much for us as a bench player that I will always have a soft spot in my heart for him. Although I could have done without the whole Red Goattee craze that caught on among friends...
David Eckstein: His gameplay was fun to watch, especially when he would run to first after walking or getting hit by a pitch. I remember sitting in my apartment watching the cardinal game with some friends when he hit the walk-off Grand Slam. I can't remember a more unexpected way to end a game (except for Mabry's home run against the Reds a year or two earlier that capped a 7(?) run comeback in the top of the 9th). Especially after he had shown bunt during the at-bat. Oh yea, and he was our World Series MVP. I guess that's pretty good too.
Juan Encarnacion: This one may be a little different than the others, but I will still miss him nonetheless. I always felt like he got a bad rap in STL (but I don't want to get into all of the "he didn't look like he hustled" or whatever, that's not what this is about). I know he struggled in the '06 postseason, but his triple in Game 4 of the NLDS (that won us the game) will always be my favorite memory of him.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Again, I know this has been done, but with the season starting tomorrow, I wanted to say my goodbyes and reminisce a little bit before I head to Busch tomorrow.
Vaya con Dios, former Birdos.