As I sit, hours into the offseason...

Man that sucked.


This team deserved a better finish. Well, I shouldn't say this team. The team that dominated the month of August to the tune of an 11 1/2 game lead in the division deserved better.


But now it's over, and there's nothing we can do about it.


But as I sit here, sipping an  honorary Schlafly's Hefeweizen--to which I owe VEB for exposing me to--, I'm filled not with anger, disappointment, sadness, but a quiet satisfaction at the ride that was 2009. We, as fans, got to watch Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Albert Pujols have simultaneous career-type years.


How freaking cool is that?


And you know what? I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much without this site. Oh sure, I'd enjoy it, but I wouldn't be able to talk about the Cardinals in a deeper way than 95% of fans. Colby Rasmus Fire Burning in the Outfield wouldn't be a part of my life. I wouldn't be able to yell "Midwest Nice engage!!!" at my girlfriend before a Matt Holliday at-bat and have her look at me like I had lost my freaking mind.


This place really helped me become a true fan. I think back to 1996, and man, I had no idea what was going on. Granted, I was 10, but still.


2000, 2001, 2002 were all the same way. Fun, but in a "barely hanging on to a careening car" kind of way. '04 was a bit better (minus the World Series, of course-- anybody know when they're gonna play that thing?), and 2005 as well.


But 2006 is when I really came of age as a fan, midway through the regular season, and it was after I googled "St. Louis Cardinals blog" and came by here. I started paying attention to prospects. I started looking at stats. Heck, I'm the guy who, sometime during the 2005 season, asked my dad, "What's going on with that Wainwright kid they got in the J.D. Drew trade?"


But now I can tell you that I have no clue who Allen Craig has to sleep with to get a call-up, that Jaime Garcia could be a great left-handed starting option next year, and that I cannot WAIT till the start of the Shelby Miller era in St. Louis.


I guess my point here is that 2009 ended to early, but because of VEB, 2010 isn't so far off.


(By the way, I highly recommend listening to the end of season-ending games rather than watching. There's something quite comforting in hearing Mike Shannon, after the last out, say, "Our next broadcast'll be March 6, down in Florida. We're taking on the Marlins.")


Rogers Hornsby said it best: "People ask me what I do when there's no baseball. I stare out the window and wait till spring."


The second-best part of the year behind baseball season is baseball's offseason, and here's to a great one, VEB.

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