You know, I don't usually write things like this, but I was sitting in my bed this morning, still thinking about the win, and thought maybe writing about it would get it out of my system. So here are my thoughts, in the form of an 'open letter' to Ozzie Smith.
I'm 27 years old, and grew up in New Jersey before moving to the Boston area. I mention this only because I've never in my life lived near, or even been to St. Louis. And I wasn't even born for the 82 series, and the 85 and 87 pennants were too early for me to remember. But for some reason, my father, who grew up in Connecticut and as far as I can remember has never been to Missouri either, liked the Cardinals when I was growing up. So when I was young, I liked the Cardinals too... not for any real reason other than my dad liked them. To be honest, since I was surrounded by Yankees and Mets fans living in New Jersey, I'm not sure how long I'd have stayed a fan of the team, had it not been for your intervention.
You see, at the time, you were my favorite player, but that's not even why I'm thankful. One time in August, my parents took me and my brother to a Mets-Cardinals game at Shea for our birthdays. We were born 3 years and a day apart, so I think I was something like 7 at the time and my brother was 4. I don't even really remember who won or lost anymore, but what I remember clearly was my father: "I talked to Ozzie last night, he's going to meet with you guys after the game."
My dad was a bit of a BSer, so I clearly remember, even at this young age, being a cynic and thinking there was no way. Regardless, after the game ended, he told my mother to walk us down to the stands near the dugout, and so even though she didn't believe him either, she called out to you, "Ozzie, my husband spoke to you last night!" Now, I don't blame you for taking a second, maybe not quite understanding what she meant, until she said a little more. But the reason I am a lifelong Cardinals fan is because of your response... something like "Oh yeah, Joey and Jason, it's your birthdays right?" before signing each of our hats, personalized to us, saying happy birthday.
Those hats are still at my parents' house somewhere, but the memory sticks with me. I'll always remember this 2011 World Series, the game 6 comeback, Pujols' historic game 3, the 2006 WS, the Wainwright strikeout of Beltran in the NLCS, Pujols' monster homerun off Lidge in 2005 that ruined Lidge, getting swept by the damn Red Sox (it had to be the Red Sox when I was living in Boston, didn't it?) in 2004.
But the reason I can say that I'm spoiled by being a Cardinals fan for life is because of you Ozzie, so thank you.
To get a little more current, what an amazing win. I have to admit that like many, I had given up on this team in August, even a couple of times not even watching the nationally televised games because I was too disgusted by them. Only a few weeks later did I start realizing that they had a chance, and started to pay closer attention again. And by the time the playoffs came around, I'd have been okay with losing to the Phillies (and really bothered if we lost to the Brewers), but mostly I didn't want the ride to end. And after that, wow, what an amazing world series, probably the best I've ever seen, and I'm not sure how any other will come close.