Today is game number one hundred and sixty-two, friends. The very last game of the season.
The Cards sewed up their postseason berth last night in typical 2012 Cardinals fashion, with a frustrating loss, but the Dodgers were obliging, and any final day drams can now be avoided. Not to say that's necessarily a good thing, mind you; I'm sure we all recall the brilliant, heart-stopping drams of last year's final day with a certain amount of fondness.
This year, though, the Last Day isn't quite so fraught. What we have today is much more analagous to the last day of school, when everyone just sort of aimlessly milled around, cleaning out lockers, dumping the collected refuse of six months into the trash cans sitting throughout the halls. All the classes are over; we all know what grades we ended up with. Most of the teachers are feeling the spirit as well; videos will be watched and free periods will be allowed. The few still clinging to the notion of maintaining a real sense of order may try to come up with some small bit of make-work work, but there aren't too many of those. The Cardinals took their finals the last couple weeks, and they passed. The beat up on the Astros when they needed to and took two of three from the Nationals. They held off an LA team that just never quite got it in gear, and now they're going to the playoffs.
It's an expected pleasure, at least most years, for those of us who follow the Cardinals. The postseason isn't seen as a right, exactly, but we all sort of assume we'll be watching baseball come October in St. Louis. I was talking to a friend of mine from out of town the other day, and she was debating whether to try and come in for any potential playoff games. On the one hand, expenses and time concerns and all that. On the other, well, playoffs.
We came to the conclusion it would probably be okay if she didn't come in this year, because she should have opportunities in the near future. Not exactly a ground-breaking revelation, and an extraordinarily dull conversation to relate in blog form, I'm sure, but it's also a revealing thought process. Things are good when you're a Cardinal fan, by and large. We have no reason to believe this will be our team's last bite at the apple for awhile. It's a good feeling.
So today, let's all take that last day of school vibe to heart and just enjoy it. Our team is in; they don't have to win. No matter what happens tonight it will be alright. Don't worry, I'm not going to continue rhyming. But for now, I think we should all just relax a little and be happy to be Cardinal fans. The expected pleasure of October is coming, even if there were times this season it seemed much, much tougher than it needed to be. There will time later to worry over Atlanta and what might happen in one game to rule them all (ugh, such a nerd), but today we can just...relax. Because, like the man say, every little thing is gonna be alright. (Until Friday.) Six months is a long time to follow something daily, to worry over every momentary minutiae. Today is a day to exhale.
Here we are, game 162. Tell me your happy thoughts about this team. About this season. Tell me how much you've loved watching a second longtime nemesis in as many years kick ass wearing the Birds on the Bat -- Carlos Beltran this time, El Puma Grande last year -- and how inexplicably wonderful seeing Chris Carpenter actually take the mound this season is.
Just for today, let's all be happy. We are Cardinal fans. It's a pretty good life.