I'm writing this ahead of time, on Tuesday night, with only one night between my current self and the end of the 2012 season. It's still a little raw right now, this collapse at the end, but I expect I'll get over it. I've endured worse through the years, worse teams and bigger disappointments and tragedies in life that make baseball seem foolish by comparison, and as such I do believe I'll be okay. I hope you all will be too. I expect you will be.
It's you I want to talk about, you know. Yes, you. Reading this right now. You. The team will bear analysis later, whether by number or by anecdote or perhaps a rehashing of some tragic story with a weak allegorical link to this team, clumsily written in an alcohol-fueled haze by some sad blogger. (Ahem) For now, though, what we have is each other. Commiseration and celebration and other -ations, I'm sure.
It was a good year.
You know, I wouldn't recognise but a tiny handful of you on the street if I were to pass you, and yet we share something. Accident of birth or geography or a choice somewhere along the line, it really doesn't matter, we all have this team and our tribe.
I wasn't ready for this season to end; I suspect you feel the same. I thought about asking for everyone's favourite memories of the 2012 Cardinals this morning. You can share those if you like. I thought about sharing my own favourite memories. But then I really got to thinking, and I'm not sure what my favourite memory would be. Perhaps you have something specific; I'm not so sure I do.
When the future comes for me, I don't know that I'll be able to pick out any one thing about the 2012 baseball season to remember above all else. In fact, I'm fairly certain I won't be able to do so. Instead, I will remember there was a baseball season. I will remember that it was good. I will remember talking about baseball with everyone in my life, friendsfamilycoworkers, and watching the games in the evenings. Eating dinner with the ballgame on, and driving in the car with the radio tuned to Mike Shannon describing every third or fourth at-bat. I have overused the analogy in the past of baseball as an old friend, but I come back to it time and time again. I don't have one memory of this or any other team. I just remember that for six months there was baseball. Everywhere.
You know what I will remember about this baseball season? Sending o/ via text message to a friend of mine when the Cards won a game. Receiving \o right back a few minutes later. Such a small and stupid thing to recall, and yet there it is. The games were wonderful, but it's the way those games weave themselves into the fabric of your everyday life that really makes it special. Both god and the devil are supposedly in the details; to me there's no finer detail to recall than a stupid text message exchanged because a random baseball team in this backwater town on this backwater planet scored more runs than some other random team on a random night. The brief moment waiting for the return lowercase o slash combination.
I am very sad right now. I wanted to see this team go further. I wanted another title. But I'm also okay with this. Life will go on, and before you know it I'll be talking baseball again with the people in my life. Including, well, all of you.
Goodbye, 2012 Cardinals. Goodbye, baseball. Goodbye, old friend. I'll see you again soon.
Smile, everyone. We shared a wonderful season. Regardless of the outcome. Life included Cardinal baseball from April until October. Isn't that just the best? See that beer in the picture above? That's my toast to the Redbirds, and to all of you. You should really raise one of your own.