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lucky in love

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yadi goes 4 for 4. eckstein goes deep. scott seabol hits for the cycle. carmen cali throws a perfect game. . . .

nothing lucky about last night's win, stl's 12th in 17 games. i so state because, on reflection, i think the term "luck" loomed a bit too large in yesterday's post. the thought came to me as i watched the cardinals convert a 5-6-4 double play on a bunt in the 3d inning last night. 5-6-4 -- how many of those have ever been turned successfully? i bet it's no more than a dozen in the history of the game. yet improbable feats of this nature seem to follow the cardinals around -- viz this one, which entailed luck aplenty. but all teams get breaks; the devil's in what you make of them. the ability to exploit good luck, capitalize on it, coin it into wins -- that's a skill. and these cardinals have it.

at my old blog last month i wrote about the great good fortune that shadowed the cards throughout their head-to-head series against the cubs last season. on that day i wrote of

a teamwide vigilance, a kind of hyperconcentration -- the do-no-wrongness that lets you win games despite being outhit and outpitched. some dismiss it as luck, others exalt it as "character" or "professionalism" -- but whatever it is, you can't manufacture it; it evolves. many commentators remarked upon this quality late in the season, after it had reached full flower and the cards had played an entire summer of .750 baseball. but [in early june 2004] the cards were nothing special. they were becoming special.

now, almost 12 months later, the cards are still special -- the type of team that turns a 5-6-4 double play, shrugs, and pounds out 11 runs. that's a quality statistics can't measure; and while i love my numbers, it's that numberless and nameless thing that i appreciate most about these cardinals.