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Game 81 Open Thread: July 3, 2006

reyes smoltz
1-2, 2.16 4-5, 3.73

i love matchups like this one. when john smoltz started his first playoff game back in 1991, anthony reyes wasn't quite 10 years old; and at this moment, somewhere out there in the (probably) western hemisphere, there's a 10-year-old kid who might get to pitch against anthony reyes in 2021. ring out the old, ring in the new . . .

but the youth-vs-age trope runs only skin deep. from an organizational perspective, the cardinals seem depressingly close in age to the braves, whose endless prime has finally passed. atlanta is built around players who are closer to the end than the beginning, and while st louis hasn't quite got there yet (thank you albert), age (edmonds, izzy) and free-agency (the pitch-to-contact 4) may -- sooner than we'd like -- dump the cardinals into the same type of trough atlanta has found.

since the three-division format began, at least one of these two teams has played in every nlcs except one -- the 2003 series (florida vs chicago). if that era isn't over already, it's up to the cardinals -- and, to a great extent, young mr reyes -- to say so.