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Pujols rises, is not enough for 2001 Cards against Dbax

Cardinals vs. Orioles today. Gameday link here

Current spring training leaderboard:
AB Duncan 72
HR Duncan 5
ERA: Qualified Thompson, 0.73, overall, six at 0.00
W: Reyes, Wainwright at 3

This is always the worst part of the season. The roster is mostly set, the exiting young guys are back in minor league camp, and we're just waiting for the games that count to start. In a lot of ways, the last week of ST is more duldrum-y then January.

I just still can't believe that last October happened. It was the complete opposite of all the recent October's past. I still vividly remember being glued to the television during the painful 1996 collapse, when we all thought that the dark ages were finally over, and the Braves proved us wrong. Of course, the 2000 postseason with the Mets and Rick Ankiel, will forever live in infamy. I remember as particularly painful the 2002 disaster at the hands of the Braves, where we couldn't buy a hit off of %*#ing Kirk Reuter. Of course, the 2004 World Series still lies in all of our hearts as one of the most disappointing ends to a promising season.

But the postseason collapse that broke my heart the most had to have been 2001. Nearly everything broke correctly for the team in the regular season that year. The future promise of JD Drew as finally starting to show (an OPS over 1.000, and would have had well over 30 HR if not for Boomer's stupid fastball to his wrist. Darryl Kile was having a spectacular recovery from his Colorado days. Matt Morris had come back beautifully from his injury into full time pitching. Ankiel's decline and fall continued that year, of course, but that was more than canceled out by the rise of a somewhat unheralded prospect known as Albert Pujols who got his shot at the majors, and simply dominated, holding up the third base position solidly, while the Cardinals found a brilliant Will Clark to fill in for the injured and increasingly all-or-nothing Mark McGwire.

Every hope the team had dashed, they had filled in by another promise. 2001 was the perfect summer. And then it was erased by a stupid bloop hit by Tony Womack in the fifth game of the NLCS. That was disappointing. I still cheered loudly as they soared to break the Yankees dynasty two weeks later. But that will forever be my most depressing postseason. And that is what last October, the exact opposite of this, helped quell.

And that concludes todays edition of hyperflowery language theatre.