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A Late October Consideration of Baseball

There are two cities in America still living and dying with every late October baseball game. St. Louis is not one of them. And it kind of sucks.

Pittsburgh Pirates v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Good morning, all. I’m on vacation from work this week — I take this week off every year, as it is probably my favourite week of the year, and just on the off chance the Cardinals are, in fact, in the World Series — and am actually going to be heading out of town shortly, so I’m going to make this brief this morning.

I watched the Indians and Cubs play last night. I honestly wasn’t planning on it; this whole postseason, as exciting as it has been, has also been of a slightly torturous sort for me personally. Of the clubs in the postseason, I disliked nearly all of them, finding myself in the position of actually rooting for the Dodgers — whom I normally despise to at least a reasonable degree — as the lesser of two evils, though I admit in the course of rooting for LA I actually found some rather likable qualities about them.

Cleveland was my hope from the beginning; I would love to see the odd confluence of events leading to that most inept of American sports cities serving as title town, for at least this one year. I also love many of their players, and I love Terry Francona. I’m sure there were plenty of very good reasons for Tito not to get the Cardinal job back in 2011, but looking at where he is now, and how heavily his own tactical contributions have factored into the Indians making it back to the World Series is very, very frustrating in light of how the Redbirds’ own managerial hire has worked out.

But the Cubs? I have, for most of my life, been a member of the Will Leitch school of thought on the Northsiders: Leitch is fond of saying his favourite baseball team is the Cardinals, and his second favourite is the Cubs not winning the World Series. In general, that’s been my policy as well.

However, as we sit here on the morning of the 26th of October, I find myself at peace with pretty much whatever happens. I’m still rooting for the Indians, and rooting against the Cubs, but if the century-plus of suffering comes to an end this year, I’m okay with that. There is something rather beautiful about the knowledge that, no matter what happens in the World Series, a championship drought of at least 68 years will end. Both Cleveland fans and Cubs fans, as hard as it is for me to believe what I’m saying, deserve the joy of a title. I hope the Cubs crash and burn next year, when the Cardinals will be back in the mix, but for this last week of October I cannot find it in myself to begrudge the Northsiders their excitement, their rapture.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say today; I want to get in to greater depth as far as the offseason ahead for the Cardinals, and what my own personal plans would be, but for now there is still baseball going on, between two historic franchises, both of which have long been on the down side of the ledger, and next year can wait.

I will probably end up watching every game of this series. After all, there will be no baseball at all very soon, and the hot stove can only keep you warm so long. And that’s if it ever even heats up properly, which isn’t a guarantee.

This was, ultimately, one of the most frustrating seasons of Cardinal baseball I can ever remember. The narrative was a changing of the guard, out with the old, in with the new, and the power to the North has eclipsed El Birdos, perhaps forever. What it really was, though, was a season where things went wrong, mistakes were made, and some reflection is needed to see where the franchise stands now.

It could be a long offseason. In fact, it’s already been a long offseason; I’m not accustomed to having no Cardinal baseball to discuss for pretty much the whole of October.

Let’s all just hope this was a one time thing. I am at peace with this October, regardless of how things go.

I don’t ever want it to happen again, though.