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Another year, another trip around the sun.

Reflecting on a memorable 2019 for St. Louis sports

2019 NLDS Game 5 - St. Louis Cardinals v. Atlanta Braves Photo by Mike Zarrilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Another year, another trip around the sun. Needless to say, a lot has happened in the most recent one. Jack Flaherty took the baseball world by storm with a historically dominant second-half. The Cardinals reclaimed the NL Central crown–and a spot in the postseason–to break an unprecedentedly brutal drought lasting all of…four years. Four nail-biter NLDS games gave way to a fifth that was anything but, as St. Louis silenced Atlanta’s tomahawk-chopping fanbase to the tune of ten runs in the first inning.

Of course, if you were to utter the phrase “2019 sports memories” to me, a born-and-raised St. Louisan, my mind would instantly turn to an ice rink in Boston on a magical night in June before an October afternoon at the ballpark. In many respects, this year was the culmination of waiting: waiting for the Stanley Cup, waiting for the Cardinals’ transitioning roster to deliver the next great playoff moment. There will always be another puck drop or first pitch to wait for, but for the first time in a while, those waits felt different this year in ways difficult to articulate through words.

For as cliché as it sounds, the St. Louis sports pulse was marked by an almost palpable feeling that we were witnessing something special. A year that began with an increasingly restless Cardinals fanbase and a reeling Blues team at the bottom of the NHL standings while the Rams punched their ticket to the Super Bowl thanks to a blown DPI non-call ultimately saw a revival of St. Louis’ passion for teams that call this city their home.

I’ve lived enough years at this point to know that some go by as mundane footnotes in the bigger picture. Others, however, stick out as years that we look back on as a defining time for one reason or another. I would assert that, at least in the trivial context of sports, 2019 was the latter. Entering this past MLB season, I predicted a 90-72 finish for the Cardinals and a return to the postseason. That nearly perfect forecast was about the only thing I could have accurately anticipated.

So I’ll close out this decade and look forward to the next with one more prediction: 2020 will have its various ups and downs for all of us, both on and off the field. But whether it ends the way we want or not, we’ll have fun watching what will hopefully be a very fun Cardinals team.

Here’s to another year, another trip around the sun. Thanks for reading, and have a happy New Year.