Here it is, the left page of a two-page layout (right side is not done yet). All the photos are from the Cardinals' Facebook page . . . I didn't take them, as much as I would have loved to! The shadows look really big here on my screen, but they're much more subtle on the actual page. Folks who don't know me might not know that even though I'm from Baltimore, I've been a die-hard Cardinals fan for 15 years now. (Hubby converted me when we got married.) I was an Orioles fan through the Cal Ripken years, but lost interest in college.

"This was, no doubt, a season for the record books. We are used to the Cardinals making the playoffs; they are a perennial contender for the division championships. This year, however, they were 10 1/2 games back in August. We wrote them off, figuring this would be one of the first seasons in regular memory that they didn’t make it to the playoffs. Then the Cardinals made a bet with themselves, and vowed to play every remaining game as if it were their last. They made up the gap, but were still 3 games back from the Wild Card slot with only 5 games to go. A mathematical miracle had to occur; on the last day of the season, their magic number was 2. That meant Atlanta had to lose and St. Louis had to win. And they did. On the final day of the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the National League Wild Card slot. We started to dream. Duane had a ticket to Game 4 of the World Series, to be played in Arlington, Texas if the Rangers made it that far. He was excited to go, and this was before the Cardinals were even on the radar.

The playoffs began, and St. Louis was up against Philadelphia. The Phillies won more than 100 games in 2011, the best record in baseball. Everyone said the Phillies would crush the Cards, and the run would end there. Just to prove the naysayers wrong, St. Louis went on to eliminate Philadelphia from the playoffs, winning the NLDS 3 games to 2. Then came the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Redbirds came out on top in that series, 4-2. All of a sudden, it was real. But Texas is a great team, and an intimidating offense producer. What was going to happen? Duane was so excited, he couldn’t stand it. I had symphony rehearsal and a performance during two of the games. Duane would travel to Dallas on Sunday, October 23 for Game 4.

St. Louis won the first game, 3-2, and lost the second, 2-1. It was shaping up to be a low-scoring pitching battle. I was relieved to see that Texas and St. Louis were so evenly matched. I was afraid it would be a sweep by Texas, but our boys fought hard. St. Louis took Game 3 in an embarrassing rout, 16-7, and Texas came back to win Games 4 and 5.

Now the Cards were down 3-2 in a must-win Game 6. In the fifth inning, Texas had a 4-3 lead. Scoring went like a see-saw, until the ninth inning when Texas was ahead, 7-5. We were resigned, the game was going to end that way. We were wrong! David Freese, with two out and two strikes, hit a triple with two men on to tie the score at 7-7. Extra innings! In the 10th, Josh Hamilton hit a 2-run homer to put Texas up 9-7. Again, the Cards were down two runs, two out, two strikes, two men on. Berkman hit a single that tied the game up. Texas did not score in the 11th, but David Freese hit a walk-off home run to win it and St. Louis stayed alive for another day!

Game 7 was almost an anti-climax, Texas’ relievers fell apart and St. Louis scored two runs on walks, without even hitting the ball. And then it was over, Allen Craig caught the last out and the team and their families stormed the field. What a feeling! Truly a Cinderella season."


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