The St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series in franchise history with a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 7.
The Rangers got off to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first on back to back doubles by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. But the Cards quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first on a double by David Freese who would be named World Series MVP. Freese was of course also the recipient of the NLCS MVP. This hometown boy made good.
Allen Craig hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the third to give the Cardinals the lead never to look back. The look of defeat quickly set in on the normally effusive Rangers manager Ron Washington. Of course, the Rangers were plenty deflated after being a strike away from winning the World Series not once but twice only to be unable to seal the deal. The Rangers become the first team to lose back to back World Series since the Atlanta Braves in 1991 and 1992. Texas fans now understand how Red Sox Nation feels. I feel sorry for Washington, Rangers owner Nolan Ryan and especially Rangers catcher Mike Napoli who had a sterling series with both the bat and the glove and would have been named World Series MVP if the Rangers had got that final strike.
But make no mistake. The Cardinals earned this championship. They overcame a ten and a half game deficit in the NL Wild Card and the Atlanta Braves spent this October at home. They then overcame both the Philadelphia Phillies (with a little help from a squirrel) and the Milwaukee Brewers before finally overcoming a 3-2 deficit (and a bad bullpen phone in Texas) against the Rangers.
What was it with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig reading from a script in presenting the World Series trophy and the Series MVP to Freese? It’s almost as bad as Obama reading from a teleprompter.
The $250 million question is whether Albert Pujols returns. I am sure a lot of teams see him in their future plans including the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays (according to my Dad.) But if Tony La Russa stays in St. Louis so does Pujols. La Russa has now earned his second World Series title with the Cardinals and third overall (he led the Oakland Athletics to a World Series title in 1989.) At this point he can write his own ticket.
Well, whatever happens next year, the Cardinals are the champions of baseball in 2011. It was one hell of a season and the Cardinals exemplified baseball at its very best.
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