Baseball isn't really life and death. It's entertainment. It's a passion. And it's a part of our social fabric.
But, at the end of the day, it's not as important as our families our livelihoods and our health. So I am always reluctant to write a trite post about how thankful I am for the Cardinals' World Series victory or for Chris Carpenter. It just seems a bit shallow to me.
So, if I had three wishes or three prayers, they'd probably be used on my family and friends' well being, not a new contract for Albert Pujols or a World Series repeat in 2012. I probably wouldn't even use one on another 100 years or so of Cubs futility.
That being said, in the scope of the baseball world, Cardinals fans do have a lot to be thankful for.
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Baseball in the St. Louis area makes us all an extended family of sorts. I've talked to hundreds of people at the ballpark like we were old friends during the course of a game. People I would have never otherwise met. I remember when the Cardinals won game seven of the National League Championship Series in 2004 that the guy next to me spontaneously hugged me like he just discovered I was his long lost brother.
And I am thankful for the success of the Redbirds. When the Cardinals last won the World Series in 2006 my son was still several months from being born. Since the Cardinals hadn't won a World Series at that point in 24 years, I wondered if I would ever get to share that moment with him. I took him to the 2011 World Series. Maybe he'll remember bits of it and maybe he won't. But we took lots of pictures and saved his ticket. So that's something we'll always be able to share. Maybe he'll take his son to the World Series someday and think of me when he does.
I often also think about the fact that when I was a kid I used to read everything I could about Cardinals legends like Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Joe Medwick, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Johnny Mize, Frank Frisch and Mort and Walker Cooper. I thought it must have been incredible to watch those greats play and wished I could have witnessed baseball's golden era. And I think now I at least have a pretty good idea what that was like.
Albert Pujols will certainly go down as one of the all-time greats in the history of the game. Carpenter has done a pretty darn good Bob Gibson impression with a Cy Young Award and those incredible performances in game 162 of the 2011 season, Game seven of the NLCS and his short rest start in game seven of the World Series. And then there's guys like Jim Edmonds, Willie McGee, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright who deserve a place amongst the greatest Cardinals.
So, while there are things in my life for which I am more thankful than baseball, I haven't forgotten how good we have it as Cardinals fans.