(BaseballStL) -- It wasn’t supposed to end this way for the Cardinals, a team that took pride in doing things ‘the right way.’
A lot has been made about Cardinals fans and their weird passion for the team. It is weird. But it’s also deserving because St. Louis has it good. The Cardinals aren’t one-hit wonders rather annual postseason contenders.
The faithful will now have to deal with the sobering thought that their team was beaten, fair and square, by the Red Sox.
After the local and national media pinned them as near perfect, the Cardinals just weren’t expected to lose.
Especially not after overcoming early adversity with season-ending injuries to Chris Carpenter, Rafael Furcal, Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia. Not after a core of young talent rose to the occasion with a major league-best 36 combined wins -- the most in franchise history since recording 42 in 1941. Not after leading the league with 97 wins.
It just wasn’t supposed to happen -- that was until they ran into a highly motivated Red Sox team.
The perfect team wasn’t so perfect after all.
The 2013 Cardinals seemed to be a team of destiny. They were a group that won as a team and lost as one, too. They were a team that some would call ‘boring’ as they succeeded without hitting home runs (125 - 27th in MLB) or stealing bases (45 - 29th in MLB), but somehow managed to lead the National League with 783 runs scored.
To put it simply, the Cardinals were a team that colored inside the lines and cleaned up their own messes.
It was common to hear music playing in the locker room after wins. But it wasn’t excessively loud and the players didn’t celebrate exuberantly. The presence of music was the only difference between a win and a loss as the players remained even-keeled until the end.
There was one time earlier this season that the music was blaring loudly inside the home clubhouse at Busch Stadium. The 13-year veteran Jake Westbrook casually walked across the clubhouse over towards the player whose iPod was playing and whispered to him. Soon after, the player lowered the music to a reasonable volume.
For all I know, the whispering could have been about how this lanky KMOV.com reporter doesn’t know diddly-poo about ‘good music’. It just didn’t come across that way, though.
To me, that summed up the 2013 Cardinals. The veteran players seemingly kept the younger members of the team humbled and honest. In return, the younger players kept the veterans feeling young again.
It was the perfect balance for a winning combination.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, that winning combination was beaten by a team full of beards and one David Ortiz.
They were beaten by the better team.
Even until the end, history was on the St. Louis side when they were down in the series 3-2 to the Red Sox. The club entered Wednesday as winners in five of the previous six Game 6s when trailing 3-2 in the World Series. When they won Game 6 down 3-2 in the series, the team hadn’t lost in Game 7.
But it wouldn’t get that far this year. Nope, not for a team full of inexperienced rookies who have come so far so soon. It would be their first Game 6 loss when trailing the World Series 3-2 since 1930.
The 2013 Cardinals didn’t always give a great soundbite, but they gave us a great story.
It was a story that ended two wins short of being a classic. Instead, let’s hope this was just a great chapter in the book of great promise and young stars in the making for the Cardinals.
Congrats to the Red Sox and we’ll see you in February, Cardinals!
Scott Bierman covers the Cardinals for KMOV.com and the BaseballStL mobile app. You can follow him on Twitter @Scott_Bierman for St. Louis sports news and notes.