(BaseballStL) -- Hats off to Fox Sports Midwest on Thursday night for replaying Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. For a series that no one will forget, I was surprised by how much I didn’t remember about all the ups and downs of how that game unfolded just a few months ago.
It was even stranger to watch the game and think about all the things we didn’t know at the time. Who knew that this would be the last time we would see Albert Pujols in a Cardinals uniform? Who knew, other than Tony LaRussa and his boss, that he was managing his final “real” game of a Hall of Fame career?
It was strange to watch LaRussa in the dugout as Carpenter settled in and the Cardinals took control of the game; his reaction as the Cardinals loaded the bases in the fifth inning and the Rangers bullpen fell apart walking in a run and hitting a batter to make the score 5-2. All of his emotion and reaction bounced against the reality that he knew this was it. The look on his face as David Murphy hit the fly ball that Allen Craig tracked down and hauled in for the final out of the game. Thousands of games and – boom - it was over.
Watching that game with Pujols and Dave McKay at first base, Tony and Dave Duncan brooding in the dugout all seemed so familiar. Those have been constants with Cardinals baseball for years now.
So things have changed. The new look was obvious and talked about on Wednesday’s season opener against the Marlins, but it sort of got lost in the game itself. The point was really driven home watching the final game of last season.
I have a feeling watching the Cardinals playing the Brewers this weekend that the changes with the team will really hit home. No more Albert, no more Brewers fans heckling Tony, no more Prince Fielder. All the talk of the Cards defending their championship seems a little odd considering some of the key characters are no longer in the picture.
It’s going to take some getting use too. It will be a little weird. Not bad, just different.