ST. LOUIS -- The unseasonably warm weather offered a whiff of a Midwest summer night, but the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 World Series loss Wednesday to the Boston Red Sox provided disappointed fans back home with a blunt reminder of the finality of baseball in the late fall.
With a potentially decisive midweek matchup taking place 1,200 miles away in Fenway Park, many Cards fans opted to watch from the comfort of their couches. At The 360 St. Louis, a downtown hotel rooftop bar that overlooks Busch Stadium, seats were readily available at the bar and in the dining room throughout the game.
Some tourists favored the 26th-floor view of the Gateway Arch over the televised play-by-play of a third consecutive loss in a series that earlier looked like it could have ended at Busch after the Cardinals won two of the first three games.
“It’s pretty quiet in here,” said Coltier Blakely of Mexico, Mo., who was in town for a statewide meeting of community college administrators.
It was a season that in many ways exceeded expectations, with yet another sustained playoff run—the team’s 10th postseason appearance in 14 years—fueled by a bevy of talented rookies and other young players groomed from within after a successful 2009 amateur draft. The Cardinals were aiming for the second World Series win in three years and their third since 2006.
Instead, the Red Sox became the first team to win three World Series this century, following wins in 2004 and 2007.
As a light rain fell and temperatures remained at 66 degrees close to 11 p.m., downtown streets were largely empty. Puddles formed outside a shuttered World Series merchandise booth across the street from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a reminder of more optimistic times just a few days prior.
Several of the few fans who ventured out to watch the game spoke of pride rather than disappointment, of hopes for further playoff success next year and beyond.
“We had a good team. We fought for it,” said Ed Moreland, who watched most of the game while cleaning offices at a downtown bank building. “Boston was just a bit stronger.”
At The Dubliner, an Irish pub near the St. Louis Convention Center, bartender David Fitzgibbons suggested that collective excitement in the city dissipated after a 3-1 loss in Game 5 that left the Cardinals needing a two-game sweep in Boston to prevail.
“I don’t think people’s expectations were that high,” he said.
Unlike in 2011, there would be no late-game heroics, no Game 7 victory, no victory parade. Just another sleepy night. And with no winner-take-all game on Thursday, more time to get ready for trick-or-treating.