St. Louis Cardinals: Speechless

By Craig Phelps

I despise journalist who write in first person.  It’s cheap.  It’s lazy.  It’s unprofessional.  It’s distracting.  It undermines any meaning that the article once contained.  Again, I despise it.

Apparently the St. Louis Cardinals do not realize this.  They are forcing me to commit what I consider to be an act of treason.  They are forcing this Midwestern journalist to write an article in first person.

Something incredible took place last night.  I’m still not sure how to describe it.  I woke up this morning in denial over its very occurrence.  I thought it was a dream.  How could something so improbable occur?  How could the Cardinals win a do-or-die postseason game when twice being down to their last strike?

Then I remember.

It was as if the god of Cardinals baseball himself, whom bore a striking resemblance to Stan Musial, appeared before me.  This mystic figure reminded me of last year.

He reminded me of the Birds coming back from 10.5 games down to make the playoffs.

He reminded me of Torty Craig.

He reminded me of the Rally Squirrel.

He reminded of what Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals did last year.

He reminded me of David Freese.

He reminded me of 2011.

I was speechless.  It couldn’t be true.  There’s no Pujols, no Duncan, and no LaRussa.  It could not be true.

I rose from my bed, made my way over to the desk on the other side of the room, and booted up my computer.  Last night could not have happened.  There’s no way the Cardinals could come back from a 6-0 deficit, is there?  There’s certainly no way they could do it in Game 5 of the NLDS.  There is certainly no way a 24 year old kid from Owasso, Oklahoma could record the game winning hit.

Then Twitter reminds me.  Facebook reminds me.  The world reminds me.

It happened.

The Cardinals did it.

They won.

It all comes rushing back to me.

I was sitting in the bleachers of my former high school’s football stadium.  My little sister was preforming in the band and pom squad for her senior year homecoming.  I had an ear bud in my right ear with the game on.

I informed the fellow Red Bird faithful surrounding my father, mother, and myself that we were losing.

Groans took over the crowd.

My mother left after the half-time show.  The Jerseyville Community High School Panthers were dominating their foes, the Highland Bulldogs.  The Cardinals, on the other hand, were not.

Then something happened; Matt Holliday scored Carlos Beltran.  It was a glimmer of hope.

Slowly, methodically the Cardinals clawed their way back into the game.

Smiles of hope began to overtake the crowd.  Jerseyville defeated their Homecoming foes to win the Mississippi Valley Conference title.  The Cardinals were making an improbable comeback.

My father and I rushed home to my parents’ house.

Ninth inning.

I’m at a loss for words on how to describe it.  I’m still not 100 percent sure that it even happened.

The only thing I can think of is Game 6 of the World Series last year.  That’s the only reasonable comparison I can draw to last night’s game.

I’m a journalist, I write for a living.  I’m a freelance television production specialist; I work on the broadcast for the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues, and Rams for a living.

My life is every man’s dream.  I get paid to watch sports.  I get paid to talk about sports.  I get paid to write about sports.

I’m writing an article in first person.

This team.

This city.

I’m speechless.

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