Blog Entry

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

Posted on: October 29, 2011 6:47 pm
 
The Yankees don't think it was such a great month. The Phillies are sure it wasn't a great month.

Oh, and the Red Sox? No, the last 31 days weren't exactly pleasant for them.

But it sure was great for the rest of us, the best month of baseball most of us have seen, or will see, in our lifetimes.

If it gets better than this, I won't complain. But I'm not planning on it.

We had the best single regular-season night ever, on the final night of the regular season, and maybe the best game ever, on the next-to-last night of the World Series.

We had so many great games that the best individual offensive performance in World Series history barely makes the list. So many that Chris Carpenter's three-hit 1-0 shutout in a winner-take-all Game 5 wasn't even his most important performance of the month.

This is the third year now that I've written a postseason recap, and it's the first time that the best game of the month wasn't the first game I saw. Nothing against Tigers-Twins (Game 163 in 2009) or Roy Halladay's no-hitter (Division Series 2010), but it's a better month when the drama builds.

This month, we saw Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera, Chris Carpenter, Nelson Cruz and David Freese. We saw squirrels. We saw Na-po-li. We saw history.

We saw Game 6.

What a month.

Here's a look back:

Best game: Some people are insisting that Game 6 of the World Series can't be called great, because there were physical errors early and possible managerial errors late. Sorry, but that's ridiculous. So it wasn't the best-played game ever. Fine. It had thrills, it had drama, it had plenty to second-guess, it had great performances and gritty performances. You go ahead and say it wasn't perfect. I'm going to say it was the best game I've ever seen.

Best moment: The flashbulbs going off when Albert Pujols batted in the seventh inning of Game 7 were great. Yes, it could have been his final Cardinals at-bat. But the best moment of the postseason -- Pujols' best moment -- was when he called time out to allow the Miller Park crowd to honor Prince Fielder, who very, very likely was stepping to the plate for his final Brewers at-bat.

Best chant: In the end, maybe this wasn't the Year of the Napoli, after all. But it sure was the month of the "Na!-Po!-Li!" at Rangers Ballpark. Mike Napoli became such an instant hero that I saw a Rangers fan who had altered his year-old Cliff Lee jersey, adding "Na-po" above the "Lee."

Best crowd: It was incredibly loud all month in Texas. It was louder than ever in St. Louis for the final outs of Game 7. But everyone who was at Miller Park this month came back raving about the atmosphere and the Brewers' fans (and everyone who was at Chase Field said there was barely any atmosphere for the Diamondbacks' two home games).

Best player: Tough call. Freese was a revelation, and not just in the World Series. Cabrera was outstanding. So was Ryan Braun. But Pujols was the guy I'll remember most, from his great defensive play against the Phillies to his historic three-homer game against the Rangers.

Best movie review: Moneyball took a beating every time Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took to the podium. La Russa went to see the movie the night Game 6 was rained out, and the next night he said that it "strains the credibility a little bit." La Russa, like others, complained about the portrayal of scouts, and about the lack of mentions of Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. "That club was carried by those guys that were signed, developed the old-fashioned way," La Russa said. "That part wasn't enjoyable, because it's a nice story but it is not accurate enough."

Most disappointing team: The Red Sox. The Phillies didn't make it out of the first round. Neither did the Yankees, who then apologized to their fans for their "failure." But Boston's collapse was so bad that it led to the departure of the manager and general manager who broke the curse. The Red Sox will recover, but they'll never be the same.

Best prediction: It's well established by now that I can't pick winners. But when the postseason began, I jokingly wrote that every series would go the distance. Turned out I was almost right, as 38 of a possible 41 games were required. Three of the four Division Series went the distance (and none were sweeps). Both League Championship Series went six games. And the World Series went seven, for the first time in nine years. Oh, and I even picked the World Series winner, Cardinals in 7, even if I did it because Rangers officials demanded that I pick against them.

Five who helped themselves: 1. Pujols. I'm not saying it makes a difference in his final free-agent price, but a great postseason reminded all of us how good he really is.

2. John Mozeliak. You think Cardinals fans will finally admit that it was a good idea to trade Colby Rasmus to help this team win now?

3. Mike Napoli. The Angels traded this guy for Vernon Wells. The Blue Jays then traded this guy for Frank Francisco. The Rangers will not be trading him.

4. Ryan Braun. MVP voting includes only the regular season, and not the postseason. But anyone who chose Braun over Matt Kemp in the National League race had to be happy to see him hit .405 with a 1.182 OPS in October.

5. David Freese. He was the best story of the month, the hometown kid who quit baseball after high school, and came back to become the World Series MVP. Now everyone knows him.

Five who hurt themselves: 1. C.J. Wilson. He's still going to get overpaid on the free-agent market, but imagine how much he might have gotten if he'd had a good October, instead of a lousy one.

2. CC Sabathia. He's still going to get a great new contract, too, but imagine how much he might have gotten if his postseason ERA was 1.23, instead of 6.23 (and if his waist size didn't expand just as fast).

3. Cliff Lee. The team he left went to the World Series without him. And the team he couldn't beat in Game 2, after his teammates gave him a 4-0 lead, went on to win the World Series.

4. Alex Rodriguez. Two years ago, he had a nice October and shed the label of postseason choker. This year, he went 2-for-18 against the Tigers and appeared on the back page of the New York Post as one of the Three Stooges (along with Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira).

5. Tony La Russa (for about 48 hours). I'm guessing Cardinals fans will now totally forgive him for the phone/noise/bullpen mess from Game 5. He's now the guy who has won two World Series in St. Louis, to go with the one he won in Oakland. Still one of the very best managers in the game -- in the history of the game, that is.


Comments

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: October 30, 2011 3:06 am
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

I can't speak for all Cards fans, but I was totally glad to see Rasmus shipped off to Toronto.  He was loafing in centerfield, has a huge hole in his strikezone, and according to rumor was not a clubhouse asset.  So, yes, there are folks who complained about the trade, but the world is full of lousy opinions.



Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: October 30, 2011 2:12 am
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

Nelson Cruz going after that ball like a 5 year old little sissy girl was the topper. That play should easily be made as the ball hit the base of the fence. For the third out to clinch the World Series he should have ran through the fence. Soft player.




Since: Aug 2, 2007
Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:44 am
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

Ron Washington is THE WORST World Series Coach in HISTORY!!! Every move he made was Moronic!! No doubles ??? Why would you be PLAYING NO DOUBLES WHEN THEY ONLY NEEDED 2 RUNS???? Pitching Harrison in game 7 REALLY??? Do you want Matt Harrison pitching in your do or die game?? Sure the kid is going to be pretty good But he is not josh Beckett just yet!!
Somewhere Nolan Ryan is thinking of a good way to can him, Maybe he will get caught smoking crack again LOL!!!



Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:21 am
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

I have to agree with Mr. Knobler. As a Dodgers fan, my team was long gone coming into September let alone October. That being the case, I could watch heaps of Baseball games without any fear or concern about the results. I just cheered on Kershaw and Kemp to pad their stats through the last 4 weeks of the year, which they both did.

 That final day of the regular season was the greatest single day of Baseball I've ever seen or heard of. From memory, the Red Sox needed one more strike and they would have won that day. They didn't. The Rays were down to their last strike a couple times, and still managed to eke out a famous victory courtesy of what is probably the shortest HR ever hit at the Trop.

That was just in the AL!

The Braves 'collapse' was just as incredible as the Red Sox one. So far ahead with so little to go. The tortoise certainly beat the hare once again.

I'm glad it was on TV all the way over here in Australia, because I would be livid if I missed the action that day. I still can't comprehend just how incredible the events of that day are. Surely someone has written a timeline of the days events somewhere???

Off to search,

Beef



Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: October 30, 2011 12:31 am
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

sorry to say it but i dont believe the Cardinals won this series

I don't have alot of proof besides thousands of on-scene eye-witnesses and millions more at home, but I am fairly sure the Cardinals did win the World Series. Players win and lose this game. It's not like a homerun was taken away... unless you count Allen Craig doing that himself. The point is, Rangers pitchers allowed the most walks ever in a postseason, they hit batters with bases loaded, and had plenty of chances to win this series, but didn't.



Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: October 29, 2011 10:33 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

sorry to say it but i dont believe the Cardinals won this series. if in the fifth, the balls called were called what they were, which were strikes, then this game is totally different. and i hate to play the if or should or could game but the next inning the same pitch thrown by Carp was called a strike. same spot as the inning before when texas was up. walking in runs and hitting batters did texas in. i honestly think stl got a lot of calls thru out the whole playoffs especially when it mattered in game 7 yesterday.  

period the series should have been over after game 6 if cruz doesnt jump like a nancy but that didnt happen. it just really upsets me when you see the same pitches in the same spots for two different pitchers get called differently. at least call the game the same for each pitcher. dont give one the call and not the other.  cause too me that made a huge difference in the end.

and i think a lot of people would agree that baseball is much better off with stl winning and texas losing.  theirs much more money for stl's win then their would have been had texas won.

but in the end i gotta say this was a great month of baseball. now lets hope bud gets his head out of his ars and doesnt add more teams to the playoff equation cause that would just ruin the sort of month we all experienced.  



Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2011 10:22 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

"2. John Mozeliak. You think Cardinals fans will finally admit that it was a good idea to trade  to help this team win now?"

Cardinals fans believed from day one that trading Colby was a good idea.  Anyone in and around St. Louis knew there were deep issues between Colby and the club that was only making the team worse.  It was the national media who refused to buy into the trade and now most are sweeping those bad comments under the rug.  Glad to at least see one national writer give Mo credit for shipping Rasmus out (how's that change of scenery doing for him so far?).

"5. Tony La Russa (for about 48 hours). I'm guessing Cardinals fans will now totally forgive him for the phone/noise/bullpen mess from Game 5. He's now the guy who has won two World Series in St. Louis, to go with the one he won in Oakland. Still one of the very best managers in the game -- in the history of the game, that is."

Again, the negative attention given to LaRussa over phonegate was almost entirely driven by the national media.  There are a group of fans that don't like LaRussa, have never liked him, and never will like him and those fans may have wanted to throw him under the bus, but most of the fans were more concerned about the performance of the players who let that game slip away (especially the lack of hitting in key situations).

Other than the bad national media biases about St. Louis fans, great article.  As a St. Louisian and Cardinals fan, I am not yet convinced that this was the greatest game/series/postseason ever, but I think in all cases this year will rank in the upper tier of greatness to be remembered for the ages, and not just in St. Louis.  Just remember, 109 world series teams were down to their last strike and only 2 went on to win the series.  Plus, only 1 team did it in two seperate situations.  1 out of 109 is pretty long odds, but the Cardiac Cardinals live off of long odds. 



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2011 9:16 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

I agree kdog.  The Fisk home run is mentioned like they won the title when in fact they ended up losing Game 7, which ruins its legacy.  Maybe one game and moment that comes close is Game 6 of the 1986 Series because the Mets were in a similar situation, 2 outs and 2 strikes and down 2 runs.  Then Buckner made his error and Boston blew game 7.  Same thing this year:  Rangers had 2 outs, 2 strikes and a lead TWICE and could not get the final out.  Then they blew the early lead in game 7. Maybe that and Games 6 and 7 in Minnesota in 1991 can compare to Game 6.  But of all the games I have ever watched, this was the best one.



Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2011 9:04 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

The Fisk home run in '75 is one of the most over-rated moments in baseball history due to the fact that the Boston Red Sox were destroyed the next night in game 7 by the Cincinnati Reds. Everyone forgets to mention that little nugget. It was a great moment to end one game, but that game did not have the overall drama of this years game 6.



Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: October 29, 2011 8:56 pm
 

Best game ever? How about best month ever?

Game 6 was the best game Ive ever seen, closest I've came to cardiac arrest...EVER! 2011 World Series had it all, excitment with plenty of dingers, errors, great plays and one team's improbable run to the title! Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals on an EPIC October and a well deserved Championship!


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