For most competitive people, the best part of winning is not losing. I asked someone once who was part of a team that won multiple World Series titles, what was the greatest part of winning the final game. It wasn't the ring. It wasn't the sense of accomplishment. It wasn't the parades and celebrating with your team and fan base.
"The best part of winning the World Series is you don't have to experience the devastation of losing," he said.
Sitting with my head in my hands Friday night in the quiet of the visitors' clubhouse in St. Louis, I felt that devastation. Baseball clubhouses are not usually places of silence, and the lack of sound was deafening as we all contemplated the end of our season.
In that moment, there is no feeling of accomplishment for making it to the
Numbness is the only feeling you have. Every ounce of the adrenaline stored up from the 170-plus-game season immediately evaporates from your body. Moving on is tough, but move on you must. In the next week or so, one of these World Series teams will feel the numbness while the other will experience the euphoria of not losing.
Looking back at our season, I can say these two final teams were the best we faced all year. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox boasted the two most gritty and professional lineups I had to call pitches against.
When you add those two characteristics to talent, you get teams that score a lot of runs and teams that never quit. Sprinkle in some excellent starting pitching and solid back-of-the-bullpen arms and you've got two evenly matched league representatives. It is going to be a great series. Let's take a closer look:
The Cardinals set baseball records with their ability to hit with runners in scoring position. They are led by major league hits leader
The Red Sox are patient, and they drain starting pitchers unlike any team in baseball. They combine speed (
The combination of velocity, athleticism and poise in the young Cardinals arms was very impressive this year.
The Red Sox have big-game pitchers in all four of their starters. They may lack the power and velocity the young Cardinals have, but they more than make up for it with execution, game management and guile. The Red Sox bullpen has a nice combination of arms and matches up in the late innings well with right-hander
Confession: My favorite player growing up was Mike Matheny. Getting to know him these last few years has only confirmed not only was he a great catcher and leader behind the plate, but I was also able to happily find out what a great man and man of faith he is as well.
It feels as if the Cardinals have it all clicking with the emergence of Wacha, the leadership of Molina and the clutch playoff hitting of Beltran. I'll take the Cardinals in six.