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As I know many of you were, I watched as much of the 2011 World Series as I could. With all of the great games that had been played up to that point, I was wondering if the final series could be any better. Well, it was!
The 2011 Fall Classic was one of the most memorable in recent history. First of all, one of the teams, the St. Louis Cardinals, were not really even supposed to be in the playoffs, much less the World Series. As I have previously discussed in earlier columns, the Cardinals were nearly eliminated from playoff contention before the regular season was over. The craziest thing about all of it is that the Cardinals actually pulled off the nearly impossible and won their 11th World Series title in franchise history by defeating the Texas Rangers in an exciting seven game series.
I have to admit; I was rooting for the Rangers. The Rangers have never won a championship in their entire franchise history, and I always seem to root for a team like that. Also, the Rangers didn’t want to join only a handful of teams as losers of back-to-back World Series, but that is exactly what they did. The Rangers were defeated in five games last year by the San Francisco Giants.
The postseason of 2011 tied the record for the most games played. Out of the possible 41 postseason games, 38 were played this year, and four loser-go-home games were played. There was drama at nearly every turn, and I tried my best to catch as much of it as possible.
None of the 38 games played were as exciting and nerve racking as game six of the World Series. In this particular game, the Rangers were heading back to St. Louis with a 3-2 series lead, looking to finish their championship run off. However, game six would turn out to be a nightmare for the Rangers that they will undoubtedly be thinking about every day during the off-season.
After the first inning of play, the Cardinal held a 2-1 lead, but the Rangers would not be intimidated. After battling back and forth all night long, the two teams would enter the late stages of the game leaving all of the spectators wondering what would happen. What we saw was something truly unbelievable.
As the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, they trailed by two runs, 7-5. After two outs had been recorded, Cardinal third baseman David Freese knocked a two-out, two-strikes, two-run triple to tie the game.
As extra innings began, the Rangers once again took a two-run lead by way of a Josh Hamilton two-run home run. The Cardinals would once again step to the plate and deliver. A pair of RBIs, the second on another two strike count would tie the game once again.
In their half of the 11th inning, the Rangers failed to score and the door was open for the Cardinals. With the bases empty, Freese would once again step to the plate. Freese delivered with a walk-off solo home run to force a game seven, the first game seven of the World Series since 2002.
To put the Cardinals comeback into perspective; they were the first team in MLB history to come back from deficits in the ninth and tenth innings. Also they were the first team to score runs in the eighth, ninth, 10th, and 11th innings of a World Series game. Oh, and by the way, the Rangers had the Cardinals down to their last strike on two separate occasions. The momentum from the thrilling game six win propelled the Cardinals to a 6-2 win in the following game to top off an improbable season.
After being ten and a half games out of the playoffs in late August, the Cardinals didn’t give up. They came together as a team and put together a run that was one of the best ever in the history of MLB. Too bad for the Rangers though, they just ran into a team that would not quit, even though they may have been more talented. Don’t feel too bad for the Rangers though, with nearly all of their core players returning they will look to make another run to the World Series next season, and hopefully win their first title in franchise history.