Last night, the Cardinals season, and quest for a second World Series title in as many years, fizzled and died. Actually, it didn’t just fizzle, it spontaneously combusted in a grand, frustrating, embarrassing, maddening fashion.
Last year, after winning the World Series, there were celebrations and appearances, rallies, and even a parade.
This year, nothing.
The players will be moving on…many will go back home for the off-season, although there are those who call St. Louis home. Some we won’t see back here at all, as they’ll be retiring, or joining a different team (Berkman, I’m looking at you). Some don’t even know their fate yet…that will be determined through negotiations before the start of the next season. But the players will say their good-byes to each other and their coaches.
Us fans, though?
We didn’t even get to say goodbye.
No parade, no rally, no last moment of joy in our team. Just an abrupt, somewhat surprising end to the season, and the knowledge that this team that played for us this year will never be exactly the same.
That’s the funny thing about sports. Just as this year’s team is not the same as last year’s, next year’s team is also going to be different. It’s fluid, ever-changing. And when a season comes to an abrupt end, you feel a little cheated out of cherishing those last few moments of celebrating this group of individuals come together. Next year, there will be faces that we’ll miss seeing in the dugout, and new personalities to get to know, new heroes and new injuries to obsess over. Next year might be an equally crazy ride to the post-season, or perhaps something a little more run-of-the-mill.
Whatever happens, I know I’ve learned one thing in the last two years…I always leave the Cardinals some room to surprise and delight me, especially in October. I just wish I could have said my good-byes.