Special to the Tribune-Star
My favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, lost a closer, a starter and guys out of the bullpen, and yet they won their division. Other guys stepped up. Edward Mujica, who stepped in for Jason Motte, had Tommy John surgery to his pitching arm, and was hardly familiar even to baseball fans. He stepped in and saved a whole bunch of ball games. He kind of fizzled in late September, but if he hadn’t saved those games earlier in the year, the Redbirds wouldn’t have made the playoffs.
The pitchers who stepped in for the guys who were hurt, and got hurt, were not bought from other teams, but came into the majors through the minor league system that has served St. Louis well for many years. Branch Rickey, one of baseball’s most famous men, was one of the architects of this minor league system. It worked when Mr. Rickey was in St. Louis and it still works today. More of that “steppin’ up.”
The Cardinal Manager is a former Gold Glove catcher for the Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. Mike Matheny, this year, is a second year manager … proving for many, many a time that catchers make the best managers. Their former catcher stepping up.
I can’t say for certain the Cardinals will get to the World Series, but it is a tremendous example of when things go wrong, somebody steps up to make it right. (If only those fools in Congress could learn from this baseball team.)
Baseball is full of examples using the bond of teamwork and giving beyond the paycheck. Maybe that’s why they call this oldest of all sports in our country America’s game.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.