Special to the Tribune-Star
My team lost. The team I have been a fan of since 1946 lost the World Series.
I’m surprised they did as well as they did. The St. Louis Cardinals limped into the final seven games of baseball this year with perhaps the best young pitching staff, but everything else fell rather flat. Two power hitters and one was hurt early in the Series, which left only one power hitter … not enough to beat the booming Bosox.
The hitting that had been there all year died in October. No team in the modern era has won the World Series having its hitting lineup fail to hit their weight. St. Louis failed in that category. The top of the lineup did the best, but the bottom of the lineup may as well have sat in the dugout playing cards. Except for the first game in Boston, the Cardinals fielded rather well, but slumped miserably at the plate.
Meanwhile, the Bosox didn’t play or execute especially perfectly, but the batters who were not hitting well came through in the clutch and knocked in runs when they had to. It goes without saying David Ortiz deserved the MVP award because he was consistent and hard-hitting. And he played first base at a level that surprised about everybody.
There will be changes made in the Cardinal lineup for next year. They have really good young pitchers. They have an outfielder in Triple A that will like to play at Busch Stadium and wear the Birds on the Bat uniforms. I don’t know how they will juggle shortstop and third base, but my guess is somebody else will be at first base on a consistent basis. There are bright spots, but a couple of holes that definitely need to be plugged if the Red Birds are going to get back to the World Series next year.
St. Louis, by comparison of other cities, is a small market but they averaged more than three million people buying tickets this year. That says good things about the organization and their ability to compete for the right players. Mike Matheny, only in his second year of managing, proved again if needed, that catchers make the best managers. For ownership and management in 2014, it’s going to be an opportunity of riches for the Red Birds. Many talented, young players and only judgments to be made to make this team even better than it was in 2013.
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.