Creator and Lead Writer: JD Norton
Contact for JD Norton: email@example.com
I’ve been a Cardinals fan for 35 years. I spent the better part of the last 12 years stuck on the east coast. I was in the Navy, and then continued to work as a civilian for the Navy. I was primarily in Maryland, between Baltimore and D.C. I was constantly surrounded by Yankee, Red Sox, Orioles, and Philly fans.
One of the great things about being away was the ability to take in Cardinal games in other ballparks. I saw the Cardinals in Pittsburgh most of all, taking in 4 series there. I also made the trip to Philly to catch the Cards a few times. I was at the interleague matchup between the Cards at Yankees when Clemens recorded his 4000th strikeout and 300th win in the same game in 2003. I have to say that while the history of old Yankee stadium was incredible, it was time for that ballpark to go. Pillars were in the way of my seats at all 3 games. Yankee fans were not the most annoying to the group of Cardinal fans that went with me, it was the Philly fans. They were, without question, the biggest bunch of assholes in any park, hands down. They hate, and I mean hate, Scott Rolen there. He got the business during warm-up, during each AB, and in the field. I was there long before they started this dominant run, and the ballpark was half empty. I once bought second row seats behind the Cards dugout for $35 two hours before game time from a scalper.
I was able to come back for at least one playoff game every year the Cards made it from 2002 to 2006. I was at Game 1 of the 2002 NLCS when we lost to the Giants 9-6. I was at Game 1 of the NLDS in 2004 when we beat the Dodgers 8-3. I went back east, and came back for game 4 of the World Series that year, disappointed in watching the Red Sox celebrate the sweep. I purchased the tickets and thought for game 4 we would be down 2 games to 1 as a worst case scenario. After the Red Sox came back on the Yankees from 3-0, I’m not sure if any team could have stopped their momentum that year. If Chris Carpenter was healthy for the playoffs, I don’t see the Red Sox scoring 11 runs in the first game, and that might have changed the series. That’s always what I’ve told myself anyway.
I was at Game one of the NLDS in 2005, when Reggie Sanders hit a 3-0 pitch for a grand slam off of Jake Peavy. To tell you the truth, I was sitting here hoping Reggie would take a pitch on 3-0. I remember how close the Padres made that game in the end. The top of the 9th started 8-2, and finished 8-5 with the bases loaded and Izzy on the mound.
Game 2 of the NLCS in 2006 was one of the first playoff games the Cardinals had played in that I didn’t get to see on TV. It wasn’t by choice; it was in a hurry to drive from Maryland to Missouri overnight to catch game 3. So there my wife and I were in the truck listening to game 2, and I was fretting about us going down 2 games to none. We were coming through eastern Ohio and the radio signal was bouncing in and out. I was really getting pissed off about the decision I made not to stop and watch it somewhere.
In the 7th inning, I had to pull over when we finally had a strong signal. So there we were, sitting off of I-70 in an old abandoned gas station parking lot listening to the game. When So Taguchi hit the shot off of Billy Wagner to break the 6-6 tie, it was an incredible feeling. It was an odd feeling not actually seeing it. I think Pujols and Spiezio scored the other 2 runs off Wagner to give the Cards the commanding 9-6 lead. That’s when the feeling came that it was the Cards year. I was so pumped from that win in Game 2 that the rest of the drive back to Missouri was a piece of cake, as I flipped from one radio station to another to hear the score over and over. It was an incredible high that lasted the rest of the drive. The feeling I got driving by Busch Stadium and heading south on I-55 was something I can’t fully explain. Endy Chavez gave us all pause in game 7, but it all worked out. That Mets team was loaded, and I really thought they would continue to be there for the next few years.
I’m especially looking forward to the next few years as a Cardinal fan. I hope the Cardinals can find enough pieces to surround Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday with, and I hope we get to see the growth from Colby Rasmus. I would have to say my favorite current player is Adam Wainwright. I think he’s going to consistently be in the top 5 for the Cy Young Award every year. I think he’s underrated as it is, and let’s all hope the Cardinals can afford him when the time comes. Jim Edmonds if my favorite Cardinal of all-time and I think Wins Above Replacement (WAR) shows just how great he was.
Dave Duncan continues to do his thing year after year, and if I could have any Cardinal related wish it would be to spend a day with Dunc and talk about the way he game plans the opposition, and how he has turned so many pitchers around in a short amount of time. I think he’ll be the first pitching coach in the Hall of Fame. I would have liked to see the Cards capitalize on some of the teams that had from 2000-2005 with at least one more ring, but it’s hard to argue Tony is one of the all-time greats. I complain in season a lot about Tony, but at the end of the day it’s hard to argue with the man who is #3 all-time in wins. I don’t know if growing up with Whitey as the manager was something that doesn’t let me appreciate Tony for all he has done or not. I just wish the Cards would add some speed at the top of the lineup and make that a priority.
I started this blog was a way to educate myself more about sabermetrics, the history of the Cardinals, keep up with the latest news, and get more involved with looking at the minor leagues, and interact with fellow Cardinal bloggers and fans. I feel privileged to have grown up watching a team with as much success and history as the Cardinals. I hope you all enjoy my articles and rants.