ONE FINAL LOOK BACK AT THE RED OCTOBER MIRACLE

With spring training only 3 days away, I’m going to take one last trip down memory lane with a slightly different look at the St. Louis Cardinals march to the 2006 World Series Championship. I think what I’m supposed to say here is, read more after the jump. So everybody, JUMP! JUMP! A Mac Daddy will make you, JUMP! JUMP! A Daddy Mac will make you, JUMP! JUMP! Criss Cross will make you JUMP! JUMP!

If you can’t tell by now, this post will mostly be about music. More to the point, what music meant to me as the Cardinals went threw the playoffs last season. Music is important to most people. It’s always been a big part of our lives. And now with Ipods and satellite radio, it’s no longer confined to our homes or cars. We can take it everywhere we go. I was raised mostly on Southern Gospel and Country music. Not some of the best mind you, but that’s pretty much all my parents liked, and still listen too. My dad is a HUGE Blue Grass and Country lover. And when I say Blue Grass, I’m talkin’ about Old School Blue Grass. The kind from the 1920’s-1960’s. Dad always said that’s what his dad listened too, so it’s what he loves. Also he was a truck driver, so naturally he loves country music. He is also a big Bob Dylan fan. My mom was more into the more popular music of the 60’s and 70’s. Beatles, Monkey’s, yadda yadda yadda. So with all those influences of music in our house hold, I naturally hate them all. HA HA! My musical preferences range from Dave Matthews Band, to Blink 182, to 50 Cent, to Trance and Dance music. So what I listen to runs the gambit. I don’t really have a favorite style. The Dave Matthews Band is my favorite group. How can you not like those guys? Dave is a brilliant writer and singer. And with a violin, drums, saxophone, base guitar, key board, and a myriad of guest musicians, they are hands down the best group on the planet. And their lives shows are simply the best EVER! I’ve seen six, and each time I’ve left them a bigger fan than I was when I walked in. If you have not seen DMB live, you simply must see a show as soon as you can.

When the Cardinals did actually make the playoffs, I made a mix CD of songs that I thought best described their situation. We all knew, no matter how big of Cardinals fans that we are, that they were the worst team in the National League that made the playoffs. I actually didn’t have much hope for the team. As you can tell from my previous posts. Now I listened to this CD all through the playoffs, and the World Series. Here is the list of songs, plus why I picked them for the CD. 

Track #1 AEROSMITH – Dream ON. No surprise here for song #1 on the CD. We all would have to be dreaming if we thought the Cardinals actually had a snowballs chance of wining the Divisional Series, let alone the NCLS or World Series. Man, I hope last October was not a dream.

#2 FALL OUT BOY – SUGAR, WE’RE GOING DOWN SWINGING. This song actually speaks well of all the Cardinals teams under Tony. It fits perfectly with his *Play A Hard 9* philosophy. Never give up. Never, EVER give up. And by all means, go down swinging.  

#3 AMERICAN Hi Fi – ANOTHER PERFECT DAY. This song really does not have that much to do with baseball. But ESPN used it in their 2004 Baseball promo commercials. And when you think about it, as hard core baseball fans, what’s more perfect that a day at the ball park where the Cardinals win?

#4 THE ATARI’S – THE BOYS OF SUMMER. I know a lot of you might think it odd I prefer a cover song over the original Don Henley version. But I do. THE ATARI’S version is more up beat, faster, and in my opinion sounds better than Don Henley’s version. So that’s why I choose their version over the original. Everyone knows it’s about a summer fling between two young lovers, centered around baseball. How could it not make this CD? 

#5 STORY OF THE YEAR – ANTHEM OF OUR DYING DAY. I felt I needed a group from the STL on this CD. And of all their songs, this is my favorite. And when you think about it, it kind of fits with the whole playoff system of the go or go home series. So that’s why I included it. 

#6 SOCIAL DISTORTION – REACH FOR THE SKY. This song lyrics were perfect for the Cardinals playoff run of 2006. It’s all about going for it all, laying it all on the line. Pretty much just like the title, reaching for the sky. In life, a game or anything for that matter. It’s a fast, up beat rock & roll song that just screams at the listener. It really is a song that can get you in the mood and pump you up to play a game.

#7 ROAD TO NO WHERE – OZZY OSBOURNE. This song is a bit of a stretch for this CD. I included it because it describes the Cardinals free fall after the 31-16 start of the season. They really were on a road to no where. Their pitching crapped out on them. The team was riddled with injuries. Frankly it was a miracle that they even made the playoffs.  

#8 AEROSMITH – LIVING ON THE EDGE. This song is another perfect one for the win or go home playoffs. The teams really are living on the edge of advancing or going home in each series. Each game is huge. The players have to be at their best to help the team advance. Not only is the team on the edge of going home or winning, but the players nerves are on the edge with all the pressure they are under as well. It is perfect for this CD.

#9 THE WHO -BABA O’RILEY. This song is just a great song. Hands down the greatest song The Who’s ever done. To some it may not fit on a CD about a baseball teams playoff run. But I think it’s perfect. And that’s why I have it on this CD.

#10 GREEN DAY -TIME OF YOUR LIFE. I know this is a big couples break up song, and a song for graduations. But I think it’s perfect for this CD. It’s all about living it up and having the time of your life. Ceasing the moment. Living life to the fullest. Having no regrets. Something Tony preached to the team in the playoffs. And everything worked out great didn’t it?

#11 SEMISONIC – CLOSING TIME. This song might not fit for most people as well. But it’s more about the season coming to the end, if the Cardinals didn’t win a series. It’s about a good thing, coming to an end. And that’s what last year for the most part was. Even though they had 3 really bad loosing streaks, they did make the playoffs. And anytime your teams makes the playoffs, your year has not sucked.

#12 TEARS FOR FEARS – WHO KILLED TANGERINE? This song was also used by ESPN. They used this one during the 2005 playoffs. The course really makes this song perfect. It goes, *And when you think it’s all over, It’s not over. It’s not over.* And isn’t that just how we all felt about the Cardinals last year? Especially during the playoffs? Just when we thought they were going to loose, somehow, someway, they won. Amazing.

#13 YELLOW CARD – ONLY ONE. Looking back, I can’t remember why I have this song on the CD. It really has nothing to do with baseball or sports. Only thing I can think of, is that I was thinking that the Cardinals are my one and only team. And somehow it fits. Which is true and not true. But I am going with that because I really can’t remember why I put it on this CD.

#14 BLINK 182 -NOT NOW. Blink put this on their greatest hits CD last year. It was one of the last songs they wrote. It’s all about not wanting something to end. A relationship, or in their case the band. Or a game. Anything really. So it’s perfect for this CD because, do any one of us ever want the baseball season to end for the Cardinals? Sure we need the winter break, but while the season is winding down, especially during the playoffs, I never want the Cardinals to stop playing.

#15 THE ALL AMERICAN REJECTS – THE LAST SONG. This is another song along the line of something great coming to an end earlier than a person wants it to end. It is also probably another break up song. But I feel it’s another song that fit what the 2006 Cardinals were going through. It was an amazing ride. But we all knew that at any given moment, something could go wrong, and it would all end very, very quickly. Maybe even prematurely.

#16 GREEN DAY – WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS. This another song ESPN has used in the past when it comes to playoff baseball. The title speaks for itself. I am not sure what Green Day’s motivation was when they were writing the song. Anyone who has seen the video for the song knows that the video is about a guy who goes off to war, much to his girlfriends dismay. It works very well for baseball because once September ends, October begins, and then so do the playoffs. That’s why I included it on this CD.

#17 EVE 6 – HERE’S TO THE NIGHT. This is the fourth break up/moving on in life song I included on this CD. But it is also has a celebration aspect to it. Instead of mourning that the event is coming to an end, the song urges the listener to celebrate what just happened. And when October came to an end, no one was celebrating more than Cardinal Nation.

#18 MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – WELCOME TO THE BLACK PARADE. This is one of the more perfect underdog songs ever produced. It’s all about over coming impossiable odds. Going up aginst a foe who should by all acounts, clean your clock. But you are not defeated. Instead, you defeate your foe, and go on to become a champion of under dogs everywhere. Here are a few of the lyrics, *Do or die, You’ll never make me, because the world ,Will never take my heart, Go and try, You’ll never break me, We want it all!* It describes the 2006 Cardinals perfectly. They should have by all accounts never even made the playoffs. Then they should have lost to the Padres. But somehow, they didn’t. Then they really should have lost to the Mets. But they beat them in the best NLCS we have seen in years. Then they really, really, should have lost to the AL Champion Tigers in the World Series. But, against all odds. With what seamed like the entire world against them. They came together as a team, played without fear. And claimed what was rightfully theirs. A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! 

After the World Series victory I made another CD. It was to celebrate the Cardinals victory. I kept most of the songs from the first CD and the order they were in, but I replaced #7 with ANGEL’s AND AIRWAVES – THE ADVENTURE. Because the Cardinals had just taken all of us fans on amazing adventure. One that none of us will soon forget. I also replaced #13 with DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL – VINDICATED. Because finally after 6 years of dominance during the regular season, and 6 years of playoffs disappointments, the St. Louis Cardinals had won the World Series over the heavely favored Tigers. It had been 24 years since the Cardinals has tasted the sweetness of a victors champagne. And now finally, after all those years of pain and suffering, the St. Louis Cardinals, and their fans, are all vindicated.

It’s important to remember that this is just my own personal interpretation of these songs. If I am wrong, and the artists did not intend these songs to be taken in the context that I have, well. I am sorry. But this is how I feel about these songs. They will be forever part of a magical month where my under dog St. Louis Cardinals shocked the world. And Became World Champions!!

In last weeks post I neglected to give my two cents about Jeff Weaver choosing the Mariners over the Cardinals. My hope is Scott Boras lied to him. Why? Simply put, It would explain a lot of what Weaver had to say when he was announced last week in Seattle. Weaver kept saying that he chose Seattle because they wanted him more, and showed more interest in him than any other team. Which we Cardinals fans know that’s cannot be true. Dave and Tony repeatedly called Jeff urging him to take the Cardinals two year offer, with a optional third year. They told him over and over again how important he was to the Cardinals winning it all last year, and winning again in 2007. With the manager and the pitching coach calling you almost every day and telling you to come back, that has to prove to you that one team wants you more than another. It can’t just be all about the Benjamin’s can it? There is no way Jeff Weaver would take his career earnings potential so lightly by going to a division that ate him up and spate him out before the All-Star break last season? Would he? Boras had to lie to him and tell him the Cardinals offered him a deal for two years $2 million guaranteed. Because there is no logical explanation that Jeff chose Seattle over the Cardinals. The Cardinals turned his career around, and made him a pitching star. If only for a month. Boras had to lie to him. That’s what agents do don’t they? Here is what I think happened. Boras got too busy with Zito and Matazuka. The Cardinals tried to get a deal done with Weaver back in November. But Boras told them to come back another day. So they did. Boras hoped to get Weaver a deal that Suppon got. 4 years, $40+million. Well, not one team even came close to that once Boras got around to trying to find Weaver a team. And the Cardinals knew that, they knew there was virtually no market for him. All the other teams out there would only see what he did before September of 2006, not what he did during September and October. When Boras finally called them back, they offered a two year deal, with a third year option. And with the incentives in the deal, he would be making above market value. But Boras being Boras refused to think that’s all his client was worth. So he called every team trying to stir up any kind of interest he could for Weaver. But when only 3 teams offered 1 year deals, he was screwed. All along he had told Weaver, and everyone else that he had turned down many multi year deals for Weaver, because they were waiting on the Cardinals to make up their mind. Not the other way around like it really was.

Now no one on the Cardinals can talk to Weaver now. He is under contract with another team so that would be tampering. But if they could, I am sure they would tell Jeff the true story. And that it would be in his best interest to fire his agent. Because he not only lied to other teams about him. Boras actually lied to Weaver about what the Cardinals true offers were, and just how much they wanted him back. But if Jeff did know all along what was going on, and he went to Seattle anyway. Well then, good luck with all that Jeffy. Cardinals fans know that you should be back on the trading block come June when Seattle is tired of watching the AL West hitters have their way with you. And I am sure Walt can find another scrub like Evans to trade for Jeff. But lets hope that the Cardinals don’t need a Jeff Weaver to fill a spot in the rotation come June. Because if they do, well then I don’t have to tell you that heads will be rolling in the STL if the Cardinals are in such bad shape with their rotation, that they have to trade for Jeff Weaver for the second summer in a row.

Well that was a long look back at October of 2006. I’ll wrap everything up with this. Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday. And so begins the Cardinals first chance to defend a World Series since 1983. That’s a long, LONG time between World Championships. Here’s hoping it will not be another 24 years before they get this chance again. Because if they think winning was hard last year, they have no idea how hard winning this year will be. Now more than ever the St. Louis Cardinals have a bulls-eye on their backs. They are the defending World Series Champions. If they didn’t get every ones best shot during each and every game last year, they sure as heck will this season. Every team will be looking to knock off the World Series Champs. Nothing would make them happier than saying they beat the team who won it all last year. Nothing is a guarantee for the Cardinals, especially repeating their World Series victory. Everyone in their division got better over the winter. So did the Dodgers, Giants,and just about every other team in the NL. The AL is full of teams dying for a shot at a ring. The Cardinals every day line up returns mostly intact for 2007. With only Ronnie Belliard being replaced by someone all the experts believe is a better all around player in Adam Kennedy. And other than dropping some dead weight in marquis, and Jeff&Jeff moving on to greener (and by that I mean higher paying)pastures. We still have Carp, Adam&Anthony in the rotation. Throw in what is hopefully a healthy IZZY closing out games. A young, but proven bullpen. And (fingers crossed really tightly)maybe the return of *The Real Mark Mulder* come July. The Cardinals are not only expected to compete in 2007, but they are expected to make it back to the World Series to defend their title. Anything less, will be unacceptable. Here’s hoping they are up to the task.

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