The Greatest Baseball Fan I Know: My Sister

I wrote this two years ago, when I still lived in Chicago. And now that I am in California, the Los Angeles Dodgers are much closer to me, though the Chicago Cubs (and in the American League, the Boston Red Sox) still reign deep within my heart. I would give (almost) anything to see the Cubbies win the World Series. As it is, the San Francisco Giants sit atop the baseball world, though the Cardinals remain perennial contenders. Still, take a look at a wish I made in October of 2011; if you wait long enough, wishes do come true.

What is it about sports that gets our passions flowing so much? While stereotypically gender specific, I do know many women that are just as passionate as men, girls as well as boys. My own sister is the greatest baseball fan I know, or at the very least, unquestionably, she’s the greatest St Louis Cardinals fan I know; and I know a few.  Though all very close family or friends, I call them Chicago Cubs enemies (my adopted team, though they have squelched a few Los Angeles Dodgers’ and Boston Red Sox’ dreams as well, my childhood teams). Though fairly one-sided, traditionally, the Cubs & Cardinals have been at odds for quite a long time, representative of the cities themselves. Aside from the New York Yankees, the Cards own the most World Series Championships with eleven. And the Cubs have yet to win one in over 100 years (though they were the best team in baseball in 1906, 1907 and 1908). Aside from the Yankees / Boston Red Sox and the Dodgers / San Francisco Giants rivalries, the Cards / Cubs is very compelling, especially when the Cubbies were flirting with history in the 2000’s. The Cards have boasted such iconic figures as The Wizard of Oz, Gibson, Dizzy, The Man, Lou Brock, Fritsch, Herzog and Pujols. I have a personal disdain for Jack Clark, who not only was a solid first baseman for the San Francisco Giants, but also crushed my Dodgers World Series’ hopes in ’85 when, as a Cardinal, he jacked a homerun that ended our season.

Ah, but I digress. (When I was a kid through young adulthood, I could talk about my teams forever; but now it’s more about the game.) My sister.

There was a stretch when she lived in St. Louis and in Philadelphia that she produced a World Series champion, or at the very least a National League winner. She has a DVD or Blu-Ray of every Cardinals World Series Championships. And I couldn’t talk to her after the World Series losses (especially 2004 against the Red Sox). She gave extra credit to her students when the Cards won playoff games back in ’06 on their way to the World Series title. She attended the Phillies 10,000th loss in their storied, albeit tragic, history – a home loss against the Cardinals, of course. And I’ll never forget one of the greatest games of all time, game 6 of the 2011 World Series Cards vs Rangers. A Cardinals fan’s dream come true.

October 2011: World Series Game 6 (and 7) between St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers

  • David: Big Puma!
  • Cecil: ha, that’s exactly what my sister posted. except she posted it in all caps. she’s louder than you.
  • David: Well, she is a Puvathingal.
  • Andy: He looked as cool as a Cumberland Cucumber… what a hit.
  • Cecil: andy, bringing it back…. btw. random side comment – i feel like berkman looks like mr. krause – any takers?
  • Andy: “Captain Krause”.
  • David: Oddly enough, Mr. Krause was also known as the Big Puma, correct?
  • Cecil: david – that was awesome.
  • Cecil: it’s a walk-offf!!!!
  • Andy: Even cooler Cumberland Cucumber! THAT was world series history. Truly as good a comeback as it gets. Amazing….
  • Cecil: Now, this’ll be a straight walk-off, old school rules. First model walks; second model duplicates, then elaborates. Okay, boys – let’s go to work!
  • Lysle: i credit myself too. it was all me.
  • Derek: Awesome!
  • Brian: You know, Lysle and I went to his high school. I credit Lysle for his success.
  • Lysle: We’ll bring home a winner!!!
  • Cecil: lysle – have a great time at game 7!!!
  • Cecil: for all my friends that are cardinals fans, but most especially for bess, the biggest cardinals fan i know…
  • Cecil: congrats on your cards!!! wish the cubbies or dodgers could have done it; but they are both fairly sorry franchises these days. i rooted for the brew-crew back in ’82 and will do so again, but really do admire what your team has done. much love to all of you national league!!!
  • Derek: 82…the year I became a Cards fan for real…
  • Cecil: the old days!! whitey-ball!
  • Derek: yep…manufacture runs
  • Bess: I woke up and immediately checked the score because I was afraid last night was a dream. It wasn’t!!!!! Who would thought NL Central at the beginning of the season (except Jon)? #iwantarallysquirreltshirt
  • Cecil: Ha, love it. Harvey’s Wallbangers will l
  • Jonathan: The spirit of Darrell Porter is strong with Yadi.
  • Cecil: lot of offense today! i think this one is going to go the distance.
  • Cecil: wow!! congrats, cards fans!
  • Jonathan: It’s been a fun ride, but can we cruise by Cruz?
  • Cecil: it’s not going to be easy… and, if you look at the records, texas has actually been hotter than st. louis. but carpenter is the best pitcher left. both lineups are sick. both bullpens have been masterful. it’s gonna be one helluva series. cards in seven! oh, and what cruz is doing is unheard of!
  • Derek: Nah, cruz is doing what Pujols did in his sleep for about 8 years!
  • Brian: I am so pumped for tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cecil: wish i saw the game last night. i was taking practice test #2 for the LSAT. brutal (which i keep saying) but definitely good for me. i got home around 11p and caught highlights. looked like a great, tense game. carp was solid from what i could tell (tho cj matched him for the most part). what’s that kid you got – kreese? up and comer! i like seeing holliday and berkman (who lookook for payback this time arounds older than dirt) out there. that reliever you have to end the game, i swore i thought he was bruce sutter when i first saw him!!! and of course, albert. man, he may go down as the greatest player we’ve ever seen in our lifetime (and that includes ken griffey, mike schmidt, george brett, cal ripken, robin yount, dave winfield, ichiro, molitor, rickey henderson, … and of course even barry bonds & a-rod, tho i cannot stand the last two, not to mention some of the great pitchers)… can’t wait for game two!
  • Cecil: God, I LOVE BASEBALL! it’s not even about a specific team anymore, but the game itself. always gives me goosebumps. did i tell you that i bought a 10-12 dvd set of the world series, which goes thru every world series ever played until the phillies win a couple years ago. solid stuff. have you seen the espn documentary, ‘catching hell’? about the ’03 playoffs between the cubs and marlins. one of the best documentaries i’ve ever seen. but it sure does make you feel ashamed to be a cubs fan. bartman went thru a lot of sh-t and stayed classy the entire time. i even saw a facebook post from an ignorant friend the other day talking about “that guy who cost the cubs a chance at the world series”; and i don’t think she was talking about alex gonzalez or mark prior, let alone everyone on the team who played game 7.
  • Jonathan: I heard there’s a “Forgive Steve Bartman” group on Facebook. Also, surely the Cards are getting psyched to give Wilson ANOTHER playoff loss tonight.
  • Brian: Man, Holliday looks lost at the plate.
  • Cecil: just read the bad news that larussa is retiring. what an icon. i wonder if he’ll go into the HOF a cardinal or an A? i still remember reading an article in sport magazine when i was 12 or so, and larussa was managing the white sox. he was the new breed of managers, using this thing called computers. he was all about the apple IIe. that seems like yesterday. i was thinking the other day, game 6 has got to be one of the most exciting (if not most exciting) game ever played (let alone WS game ever played). and i thought back to ’85. this game was redemption for that. in that game (and i’m just going by memory here), dane iorg (or was it garth) drove a slow-footed jim sundberg from first on a liner down first. probably one of the greatest moments of royals history. that was also a game 6. saberhagen was lights out for the royals the next day. he began a streak of winning the cy young in odd years for the next five or six years. aah, baseball. larussa & the cardinals – thanks for the memories. heard the parade yesterday was lights out.
  • Brian: My parents were there. As well as the Rams game on the field with the Cards before the game. Said it was pretty cool. Word on the street that they’re looking at Joe Maddon, Oquendo or Terry Pendleton. I’m cool with any of those.
  • Cecil: sounds like a great day! i’d like for the cubbies to get joe maddon.
  • Derek: I said oquendo today as soon as I heard the news. I mean how can u not offer the starting job to a switch hitter with a good batting average and as well to the only player to have played all 9 positions in the same game? He’s a lock!


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