27 October 2006

The Article

This is the article I was reading earlier:

Fans to make Mr. Buck proud By Mark KiszlaDenver Post Staff ColumnistDenverPost.com Article Last Updated:10/25/2006 12:01:24 AM MDT St. Louis - A Cardinals fan dropped a love letter at the base of the gravestone, in case the dead had not heard the news. The World Series was coming home to the unofficial baseball capital of America . The plain, gray marker can be found south of town, in Section 84 of Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The gravesite must have looked a little lonely on the eve of the Fall Classic. So somebody brought a pumpkin for decoration, and wrote a note that began: "Dear Mr. Buck. Thinking of you, for today is a great day for baseball." Nowhere in the country does winning baseball mean more than right here, down by the muddy Mississippi River . The Cards beat Detroit 5-0 Tuesday night in Game 3 of the World Series, putting these Redbirds, the lone icon more beloved in St. Louis than the King of Beers, halfway home to the National League franchise's 10th championship. The late, great Jack Buck, who passed away in 2002, would have loved it. The new Busch Stadium rocked. St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter rolled. As Buck, the longtime Cards broadcaster whose gravely voice spoke for all St. Louis , was famous for saying: "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!" More than 45,000 spectators, most of them wearing red, did exactly that. They went nuts. Looking around the ballpark, Joe Garagiola, a catcher on the 1946 World Series champions, struggled to put his finger on what has made this city so high on baseball for so long, and finally decided no place shows its true colors the way St. Louis does. "These fans, they all look like Bloody Marys when you see them on television," Garagiola said. "They're all in red." When utilityman Scott Spiezio dyed his soul patch red, little did he know that every man, woman, child and even some canines in town would soon copy his fashion statement in facial hair. "No," said Spiezio, laughing as he answered the million-dollar question, "I wasn't smart enough to make money off of it." In St. Louis , baseball is treated with the TLC of a family business. But it's more than that. Around here, the Cards are every family's business. On Tuesday morning, a mailman made his rounds near the airport while wearing an Albert Pujols jersey. At lunch, while I munched on a cheeseburger, a guy with a flat tire, no spare and insufficient cash to fix his problem asked if he could borrow five bucks, and rather than saying thanks, departed with a wish for a win by the home team. After night fell, as St. Louis veteran Jim Edmonds carried his bat to home plate with the bases loaded in a scoreless game, the anticipation in the ballpark was so heavy the upper deck actually shook and swayed from the stamping feet of Redbird Nation. Edmonds raked a double. Two Cards dashed home. Was this really the same team that was presumed to be out of gas less than a month ago? "We all said if we could just find a way to get in the playoffs, anything could happen," St. Louis relief pitcher Braden Looper said. "And anything is happening." As George Steinbrenner and his New York Yankees, who have not won it all since 2000, have learned the hard way, you can no longer guarantee success with checkbook baseball. "Whoever wins the World Series this year will be the seventh different World Series champion in as many years," commissioner Bud Selig happily declared, announcing a deal that gives five more years of labor peace to the game. You cannot buy the love that St. Louis brings to sport. But community spirit need not mean blind support. This $450 million stadium, which lacks a merry- go-round, a train or all the other silly gimmicks that seem to be all the rage in modern sports facilities, was built with almost 90 percent private funding. Despite residing in a media market ranked 21st in the United States , the Cards do not cry poor. Rather than make more excuses, maybe frustrated teams such as your Colorado Rockies should study the NL champions and take extensive notes. "It is always loud in the World Series. It's loud in New York . It's loud in Detroit ," Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Belliard said. "But, here, in St. Louis ? It's loud. And proud." Loud enough to awaken the dead. Staff writer Mark Kiszla can be reached at 303-954-1053 or mkiszla@denverpost.com

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