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Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Simply the Best

In Baseball on June 26, 2013 at 5:17 pm

The Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are neck-and-neck atop the National League Central Division. They’re also probably the three best teams in baseball.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the best team in baseball. That series of words makes me very happy. The Cincinnati Reds are the second-best team in baseball. That series of words makes me less happy. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the third-best team in baseball. That series of words makes me confused.

In 2006, the National League Central Division was a punch line. An 83-win Cardinals team that limped to the finish line won the division crown simply because it limped faster than the other five clubs. Seven years later — and sans a franchise in Texas — the NL Central has transformed from a race to the bottom to MLB’s most competitive division. As of Tuesday, 2.5 games separated first place St. Louis from third place Cincinnati. And the three clubs show no signs of slowing down. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Old-Fashioned Rivalry

In Baseball on June 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

In the lead-up to Monday night’s St. Louis-Chicago game, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnists Bryan Burwell and Bernie Miklasz criticized the state of the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. Here’s why the rivalry is as strong as ever.

Monday night was a special night in St. Louis. It was the first game of the first Cardinals-Cubs series at Busch Stadium in 2013. And while a lot of fans who attended the game no doubt came down with that unfortunate 24-hour sickness that surfaces after a game runs long and lingers through work the next day, Monday night was one of the lesser holy days on the liturgical calendar that is St. Louis baseball — the Boxing Day to Opening Day’s Christmas. Nonetheless, that Cardinals-Cubs game was important enough for ESPN to wait out a three-hour rain delay and broadcast nearly until midnight on the East Coast to see its conclusion.

It was also important enough for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to publish not one, but two columns lamenting the state of the St. Louis-Chicago rivalry. Bernie Miklasz, who has seen his share of Cards-Cubs games, approached the rivalry with a sense of yearning. “The ensuing Cardinals-Cubs garden parties are cordial and charming,” he writes, “but I’d like to see the teams develop a true big-boy rivalry and create the kind of memories that last forever.” Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing Red

In Baseball, Culture on June 12, 2013 at 10:45 am

The Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals are battling atop the National League Central division for another trip to the postseason. CDH’s Ian Brickey takes a look at the deeper meaning behind the Cardinals-Reds rivalry.

Matt Holliday ruined Curtis Partch’s Sunday night. It had been a good weekend so far — a great one, in fact. Louisville Bats manager Jim Riggleman had delivered the news that every AAA player greets with a mixture of joy, relief and terror — Partch was going to the show. He made the short two-hour drive to Cincinnati later that day, been fitted for his uniform at Great American Ballpark and was ready to dress for his first major league game Sunday night. And then Matt Holliday had to beat it all to hell by doing what Matt Holliday is paid to do. With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th inning, the St. Louis Cardinals left fielder belted Partch’s 2-2 pitch into the upper deck of Great American Ballpark, capping a  seven run inning for the Cardinals and extending their division lead over the Reds to four games.

There’s a concept in the field of aesthetics known as the “uncanny valley.” It holds that, when human features resemble and move almost, but not quite perfectly, like natural human images, it can create a feeling of revulsion in observers. While it’s primarily a scientific term, since 2009, the uncanny valley might have a baseball application: the rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals. Read the rest of this entry »

A Pitch for St. Louis

In Soccer on June 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Last week, Manchester City and Chelsea of the English Premier League competed in an exhibition match at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The match was unique, but St. Louis has a long history with the beautiful game.

A sea of blue shirts is an odd sight to see in Busch Stadium. The home field of the St. Louis Cardinals is usually filled with more than 40,000 fans each clad in a ubiquitous red shirt and cheering on the 11-time World Series champions. But last week, blue was the color of the day as English Premier League teams Manchester City and Chelsea clashed in an exhibition match in front of the largest crowd for a sporting event in the stadium’s eight-year history.

Chelsea appeared to be in control for the majority of the match. In the 14th minute, Chelsea forward Demba Ba’s header sneaked past Manchester City keeper Joe Hart to put the Blues ahead 1-0. Cesar Azpilicueta’s penalty kick made the score 2-0 going into the half. With a half hour remaining in the contest, the Blues held a commanding 3-0 lead over Man City. But Chelsea couldn’t seal the deal, and Man City rebounded to even the score at 3-3 in the 85th minute. Midfielder Javi Garcia capped off Man City’s rally with the game-winning goal at the beginning of injury time. Read the rest of this entry »

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