Tonight, I’m calm. Totally calm. Kids are in bed, dogs aren’t barking, and a baseball game is playing in the background that I don’t have stakes in. Tomorrow night, yeah, that’s going to be a completely different story. As the Cardinals open up their 2013 postseason against the Pirates, I imagine I will be a little high-strung for a couple of hours after the game is over.
The postseason is huge. I know it, you know it, we all know it. As crazy Cards’ fans, we live for this. Yes, we get super excited when pitchers and catchers report, even more giddy as spring training begins, and opening day…well, that’s another story all in itself. However, the postseason, that’s when we really get the adrenaline pumping. Every pitch, catch, swing, out, pick off, steal, slide, diving catch, blocked wild pitch-they mean something.
Keeping up with what we all share in Cardinal Nation, is the knowledge that there will be one player, maybe two, who steer the postseason fate off course. The ones who have proven some during the regular season, but nothing could’ve ever prepared us for what they did in the postseason. 2011: David Freese. You know the guy I’m talking about. You even know the game I’m talking about. He was consistent during the playoffs in making a name for himself, amongst the heavy hitters. I don’t know about you, but he was not the one I was planning on expecting things from during the 2011 playoffs. 2012: Kozma and Descalso. Refresh my memory…did they tandem some offense once, twice, or three times? Although the dramatics weren’t near as big as they were for Freese in 2011, they were the guys who were not expected to perform and pull out last-minute heroics.
So…who’s it going to be this year? I’m going to go out on a limb here. A really long limb, and pray to the postseason baseball gods that I’m right. I’m thinking my odds in Vegas would be roughly a million to one. I will share my crazy thought, anyway. Shane Robinson. I’m going to go ahead and put your thoughts in writing: “What did she say?! Robinson?! He’s not even a starter. Heck, he’s not even the first off the bench. She’s crazy!” Yes, yes, I know. Crazy is as crazy does. He is an underdog though. Ever seen “Rocky”? How about “Hoosiers”? Sometimes, underdogs have the advantage. Here’s my rationale: 1. Not his first rodeo. He has experience from the 2012 postseason. Guess what?! There’s lots of guys on the roster who don’t. 2. He’s young. Adrenaline will push him far. 3. He’s spunky (and fast). He can run down most of what’s hit to him in the outfield. He can also run the bases like a madman. That’s it. I’m not sure I’ve completely convinced myself, but as I said, long limb.
I also have a pitching prediction for the position of caped crusader: Joe Kelly. He really turned up the heat after the All-Star break this year. Also not his first rodeo. This guy, he’s due. Plus he’s funny. Being funny makes you happy. Being happy makes you pitch well. Good pitching leads to winning games. Winning games leads to winning series. Winning series means you go to the World Series….I think you know where I’m going here.
Summing it up, it doesn’t matter who steps up. It doesn’t matter who takes the mound and picks up the rosin bag against our boys in red. It doesn’t matter who dons the batting helmut and taps their bat on home plate against Cardinal pitching. What matters is that we have faith in all of the players, good games or bad. T minus 19 hours until the fun begins, friends!