Fantasy “All Time” Cardinals Playoff Thread

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  • #180127
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Semifinal Series Game 1

    Following the Springfield cruise into the Cardinal Series, the cities of Peoria and Memphis are now on deck and dreaming of their own chance to take the crown of the best Cardinals team of all time. This semifinal series shifts to Busch Stadium II, where both teams will attempt to take advantage of the fast turf of the stadium. Peoria has been selected as the “home” team for this series. Over 50,000 fans have filed into the stadium on a cloudy, windless night in St Louis. The city is excited and the teams are ready for this series!!

    Your lineups, brought to you by Edward Jones:

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Bob Gibson – RHP

    Peoria Cardinals
    Manager – Billy Southworth

    R – Curt Flood, CF
    R – Minnie Minoso, LF
    R – Rogers Hornsby, 2B
    L – Johnny Mize, 1B
    L – Enos Slaughter, RF
    R – Whitey Kurowski, 3B
    R – Walker Cooper, C
    R – Al Dark, SS
    R – Grover Cleveland Alexander, RHP

    The crowd is on its feet for the entire first inning as Alexander and Gibson trade zeroes. The strikes are coming fast and furious as both pitchers pound the zone. Alexander strikes out Furcal and Walker, and Gibson returns the favor by punching out Flood and Hornsby. Fans of both teams are thrilled with the solid start. The second inning brings Jim Edmonds to the plate with one out. He watches Alexander wind up and toss a fastball on the inside corner of the plate. Edmonds swings, connects…and it’s flying deep down the right field line! It’s hooking…and off the pole! It’s a home run, and Memphis has taken a 1-0 lead. Alexander settles things down and gets two grounders to end the top of the 2nd. In the bottom of the second, Johnny Mize is leading off. Gibson starts him with a fastball that he fouls off. Then a changeup low, followed by a slider too far inside. On the 2-1, he goes fastball over the inner half and Mize doesn’t miss! It rockets out and over the center field wall in a hurry, and the game is tied at 1. Gibby sets the next three down on strikes, and the game is tied after 2.

    In the third inning, Placido Polanco singles off Alexander, and Gibson shows that he’s good with the bat as he singles sharply up the middle. Polanco moves over to second. Alexander is in need of a pick me up. He gets it when he gets Furcal to bounce one to Dark, who gets the lead runner to take some of the pressure off. Next up is Carlos Beltran, who gives one a ride. The ball is flying out toward the track and it’s caught on the run by Slaughter, who gets the ball in quickly enough to keep Gibson from tagging any further than third base. Larry Walker is up next and he flies out as well, and Memphis can’t push any runs across this inning. In the bottom of the frame, Peoria goes three up and three down against Gibson, with yet another two Ks (7 in three innings thus far). Alexander finally has another easy inning in the fourth, with all three Memphis batters pounding the ball into the Busch Stadium astroturf. All three find their way into Mize’s mitt for ground outs. Gibson strikes out Minoso to start the bottom of the 4th. Next up is Rogers Hornsby. Rogers works a 2-1 count and then smokes a liner into the gap in left center, winding up on 2nd with one out! The crowd is excited to see one of the all time great hitters ply his craft, and lets it be known. Mize continues his great effort by singling on the first pitch to drive in his teammate, and Peoria takes the 2-1 lead. Gibson gets his 9th K, this time Slaughter being the victim, then gets a grounder from Kurowski for the force out to end the 4th.

    In the fifth, Alexander allows a walk to Placido Polanco with one out, but his opponent grounds one back up the middle that is easy fodder for the pitcher’s best friend. The double play ends the inning without damage. Peoria looks to threaten in the bottom of the 5th, but Dark is thrown out trying to stretch a single into two bases, and then Alexander is the 10th strikeout victim for Gibby to maintain the deficit at one. In the top of the 6th, Alexander has labored a bit and is at 86 pitches entering the inning. The opening batter is Furcal, and he leads us off with a walk on 8 pitches. With no one out, Alexander gets Beltran to ground out, moving Furcal over to 2nd. Larry Walker works a walk as well as Alexander is looking tired. He hangs a breaking ball to Cepeda and is lucky that it’s only a crushed single and not more damage. It scores Furcal and Memphis has tied it at 2! Alexander seems to get a second wind as he’s now well over 100 pitches. He throws one by Edmonds high in the zone for the K, then gets a grounder from Glaus that Dark makes a nice play on to get Troy by a step at first, and the top of the inning is done. Gibby comes back out for the 6th and collects two more Ks, but also throws a lot of pitches as he walks Hornsby and allows a single to Mize before he gets out of the frame.

    It’s knotted at two apiece now, and both starters are going to be replaced for the 7th. Southworth goes with Lance Lynn, the big right hander. Lance gets his myriad of fastballs going and gets through the inning without any trouble. Red Schoendist counters with Jerry Reuss to face Kurowski, Cooper and Dark. Cooper smokes a single into left, but is stranded when the pinch hitter Sanders strikes out. Into the top of the 8th we go. Lynn is firing darts at 95+ mph. The first batter is Furcal, who grounds out to 2nd for the first out. Next up is Beltran…it’s almost like he knows what’s coming as he sits dead red on the cutter on the inside corner. He launches it out to right…Slaughter is on the run, at the track, he’s up against the wall…leaps…and makes the catch! He’s stolen a run and perhaps saved the game. The fans go wild! Lynn then gets Larry Walker to bounce out to end the frame. Peoria is up now in the bottom of the 8th and Reuss has returned to the mound. Flood starts the inning with a grounder and it looks like things will calm down. Then, Minoso singles. He gets an amazing jump and steals second with Hornsby at the plate. Hornsby lines up a stray fastball and lines it out to left, landing just in front of Walker. There are now two on and one out. Johnny Mize is at the plate…with one out, he gets a pitch he likes and lines it right back up the middle. It just sneaks past Polanco and Minoso races home to score the run. It’s 3-2 and Peoria has taken the lead! There is still one out, and Schoendist turns to Dennis Eckersley to get out of the jam. That he does, striking out Slaughter and getting a fly ball from Kurowski.

    Memphis’ last shot is in the ninth and they will have their 4-5-6 hitters up. The new Peoria pitcher is Jason Isringhausen. Izzy is throwing smoke and Cepeda goes down swinging for the first out. Next up is Jim Edmonds…the former teammates have quite the battle. Edmonds fouls off three 2 strike offerings from Jason before he finally gets something to work with…the single gives Memphis some hope. Troy Glaus is your next man up. Isringhausen is back at it and he’s not relenting, with his first two pitches getting oohs and ahhs as they hit 100 on the stadium gun. The adrenaline is flowing as the next pitch darts low and away, and Glaus can just roll it over to the shortstop. It’s a slow roller, so Peoria can’t quite turn two…and now Memphis is on their last out. Your man of the hour is Darrell Porter. Porter swings at the first pitch and lines it just foul outside the first base line. That would have been trouble. The next pitch misses high. Then the next low. Then the next outside. It’s now 3-1 and the pendulum looks to have swung toward the batter. Porter knows it and believes he’s gonna get a fastball on the next pitch. He takes a mighty cut and goes right over it, as Izzy went with the curveball. Izzy then decides to go fastball on the 3-2. Porter picks it up and swings….lifting one high in the air and deep to right…Slaughter is on the run and at the wall, trying to repeat his 8th inning heroics. The ball is just over the tip of his outstretched glove and over the fence for a backbreaking home run! Memphis has taken the 4-3 lead with two outs in the top of the 9th. The Peoria fans groan while the Memphis fans leap and high five neighbors that they didn’t even know before tonight. Isringhausen strikes out Polanco and it’s now Peoria’s last shot.

    Eckersley comes back out for the bottom of the ninth. The leadoff man is Walker Cooper, and Eck plays him like a fiddle as he gets him to ground directly to the shortstop. One down. Next up is Al Dark, who needs to work his magic after a walk. He’s leaning and looks like he wants to steal but can’t quite get the timing right. It’s a shame, as pinch hitter Oquendo singles and puts runners at first and third with one out. A simple base hit would give Peoria a tie!! Eckersley peeks in for a sign as he faces Flood. Flood gets a fastball for strike one, a change for strike two and then another fastball just off the outside corner that Flood can’t connect on for the punchout. There are now two down. Minnie Minoso is the final chance for Peoria. He’s ready for the first pitch and strokes it out toward left…it’s falling…falling…and caught on the run at the shoetops by Larry Walker, cementing the 4-3 win!

    Memphis has taken a one game to zero lead in the series. The talk shows are ablaze with talk of Porters heroics as this is his second game winning home run of the playoffs. Peoria believes it had a good chance to steal one, and is planning to be ready in the second game. It should be a dandy!

    #180148
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Semifinal Series Game 2

    Following the back and forth nature of Game 1, the teams and fans are ready for another barn burner in game 2. Somehow, an additional 5000 fans have found their way into the stadium, with many more outside tailgating and watching the game on their TVs, phones, and other digital systems. A few have radios and some pickup baseball games are starting. In short, this series is bringing about a Renaissance of baseball in the St Louis area. It’s increasingly rare to see anyone not decked in red clothing while walking around town, and the legends who are out of the tournament have been seen lingering just down the first base line before tonight’s game. Peoria is looking to stave off elimination, while Memphis would like to put a quick end to the semifinals!

    Your lineups, brought to you by Emerson Electric:

    Peoria Cardinals
    Manager – Billy Southworth

    R – Curt Flood, CF
    R – Minnie Minoso, LF
    R – Rogers Hornsby, 2B
    L – Johnny Mize, 1B
    L – Enos Slaughter, RF
    R – Whitey Kurowski, 3B
    R – Walker Cooper, C
    R – Al Dark, SS
    L – Harry Brecheen, LHP

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Lon Warneke – RHP

    The top of the first starts with a bang, as Warneke hangs a breaking ball and Flood crushes it out to left and and off the wall…it bounces oddly and Walker has to track it down as it careens toward the foul line. Flood is fleet of foot and and finds himself on third base after all is said and done. The Peoria fans are on their feet and shouting. Next up is Minnie Minoso, who flies one out to center field that Edmonds corrals, but it’s deep enough that Flood scores and Peoria has been staked to a quick 1-0 lead. Hornsby follows with a double, but is stranded after Warneke strikes out Mize and Slaughter flies out to the track. Memphis is looking to strikes back in the bottom of the first as Brecheen strolls to the mound. The lefty throws strikes and puts down Furcal, Beltran and Walker in order to end the inning. In the second, Warneke settles in. He’s mixing his pitches brilliantly, and the Peoria lineup looks listless. Kurowski is the only batter of the inning who avoids a strikeout, with his lazy fly ball an easy out. Brecheen’s 2nd inning is similar…Cepeda strikes out, followed by an Edmonds ground ball and a Glaus liner that is caught by Dark as he was in perfect position.

    Moving to the third, the fans have forgotten the excitement of the first inning as we’ve settled into the doldrums of the game. Pugs and rats in the booth are discussing Cigars and the upcoming Indiana high school football championships to pass the time between action. The opposing pitcher is Warneke’s first victim…he strikes out looking. Flood can’t replicate his first inning success, as he lifts a fly ball that Walker easily gets to for the second out. Minoso then grounds one to Furcal, who flips it across to first for the final out. In the bottom of the third, there’s another quick turnaround as Porter grounds out on the first pitch of the inning. Polanco follows it up with a strikeout, and Beltran lines it into center, where it is right at Flood for the final out of the frame. The top of the fourth continues the lull in the action, where Warneke allows a single to Hornsby to lead things off, then gets a double play ball from Mize to empty the bases and a Slaughter fly ball ends the half inning. Brecheen is perfect entering the bottom of the fourth, although the fans have hardly noticed. Furcal grounds out to begin things innocently enough. Brecheen goes first pitch fastball to Beltran, and he swings…it’s driven out toward the gap in left center…Flood is on the run and can’t quite get there as it scoots to the wall. Carlos glides into second with a double and the first hit of the game. Brecheen loses control for a moment and walks Walker to put two on with one out. The next man up is Cepeda. Orlando sizes up Brecheen and takes a couple of pitches, with a 1-1 count. The next pitch is a changeup low in the zone…Cepeda swings and drives it out toward the gap and it falls in! Beltran is on the move and scores…and here comes Walker…the relay to the plate is…not in time as he scores and it’s 2-1 Memphis! How the tables have turned on the double. Harry hurls a few internal insults and then buckles down to get Edmonds looking on a ball at the knees, then gets a grounder to end the inning.

    The 5th brings another momentum swing. The Peoria bats have been silent since early in the game, but the bottom of the lineup sets up to do damage against the Memphis right hander. Kurowski and Cooper stroke back to back singles, with White adeptly skipping over to third base on the well placed single to right. Warneke attacks Dark, with the pitcher looming…unfortunately, Dark fights off a really good pitch in on the hands and it loops out and into center field, where Kurowski saunters home and it’s a 2-2 game. Next up is Brecheen, who bunts and gets both runners into scoring position. Flood is up with a shot to do damage. He’s swinging at the 1-0 fastball and lines it directly out to center. Edmonds makes a good throw, but it’s cut off as it wouldn’t have gotten the runner anyway. It’s now 3-2 Peoria on a good display of hitting by the team. Minoso is up and he’s only able to hit a weak grounder to the second baseman, which ends the half inning. Brecheen is back on the mound in the bottom of the inning, and he preserves the lead successfully against Glaus, Porter and Polanco.

    The top of the sixth brings some trouble for Warneke…he walks Hornsby and then gives up a single to Mize. Schoendist isn’t going to mess around, so he brings the lefty Reuss in to face the lefty Slaughter. It works, as he gets Slaughter looking to get the first out. Next up is Kurowski. He gets a fastball to start the at bat, before Reuss comes back with a curve. Kurowski tracks it, swings and pokes it out to left! It falls in front of Walker as Hornsby rounds third, determined to make it home. Walker gets it and throws…a perfect strike! He’s out! Reuss is re-energized and gets Cooper swinging to end the top of the inning. Memphis returns to the dish to face Brecheen once again…Memphis lets Reuss hit to try to get some more innings out of his arm, and he predictably strikes out swinging. Furcal then bounces one to Hornsby for the second out, and then Walker lifts a fly ball to finish off the inning.

    The seventh is, oddly, boring for such a close game. Reuss is on his game and gets Dark swinging, the pinch hitter Pendleton to bounce out and Flood to ground it to short as well. The new Peoria pitcher is game 1 starter Pete Alexander, who has become something of a relief ace in this playoffs. He makes quick work of the Memphis 4-5-6 hitters, and we move on to the 8th with all the fans on the edge of their seats. Reuss has another inning in him, or so Schoendist is betting. It turns out that he’s wrong. Minoso singles to start things off. The next man up is Rogers Hornsby, who has been on fire all postseason. He gets a strike from Reuss, who then follows it up with a fastball to try to steal another one. Hornsby rears back, swings, and hits a rope out to left. Walker is back on it, running, at the track, the wall…and the ball sails over his head and out!! Hornsby has just connected on a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning of a do or die game! Reuss gets Mize and Slaughter and looks like he may get out of the game. Kurowski turns on one and lines it down into the left field corner and forces Schoendist’s hand as he doubles with two out. Red is out and replaces Reuss with Eckersley, who gets a ground ball from Cooper for the third out. Memphis will face Alexander again in the bottom of the inning, and it goes as well as the seventh did. Alexander rolls through the bottom of the lineup like a freight train, with only the pinch hitter Reggie Sanders even making contact, as he popped out to the first baseman.

    We move to the ninth inning and the Peoria fans are feeling pretty good. Eckersley gives up a one out walk, but otherwise shuts down the Peoria attack and it will be up to Alexander versus the Memphis top of the lineup to keep this series going…or end it. Furcal gets off to an ignominious start by flailing at a low sinker that darts out of the zone and misses the bat. One down. Next up is Carlos Beltran, and Alexander tosses a curve in to start the at bat. Beltran swings and loops it…just fair and over Mize’s head. It rolls toward the corner and Slaughter is over to cut it off, but not before the speedy Beltran strolls into second with a one out double. Fans of both teams are standing as Larry Walker comes to the plate. The bopping Canadian takes a ball outside, then a strike. The 1-1 is low, and here comes the 2-1 pitch…it’s swung on and line out into the gap! Flood is on the run but can’t get there as the fast turf lets the ball get all the way to the wall. Slaughter finally gets it but Beltran has scored and Walker is your tying run at second with one out!! Southworth comes out and talks with Alexander, who insists he has things under control. Billy calls the pen and gets Isringhausen hot just in case. Now it’s Cepeda up, and Grover Cleveland works him into an 0-2 count. The next two pitches just miss, before the 2-2 comes in and Cepeda lines it out to center! This one is smoked! Flood is running back on it and it looks like it may get over his head…he reaches up and snares it over his shoulder on the track. What a play, and he makes a nice throw back toward the infield as Walker tags to third. Now there are two down, and the batter is Jim Edmonds. Southworth is going to live or die with Alexander, despite a few hard hit balls in a row. Edmonds steps in and looks comfortable as he takes strike one. Alexander throws a changeup that sinks just below the zone and it’s 1-1. Now another fastball catches the edge and it’s 1-2. Edmonds swings at the next pitch and fouls it off. Then Alexander throws a ball in the dirt that Cooper does a nice job blocking to keep it in front of him. The count finally runs full on a fastball just outside. Edmonds steps out for a second and then back in. Here comes the 3-2 pitch…it’s at the top of the zone and Edmonds swings…it’s a high fly ball and out toward the center field wall. Flood is on the run and this one looks like it may go…he’s up against the wall and reaches up, and the ball falls into his glove for the final out!!

    Peoria has staved off elimination and won game 2, 4-3. The fans are elated and the sports reporters are off to file their stories before the deadline. Meanwhile, Edmonds stays behind and takes batting practice deep into the warm Missouri evening. Around 1 am, he sees a figure walk out of the dugout and it’s his counterpart, Flood. The two share stories of catches made and moments won, and laugh at the way that the game gives and takes away. Will they play a key role in tomorrow’s finale??

    #180156
    flood21
    Participant

    Paid - Three Months

    Good series and finale will be too. Should be standing room only.

    #180163
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Semifinal Series Game 3

    After two tight, twisting tilts, the series hangs in the balance as game 3 between Memphis and Peoria looms. Both managers meet with the media the afternoon before the finale, and both sound optimistic as they look to steer their teams’ courses to the ultimate prize. Billy Southworth believes that the Peoria bats simply need to come through in the clutch and they will move on, while Red Schoendist credits his pitching and defense with coming through to put his team on the brink of a win. Schools let out early for this 4 PM contest at Busch II. The sun is casting shadows across the turf at the concrete coliseum, and the fans are pushing the stadium to its breaking point with nearly 60,000 packing the stands to see this monumental contest.

    Your lineups, brought to you by Express Scripts:

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Dan Haren – RHP

    Peoria Cardinals
    Manager – Billy Southworth

    R – Curt Flood, CF
    R – Minnie Minoso, LF
    R – Rogers Hornsby, 2B
    L – Johnny Mize, 1B
    L – Enos Slaughter, RF
    R – Whitey Kurowski, 3B
    R – Walker Cooper, C
    R – Al Dark, SS
    R – Larry Jackson, RHP

    The first inning begins with a flourish, as Jackson hangs a slider to Furcal, who ropes it down into the right field corner for a leadoff double. The next man up is Carlos Beltran, who slaps a 1-0 fastball back up the middle for a single. The speedy Furcal runs around third and scores easily, and Memphis has taken a quick 1-0 lead with none out. Larry Walker then follows with a single himself, and Beltran takes third on the exchange. It’s danger time already for Peoria. Jackson takes a deep breath and walks around the mound to collect himself. He throws a dart of a strike to Cepeda, then throws over to first to keep Walker honest. The next pitch sinks low in the zone and Cepeda swings…it’s grounded up the middle and Dark snags it, steps on 2nd for one and throws to first for the double play. Beltran scores to make it 2-0. Jackson then strikes out Edmonds with a beautiful back foot slider to end the first half inning. In the bottom of the first, Dan Haren comes out. The righty is craftily working his fastball in and out, and he gets Flood to ground out to 2nd for the first out. He then gets Minoso. Hornsby comes up with two outs. Haren throws one that slides back across the plate and Hornsby swings and cracks one deep out to left! It’s way back and high, and into “Big Mac Land.” Peoria cuts the lead to 2-1. Haren then gets Mize swinging to end the inning.

    The second inning comes along and the fans are hankering to see more offense. Jackson is determined to not oblige them, as he fans Glaus on the low slider, then gets Porter and Polanco to ground out for the final outs. Haren attempts to do the same. He gets Slaughter to fly one out to Beltran in right for the first out. Next up is George John Kurowski, who stands solidly at the plate awaiting Haren’s first pitch. The fastball comes in on the inside corner, and Whitey uncorks a mighty swing that sends the ball hurtling out toward left field. Walker is on the run and he gets to the wall in time to watch it sail over and out! The game has been tied at two on another dinger. Cooper follows him with a walk, but advances no further than first as Haren gets a flyball then a strikeout of the opposing pitcher.

    The third inning is uneventful, with three up and three down for both sides. Jackson and Haren look to be settled in as the fourth starts. The first batter of the inning is Larry Walker. Jackson fires a fastball, and it’s strike one. On the 0-1 count he goes back to his slider…Walker goes down to get it and golfs it out into right field and it’s a leadoff single. After Jackson strikes out Cepeda, Edmonds is up. Jimmy works the count full, and Jackson tries to come in on his hands. The ball slips back to the inside corner and the fans come to their feet as Jimmy Ballgame launches one out to right! It’s back and out of here, for a 4-2 Memphis lead!! Jackson does get the next two batters to complete his fourth inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Haren faces Mize, who returns the favor as he hits a big fly into the right field stands as well, making the lead 4-3 Memphis. Haren gets the next three outs without a base runner, and we move to the fifth.

    In the fifth, an odd event changes the momentum of the game more fully. Placido Polanco gets a leadoff walk and is leading off first. The pitcher Haren is up and Polanco is trying to time the jump. While staked to an 0-2 count, Jackson looks toward the plate and then tosses over to first to keep Polanco close. The ump cries “balk!” and Polanco moves over to second. Schoendist is out of the dugout to argue that Jackson’s move is famously funky, but it does no good. Haren can’t get a bunt down and maybe he will get out of it, but Larry looks upset. Furcal is up now, and he’s zeroed in on Jackson’s first pitch. It’s a changeup, but the 80 mph pitch is like batting practice as it’s right down central. Furcal swings and lines it deep to center, and into the grass above the 400 foot wall! It’s now 6-3 Memphis, and Southworth has no choice but to go get his agitated pitcher, bringing in Lance Lynn. Lynn fares little better, as he gives up three base hits before he gets out of the inning. Beltran singles, Walker doubles and then after Cepeda flies out, Edmonds lines a single to right. Two runs score on the exchange and Memphis has taken an 8-3 lead. Haren returns to the mound in the top of the 5th for his final frame, and gets Dark and Lynn without trouble. Flood singles and then steals second, but Minoso strikes out and the lead remains at 5 after five frames.

    The sixth inning brings Lynn back, and he has a clean inning. Schoendist pinch hits for Haren with Pendleton, who grounds out for the third out. Peoria is getting a little desperate in the bottom of the sixth. Hornsby continues his torrid streak with another double to lead things off. It’s starting to look like he might be stranded when the Memphis hurler, Reuss, strikes out Mize and gets Slaughter to bounce out. He comes out firing in the at bat against Kurowski, and Whitey makes him pay. He slaps the ball over the head of Glaus and down toward the corner, finishing on second as Hornsby scores to make it 8-4. The fans cheer mildly at the slight turn of the tables. Well, they get charged up quickly, as the second pitch that Cooper sees is swung on and deposited into the bullpen in left center to bring Peoria within 8-6! Peoria is on the move and the fans are excited. Dark follows with a single, which brings another pinch hitter to the plate in Lonnie Smith. HE singles and now there are runners at the corners with two out for Flood. Flood is patient…he gets a 3-1 count and then drives the ball between the shortstop and third baseman and into left, making it 8-7!! Schoendist is spooked and goes to get Reuss and replaces him with Gibson. Gibby strikes out Minoso and gets Memphis out of the inning as they barely cling to the lead.

    The seventh inning brings a respite for both pitching staffs, as Alexander comes into the game in relief once again and gets the top three in the order…in order. Gibson then finally finds a way to get Hornsby on a strikeout, then walks Mize before getting a fly ball from Slaughter and bookending his inning with a punchout of Kurowski. The eighth frame begins with Alexander stymying the 4-5-6 of the Memphis lineup. The home fans are happy that they’ll have a chance to bat for a tie or lead-taking run or two. First up is Cooper. He is patient and gets a pitch to hit, and fights it into center field. The ball is falling…and here comes Edmonds on the run…he dives and makes the catch! What a play! Emboldened, Gibby strikes out Dark and it’ll be up to the pinch hitter, Oquendo. Jose makes it two for two on the pinch hits as he smacks one just out of the reach of a diving Troy Glaus and trots up to first. Curt Flood is now your batter. He knows Gibby well, and the two have quite the battle. Getting Flood in a 2-2 count, Gibson throws the kitchen sink at him, trying to get the punchout. Flood fouls off good pitches on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th pitch of the at bat. He then gets ball three, and then another foul ball. On the 11th pitch of the at bat, Gibson rears back and torches a fastball at 98 mph…center in, and Flood is ready. He swings, and this one is back toward the wall in left center! The outfielders are on the run but no one is gonna get this one as it’s gone!! Flood has given Peoria a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning! The fans are delirious, and beers are being spilled all over, even in the booth as Pugs is going crazy. Gibson somehow settles down and gets Minoso and the inning is over.

    Memphis’ lineup returns to the batter’s box for the top of the 9th. Alexander is pitching well, so there’s no reason to remove him. Pete throws a nice breaking ball, and uses it to get Porter swinging to start the inning. One down. Next up is the perennially underrated Placido Polanco. He flummoxes Alexander by not swinging at anything, and Pete flinches and walks him. Now with one down and one on, it’s your pinch hitter, Reggie Sanders. Sanders sits fastball, and grounds the first pitch foul down the third base line. Next comes a breaking ball, then a change. One ball, two strikes is the count. The 1-2 pitch is coming in at the belt, and Sanders swings. The ball is hit out toward left! The fans rise to their feet and it’s almost as if their collective breath is causing the ball to stay aloft longer than expected. In reality, it’s simply that the breeze is helping and Sanders just slightly got under it. Minoso gets to the wall and leaps, and it’s just barely over his glove and the fence!! Memphis has retaken the lead, 10-9, on a 9th inning home run by Reggie Sanders! Alexander is shaken, but in professional manner gets two ground outs to end the inning. But now Peoria is down to their final at bat as the lead they fought so hard to get has vanished. Schoendist brings Gibson back out for the bottom of the ninth. He’s pumping gas and his slider is sharp as a tack. Even Hornsby has trouble with it, and he pops out to the the first baseman for the first out. The next man up is Johnny Mize. “Big Jawn” steps into the box and Gibby makes him look silly with two consecutive back foot sliders. When he goes to the well a third time, Mize adjusts and raps one down the first base line and into the corner! He races over to 2nd and he’s in scoring position with one out! The fans hoot and holler, and Gibson is a little miffed. He misses the zone wide with his first two pitches to Slaughter, the second one nearly catching Enos on the elbow. He glances out and says something that no one can hear amidst the clamor of the crowd. The 2-0 is swinging and it’s back up the middle! Edmonds races in to cut it off, with Mize running to the plate. Jimmy throws it on a rope to the catcher, who applies the tag, and he’s out!! Slaughter races to second on the throw, but it feels like the air was sucked out of the Peoria bench. That throw had to be perfect, and boy was it ever! The final chance for Peoria is Kurowski, who started the rally in the sixth. Children everywhere are waiting by their radios, TVs and mobile devices to see the outcome of this one. Families are taking a break from bedtime ritual to watch the battle between Gibby and Whitey. Alas, Gibson throws a fastball by Whitey for strike one. He then breaks off two nasty sliders and Whitey is lucky to make contact with the second to keep himself alive. The next pitch is a ball, then another in the dirt that gets away from Porter. Slaughter stands at 3rd with two down and a 2-2 count. The next, and final pitch of the game…is on its way…Kurowski swings and lifts a fly ball down the left field line! This one could be trouble…it’s tracking…toward the fence…Walker is over and leaps and makes the catch, slamming up against the wall in foul territory but collecting the ball that would have been foul anyway.

    Memphis has sealed the deal and won the game, a 10-9 thriller! This one will go down in the annals as an all time classic with comebacks, clutch hits and throws and overall brilliant play from so many superstars. Peoria exits the playoffs after a valiant effort, with a sure chance to bring home a title with some minor tweaks next year. Memphis, meanwhile, moves on to play Springfield for all the marbles. The players, fans and city alike are ready to rock and roll!

    Memphis defeats Peoria, two games to one

    #180165
    jj-cf-stl
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Wow, what a great write up.

    That Memphis lineup rocks! Even more impressive since their gm used his first pick on Gibson.

    #180236
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Cardinal Series Game 1

    The semifinal series were thrilling, scintillating, and exhilarating for the entire city of St Louis, Cardinal fans, and baseball fans in general all around America and the world. Springfield first and then Memphis next have proven their mettle against the best of the best, and now are preparing for a tussle that will decide once and for all which team is the champion of the Cardinal world. Before the series, various players, managers and GMs sit down with the media and share their thoughts. Cy Young says, “We really need to keep their lineup off balance, as Memphis has a wonderful balance of power and speed, lefties and righties. It will be quite the challenge.” Manager Red Schoendist praised Springfield for “tremendous fundamentals” that will make them “difficult to beat, as they won’t beat themselves with errors.” Ken Rosenthal has Springfield in 3 games, while Peter Gammons picks Memphis in 2, Derrick Goold has Memphis in 3, Rick Hummel has Springfield in 2, and a various slate of sportswriters weighed in with all their prognostications. Now, picks are over and the games will be settled on the field! Busch Stadium v 3.0 is your venue, with the Arch and city skyline in all its splendor the backdrop for one of the finest spectacles that anyone will ever see. 45,000 fans are into the park and ready for the first pitch as the sun sets in St Louis.

    Your lineups, brought to you by Anheuser-Busch, who is sponsoring the entire series:

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Bob Gibson – RHP

    Springfield Cardinals
    Manager – Miller Huggins

    S – Lance Berkman – RF
    R – Chick Hafey – CF
    L – John Joseph McGraw – SS
    R – Matt Holliday – LF
    L – Keith Hernandez – 1B
    R – Gene Tenace – C
    L – Solly Hemus – 2B
    R – Ken Boyer – 3B
    R – Cy Young – RHP

    Cy Young walks out to the mound to a thunderous ovation from the St Louis fans. He’s become even more of a hero during this series as his short time with the Springfield club has brought him back into the limelight and the fans are anxious to show their love for him. He tips his cap as he warms up, tossing a few in to Tenace before working his way up to full speed. The umpire cries out “PLAY BALL!,” the crowd roars and we are off! The first pitch is a high octane fastball that runs right in on Furcal’s hands as he swings and grounds it to the left side. McGraw collects it and fires to Hernandez for the first out. Young masterfully mixes his pitches to Beltran and Walker, coaxing both into easy grounders to end the top of the first. In the bottom of the inning, Bob Gibson comes to the mound and his roar makes the cheers for Young sound like a whisper. The fans are in a frenzy, but Gibby has tuned them all out as he readies to face the formidable Springfield lineup. Lance Berkman leads things off, and Gibby throws one by him for the first strike. He breaks off a slider that Berkman swings through, and then another fastball dotting the outside corner to end the at bat with a strikeout. Hafey and McGraw become his second and third strikeout victims as Gibson has struck out the side in the first!

    The second inning brings more dominance by the pitchers as Young and Gibson look unhittable. Young strikes out Cepeda and Glaus, with an Edmonds fly ball the only ball in play for the frame. Gibson then matches him with two more strikeouts and a pop out by Holliday. The third inning ticks by and still no hits for either side. Memphis does get a base runner when Young walks Porter to lead the inning off, but he’s erased on a Polanco double play ball and then a Gibson strikeout keeps it 0-0. Gibson stays perfect, albeit on two grounders from Hemus and Boyer, then a punchout of Young. The fourth inning looks a lot like the third, and fans are beginning to wonder if anyone will ever get a hit in this game. Young has been using his defense to do most of the work, with the lone walk and three strikeouts in his first four innings, while Gibson has been keeping the ball primarily in the pitcher’s mitt at the end of at bats, with no hits or walks allowed and eight strikeouts in four frames.

    The fifth inning finally breaks the ice, partially. Orlando Cepeda is first to the plate, and he brings the hitless streak to 25 batters by grounding out to McGraw. Edmonds is next. Young throws one right down broadway, and Edmonds looks enchanted as he doesn’t even swing. The next one is a breaking ball low that goes for a ball. Tenace then sets up inside and Young’s pitch is going right for it. Edmonds swings and it’s ripped down the right field line! It’s into the corner and Edmonds finds himself on second for the first base hit of the game! The fans are thrilled to finally have something to cheer about. Young tightens his gaze and bears down…striking out Glaus for the second out. With two down, Porter works a 2-1 count and swings…it’s a fly ball down the right field line, and Beltran has to sprint over to make the play but he does and that’s it for the top of the 5th. Gibson comes back to the mound and Matt Holliday is the first batter. Matt finds himself in a 1-2 hole…Gibson throws the slider down and away and it slides just back toward the zone and Holliday swings and muscles it into right field for a base hit! Gibson is up to the task of keeping the game scoreless, however, as he strikes out Hernandez and gets Tenace to bounce into the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

    It’s still tied going into the sixth, and both pitchers are cruising. Young has thrown 63 pitches after 5, with Gibson sitting a little higher at 72 tosses. There’s little movement on either count as Young needs 14 pitches to get through the Polanco, Gibson and Furcal, while Gibson gets Hemus, Boyer and Young on 15. We move on to the seventh and there’s hardly been a threat to either pitcher. The first man up for Memphis is Carlos Beltran. Beltran steps into the plate and looks back out to the man who practically invented the legend of the dominant starter. Young throws him a fastball for a strike. Then another for strike two. Beltran then fouls off a pitch in on his hands. The next pitch is another fastball, and Beltran barrels it up. The ball is a rocket and it’s flying out to right! Berkman hardly moves as this one is way gone, into the upper deck in right field and Memphis has taken a 1-0 lead!!! The fans are ecstatic, with many looking like they finally woke up from a long autumn’s nap. Young gets two grounders and then strikes out Edmonds to end the inning. Gibson now is staked to a lead, and he’s sensing blood in the water. He strikes out the first two batters in the Springfield seventh, Berkman and Hafey. He loses McGraw to a two out walk, but he gets a lazy fly ball from Holliday and we move to the eighth. Gibson is at 103 pitches, so he may be replaced soon.

    The eighth inning begins with Young striking out Glaus. Porter, however, slaps a 2-1 fastball into the gap in right center and stands at second base with one out. When Young walks Polanco, Schoendist has a choice to make. He decides to stick with Gibby rather than go with the pinch hitter. Gibby strikes out, and then Furcal pops out to the first baseman to end the Memphis threat. Gibby is back out for the bottom of the eighth, and the decision to pinch hit for him looks like it may be a mistake. Bob walks the leadoff man as Hernandez trots up to first base. The next batter is Gene Tenace. Hafey singles into left field and there are men at first and second with none out for Hemus. Gibson takes a quick stroll around the mound to steady his nerves and steps up. Gibby gets one up under the hands of Hemus, and he swings through it. Strike one. The next two pitches miss the zone and Solly is now in the driver’s seat. On the 2-1, he swings and hits a rocket out to right. The ball sails toward the corner and it looks like it may drop…Hernandez is already around third and looking to score. BUT NO, Beltran is on the run and he dives and makes the catch! That was some trouble avoided…he gets to his feet quickly and throws it back in. Hernandez scrambles back toward second but it’s to no avail as Beltran’s bullet easily beats him back to the bag and it’s a double play! Gibson even smiles at that one, before quickly returning his focus to the task at hand. The batter is Ken Boyer. Gibby summons the rest of his strength and rips off a beautiful slider to finish off Boyer for his 13th K of the game, against two hits and two walks. He leaves the mound to head back to the dugout and the fans stand and applaud the incredible effort.

    We move our game to the ninth inning and it’s been a delightful pitcher’s duel. Young intends to finish this one off, and he completes his ninth inning with a gem. Beltran and Walker hit weak grounders to the right side, and then Young blows a fastball by Cepeda for the punchout to end the top of the ninth. Springfield comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth and they will face a new pitcher. Dennis Eckersley is in and he’s looking dominant to start things off. He strikes out he pinch hitter Beckley on three pitches, and it’s an easy first out. The lineup turns over and Lance Berkman is up. He decides to jump on the first pitch and he singles into right! The fans are looking for the best finish possible and cheer heartily. Chick Hafey is the next man up. Chick works a full count before Eckerlsey fools him with a slider in the dirt that Chick swings through and now Springfield is down to their final out. The fans are all on their feet…and Eck is standing tall on the mound. McGraw stands at the plate and looks back out, looking for any sort of hint at what’s coming. The first pitch is low. The next pitch is outside. There’s a glimmer of hope as Eckersley tries a get-me-over breaking ball and McGraw swings! It’s smoked out into the gap in right center! Berkman is on the run and he’s around second, and then third! Edmonds gets the ball and throws it on a rope back in as Berkman barrels toward the plate. Polanco’s throw is to the plate…and he’s…OUT!! That relay had to be near perfect to get Lance, and it was. Memphis has won the game, 1-0 and takes the series lead!!

    The players come out to shake hands and they know that the pitchers carried the day today. Fans are hoping for a little more offense tomorrow, and both teams feel like this one is still up for grabs. Memphis will look to end the Cardinal Series, and Springfield will hope to fight another day. We can’t wait!!

    #180237
    jj-cf-stl
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Good game flood21. Great game by Beltran.

    #180245
    flood21
    Participant

    Paid - Three Months

    Good game and great pitching. Don’t know if Memphis’s 2 & 3 starters will be able to duplicate that. Probably gonna come down to a bullpen series.

    #180255
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Cardinal Series Game 2

    After the low scoring thriller in Game 1, the series remains at Busch Stadium and the fans return to their normal lives for about 21 hours until tonight’s contest. Busch under the lights is resplendent, and the fans are hankering to fill the stadium beyond its capacity once again. Memphis has taken game one, and knows it’ll need a similarly good effort to close out a strong Springfield team. Springfield is up against it, and they are ready to come out swinging!!

    Your lineups, presented by Anheuser-Busch:

    Springfield Cardinals
    Manager – Miller Huggins

    S – Lance Berkman – RF
    R – Chick Hafey – CF
    L – John Joseph McGraw – SS
    R – Matt Holliday – LF
    L – Keith Hernandez – 1B
    R – Gene Tenace – C
    L – Solly Hemus – 2B
    R – Ken Boyer – 3B
    R – Kid Nichols – RHP

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Lon Warneke – RHP

    Lon Warneke takes the mound and gets ready for the first pitch. The solidly built Warneke warms up as the fans murmur meanders through the stadium. He faces Lance Berkman leading off the game. Berkman takes the first pitch low, and then watches as Warneke comes back with a fastball 1-0. Berkman rears back and swings…it’s a high fly ball and it’s going out toward right field. Beltran is back on it, and he scales the wall…it’s out of his reach as Berkman has hit a leadoff dinger!! It’s 1-0 Springfield. Warneke settles down and gets the next three batters, and the top of the first is over. Springfield’s hurler, Kid Nichols, comes out for the bottom of the first. He famously throws a fastball and a changeup, and they are both working early tonight. He faces Furcal, and he gets him swinging on a slow change to start things off. Then Beltran comes up and he flies out to right. Finally, Walker grounds one to second, where Hemus gobbles it up and throws him out to end the inning.

    The second inning brings a better frame of mind for Warneke, who Ks Hernandez to begin things. The next man up is Tenace, and Lon gets him to bounce out to short for the second out. The final out is recorded when Hemus lifts a fly ball out to right that Beltran collects. Nichols has his fast-slow speed mix blended up really well in the bottom of the inning, and he gets two strikeouts (Cepeda and Glaus) on the changeup. It’s on to the third inning. Warneke will face Boyer to start the inning. Ken takes a pitch low and then swings at the next pitch…it’s a liner down into the left field corner! He races over to second and is in scoring position to lead it off. After Nichols bunts him over, it’ll be up to Berkman to drive him in…and that he does on a first pitch single up the middle! Springfield takes a 2-0 lead. Warneke starts to look troubled as he walks Hafey to bring McGraw to the plate with one out. Lon settles down and makes his pitch and gets McGraw to roll over on it, grounding it right to the waiting glove of Placido Polanco, who turns and tosses it to Furcal, who throws on to first for the inning ending double play! Memphis looks to grab a little momentum here in the bottom of the third and finally break through against Nichols. They collect their first hit of the ballgame, with a leadoff single by Porter sawed out to right field on a fastball. Polanco now is to the plate, and he works a 2-0 count before singling to left himself. Memphis is in business, and the fans are now on their feet. Warneke bunts both runners over, and with one down it’s Furcal at the plate. The first pitch is high, and the next one is a strike. Swinging 1-1, he lifts a ball out to center field. Hafey gets under it and Porter tags…here he comes, and the throw is cut off, as the run scores to make it 2-1 Springfield. Carlos Beltran is now up and he gets nothing to hit, but just too much to avoid swinging at. The strikeout ends the third inning.

    The fourth frame begins with Warneke on the mound, re-energized from getting a taste of some offensive success for his team. He is bold, yet elusive in striking out Holliday. Hernandez bounces on to the right side that Cepeda takes to the bag himself, and there are two down. Tenace is game and flies one to the warning track, but Walker is there to grab it and bring Memphis back to the bat with the chance to tie. Unfortunately, Nichols’ change is unhittable right now, and the Memphis trio of Walker, Cepeda and Edmonds do little more than ground weakly out to the infield. The fifth inning is a repeat of the fourth with six up, six down and the pitching looks like it will continue to dominate.

    Warneke is at 84 pitches through 5 innings, so the sixth looks like it may be his last frame as he’s due up first in the bottom of the inning. Nichols is at 77 so he may have another two in him; it will depend on how aggressive Huggins is with his pitching staff. Lon is first to the mound, and he promptly gives up a base hit to Berkman to lead off the inning. After getting a fly ball from Hafey for the first out, McGraw singles to right as well and things are looking dicey. Schoendist decides to leave Warneke out there to face Holliday and see if he can work himself out of the jam. It proves to be a smart move, as Lon gets Holliday to ground one right to Furcal, who combines with Polanco to turn a nifty double play to ease some of the pressure. Hernandez then bounces one to the right side and Warneke has snuck through the sixth to keep his team within one run. To lead off the next inning, Schoendist turns to Reggie Sanders, the hero of the semifinal series. The first pitch from Nichols is a strike. The next one is low. On 1-1, he tries to go changeup, but the ball floats over the center of the plate. Sanders swings and this one is ripped! It’s back and way over the bullpen in left center field, some 460 feet from home plate. Memphis has tied the game and Schoendist looks brilliant once again! The fans cheer the 2-2 game tier, and the lineup turns over. Furcal grounds out and it looks like Nichols may skate on out of the sixth. But Beltran and Walker have other ideas, with both of them singling with one out, with Carlos racing over to third base on the hit to right. Now it’s Springfield’s turn to sweat. Your batter is Orlando Cepeda, and Huggins leavesNichols in. He’s a little wild on the first pitch, and lucky that Tenace manages to keep it from getting away. The next pitch is a recalibrated strike. The following pitch catches the corner as well. On the 1-2, Nichols goes fastball away, and gets Cepeda to pop one up down the first base line. Hernandez runs over and catches it just before it can fall into the stands, and there are two outs. Huggins decides to act, and goes to get Nichols in place of the leftie, Pollet. He will face Jim Edmonds with two down. Once again, the manager looks brilliant as Pollet strikes out Edmonds and keeps the score tied as we head to the 7th.

    Schoendist keeps the chess match moving as he brings in Reuss in relief to start the 7th. Huggins goes with…Huggins, to pinch hit. This time, the pinch hitter goes down as he grounds one to Furcal for the first out. The switch hitting Berkman turns around, but Reuss doesn’t mind as he busts him in on the hands, where Lance can only break his bat off as Furcal gets another assist to his record. Two down. Now it’s Hafey to the plate. Chick settles in and waits for the ball. He’s swinging at the first pitch! It’s ripped out into the gap in left center! This one will get down and go all the way to the wall. Hafey is galloping like the swiftest stallion and rounds second as the ball makes its way back in…here comes the throw…Hafey slides head first…and he’s safe! The two out tripe thrills the patrons, and Springfield has a chance to retake the lead! McGraw now comes up to face the lefty. Reuss carefully works him away…getting a ball and a strike, and goes for the outside corner again. McGraw flips the bat at it and pops it just over the shortstop as he races out to get to it, and it drops! Hafey runs home and Springfield has taken a 3-2 lead. Reuss then walks Holliday, before getting Hernandez swinging to take us to the stretch. Memphis now comes to bat, and Pollet remains in the game. Troy Glaus is your first batter. He takes a breaking ball for a strike, and then watches as the change misses low. He fouls off the 1-1 and then Pollet misses way wide to even the count. Pollet comes back on the inside corner 2-2 and Glaus doesn’t miss. He hits a frozen rope that appears to barely get 10 feet off the ground but it carries…carries…and is gone out to left field! Memphis has tied it here in the seventh! Pollet made one mistake, but he’s not about to make another as he uses some magic to get Porter swinging, then ground outs from Polanco and Pendleton to move things along to the eighth.

    In the top of the eighth, the new Memphis pitcher is Eckersley. He has a clean inning, and gets Tenace, Hemus and Boyer. Pollet will come back for another frame in the bottom of the 8th, and the fans approve. Howie has been solid other than the one pitch. He proves durable and unhittable in his final frame facing the top of the order, as the lefty gets two strikeouts in the inning, with only the right fielder Beltran making contact. We go on to the 9th inning with the score tied at 3. Springfield comes to the plate first, facing Eck once again. It’s a wreck from the start, as no one can solve the puzzle that Dennis is laying out. He works his sinker and slider to perfection and the Springfield lineup is helpless, getting grounders by the pinch hitter Beckley and Berkman, followed by a strikeout of Hafey. Memphis will now have a chance to end the series if they can score in the bottom of the 9th. The new Springfield pitcher would normally be the closer, Percival, but Huggins decides to buck convention and go with his game 1 starter, Cy Young. Young has relieved in this series and looks to bring relief once again for all the Springfield supporters. He faces Cepeda first…Orlando is swinging at the first pitch and grounds it to McGraw for the first out. Next up is Edmonds. Jim is ready to rip, and is swinging at the first pitch as well…this one is rifled through the right side before anyone can even move, and he’s singled! The series-winning run is now on. The next man up is Troy Glaus. Glaus’ homer in the 7th brought us to the tie we have now. Young works carefully, and gets a ball and two strikes to put things in his favor. On the 1-2, Glaus swings and rips it to the right side! It’s a liner that Hernandez moves swiftly to his right and snares, then turns and tags a stunned Edmonds before he can even adjust and the double play will take us to extra innings. That was a Gold Glove move by Hernandez!!

    The top of the tenth brings some tension as Eckersley strikes out McGraw and says something that McGraw doesn’t like about it. He walks toward the mound as Eck walks in, and the benches start to clear! Thankfully, cooler heads prevail and the sides disperse as we get back to our game in progress. The second man up this inning is Matt Holliday. Matt takes a couple of sinkers low, then swings and misses at a slider. It’s 2-1. The next pitch is off the outside edge…3-1. Eck comes back with a slider that just doesn’t slide enough, and Holliday swings…this one is flying out to left…it looks like it just may go…and it does!! The ball bounds into the bullpen and Holliday raises his arm in triumph as he rounds first base. He has just given Springfield a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th!! Eckersley gives up a single to Hernandez and it looks like Springfield just may blow the game open. Eck settles down to strike out Tenace, and then gets Hemus to fly one to right, and it will be Memphis’ last chance in the bottom of the tenth. Young remains on the mound to begin the frame. The first man up is Darrell Porter, who’s been a hero throughout these playoffs. Will he do it again? The short answer is…not now, as Young gets him to ground one to the right side. Next up is Placido Polanco. The outfield has him shaded to pull a little. Young is busting him inside and gets the first two strikes quickly. The next pitch is on the outside corner, and Polanco swings. He catches it right on the barrel as it tails into the gap in right center! Hafey is over and dives but he can’t get there! Polanco is racing around second and he’ll slide into third with the 1 out triple! He’s now 90 feet away from a tie! Schoendist looks to get a pinch hitter up, but he looks at his bench and he has no one. He thinks about sending Ecklersley up, but decides to bring Gibson into the game as he’s the best hitting pitcher they have lefty. Gibby, however, is no match for Young in the batter’s box as Cy carves him up. Even the attempted squeeze 0-2 goes foul and there are now two down as the fans murmur about the rules and wonder why there couldn’t have been some more pinch hitters available. Memphis’ final chance is Rafael Furcal. Young looks for the sign and chucks his fastball in at the knees. Strike 1! Furcal then takes a change low, 1-1. The 1-1 is a curve and Furcal swings. It’s a sharp grounder toward the hole between short and third…Boyer is over and gets it, spins and makes a perfect throw across the diamond, with Hernandez stretching to just barely beat Furcal out and the game ends with a 4-3 Springfield win in 10 innings!!

    Springfield fans breathe easily for the first time all night, and Memphis fans turn to their neighbors and vow “we’ll get ‘em tomorrow.” The offenses were a little more potent tonight, but the solid pitching and defense still came through when needed. Tomorrow’s game 3 for all the marbles awaits!!

    #180257
    jj-cf-stl
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Good luck tomorrow flood21, you’ve got a fine roster.

    #180262
    flood21
    Participant

    Paid - Three Months

    Good luck JJ. It will be a good matchup. A Cardinal team will win I predict. lol

    #180276
    jj-cf-stl
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    All hands on deck!

    #180279
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Cardinal Series Game 3

    At this point, the entire sports world is in a tizzy, with the crescendo coming as the throng of fans, sportswriters and those who simply want to witness history flood into St Louis. Hope springs eternal as some feel as though watching the game may grant one an extra long life. Others think that’s hokie and just think the game will be too good to miss. Nearly 45,000 fans are stuffed into Busch Stadium and block parties are springing up all over the city to catch this ultimate matchup. It’s estimated that nearly 90% of St Louis’ citizens will either be at the game, at a party to watch or watching at their own home. The entire process comes down to this…who will be crowned the best Cardinals team of all time? It’s time to find out! The weather for tonight’s game is 65 degrees with a very light wind that should not play a factor.

    Your lineups, brought to you by Anheuser-Busch:

    Memphis Cardinals
    Manager Red Schoendist

    S – Rafael Furcal – SS
    S – Carlos Beltran – RF
    L – Larry Walker – LF
    R – Orlando Cepeda – 1B
    L – Jim Edmonds – CF
    R – Troy Glaus – 3B
    L – Darrell Porter -C
    R – Placido Polanco – 2B
    R – Dan Haren – RHP

    Springfield Cardinals
    Manager – Miller Huggins

    S – Lance Berkman – RF
    R – Chick Hafey – CF
    L – John Joseph McGraw – SS
    R – Matt Holliday – LF
    L – Keith Hernandez – 1B
    R – Gene Tenace – C
    L – Solly Hemus – 2B
    R – Ken Boyer – 3B
    R – Vic Willis – RHP

    The roar of the crowd is intense as the first pitch approaches. Everyone in the stadium can feel the tension. Vic Willis looks a little star struck and it shows when he misses the plate with his first two pitches, the second catching Furcal on the leg. Rafael hobbles up to first, but it looks like he will be ok. Willis is sweating and walks around the mound to collect himself. He rips off a beauty of a curve to start off Beltran and it looks like he’s back to himself. Beltran can’t connect with a 1-2 fastball up and away, and that’s the first out. Next up is Larry Walker. Willis starts him with a change, and then comes back with a fastball over the inside corner. Walker swings and this one is lined out into the gap in right center! Furcal is on the run and he’s rounding third before the ball is coming back in. Walker ends on 2nd and Memphis has taken a 1-0 lead! Walker is still in scoring position for Cepeda, who works a walk from Willis. The next man at the dish is Jim Edmonds, with a chance to do some real damage. Jimmy is swinging at the first pitch, and it’s grounded up the middle. McGraw is after it and he dives and makes the stop! He pitches it to Hemus, who makes a great turn and throws to first for the double play! Now we move to the bottom of the first. The leadoff man is Lance Berkman. He’s a fearsome hitter, and he works Haren into a 3-1 count. He gets one down the middle and he then lines it out into the gap in right center, himself. The leadoff double gives him a good position when Hafey grounds one to the right side to move to 3rd. Now it’s Haren’s turn to show his nerves. He looks over to third and comes to the stretch…throws the first pitch and it turns sharply low and into the dirt, bouncing off Porter’s chest protector and toward the dugout. Berkman races home on the wild pitch and it’s tied at 1. The next pitch to McGraw comes in and John crushes it! This one is over the right field wall in a hurry and Springfield has taken a 2-1 lead! Haren gets ahold of his nerves and gets Holliday to bounce out before Hernandez Ks to end the inning.

    The second inning brings some more fireworks. Willis looks to change his speeds, but the speeds are a little too close as Glaus strokes one into left field for a leadoff single. After a fly ball from Porter, Polanco smacks a single himself and there are men at first and second with one down and the pitcher at the plate. Willis attacks and Haren takes a strike, then fouls off an another one. The third pitch is right down central and Haren connects…the ball squirts awkwardly off the end of the bat and tails just out of the reach of a running Hemus, who collects it in shallow right where it comes to rest, but not before Glaus scores and ties the game at 2. Willis walks the tightrope and Furcal makes good contact, but it’s right at Hemus who combines with McGraw for another double play to end the top of the second. Haren shuts down Springfield in the bottom of the second on 9 pitches and we move on to the third.

    Vic has a solid top of the third, with a fly ball-punch out-grounder trifecta against Beltran, Walker and Cepeda. Haren gets Willis to start the inning on strikes before a one out walk to Berkman brings Hafey to the plate. Willis gets two quick strikes, then a ball…he throws one low and away, and Hafey goes with it…into right field, and Berkman runs over to third base. Things look a little rough for Haren with McGraw coming to the plate off the first inning homer. This time, Haren comes through and gets him to ground one to third, slowly. Boyer throws home and Berkman slides…around the tag and scores! It’s 3-2 Springfield. Holliday is up now, and he grounds one to the left side. This time Boyer throws to 2nd and Polanco throws on to first to end the third.

    The fourth inning brings a lull in the action, with a 1 out walk to Glaus the only base runner of the entire inning. The top of the fifth comes around and your leadoff batter is the pitcher, Haren. Dan grounds out and things are off to a slow start again. Willis works a 1-2 count to Furcal, but Furcal fights off a sinker and his broken bat flip ends up in right field for a one out single. Willis now faces Beltran, and gets Carlos to fly one to Berkman in right. Larry Walker is up now. Willis throws him a fastball on the first pitch. Walker doesn’t bite. He comes back with a breaking ball, and it catches the center of the plate…Walker uncorks a mighty swing and it flies out to right! Berkman is on the run and he won’t get this one, as Walker has given Memphis a 4-3 lead! Willis then gets the final out of the inning on a Cepeda grounder and we move to the bottom of the fifth. Haren is looking solid as he gets Boyer and Willis to start the inning. The next man up is Berkman again…Lance is locked on the fastball and lines one out to right to keep the inning going. Chick Hafey strolls to the plate, and Haren is scuffling. He throws three straight pitches outside before a get-me-over pitch makes it 3-1. Haren tries to steal another strike and it doesn’t work…Hafey lines it the other way down the right field line…it caroms off the wall and Beltran has to adjust to it to get there. In the meantime, Berkman is booking and scores to tie it. Hafey runs and dives into third base for the tying triple!! The bullpen is getting hot now, but not fast enough as McGraw singles to right and the score turns over to 5-4 Springfield! Schoendist is out and brings in Jerry Reuss, who gets Holliday for the final out of the inning.

    Willis comes back to the game for the sixth, sitting at 95 pitches. He gets Jim Edmonds to fly out, and then strikes out Troy Glaus. Darrell Porter comes to the plate. Willis starts him with a fastball for strike one. Then a breaking ball misses low, and another one is outside. He throws Porter a fastball 2-1, and he swings! It’s another missile out toward right! Berkman doesn’t even have to move, as Memphis has tied the game at 5! Willis settles down and gets Polanco to bounce out to McGraw. Reuss remains in for Memphis, and he faces Hernandez first. Keith lines one out to right, where Beltran is on the run and makes the diving catch coming in! A great play for the first out. He then gets Tenace swinging and Hemus to ground one to third base to end the sixth inning.

    The seventh brings a new pitcher, Cy Young, into the game. Young has relieved many times throughout the playoffs, and will attempt to successfully keep Memphis at bay. He does so effectively in the top of the inning, getting a strikeout of the pinch hitter Pendleton, followed by a grounder by Furcal and another K of Beltran on a looping curve to move things to the bottom of the 7th. Schoendist counters the move of Young by bringing in Bob Gibson. Gibby matches Young by striking out Boyer and Young in the bottom of the frame. We move to the eighth. Walker is the first batter, and Larry is swinging at the first pitch. He lines it out to right for a single. Young settles down and throws a beautiful curve to strike out Cepeda for the first out. The next man up is Edmonds…Young throws a couple outside before he gets a strike. The 2-1 pitch is smoked to straightaway center…it’s out and at the wall…and Hafey climbs up and gets it!! The second out is spectacular, and the crowd goes nuts! Young then gets Glaus to pop out to second base for the final out. Gibby comes back out and is in no mood to mess around…he will face the 2-3-4 hitters and makes quick work of them. Hafey grounds out on the first pitch, followed by a four pitch K of McGraw and a fly ball from Holliday.

    The ninth inning starts and Young remains in the game. He faces Porter, and quickly gets ahead of him 0-2 before he gets a weak grounder from Darrell for the first out. The next man up is Polanco, who flies one to left field that Holliday snatches, and there are two down. Schoendist pulls Gibson from the game in favor of pinch hitter Reggie Sanders, who clobbers a single up the middle to give Memphis some hope. Young now faces Furcal, who looks to get something to drive. He does and it’s lined…right into the mitt of Hemus, who makes a fine play on the ball to keep the game tied going to the bottom of the ninth. Dennis Eckersley is the new Memphis pitcher. Eck will face Keith Hernandez to start the inning. Hernandez watches a sinker go by and then looks slider on the 0-1 pitch. He swings and deposits it into right field for the leadoff base hit! The next man up is Tenace. It looks like Gene is trying to end it right here, as he swings for the fences and misses. Strike one. The next pitch is inside, and he swings…it’s lifted out to left for an easy out by Walker for the first out. Hernandez sidles back over to first. Next up is Solly Hemus. Eckersley throws him nothing but sinkers to try to get the grounder. On the 2-2 pitch, Hemus grounds one to the shortstop…it’s just too slow, as Furcal is only able to get the lead runner and Hemus beats out the double play ball. Springfield still has some hope. Ken Boyer is the next man up. Eck starts him with the sinker for strike one. Next up is a slider for a ball. Another sinker misses low and in. The 1-2 finds the zone and it’s evened up. The fans are on their feet and Eckersley looks for the sign. Porter calls for the sinker down and in. The pitch is on its way and it’s right where he wanted it. Boyer goes down to get it and it’s barreled up. This ball is flying out toward left field…it’s back…Walker is running to the wall, and he leaps…but it’s out of reach!! Ken Boyer has won the game and the Cardinal series for Springfield!! Boyer is mobbed as he steps on home plate to complete his circuit, and his teammates carry him off the field!

    The post game reaction is intense…interviews with the happy victors, and even a few of the vanquished silver medalists. Ken Boyer is named the series MVP, and jj-cf-stl is given the Executive of the Year honors. Meanwhile, the real winners are the fans, who finally got to see their heroes settle it on the field. This playoff action has shown that there is a big appetite for Cardinal baseball and these guys played it better than anyone who ever lived. Thanks for playing, and thanks for reading, everyone!

    #180280
    kscardfan
    Participant

    Free

    Thanks for the entertainment and the players it brought back to the game.

    #180281
    flood21
    Participant

    Paid - Three Months

    Great series! Congrats JJ and thanks to Stl25 for the excellent narrative!

    #180282
    jj-cf-stl
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    The real winner here is everyone who enjoyed STLcard25 efforts, the Commish.

    Hat tip 25, very impressive work.

    #180291
    stlcard25
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully this exercise brought us all a respite from the extra long doldrums and extended winter of baseball discontent. It was quite interesting to learn about some of the old time Cardinals that I didn’t know much about.

    #180302
    gscottar
    Participant

    Paid - Annual

    Thanks for all of your hard work and excellent writing.

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