Even as baseball enters its last, thrilling phase (WS), Yankees fans must still be brooding over their team's trivial pursuit of a post-season spot. Though in truth, even absent the A-Rod saga, the 2013 team was more than a few tweaks away from serious contendership.
But if you're a Highlander de-vo-tee, I have a little sump'um that might just perk-up your spirits and rekindle some of that pinstripers' pride.
Believe it or not, the Bronx Bombers live-on this post-season...vicariously, through the St. Louis Cardinals. Now wait a minute, don't bail on me yet, I've got a good case here.
Consider the Redbirds Yankees West, though St. Louisians would be within rights calling New Yorkers Cardinals East, considering their Midwestern ball-club was winning titles (a/k/a Browns) as far back as the 1880s, long before Highlanders hit the scene (1901)).
Here's a smattering of the Yanks - Cards Connection:
Iconic Mgr. Miller Huggins played for & guided Cards before landing in New York;
Yogi Berra cut his baseball teeth in the Gateway City ('25);
Mickey Mantle, a Sooner by birth, was reared in Cardinal country and would've batted alongside Stan Musial if St. Louis hadn't gone 'cheep' ($1000 bonus offer);
Mgr. John Keane beat Bombers in '64 (WS), then joined 'em in '65; and
Joe Torre had his best season as a Card ('71), then managed NYY back to greatness.
Others took Horace Greeley's advice going West and turning in pinstripes for a sea of red.
Leo "The Lip" Durocher roomed with Ruth and wound up in "Gashouse Gang" (30s);
Roger Maris left adoring NYC press for World Series fun with Midwestern flair ('67-68); and
Lance Berkman, one of the heroes of Cards last triumph (WS '11) had stop-over in NYC, hit well in the PS ('10), got handed his hat and headed West to Missouri ('11-12).
Like the Yankees, the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Cowboys, Lakers, Celtics, Packers, Spurs and Patriots, St. Louis is a standard-bearer organization. Dynasties are rare today but these franchises always seem to be in the hunt for more.
And just as important as playing like a champion, is acting like one, then passing it on down the line: 'Phone for Misters Puig or Wilson, a Mister Koufax calling.'
Cardinals are on the cusp of extending their NL record title-tally to twelve (got a ways to go to catch Yanks titanesque 27), but don't count that ring before fat lady sings. St. Louis faces a familiar ('04, 67, 46) and formidable foe in Boston. These Red Sox got more than mutton-chops & beard's nests, they got moxie.
And if you have any doubt for which side Yankee Empire will be pulling, remember this political axiom: 'the enemy of my enemy (BOS) is my friend (STL).'
Say hello to your friends in the Gateway, New York.
Can o' Corn
Photo Credit: Chris Von Der Ahe / STL Browns (Cards) / wc.cca / LOC