Originally written on Cardinals Diaspora  |  Last updated 11/9/14

And then there was 1.

A single win from the Cardinals or a loss from the Dodgers puts the defending World Series Champs back into the 2012 tournament. It’s been an exhausting experience for everyone.

Remember that Albert Pujols guy? I guess it’s true that time heals all wounds, because back in April and May we were watching his floundering like a hawk, reveling in his (apparent) misery. He came to St. Louis for a golf tournament in July and barely blipped on our radar. Now as the Cardinals head back into defend the title he helped create, the only feeling we have is pity.

The guy who only cared about “championships” can’t have one this year. But really, who cares anymore. We’ve moved on.

Or Lance Berkman! Remember that dude? He was going to be the stopgap for two years until we found the “real” Pujols replacement. He lasted about 12 innings before going on a run of injuries uncommon for Greg Oden.

Jon Jay. Allen Craig. These guys were big question marks in March. Now it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals line-up without them in there. And Carlos Beltran? The human rollercoaster.

When you care about a baseball team, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees, but baseball is a trucking marathon. 162 games and half a year plus of day in and day out emotions. You just hope that your team is in the hunt for a playoff spot (even if it’s a new playoff spot) that last two weeks of the season. *

Mission accomplished. The Cardinals are playing meaningful baseball this October.

* Expect a full blown meltdown on this site if the Dodgers somehow get to a one-game playoff with the Cardinals and take over that last Wild Card spot.

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