Today is a special day!
It has been 14 very long years since I could have multiple reasons to celebrate the day of my birth landing on a much better Holiday. I was deployed during the 2006 World Series run and was fortunate enough to be able to see the final victories. Then the baseball gods smiled again with Opening Day at Busch involving much more than the normal ceremonies.
Upon securing a pair of tickets and making sure my international flight was extremely early, the trip to St. Louis was very much a blur. Anyone who has spent time on I-44 knows how easy it is to daydream the drive away at least until you can start to see the Arch. The excitement only builds from there as the wave of what is to come hits home.
Downtown St. Louis certainly has changed since the new ballpark opened, but I can remember the anticipation like it was yesterday. Christi had yet to experience a Cardinal game in person, and she was about to see everything the greatest game had to offer all at once!
Before starting the celebration inside the stadium, there was a very small to-do list that needed to be addressed as by that point I was on cloud nine. A birthday shirt with the Cardinals and Mets was a given I was told, and my avatar on this site says the rest. We were able to find the brick right outside the team store in Section G which was followed by a sudden dust storm…
It would be a perfect story if it ended here but sadly, that game and season were not kind to the World Champs. Riding high with Chris Carpenter on the mound, the 2007 St. Louis squad was poised for a repeat performance. Reality was cruel, however, as Carp’s season ended after that one appearance. He never looked comfortable on the mound while the bats were held in check by a soft-tossing lefty.
Not even a loss could take away the joy of everything that day brought so the bigger picture shifts to the 2021 edition of the Cardinals. There were plenty of questions entering March and more that still need an answer but not today. Jack Flaherty more than any other player benefits from putting last season away, especially after the shocking revelation that baseball was very much a needed distraction that kept getting delayed.
He has every tool needed to take the torch from Waino and become the next in a great line of St. Louis aces. The only question will be if ownership is willing to meet the price needed to secure his services for the next half decade or so – and that’s not a small ask. Enjoy him today and for as long as he keeps putting the Birds on the Bat on display. There are very few like Flaherty left in my opinion and glad he gets to throw to Yadi as well as by as many Reds as needed!