At the end of the maybe the greatest all around post-season I can remember, the Cardinals are walking away as deserving champions. There aren’t any true underdogs in a short post-season series, but the Cards were certainly not favoured against the Phillies, Brewers or Rangers and yet they outlasted them all to win a second World Series title in six years. There’s a lot of talk about windows of opportunity to win titles while your best players are in their prime, and the Cardinals have won it all twice with Albert Pujols at first base, a testament to their ability to surround the game’s best player with an able supporting cast.

Chris Carpenter staged one of the great individual in-game comebacks last night and was, for me at least, the Game 7 MVP. In the first inning or two he looked like he had nothing. No command, lessened velocity and a lack of faith in his breaking ball. If it wasn’t for some poor baserunning from the Rangers and some good fortune on balls hit at fielders the Red Birds’ ace could have been out of the game before some fans had even taken their seats. His return to form in the final 3/4 of his outing was a credit to both Carpenter himself and the ongoing great work of Dave Duncan. David Freese and Lance Berkman will understandably take most of the plaudits, but Carpenter’s efforts on three days rest should not be overlooked, no matter how unspectacular his final line looks.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the Rangers. Two years running now they’ve found themselves collecting their silver medals at the end of October. Make no mistake though, this is an excellent baseball team and to label them chokers is both simplistic and unfair. It also goes without saying that Ron Washington has to take a large chunk of the blame for his enthusiasm for giving up outs and intentional walks as well as some strange pitching changes.

The Rangers’┬ábest starter, CJ Wilson, had an awful post season and their best hitter, Josh Hamilton, played hurt and was mostly ineffectual, and yet despite that they gave an extremely good account of themselves. Wilson may well leave via free agency, but the talent both on and off the field in that organization will stand them in good stead. Hamilton, Beltre, Napoli, Cruz and Andrus form a core of everyday players that would be the envy of any team and they absolutely have the means to go and get that extra arm that at times they seemed to somewhat lacking. This loss does nothing to diminish a fine season in Arlington and they remain one of the early favourites to go deep into October again in 2012.

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