Thoughts on September 17, 2004.

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Matt says, “I can do it. Give me the ball.”
The hitters trust him—the Cards rarely lose
when he takes the hill. They assume they’ll win.
Let him start Game One. (He does best when cheered
at home and at night.) For fall after fall,
we’ve seen him do it. He can take the heat.

Filthy curve, cutter, changeup, and good heat.
There are few things Carp can’t do with the ball.
They need him to dominate through the fall
and postseason. Boy, has Toronto’s loss
been St. Louis’ gain! I know I’ll cheer
for this comeback kid to get 20 wins.

No one likes to lose, but Scott has to win.
He traded Bowa and media heat
for loving fans, and the natural cheer
that comes from playing .750 ball
for most of the season. They will not lose,
if he can help it, till confetti falls.

It may seem that his numbers can only fall,
and as long as Barry plays, he won’t win
that MVP. But Albert does not lose
any luster for that. He’s always hot,
and will be one of the best ever to play ball.
MVP or not, he’s worth every cheer.

Hollywood! Of course he loves to hear cheers.
Sure, he might wince, or dramatically fall,
after he snatches yet another ball
from over the outfield fence. But Jim wins
with his glove AND his bat. Sometimes he’s hot,
sometimes not. But with him, it’s hard to lose.

“We love thee with a love we seemed to lose
with our lost saints”—Red, Ozzie, Stan; “we cheer
through April frosts and wilting August heat;
we will you to advance deep into fall.
This year we expect that last, sweetest win.”
Lord, does Cardinal Nation love baseball.

All season, you could barely lose. This fall,
as red-clad thousands cheer for you to win,
turn the heat back on, boys … and win it all.