Game 5 in What for the Most Part Are Pretty Crappy Pictures

One man's worst World Series ever is easily among another man's Top 10 nights of his life.

I'll let LOOGY (Lefty One-Out Guy) Randy Flores sum it up: "We beat the team with the best pitching [San Diego Padres]. We beat the team with the best hitting [New York Mets]. And we beat the team with the best story [Detroit Tigers]," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The St. Louis Cardinals are Major League Baseball's 2006 World Champions. I was there to see this become a reality – an unreal experience – and now I return to reality. I am very much looking forward to refocusing on a few other things in my life, like showing up for work and talking to people wearing colors other than red. I might also quit drinking.

But certainly not until after watching streaming video of the victory parade at 2pm (central) today on

For other, better basking than this:

Viva El Birdos
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Cardinals Diaspora
Brian Gunn at The Hardball Times

Meanwhile, hopefully these photos will show up. If not, we'll make sure they do by Monday. Because I know you won't be able to hold out for much longer than that.

As for me, I want to thank my family, friends, and Tony La Russa, who has confirmed that he will be back for his 12th season. (He is 60-some-odd wins from the most for a Cardinals manager.) Oh, yeah, the players, too.

"So many MVPs," Albert Pujols told the P-D. Among them was the resurgent Jeff Weaver, who might not be back next year as a free agent. Same goes for Jeff Suppan. Each was exceptional in the '06 postseason, assuring themselves big money this offseason. Who will be back in the rotation? Chris Carpenter is the only one we know for sure. A healed Mark Mulder might re-sign, and there is talk that the Chicago White Sox will decline the option on St. Louis native and lifelong Cards fan Mark Buehrle. Anthony Reyes could solidify a spot, and Adam Wainwright was a starter until TLR and Dave Duncan's master stroke of grooming him in the bullpen.

There will be questions. But this year's championship came as a surprise answer to the many asked in 2006: The expectations will be no higher for next year, and we've seen that the possibilities are all but endless.

I can't wait for spring training.

Shit. Okay. I need to shut up.

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