St. Louis Cardinals Parade: A plea for Pujols to stay
St. Louis Cardinals parade: Hundreds of thousands of Cardinals fans turned out to honor the 2011 World Series champs in St. Louis. Can the Cardinals afford to keep Albert Pujols?
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The parade ended inside Busch Stadium, where a sold-out crowd watched the celebration. In fact, the ballpark rally sold out in 90 minutes after the Cardinals won the clincher.
"This 11th Cardinals world championship will always be remembered as one of baseball's greatest achievements," DeWitt said, noting the Cardinals had to win four elimination games this postseason.
La Russa, too, paid respect to his team for never surrendering, even when 10½ games out wild-card contention on Aug. 25, or when they faced three postseason opponents with superior records — Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Texas.
"What these guys did so many times facing elimination, it's a lesson for all of us," La Russa said. "They never quit."
The celebration was the culmination of a four-day party in St. Louis that began with the stunning win in Game 6, when the Cardinals rallied five times and in two straight innings were within a strike from elimination before Freese won the game 10-9 with a leadoff homer in the 11th.
Friday's 6-2 win in Game 7 set off a frenzied celebration that lasted well into Saturday.
Players appreciated the response from the fans.
"I'll never forget any of this," outfielder Allen Craig, who hit three homers in the World Series, said. "It's been great."
Fans said they were still jubilant about the team's amazing turnaround.
"It just seemed improbable," said Chris Ambrose, 24, of Chesterfield, as he watched the parade. "It's one of the greatest World Series runs of all time."
Jenny Ulrich and her husband, Jeff, of Lonedell, Mo., brought their two young daughters to the parade.
The Cardinals "are just part of what our family does," Ulrich said. Pointing to the girls, "they're the next generation of Cardinals Nation."
Mayor Francis Slay called Sunday's celebration "unbelievable."
"The Cardinals fans are the best in baseball and when the Cardinals win the World Series, there's nothing like it," Slay said.