This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 26, 2011 - Oh, what a Wild Card-inal race it has been!
For the faithful of Cardinal Nation, Sunday's 3-2 victory at Busch Stadium -- the last regular home game of the season -- was NOT about beating the Cubs.
(Though that was, of course, a bonus.)
And it was NOT about the fact that Sept. 25, 2011, might have been Albert Pujols' last regular season home game in a birds-on-the-bat uniform should contract negotiations fail after the season.
(Believe, Redbird fans. Believe.)
No, Sunday was about the number One.
No matter how you write it, the loneliest number is all that remains between the Redbirds and the National League's Wild Card-leading Atlanta Braves who lost to the Nationals 3-0 Sunday. The never-say-never comeback of 2011 is still on.
The Cardinals were still celebrating Sunday afternoon when the team's public relations crew hit the SEND button on a press release announcing that fans could begin buying tickets Monday for the National League Division Series and a potential one-game tiebreaker with the Braves, should one be needed.
Tickets will be sold starting at 10 a.m. Monday either online at www.cardinals.com or by phone at 314-345-9000. Tickets will not be sold at the stadium ticket windows or other ticket outlets Monday, so don't worry about pitching a tent. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the stadium ticket windows on Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m.
Should the Cardinals and Braves end the regular season Wednesday in a tie for the Wild Card, the tiebreaker game would be played Thursday at Busch Stadium. The time has yet to be determined. The Cardinals would have home field advantage because they hold a 5-1 record over the Braves this season.
Fans can buy up to eight tickets per game for the tiebreaker and Division Series games. Because of the short turnaround time, they will have to print their tickets at home. Division Series tickets start at $30; the tiebreaker prices are subject to Dynamic Pricing. Accessible seating is available.
If the Cardinals win the Wild Card spot, they will play the Philadelphia Phillies, winner of the National League's Eastern Division. The schedule:
Saturday, Oct. 1: in Philadelphia
Sunday, Oct. 2: in Philadelphia
Tuesday, Oct. 4: in St. Louis
Wednesday, Oct. 5: in St. Louis (if necessary)
Thursday, Oct. 6: in Philadelphia (if necessary)