Nearly blowing a 7 game lead in the National League Central Division as the season was winding down in September, many fans had written the Cardinals off as potential World Champions or even World Series participants.
St. Louis drew 3,407,104 fans in their first season at new Busch Stadium, selling out all 80 home dates and in spite of not living up to the high expectations of Cardinal Nation, the Redbirds posted their 7th consecutive winning season, something they had done just twice previously in franchise history (1925-31 & 1939- 53).
This year's team endured two 8-game losing streaks and a 7-game losing streak in September that saw its lead shrink from 7.0 games on September 17 to 0.5 game on September 28.
The Cardinals ownership group, which has come under some unjust criticism this season for what has been perceived as a reduction in team payroll is led by Bill DeWitt, Jr. and the baseball executive staff, led by Sr. VP/GM Walt Jocketty, has overseen the Cards seventh postseason appearance in their 12 years.
St. Louis has had winning records in nine of those 12 seasons and has seen their teams advance to the World Series in 2004 and the NLCS in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 & 2006.
The Cardinals are playing in the postseason for the 22nd time in franchise history and own 17 N.L. Championships after Thursday's win over the Mets & nine World Championships
Manager Tony La Russa and the Cardinals have won three-straight outright division titles for the first time since the beginning of divisional play in 1969 and have posted three-straight first place finishes for the first time since 1942-44.
The Cardinals were defeated by the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series in four straight games and hope to redeem themselves this time around against Detroit.