October is starting to have that old, familiar ring to it.
Temperatures are dropping, the leaves are starting to turn, and the St. Louis Cardinals are once again poised to make a run for the World Series.
The National League Championship Series dance card has been filled out and the Cardinals will once again be in the spotlight, ending the Pittsburgh Pirates stirring run with a 6-1 victory.
With the win in the deciding game of the divisional playoff, the Cardinals will now meet the Los Angeles Dodgers for the N.L. pennant, beginning Friday at Busch Stadium.
Rick Hummel writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it was a couple of old hands in Adam Wainwright and David Freese who helped carry the Cardinals into their seventh NL championship since the turn of the century.
Wainwright improved to 4-0 in the postseason, including two wins in the five-game set against the Pirates.
In shutting down the Pirates, Wainwright joins a select group of former St. Louis pitching greats, a list that includes Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson, to toss a complete game win in a sudden-death playoff scenario writes Jayson Stark on ESPN.com.
All Freese did was crunch a two-run home run in the second inning that put the Cardinals in flight with a 2-0 lead, the seventh post-season home run the 2011 World Series most-valuable-player has stroked in his career.
Albert Chen writes on SI.com that Freese is enjoying his post-season magic after a lackluster regular-season when the third baseman became an afterthought in the high-powered Cardinals lineup.
While the loss will sting for a few days, Ron Cook writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates have made baseball relevant again in the city.
Joe Girardi ended all the speculation that he might jump back home to Illinois to manage the Chicago Cubs by agreeing to a multi-hear pact to remain with the New York Yankees.
Erik Boland writes in Newsday.com that the key for Girardi staying put was the Yankees agreeing to tag on a fourth year to the deal.
Bargnani could be in starting mix for Knicks
There is plenty of speculation in New York that Andrea Bargnani, the former No. 1 draft pick who could not cut it in Toronto with the Raptors, could break into the starting lineup for the Knicks this season.
Marc Berman writes in the New York Post that Bargnani had a decent showing in his Knicks pre-season debut, finishing with 12 points in a 103-102 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Bargnani started at power forward and hauled in three rebounds during almost 19 minutes of playing time.
The Knicks will play in Toronto Friday night against the Raptors.
Calgary Flames remain hot
George Parros, whose gruesome chin-first face-plant into the ice during a fight with Colton Orr of the Toronto Maple Leafs rekindled the debate on fighting in hockey, is continuing his recovery
Dave Stubbs writes in the Montreal Gazette that Parros is almost “symptom-free” after suffering a concussion in the brawl.
Without Parros in the lineup in Calgary, the Flames continue their surprising early-season play writes Eric Francis in the Calgary Sun shading the Habs 3-2.
Washington nickname continues to spark protest
One of the more interesting stories to emerge from the National Football League this season surrounds Washington and its controversial Redskins nickname.
Ken Belson writes in the New York Times about Suzan Shown Harjo who has been at the centre of efforts to try and convince schools, colleges and professional sports teams to drop American Indian names and mascots that some consider derogatory.
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