Harrison Bader pens heartfelt letter to St. Louis Cardinals fans

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Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after advancing to second base after his RBI single in the seventh inning against David Bote #13 of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after advancing to second base after his RBI single in the seventh inning against David Bote #13 of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Harrison Bader pens heartfelt letter to St. Louis Cardinals fans in The Players’ Tribune.

Harrison Bader entered the regular season as a wild card — no pun intended. He was arguably the team’s most talented outfielder, a gifted defender with elite instincts and skills, yet struggled offensively and was in danger of not being part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2022 roster.

Here we are, after the 162-game season, and Bader has cemented his status in center field. He should be in position to win his first career Gold Glove. He’s hitting .267/.324/.460 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI, including .281/.331/.469 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI in the second half of the regular season, being a key piece in the Cardinals’ recent 17-game winning streak. So, in the days before they face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild card game, Bader penned an appreciation to Cardinals fans in The Players’ Tribune.

“If you’re a ballplayer,” Bader wrote, “there’s simply nothing like pulling on that Cardinals jersey and going out and doing something special for the people of St. Louis.”

The piece, which you can read here, is well worth your time. He talks about what he’s done differently inside the Cardinals’ clubhouse. He gave insight into what makes Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright so great. He takes you behind the curtain of their 17-game winning streak, saying that “If I’m not hitting right now, then screw it. I’m gonna go make a diving catch, or I’m gonna get dirty out there. I’ll do anything I can to help.

“And it seems like, as the season progressed, a lot of guys were doing something similar.”

The result, of course, is that the Cardinals made the playoffs. Bader is now entrenched in the Cardinals lineup and in center field and could earn a sizable contract extension in the winter. Nolan Arenado has looked more like the superstar that they envisioned after the offseason trade. Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the best hitters in baseball while Dylan Carlson has stepped up and figures to finish second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Next. 4 players on the St. Louis Cardinals playoff roster bubble. dark

It has made the Cardinals one of the most dangerous teams in the postseason and, as Bader alluded to, what’s made playing in St. Louis so special during this stretch. For the Cardinals, it’s brought them to a winner-take-all matchup with the Dodgers. For Bader, it’s extended his stay in St. Louis — and possibly made it his home for the prime of his career.

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