12 years ago, Cardinals fans froze in real-time and the world stood still.
Everyone remembers where they were on the morning of December 8th, 2011. Everyone remembers what they were doing when the ESPN notification hit their iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S3. I was in the seventh grade, acting like a fool with my friends in between class periods. I just got my books out of my locker and needed to finish out the morning before lunch. My next class was located just across the hall from my locker. We decided to sit in the classroom and wait for the teacher. My friends were talking about the new Call of Duty (MW3) that came out and about how sore we all were after early morning basketball practice. I was not paying attention, as I was tracking the Winter Meetings to see what big news was about to hit.
That offseason was filled with splash signings and trades. We got to see the Miami Marlins make many moves, which included acquiring new manager Ozzie Guillen, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Zambrano. The Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder which solidified the Tigers as a AL powerhouse. C.J. Wilson left the Rangers to sign with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels. But there was one player available that held the keys to the 2011-2012 MLB offseason. A once in a lifetime player who had the potential to change the baseball landscape for the next decade.
After the 2011 World Series, every Cardinals fan was on cloud nine. We had witnessed one of the greatest postseasons in the rich history of the game of baseball. It was beyond watching a game, it was cinema. Nothing could kill the vibes fans were riding at that moment in time.
Well, one thing could. A franchise cornerstone and legendary figure was a free agent after the 2011 season and the media was relentless in getting details of that player's future following the season. The Cardinals failed to sign him to an extension and the season plated out where he won his second World Series with the franchise. Now fans waited to see if he was returning to St. Louis to retire as a lifelong Cardinal, or if he was going to pursue the best contract offered.
As I am waiting in the classroom for the first bell to ring…..we all get the notification. The one that I received, you received, the world received. This is the moment where we all froze in time and did not even know it. The moment when all of our lives changed without time to process what even happened. Confusion, anger, sadness, appreciation, and emptiness filled all of our hearts.