Most of the fans who have been following the twists and turns of this thrilling 2011 World Series are not long-time fans of either the victorious Cardinals or the runner-up Rangers. But they were riveted all the same.
Some neutral fans may have developed an affection for one team or the other as the Series went along. Perhaps they became enamored by aw-shucks power of Mike Napoli or sudden rise of David Freese. Or maybe their grandfather played stick ball with Arthur Rhodes.
But, for the most part, the widest swath of fans enjoying this iteration of the Fall Classic have done so based on the drama of the games and the power of the performances. Even putting aside the clutch hit heroics that helped the Cardinals stay alive in Game 6, these seven games were chock full of highlight reel plays, both defensively and offensively.
From Chris Carpenter diving into the first base to register an out early in Game 1 and the Brooks Robinson-level of defense played by Adrian Beltre at the hot corner to the homer-robbing snag of Allen Craig in Game 7, there has been some serious leather flashed over this back-and-forth ride. Of course, there were enough fielding miscues during the middle innings of Game 6 to make even the routine plays nerve wracking. For hitting highlights, it's awfully hard to look beyond Pujols' historic trio of homers in Game 3. Of course, Freese and Napoli have done their best to make you try.
And, helping to lighten the mood, FOX broadcaster Joe Buck made sure that the television audience was treated to the comic stylings of Derek Holland.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the 2011 World Series.