Boys of Summer, Men of October.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: Harrison Bader #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after they lost game four and the National League Championship Series to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on October 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It’s 11 o’clock at night and it’s raining — finally after what seemed like an eternity without rain. It’s almost like the rain is washing away the sadness that comes at the end of a season. Am I sad? Of course. You spend countless hours involved in the sport, so when the time comes for it to end, there will always be a void.

In March, I began following baseball religiously again after the death of my dog. He died in a horrific way and baseball helped me grieve. And in April, I never could have imagined that I would see the St. Louis Cardinals make it to the NLCS. I never imagined having my own website. The girl who sat in the freezing cold to watch the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets never knew what baseball had in store for her this season.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest Cardinals fan in April. I was closely following the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. After all, 18 years of being a Mets fan and the ever so likable Christian Yelich will do such things to you. But there was something, something so special about the St. Louis Cardinals and they quickly became my favorite team in the entire league.

Busch Stadium became my church. My happy place, a sanctuary where I loved, I thanked God, and I felt magic happening all around me.

Maybe it was the moment Miles Mikolas walked out to Led Zeppelin. Maybe it was the moment that I started watching the team more closely, seeing how lovable and fun José Martínez is in the dugout. Maybe it was when I noticed Paul DeJong is an under appreciated shortstop. Maybe it was Adam Wainwright getting Daniel Ponce de Leon to admit he loved him back during Christian Day when we were all overheating and praising God on that Sunday afternoon. Maybe it was Paul Goldschmidt giving me my first title for my website, “Jesus Loves Baseball.”

Maybe it was all of it.

The comeback wins. The blood, sweat, and tears. Jack Flaherty writing Tyler Skaggs’ initials in the dirt. Jordan Hicks throwing triple digits against his opponents. Harrison Bader returning from AAA and being the player of the game his first game back. Adam Wainwright being the Adam Wainwright that we have all grown up loving and idolizing. Yadier Molina saving the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS. Mike Shildt’s explicit speech going into the NLCS.

The idea of the Cardinals missing the World Series stings. It tugs at your heart. Despite the team feeling so unattainable and so far from normal every day life, they become family. They’re normal guys. Human beings. You cry with them. You sweat with them. You feel every single emotion that is possible with them. Baseball isn’t just another thing to watch as background noise — it’s a sport that has carried on a tradition and will continue to carry on as such.

The boys of summer turned into men of October and despite being swept, the St. Louis Cardinals fought hard to get where they belonged — back in the postseason. I’m proud of my favorite team and cannot wait for the 2020 season.

While the season is now over, Dugout Dish is only getting started. I’ll keep everyone updated on trade rumors, player profiles, news around the league, and of course all things related to the St. Louis Cardinals.

A big thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported my journey into the sports industry.

Follow along on Twitter @chelseabrooke / @dugoutdish

Photo Credit: Getty Images