The Year of the Cardinal came to a close on Monday as the Louisville baseball team saw its season end with an 11-4 loss to Oregon State in the College World Series.
In a lot of ways, the day was the complete antithesis of what we've witnessed over the past eight months. The Cards couldn't get the big hit, didn't make the plays they usually make and were on the wrong end of a costly blown call in the 4th inning. All of that added up to a lopsided end to the winningest season in program history, and the most memorable overall season in the history of Louisville athletics.
While it'd be easy to remember today for the mistakes or the disappointing final score, I'll remember it for the emotion showed in the Cardinal dugout in the final two innings. I'll remember the can't-quit attitude and the outpouring of affection for injured second baseman Nick Ratajczak, who was sent to the dish for one last career plate appearance in the 8th.
That's the stuff - win or lose, national championship or no postseason - that Louisville is all about. It's the culture that has bred the historic success that we've witnessed this season, and it's the main reason - more so than all of the championships - why it's so refreshingly easy to be a U of L fan right now.
We'll have much more on the season that was in the days and the weeks to come, but for now I'll just say this: It's another great day to be a Cardinal.