In this corner, America, we have the New England Patriots, the Guys Who Always Get Away With It, the Kings of the Indefinitely Suspended Sentence, the Oceans 11 crew of National Football League.
Their Hall of Fame quarterback got busted for conspiring to monkey with the footballs in an AFC championship game. He got a four-game sitdown from the NFL for it. And so, of course, his team won't suffer a jot for it, because they're about to go 4-0 while he's sitting.
And in this corner?
Well, it's their kindred spirits, the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom things always seem to work out, just like they do for the Patriots. You could push the Cardinals out of a plane over the Mojave Desert and somehow they'd land in the only watering hole for miles. You could strand them on a life raft in the Pacific, hundred of miles from the shipping lanes, and five minutes later they'd be rescued by a cruise ship because the captain had fallen asleep at the helm and the cruise ship had drifted hundreds of miles from the shipping lanes.
And so here the Cardinals were last night, their postseason hopes dangling by a single, fraying thread. And here they were in the ninth inning, about to lose to the lowly Reds and be all but eliminated. And here was Yadier Molina swatting a double off the Missouri Lottery sign above the left-field wall, which should have been a dead ball and should have stranded baserunner Matt Carpenter at third.
Except none of the umps saw it.
And Carpenter kept running and scored the winning run on Molina's walk-off.
And by the time Reds manager Bryan Price caught up with the umps 30 seconds or so late to file a protest, he was deemed too late and the game was declared over.
Which means the Cardinals' playoffs hopes are still alive.
Which means, of course, that they will go on to secure one of the wild cards, beat the Cubs in the playoffs, win the National League pennant and then win the World Series.
I mean, let's face it. They're the Cardinals.