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Blues honor World Series champs

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa and Chris Carpenter have been here before. David Freese is living the life these days.

This is how World Series champions live these days.

La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals' manager for 16 seasons before announcing his retirement, brought the World Series trophy with him prior to the St. Louis Blues' game against the Vancouver Canucks.

La Russa was joined by National League Championship Series and World Series MVP Freese, along with ace pitcher Chris Carpenter, a Blues season ticket-holder. Carpenter's son Sam also joined the trio and dropped the puck for the ceremonial first faceoff -- one week after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games to win the World Series.

All three were on hand last Sunday, along with several other Cardinals, when the St. Louis Rams hosted the New Orleans Saints. They joined the Blues in their first home game since the Cardinals won their 11th championship, second only to the New York Yankees' 27 titles.


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Said Carpenter, a former all-state hockey player in high school, "It's been a lot of fun. Really fun ride the last week. Everywhere you go, there's people clapping, cheering, buying you lunches. It's been a lot of fun."

La Russa, who announced his retirement this week after 33 seasons as a big-league manager with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and the Cardinals, has also been having a good time -- his week has included a stop on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

"We've just thoroughly enjoyed winning the World Championship," La Russa said. "The parade was great. Any place you go in town, people are still happy. I guess it's that we did win it because I've been pinching and I don't wake up. It's all true."

It's the second puck drop for La Russa, who also dropped the puck at a Blues game after the Cardinals knocked off the Detroit Tigers in five games in '06.

"This town, everybody pulls for everybody," La Russa said. "Nobody wants the other teams to do bad to make yourself look good. It's really a great relationship between the Rams and Blues and Cardinals. We would do the same for them and I hope soon ... both those (teams get) their championship."

La Russa believes the Blues' time will come for their first Stanley Cup.

"It's coming ... no doubt in my mind," La Russa said. "They've got too many good people in place.

"You want everybody to savor that. They're next on the list."
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