ST. LOUIS -- Over the past week, differing opinions emerged from the Cardinals' clubhouse about whether or not clinching a spot in the Wild Card game warranted a champagne-popping, raucous celebration -- much like the one the Braves partook in last week, when they sealed their place in the postseason.
Some St. Louis players thought it better to wait until after the Wild Card game. Others felt it is still beneficial to recognize getting into the postseason, even if it only meant one guaranteed playoff game.
It appears as if the Cardinals would proceed with the latter mindset -- though the celebration would be subdued.
The Cardinals had about 15 cases of champagne and beer ready to pour on Monday night, though the beverages stayed on ice since Los Angeles pulled out a win. Still, Matheny praised players for willingly sticking around for several hours after the completion of their own game to watch the West Coast outcome as a group.
"What we were trying to do was the right thing," Matheny said. "[We were trying to do] the right thing for ourselves and not taking this for granted -- for the league and making sure we give them the impression, which is true, of how grateful we are for the opportunity, and same for our fans. Not look smug like it's not that big of a deal. It's a huge deal. If it happens when a game out in California ends, so be it. It's been a long haul, and there's a lot to be proud of."
Matheny also made a point to remind his players as they left the stadium shortly after midnight that they had won on Monday, "even though it didn't feel like it after watching that game," he said.
The Cardinals can eliminate the need for a repeat watch party on Tuesday by winning their game against the Reds. A victory over Cincinnati would leave the Dodgers with no chance to catch up.