Clubhouse guys

World Series rivalsTonight begins a championship battle that - despite having happened three times before - no one predicted a few months ago.

The St. Louis Cardinals visit Fenway Park at 5 PM Pacific to take on the Boston Red Sox in the 109th World Series.

The Cards are not the surprise. Many predicted them to win the National League championship. It's the Red Sox who surprised people.

The Sox went from the worst team in their division in 2012 to the best in the league in 2013.

And they did it without marquee signings of big-name free agents.

They did it by getting "clubhouse guys" - guys who put the team first over their individual glory. Who buck each other up after a bad day, share credit and blame and, even when benched, don't complain - just cheer for their teammates.

The Cards, meanwhile, got where they are by "growing their own." They lead the major leagues in percentage of their roster staffed by guys they trained and brought up from their own minor league system.

That creates a great clubhouse atmosphere, too. Being rewarded for hard work and success, rather than being passed over by some big name who hasn't paid his dues in the organization.

Clubhouse guys - folks who put the team first, and who get rewarded by their teams for their effort - create champions.




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