As a dyed-in-the-red St. Louis Cardinals fan for the last 24 years, one of the greatest moments of my Cardinal fandom came on the night of October 27, 2011.
After rallying in the 9th and 10th innings respectively to push the game to the 11th, with the game tied at 9 apiece, David Freese would hit a 3-2 offering from Mark Lowe over the center field wall and enter his name into the book of great postseason heroes in baseball history, forcing a deciding Game 7 in the 2011 World Series.
In fact, the home run hit by Freese would be the fourth such occurrence in a Game 6 in World Series history, joining Joe Carter, Kirby Puckett, and Carlton Fisk.
While most Cardinal fans, including myself, will never forget the 2011 postseason performance by Mr. Freese (in fact, that home run put a catchphrase I use after Saint games on the map) in the 2012 and 2013 postseasons respectively, Freese's batting average topped .250 or better only once, batting .421 in the 2012 National League Division Series. And although Freese's overall numbers in postseason play is respectable (.289 BA/7 HRs/29 RBIs), in the 2013 MLB postseason Freese failed to come up big in key moments when the Cardinals needed it the most, erasing memories of that memorable 2011 postseason.
While it's fairly obvious that Garrett Hartley is the greatest hero in New Orleans sports history, when you have a team like the Saints in the hunt for not only the #2 seed but the NFC South title, you have to make tough decisions, even if it means cutting a guy who probably hasn't paid for a drink inside the New Orleans city limits since late 2009.
In contrast to new kicker Shayne Graham's stats (42 FG misses in 14 seasons), Hartley, despite his 2009 NFC Championship heroics, had 19 FG misses in five seasons, an average of 3.8 misses per season.
In fact, if you took away his outstanding 2008 season in which he was flawless from field goal range, his FG made percentage never exceeded higher than 81.8%, a mark that he reached twice.
Graham by comparison had six seasons of 85% or better marks from field goal range, including five top-10 finishes in the field goal made category.
More importantly, Graham, who last played for the Houston Texans in 2012, has proven to be money from the 30-39 range, making 91.2% of his kicks inside that range in his career as opposed to Hartley's 75.7% clip.
As I stated before, the people of New Orleans will never forget what Hartley did four years ago.
But like all things in sports, no one cares about your heroics four years ago.
They only care about the now.