On the morning of Sept. 12, hours after the Cardinals beat the Braves to pull within 4.5 games of the National League wild card with 16 games left, some faithful fellow strolled (stumbled?) into the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip and placed two certifiably crazy wagers.
One, that the Cardinals would win the National League.
Another, that the Cardinals would win the World Series.
Now, if these were $2 or $10 bets, I’d get it. It’s cute. It’s amusing. It’s a good story. But this was $500 in play — enough that, considering the long odds, you’d have to suspect the fan had skipped sleep to take full advantage of the complimentary cocktails.
The anonymous bettor — all way know is he’s a St. Louis fan, according to a report at Deadspin.com — plunked down the cash when things looked super grim for the Cardinals, but by know we all know how this story unfolded. St. Louis won 11 of its final 16 games, Atlanta lost 11 of its final 16, and the Cardinals clinched the wild card on the final day of the season.
And the magic hasn’t ceased in the postseason, starting with an unlikely five-game NLDS victory over the favored Phillies. Of course, all that — the late-season surge, the Braves’ stunning late-season collapse, and the elimination of the Phillies and their quad aces — won the bettor not a dime.
It wasn’t until St. Louis eliminated Milwaukee in the NLCS that his risky investment began paying off. That first $250 ticket, at 500-to-1 odds, earned him a cool $125,000.
Now, he’s just three Cardinals victories over the Rangers away from collecting on that second ticket, too. That was another $250 wager at 999-to-1 odds, so a St. Louis world title would be worth another $249,750.
If the bettor sweeps, his grand-total rake will be $374,750 — or darn near the annual salary of St. Louis’ Game 2 starter, Jaime Garcia.