ST. LOUIS -- In addressing a Division Series between two teams with as rich a heritage as his Pirates and the Cardinals, Bucs manager Clint Hurdle didn't even realize this is but a chapter of an unprecedentedly traditional Major League postseason.
Seven of the eight playoff teams are among the big leagues' 16 charter franchises. The Tampa Bay Rays are the only expansion-era crashers. This marks the first time since the 1995 onset of the Division Era that only one post-1961 expansion team is in the postseason field.
"Old-school baseball is back," Hurdle grinned.
"I've always been intrigued by tradition within the game, and these are two of the more historic organizations. I'm fortunate that I've gotten to spend time in both the uniforms," added Hurdle, who played five positions as a St. Louis utilityman during the 1986 season.
The Cards' franchise "drips with tradition, with respect, with integrity, with professionalism," said Hurdle, for whom one simple sign stood out from the raucous PNC Park crowd for Tuesday night's National League Wild Card Game against the Reds.
"It was, 'We're back,' and the sustainability [the Cardinals'] organization has proven is our next step," Hurdle said. "It's always good to get here. But the sustainability built over time truly is what separates organizations."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.