I'll do everything in my power to help this Cardinals team win the division. I want to win three NL Central titles in a row, and now I have a shot to do it.

Playing in Chicago for two years, I knew the personalities and the will to win that these guys have. I had also admired what they've done from afar, and now to be in here and to be managed by Tony LaRussa and to be in this environment is pretty special.

Coming here, I didn't really know any of the guys too well. It's kind of funny. You play so many games against these guys, and, when you get to first base, you might have a quick conversation with Albert Pujols, but besides that, the only guy I had ever played with was Adam Wainwright. He was a young guy in the Braves organization when I was with Atlanta.

It is amazing, though, that, when you play against each other and you have mutual respect for one another, it is very easy to come into a new clubhouse and to make friends and to get along. The toughest part is moving your stuff and getting your wife to accept it.

And it's actually not as strange as I thought it would be to wear this uniform after playing for the Cubs. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was traded away from the Cubs. I didn't choose to leave Chicago, so that helps motivate me.

And the on-field part of the transition has been really smooth, because I'm really familiar with the NL Central.

Playing in St. Louis also gives me the chance to experience this baseball city from a home-team perspective. The city is truly 100 percent a baseball town, and getting the chance to play here helps me see that it does live up to its reputation.

With 45,000 people at the game every night, it is baseball heaven. They are passionate about the Cardinals, and they're also knowledgeable about the game. They know guys hit slumps, and they understand when a guy needs to move another guy over. They understand the little things, and that it is not always about the home run.

The experience so far has been as advertised. I loved coming into St. Louis as a visiting player. Now it's nice to be on this side.

Mark DeRosa, who is nearing his 1,000th Major League game, joined the Cardinals following a midseason trade with Cleveland. Playing primarily at third base, the 34-year-old veteran has hit eight home runs and driven in 15 runs in 34 games.