Tonight just after Angel Pagan hauled in Daniel Descalso’s final fly ball out to hand the Cardinals a second consecutive loss and yet again push them to the brink, my young nephew made a beeline to leave the room, to go sort out sorrow and anger and to lick his wounds alone. It is a response I recognize because it would have been exactly my own response at that age. In truth, it is often my own response today, and sometimes for far more important things than baseball. I did make it a point to haul him in and onto my lap tonight, though, to talk through disgust and hope together, to share the load of disappointment if only a little bit. I miss that sort of lap for me, too, to plop down into myself, but I reckon that lack is one thing that being an adult is about.
As my little doppelganger, it is amazing to see many of his similarities to me in his look, his frame, and mannerisms. It is less pleasurable to see the Das nervousness and bent toward the melancholy be passed on in the young ones, in him and his brother. Sometimes it makes you wonder whether you ought to pass along such things as the love of baseball at all. But even if the Cardinals lose again tomorrow and end their year, eliciting even deeper disappointment, it will have been worth it to have shared the excitement through the late summer and fall, to have received random texts about baseball scores, to be able to remember Andrew and Jack’s laughter as their silly, burly uncle missed the pitching screen in the summer again and again and again.
Speaking of that game tomorrow. It is a game 7, as it almost had to have been if you think about it, even if on Friday night Cardinals fans had fostered hopes of an easy NLCS victory to go on to face the raring-to-go Detroit Tigers. And though I could tell you that the Cardinals are at their best when their backs are against the wall, it would not be with much conviction. It does not look good. And even if we do make it through, that “we” a communal one of city and team, it may be as the poorer side with a weaker set of pitchers and more inconsistent hitters, but it will be nonetheless our team that makes it through, and, yes, a team that never gives up.
The Cardinals and Giants played each other 12 times this year with each team winning 6 games. They have played each other 6 times in the postseason, with each team winning 3. Something has to give. And with some bloops and some blasts from Cardinal bats, with a couple of pitchers making a stand, anything is possible. Tomorrow night about this same time I will make a tiny post with two simple pieces of punctuation, a colon followed by a parenthesis. We will just have so see which way that parenthesis is going to face.
And, finally, somewhere in the great beyond Carmen Miranda is saying, “Hey, wait a minute…”
today all the lines,
city county divide, inked
in cardinal red
I am not a fool (at least not all of the time). I know it is just baseball. Tomorrow St. Louis will be the same city with sad racial and economic divisions between black and white and city and county. In a month, even if we win the series, baseball will not have had the power to create change. That lies in efforts elsewhere. Even the beloved ball park, Busch Stadium, itself, is a microcosm of the city – if you notice who sits where and who it is who mostly sit and who mostly serves, even who rakes the infield between innings, sort of fun glory job.
Even so, it is amazing just who Cardinal baseball gets talking to one another, often in excited or worried fashion, as they articulate shared hopes and fears and sweat out the games togethr. Just now a bunch of biddies in the Goodwill, in search of a tiny red jacket for a rally squirrel, were talking baseball, even if they were all confused about the status of the series, as “Play it Cardinal Style” pumped out on the radio. Yeah, it’s that kind of town.
So, if for a couple of weeks in October even if only our dividing lines get drawn in Cardinal red, well, that ain’t too bad.