Tonight I was making like a sportswriter and writing an epitaph to the Cardinals season, even as I watched the end of the game and was madly participating in the shared sports commentary that is the act of watching a game with hundreds of Facebook friends—liking and commenting on status updates, all the while trying to make witty, insightful ones of my own, which is a new sort social capital.
Mind you the epitaph which I was writing was also one which required constant updating so I could hit the “Publish” button at the very moment the game was over. And at the end of innings 9 and 10, when the Cardinals were down to their last strike, my finger was literally on the button. And then with some time to breathe after a scoreless top of the 11th, David Freese hit the shot that jolted St. Louis and the baseball world and my “journalistic” trigger finger relaxed as well.
So, after a horrible 6 innings, the errors finally settled down and the scoring heated up for both teams. And with St. Louis scoring in the bottom of the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th innings (a World Series record), surely the Rally Squirrel is alive and well!
Upon ensuring that David Freese’s 11th inning drive was indeed going over the wall, Joe Buck, echoing his father Jack before him, said, “We’ll see you tomorrow night!” And so we shall!
Below is the post that never was, which if nothing else served as a writing exercise. Go Cards!
The Rally Squirrel Has Left the Building – Congratulations, Rangers, World Series Champs – Thank you, Cardinals, Comeback Wizards
Baseball, like no other, is a game for the superstitious. Players might not wash lucky hats while on a hot streak–growing little colonies of salt crystals–or they may carry out elaborate rituals before and during games, even doing the exact same motions in bat after bat after bat. Fans can almost be as bad.
In truth I am not all that superstitious, but I have been keeping track of how many live squirrels vs. road kill squirrels that I have seen on the streets of St. Louis in this season of the Rally Squirrel–the phenomena that makes us in St. Louis seem rather provincial, but which I have decided may as well be embraced as not. After all, who doesn’t love a squirrel, unless of course they get in your attic.
This afternoon, however, I knew it was not a good sign that while I was out taking pictures of the beautiful Fall foliage, which has decorated the official logo of this Fall Classic so beautifully…
…that I saw a poor little squirrel at the base of a tree. I can only assume that he was Texas bushwhacked on the way to the stadium. Poor little fellow.
In all seriousness, though, congratulations to the Texas Rangers on their first World Series, which was well-deserved, carried out by a manager and group of players who really seem to enjoy playing the game, which is so refreshing. Congratulations, Mr. Napoli, on an amazing series. Congratulations, Josh Hamilton, on playing through pain and coming up huge.
And though the sloppiness of this game will sting for quite a while, though the what if’s of a huge comeback–met by an even bigger comeback by Texas in extra innings, by the wounded, hobbling redemption story that is Josh Hamilton–met by another Cardinal comeback in the 10th that came up just short–will continue to echo, it will not be too long before the good citizens of St. Louis realize just what a special season this team gave this city. And it was just nice to see smiling Cardinals, at least for a few moments, in the bottom of the ninth inning and a whole stadium full of cheering fans. What an amazing sport for drama and tension; the jubilation of victory and the despondency of defeat.
It has been documented on a gazillion web sites, but the St. Louis Cardinals’ ride into and through this post-season has truly been magical, and perhaps there is no city in the baseball playing universe which will appreciate that more…eventually.