..say never. As the ESPN baseball analyst said last night, "you gotta drive a stake in their hearts"! This St. Louis Cardinal ballclub is amazing beyond anything I've seen in all the years spent watching the sport. Another elimination game, another deficit, another two-strike, two out situation--twice--then come back to win, this time on the road.
The reaction is entertaining. Some are saying that Nats' 19 year old rookie sensation Bryce Harper, who had a great game after being shut down in the previous four, grabbed his crotch and made a face towards Cards closer Jason Motte after striking out badly in the bottom of the ninth. Decide for yourself..
Looks like he did, but he's just a kid and was completely owned on that at-bat. His frustration is understandable, even retired great Chipper Jones tweeted early about the coming Cards demise. Hey, he was supposed to still be playing. Instead, part of his memory rests in the not-so-quiet riot at Turner Field.
This is hard for some to process. Many fan message boards were lit up with excitement over the Nats' early stomping only to have the same fans go into a sudden depression after the turnaround. Legend has it someone on a Cubs board actually wished the entire Cardinal team would be stricken in a plane crash only to have another 'fan' retort, "do you want Memphis to win it all, because they will" (Memphis being the farm team of St. Louis, who would have to be called up in such a scenario). Then again, Cubs fans really don't understand playing baseball in October.
Oh well, since this is mostly a political blog we can't leave out David Axelrod's tweet from the game when the Nats were up 6-0. I'll have to check Clint Eastwood's convention speech and see if he made any veiled references to the Cards after nailing the first two debates (empty chair and grin with a body behind it).
Parents and coaches preach this to kids--never give up. It applies not only to sports but life in general. Yet as we get older most of us occasionally give up on things after seeing the ups and downs of life. There was no reason to ever give up on this team at any point, even down 6-0 last night. Experience, especially of a positive nature, does matter. Once again they made post-season history by coming back from the largest elimination game deficit ever. If they make the WS they'll once again get home field advantage after getting in on a new one-game playoff system thanks to commissioner Bud Selig and company (oddly, former Cards manager Tony LaRussa was part of the committee that changed things) .
Hard to say whether Mr. Selig is happy or sad about the new system; maybe sad because the Cards seemed to exploit it against all odds, but maybe happy because the other three teams are division winners--and most important of all, the Yankees are still in it. Surely if MLB could engineer a Yankees vs Yankees WS, or in the least Yanks vs Red Sox, they would, but even Selig couldn't engineer that for all the money in Bill Gates' bank account.
Whatever, I'm going to enjoy this seventh heaven this morning. It's hard not to dream about a Yankees-Cards World Series with a deciding game seven at Busch Stadium and a thrilling last minute walk off HR by David Freese or someone, but that's getting way ahead of things. The Giants are an excellent team. Much like the Cards they are underrated on a national level and made history themselves by coming back from an 0-2 deficit against the Reds. They won the WS in 2010. So anything may happen. The worm will eventually turn on the Cards just as it always does in sports but right now any extra baseball is a bonus--even if we get handed the same fate as Nats fans just suffered. So play ball, still! And never say never!