[ED Note: I received an e-mail this morning containing an unsolicited story of one Cardinal fan's recollection of how he watched the Cardinals defeat the Rangers in Game 6 of the World Series. PH8 Reader Matt led off the e-mail with this: "I had to sit down and type out my thoughts about last night. It was hard. I'm sleep deprived and all that. Once done, though, I realized that I have nowhere to post or place it, so on a whim, I thought I'd send it off to someone who would understand, at least. I hope you like it. Enjoy." Obviously I had to post it. Graciously, Matt agreed.]
If you put 3000 volts into a carousel, all the ponies combined wouldn’t go up and down as many times as my emotions did last night. I’m still not quite sure what I witnessed. All I know is that there were a lot of stages to it, so I’m trying to break it down as best I can.
For 5 innings or so, I was pretty upset with the high-school defensive effort put on by our millionaire athletes, but I took solace in the fact that at least the Rangers weren’t hitting also. I was worried by the constant failure of our hitters to put the ball in play or make productive outs, but it was going both ways, and the pitching was doing all right.
Then the bottom fell out. by the 6th inning, I put my computer away. I was seriously worried that if it was within arm’s reach I would throw it through my TV when we inevitably gave up. I saw a team with no spine. I saw hitters that had no plan, defense that couldn’t communicate, and a bench that just wasn’t in it. I was, maybe for the first time in my life, actually a little embarrassed that I was a Cardinals fan; that these fairweather Rangers fans around me might get the better of me over a contest that they had nothing invested in and my soul was sunk into.
I paced like a caged animal. I stood and hyperventilated. I even almost cried at one point in the middle of the 8th. I had no hope, and I was NOT prepared to give any credit to the Rangers for taking the proverbial candy from the babies for this one, oh no sir.
Then something magical happened. Frankly, it was what I said should have happened before the game even started. Torty Cr
aig got to bat for the struggling (useless, clueless, floundering, etc) Matt Holliday, and he put a charge into one. I don’t know who it was, but someone in that dugout must have gone around and kicked everyone right in the backsides, because the bottom of the 8th was different. I saw a team who actually cared. I saw players determined to not go quietly into that good night. Hitters seemed to have a goal when they stepped in beyond “hit ball hard”. The 9th inning was more of the same, only better. Tied up, even if the 3rd out was a useless tapper back to the pitcher.
Somewhere in the midst of this craziness, I found a sort of enlightenment. I came to peace with my opponents; Sun Tzu would be proud, no doubt. I decided that if my Birds were going to fight, then win or lose I would be okay with it. I found the zen eye at the center of the storm.
There’s lots of things I could rant and rave about, but they always go both ways. So here’s the thoughts so far, broken down by positive and negative looks:
- The Cardinals pitching has been ineffective / + The Rangers have some of the most dangerous bats in the league
- The defense in game 6 was awful / + … (yeah, okay, there is no positive for this one)
- The Rangers gave it up when it mattered / + The Cardinals ALSO have some of the most dangerous bats in the league, when they aren’t named Punto or Furcal, that is
Basically, no matter how you break it down, last night the Cardinals made the most out of their chances, and moreover, they made their own chances when it mattered. It’s the same thing the Rangers did in games 4 and 5. Could we both go through the “we gave it up” mantra? Of course. But even if the pebble was held out, someone had to snatch it. Last night, that someone was David Freese. Before him, it was Derek Holland, or Nelson Cruz, or Albert Pujols.
No matter what you think or who you’re rooting for, you’ve been beyond privileged to watch this postseason so far. You might not think so now, but in the coming weeks, you’ll look back and realize that this is one of the most exciting, most intense, most meaningful World Series matchups ever.
So, Game 6 then.
MVP: Tough, but Freese doesn’t get it outright. He gets to share it with a guy named Lance Berkman. I’m convinced that without his steady hitting and leadership, that rally never gets sparked.
LVP: Matt Holliday. Again. And again, and again, and again.
Takeaway: This is exactly what the 2011 Cardinals are all about: drama. They’re up, they’re down, they’re underground, but they are never boring. And they LOVE playing from behind.
I was the worst fan ever last night. Freese forgive me, I will never doubt again.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @OtterMatt. Thanks for sharing, Matt.