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Friday, October 28, 2011

A Cardinals Fan's Greatest Night Ever

Here at The Daily Hat Trick, our crack team (which is usually just my half-dozen loyal readers and myself) is constantly trying to monitor what the public thinks. Last night's World Series game was something special. We went to the source of real Cardinals fans to find out what last night meant to them.

No, we didn't fly to St. Louis. We utilized 21st century technology, the Internet! Cardnials fans have a forum at with a bastion of passionate and informed Cardinals fans. One post, in particular, caught my attention. I felt compelled to share the following, posted by a Gateway Redbirds member using the handle, "longhornbaseball".

FROM "longhornbaseball"

Think of the one event you've always dreamed of attending. Then think of what it would be like if everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, went as perfectly as you could have possibly hoped it would go. I got to experience that last night.

Before Game 6 was canceled, the anticipation of a stormy night caused ticket prices to drop to around $150 on online ticket broker Stubhub, so I called my cousin to see if he could get off work to go to the game that night. He said he couldn't, but that he would see if he could get off for Thursday in the event the game was canceled. It was, and I anxiously anticipated my cousin's call as I watched prices go from a very reasonable $150 to $175...then to $200...then $250 (the Thursday forecast was clear so there was a dramatic increase in demand), until finally he called. He had gotten off, so I bought tickets for around $275 after fees. That night, I was having some buyer's remorse and wondering if spending so much on tickets to one baseball game would really be worth it. I would have that feeling many more times last night.


So, we got down to the stadium at around 6:50 and found ourselves amongst literally hundreds of people trying to get inside. For some reason, they don't open all of the entry gates for playoff games, so it takes quite a while to get in. While in line, we met a very intoxicated gentleman from Iowa who enjoyed talking to pretty much anyone who would listen to him. It was entertaining/annoying. Off to the side of the crowd, there were some girls selling Cardinals hats with stuffed animal squirrels glued on to them. My cousin commented that this squirrel [expletive] was getting embarrassing. I agreed. A man in front of us had bought one of the hats, and the drunkard from Iowa asked how much it cost. The guy said "Twenty dollars. Seems like a lot, but I like supporting entrepreneurs." I thought that was funny.


After around 20 minutes, we finally got into the stadium and raced up the stairs to our seats in section 429. They were awful. They were on the right field side, directly behind the foul pole, and part of the field was cutoff from view because of the steepness of the stadium. We watched for the first half inning (around 15 minutes) until this guy in a black jacket came walking through the row in front of us and stopped. "Are you My Name?" he asked. "Uh, yeah," I said. At that moment a million thoughts raced through my head, because I thought he was security. Were we in the right seats? Is someone I know hurt? Did I do something wrong? "Come with me, it's something good," he said.

So, we followed him out to the concourse and he said he was from Stubhub, and that because I was such a good customer, he had lower level seats for me. What? Was he serious? "Do you know the stadium well?" he asked. "Which section would you like? I have 135, 139, 147..." Which section would I like? Is this really happening? "Anything with a 1 is good with me," I said. He said, "Great, how about 135?" My cousin started going crazy because he was so happy. At one point he grabbed Mr. Stubhub and hugged him, which was hilarious. So off we went, down to section 135, 12 rows from the field, just in time to see Lance Berkman bat in the bottom of the first inning. Boom. Berkman took the first pitch he saw and crushed it over the left field wall to give the Cards a 2-1 lead. At that moment, I turned to my cousin and said tonight was going to be a good night.


Never in my life have I been so up, and then so down, and then so up once again, only to face the cold, hard reality that something I loved was probably going to come to an end that night. Then David Freese hit a triple. Unbelievable. Did the Cardinals really just rally to score two runs and tie the game after being down to their last strike in a World Series elimination game? Yes. It was destiny. We were going to win this game. Then Josh Hamilton hit a two run home run. Once again, unbelievable. The air was completely sucked out of the stadium. It was literally the most silent I have ever heard Busch. Complete nothingness. Cold, hard reality smacked me in the face and made me feel stupid for believing in such a silly thing as destiny. Then it happened again. Something that has never occurred before in the entire 107 year history of the World Series. The Cardinals twice came back from a two run deficit to tie the score and extend the game. At this point I had that awful feeling again. Hope. The Cardinals were going to win this game.

Then it happened. The kid who went to high school literally seven miles from my house got to live the dream every boy who has ever picked up a baseball in St. Louis has wished for. David Freese. Bottom of the 11th inning. Game 6 of the World Series. Walk-off home run. Unbelievable.

From a Cards fan's point of view....*

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* Original message board posting used with permission from Gateway Redbirds member, longhornbaseball.

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