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Friday, October 28, 2011

We Will See You Tomorrow Night!

I don’t even know where to begin, Hat Trick Fam. I had originally planned to name this article, “Comedy of Errors” if the Cardinals won. I thought I would include photos of all of the slapstick defensive plays by both teams. Had the Rangers won, the tone of today’s piece would have been more congratulatory. Well, the Cardinals tied the series, 3-3, to force a deciding Game 7 tonight. It...was...epic!


There were a total of five errors in the game, three by the Cardinals and two by the Rangers. Misplayed ground balls, dropped routine flies, slapstick throws…the score was inflated due to incompetence. There were four unearned runs scored in Game 6, two by each team. Through the early and middle innings, the only factor that stood out was the error factor.

Freese was the Game 6 hero, but he was shaping up into the goat earlier. 1

The St. Louis Cardinals demonstrated that they had nine lives. Much like their 11th hour clinching of a playoff berth, on the season’s final day, and much like their Game 5 effort against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Divisional Series, the Cardinals demonstrated that the only time details like the score count is after the game is over. The Cardinals have to be proverbially shot to be killed.

The Cards were (proverbially) stabbed, drawn-and-quartered, and poisoned. The Hat Trick ran an article last month called “Rays-putin”, comparing the Tampa Bay Rays, who were often left for dead in the American League playoff race, to early 20th century Russian monk Grigori Rasputin (see article for further details). I picked the wrong horse. I could re-write that same piece today and insert the Cardinals and their players where I mention the Rays and their players.

The score in this game was either tied or had a lead change hands seven times. The final lead change was third baseman David Freese’s walk-off solo home run. It wasn’t the first.

Once the aforementioned comedy of errors ended, heading into the late innings, Rangers playoff standouts Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, and Ian Kinsler drove in the runs that extended the Rangers lead to (what would normally be) a comfortable three run lead. David Freese, who would finish the evening with seven total bases and three RBIs, drove in the two runs that the Cardinals needed in the bottom of the ninth inning to stay alive.

The Rangers scored two runs in the top of the 10th. The Cardinals answered with two runs in the bottom of the 10th. Back-and-forth…forth-and-back until Freese ended Game 6 in the bottom of the 11th with his homer for the 10-9 victory.

Freese redeemed himself. 2

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For the Cardinals to deliver such a dramatic finish, in victory, to the sporting world, someone has to suffer a similarly heart-wrenching loss. The Rangers blew three save opportunities in Game 6 (Ogando, Feliz, Feldman), a World Series record for a single team in a single game. The Rangers were one strike away from winning the game, and therefore the World Series, twice, in the ninth and tenth innings.

Texas has been the best team in the American League, two years running. They went from upstart in 2010 to primary contender during the 2011 regular season to back-to-back American League champions. The Rangers sought to finish what they started in the World Series last year. Twice, they were on the brink, with champagne on ice in their locker room and plastic sheeting covering the locker stalls and television equipment. All Texas needed was one final strike. It never came.

Scott Feldman after blowing a save in the 10th inning. 3


For people who are sports enthusiasts, memories of memorable moments may fade, but never completely disappear. A similar moment in the present may evoke special happenings from the past.

The 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, in which there was no score at the end of the ninth inning of Game 7 and Twins pitcher Jack Morris continued pitching into the 10th en route to a Twins victory, is still (for the moment) the best World Series I have watched in my lifetime. Fox aired a clip of the late Kirby Puckett’s series tying, walk off homerun in Game 6 of that series. As the ball sailed over the outfield wall at the Metrodome, the late Jack Buck, father of last night’s play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, exclaimed, “We will see you tomorrow night!”

That happened 20 years ago, almost to the day. I had forgotten about that little detail, Jack Buck’s call of Puckett’s homer, until the clip was aired last night. It came back to me vividly. As Freese’s homerun was in the process of landing, I knew that Joe Buck was going to copy the sendoff of his father from 20 years earlier. As Joe Buck said, “We will,” he paused, to be sure the hit would be a homer. Then the ball landed. “See you tomorrow night!” said Joe Buck.

History often repeats itself. History often passes from one generation to the next. Often, the repetition of history is regarded as a negative. If you are a fan of baseball…if you are a fan of sports, be thankful for this repeat of history.

"We will see you tomorrow night!" (That would be tonight.) 4

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