Last night’s game five of the NLCS is a perfect example of why I love post-season baseball. Anything can happen. Suspense. Drama. Action. It’s really the best reality TV going and always has been.
Well, the reality around our house was that the kids were seeing their mother and father disagree. Jill was born in Houston. I, on the other hand, grew up listening to Jack Buck and going to St. Louis as family vacation and seeing the mid-70s Cardinals lose. I never visited Sportsman’s Park but my family went before I was born. We have footage of a game on home movies from that park. I wore a T-shirt that sported Lou Brock’s number, 20. My brother, Toby, sported number nine . . . of what St. Louis great who is now one of the most famous managers of this era? That’s a question for you.
Meanwhile, Jill grew up in the shadow of the Eighth Wonder of the World and wore Nolan Ryan’s number with the cool stripes and was just as deflated in 1980 when the Phillies took the championship away as she was last night when Albert Pujols hit a homer in the top of the ninth to go ahead 5 – 4.
We were sitting on opposite ends of the couch. We couldn’t believe the jam Brad Lidge was in after striking two out, but I knew Eckstein would not go down without a fight and marveled at Jim Edmonds standing there, the day after he was tossed out for disputing a call, and take a walk. Then Pujols comes up, one of the best batters in baseball, against one of the best closers in baseball. Hanging slider and it was out. I stood up, fell over on the floor. Unbelievable.
After the game I said, “This makes me sick for Houston.”
“You make me sick, falling on the floor,” Jill said.
The air in the living room was unbreathable. We both had to get out and headed separate ways. Cardinals are the only team I’ve stuck with since I was a kid. Any sport. Jill was disappointed for her city, which was set up to become the first Texas city to ever host a World Series. Maybe they still will.
Either way, I can be happy and cheer them on. I don’t want St. Louis to represent the NL the way they did last. I really do want the Astros to win . . . and I had fallen on the floor after Pujols’s homer not from elation but from tragi-comic conflict within me.
I love this game.