We took Jay and Carl downtown and toured Busch Stadium. Carl was subjected to an entire afternoon of Cardinals propaganda, but still remains a Mariners fan. Earlier we walked them over to our own little local Arthur Ashe park, which is in the neighborhood and includes the remains of the tennis court that he played on during his senior year in high school. Our hour long tour of the stadium included promos for some of the more exclusive clubhouses in the park, plus other high points like the broadcast booth. We ended the tour down on the field and toured the dugout. After the tour, we ate lunch in Ballpark Village and then toured the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum. It was a very baseball kind of day.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But here is no joy in Mudville—the mighty Cardinals have struck out.
Skunked 0-4 by the Washington Nationals, the Redbirds were eliminated from playoff contention. I wish the Nats well next week in their World Series bid. It has been a long wait for DC. This outcome was foreshadowed twice this year, when we traveled to the South. First in Mississippi and then again in Virginia, we were plagued by what the locals called gnats. They are small flies that bite. Neither bug repellant or vanilla extract, which the locals swore by, deterred these pests. The NLCS makes trice that we have now been plagued by Nats.
The fallout continues from this week’s blowout 1st inning, in the Cardinals-Braves NLDS Game 5. Georgia Republicans are carping that the Braves organization’s decision to not distribute their trademark red foam tomahawks in that game, generated the “karma” that led to the Braves rout. Earlier in this series Saint Louis pitcher, Ryan Helsley, of Cherokee heritage, disparaged Atlanta’s Tomahawk Chop cheer, before Game 2 in Atlanta. “I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His complaint led the Braves to not hand out their foam tomahawks when play returned to Georgia, but it took ten unanswered Redbird runs to silence Atlanta fans and halt their performance of the Tomahawk Chop, at least for a while. Later, while railing against political correctness, Georgia conservatives cried a Trail-of-Tears, big crocodile ones, claiming that they were actually just honoring their state’s Cherokee heritage.
Well, at least Atlanta distinguished itself better this time around. Not the least, Atlanta fans did not cause a lengthy game delay by throwing trash onto the field, unlike the last time the Cardinals and Braves met in postseason play. Looking forward, Saint Louis hosts the Washington Nationals tonight. This series is for the National League pennant. I’m hoping for a good series. The Nationals should let Washington take its mind off of politics for a while and give it a chance to shine. Unlike that other crosstown franchise, who shall not be named.
Let’s go, Cardinals!
Oh look, the Cardinals are trending on twitter. OMG, is that a typo? 10-0 in the top of the first! Ten runs on five hits, how do you even do that? The Cards went on to finish the game as newly crowned divisional champs, with a 13-1 final score against the Braves. That’s almost as many runs as they scored in all of the previous four games. I’ll be checking out the new Cardinal NLDS Champion T-shirts in the grocery store tomorrow. The Redbird’s prospects seemed especially dim on Monday night, when they were losing in late innings in a do-or-die game. Facing elimination, team hero Yadier Molina first tied the game and then went on to knock in the winning run in extra innings and keep Saint Louis alive.
Pundits, with 20-20 hindsight point to Molina’s performance as a turning point that precipitated this final game. I see it starting with Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley’s comments about the “disrespectful” Tomahawk Chop after game one of the series. The Tomahawk Chop cheer is an Atlanta Braves staple. Helsley’s mom is a full-blooded Cherokee. This complaint led the Braves to unilaterally disarm and halt distribution of their trademark foam tomahawks for game five, which again demonstrates that baseball is a more civilized game than football. Maybe disarming the fans did it or maybe it was the Braves post-season curse. I’d like to believe that the Cards are going all the way and the Braves just had the misfortune of getting in their way. Next up are the Washington Nationals.
Even though it was the most beautiful day in months, it wasn’t a pretty game. Even though Wainwright’s single RBI scored the first run and Molina’s two-run homer eventually tied the game and sent it in to extras, it still turned ugly. In-between there were four Cardinal errors. Wainwright had six good innings, but began to flag in the seventh and all those errors really began to bite. The Giants took the lead, but in the tenth Tyler O’Neill’s walk-off home run won the game. The bench cleared to meet him at the plate and in celebration ripped off his jersey, exposing his rather ripped body.
Rey and Becca took us to the game, our first of the season. Hey, better late than never. We had right field bleacher seats that would have been brutal on any day save this. Cardinal hoody sweatshirts made for pretty nice attendance prizes. It was cool enough that I wore mine for a while. If you read this Dave, one will be coming to you soon and Dan if you want one too, just ask me. They would be perfect for any possible post-season Redbird action that might come our way. I would not suggest wearing them if the Birds ever make it to Boston or NYC.
One of the most interesting aspects of the experience was ease dropping on the conversation from the row behind us. There was a British guy who was out of his league and an American girl who was trying to explain the game to him. He kept referring to Wainwright as the bowler, but was also fascinated by his very English name. He managed to grasp the rudiments of the game, but at the end, after the walk off homer, he had to be told that the game was over.
I cautioned Rey not to interact with this ease dropped conversation, but when the Brit started Googling MLB player’s salaries, he had to act. The first Google target was the right fielder. Martinez. The Brit pegged this player’s annual Salary at $12M. Rey interjected that that Martinez was a pitcher. The one in front of us was only earning the league minimum, half-a-million. “Minimum wage, blimey, what an insult!” As it turned out, the other Martinez, Carlos the pitcher and no relation, was the game’s winner.