If They Don’t Win, It’s a Shame

A Night at the Ballpark

We scored primo tickets, box seats behind home plate. Our broker of many years, sprang for them and decided to take us out to the old ball game. It was a beautiful night, Goldilocks weather, not too hot and not too cold and the rain held off. Unfortunately, the Redbirds did not perform very well, to say the least.

When we were in Nashville, I checked their standings and they had the best record in baseball and were leading the division. Since then, they’ve lost four games, after being swept by the Cubs and losing last night. Needless to say, they are no longer in first place. They gave up a grand slam, one of three that they’ve relinquished in their past four games. Normally, they only suffer three of these bases loaded homeruns in an entire season.

It’s hard to say what was the worse aspect of their play. The starter, Dakota Hudson, never really got started. After he was ejected, the bullpen wasn’t any better. The Cards’ fielding was sloppy, with two errors and their hitting was anemic at best, with four hits and one run. The final score was 11-1 Phillies.

Every cloud has a silver lining and last night was no exception. The seats were padded. Cardinal attendants checked tickets every time you entered the section. Sort of like a gated community that keeps the riff-raff out. The netting ensured that no foul balls could come screaming off the bat at us. Although, it did make photography more difficult. After the game, so many fans had already left that we were able to not only get on the first Metrolink train, but also scored seats.

The brightest spot in the Saint Louis sports scene occurred not at the ballpark, but a few blocks away at the arena. Later the Blues won their best of seven playoff round, defeating Dallas 2-1 after two overtimes. We were already home by then and when I recapped the Cardinal’s final score of eleven to one, Anne quipped, “Won? I’d hardly call that game a win.”

We also scored new 1st baseman Paul Goldschmidt t-shirts. Woo-Hoo!

Rooting for the Home Team!

Big Mac Land Sign

Big Mac Land Sign

Anne and I got to see my two favorite teams battle it out on Sunday night. The Cardinals were in town for a mini three-game home stand against the Giants. To make a long story short, the Cards won 6-3 and took the series 2-1. This was probably Anne’s last best chance to see a ballgame before she skips town and it was also the most perfect night that you could want for a ballgame. There were a surprising number of Giants fans at the game, but then they are doing very well this year. We took MetroLink downtown again and this time we got to steer the greenhorns, who were all wearing red. While, Saturday’s Redbird victory was all about the long ball, Sunday’s game was more about small ball, but sometime this weekend, some batter vandalized the Big Mac Land sign. Think of it as the STL version of the Chicago Cubs clock scene from the movie “The Natural”.

Big Mac Land Sign Closeup

Big Mac Land Sign Closeup

Best Team In Baseball

A Rabid Cardinal Fan

A Rabid Cardinal Fan

It is mid-August, the heart of the dog days of summer and here in Saint Louis, what with our summer weather that’s a mangy dog-day. There is one mitigating aspect to these summer doldrums though and that is baseball. True, some teams enjoy more mitigation than others, but as the only major professional team sport actually playing in the United States at this time of the year, baseball gets to enjoy America’s un-conflicted love. This time of year, it is once again our nation’s beloved summertime pastime. Let’s get the humble-brag out-of-the-way now, two-thirds through this season, the Saint Louis Cardinals continue to enjoy the best record in baseball. As a long time Saint Louis resident and Cardinal fan, this is no more mysterious to me than it is hot outside in August. I have simply become accustomed to the bird’s way of winning, Thursday night’s outing against the Pirates aside. As a more casual fan than some of my in-laws, it is no mystery that the Redbirds are able to do what they do. As an adherent of the Church of Baseball, I simply take it on faith.

Baseball is a game of statistics and this week has been ripe with those. The big one being the fluke 15 home team wins. At one in 32K+, this is one of those statistics that may never be broken again, at least not in my lifetime. This is all preamble to baseball’s intelligentsia discussion of why the Cardinals are the best team in baseball. My interpretation of their analysis is that the Cards play can best be described as Goldilocks. Our, pitching and hitting is neither too hot nor too cold, but is just right, when it needs to be. In two rather nuanced and too hard to follow for me articles, in Grantland and Sports Illustrated that both smacked of Money Ball, the common explanation seemed to be that the Cards are clutch. Their play is average until runs are on the line and then statistically they seem to be able to step up their game. This is all well and good in the regular season, but whether it is just ‘Clusterluck’ or the Cardinals are really a ‘Superteam’, this could lead to an even better post season, I hope.

Carl and Jay, congratulations on the Mariner’s no-hitter! Did you get to see it?

Go Crazy, Folks! Go Crazy!

Cardinal Red  Moon

Cardinal Red Moon

And so it begins. My brother Chris has inserted a San Francisco Giant’s fan graphic in his Chris’s Camera section of this blog. This is cute. Both he and my other brother, Frank, are both life long Giants fan. I use to be a fan of the Giants too, at least until I moved to Saint Louis, some thirty years ago and since both the Cardinals and the Giants have been frequent visitors to post-season play, I’ve dealt with this before.

Let’s take a step back. Last night both the Cardinals and the Giants clinched their respective berths in the pennant winning National League Championship Series, which begins this Saturday. Last night also featured a total lunar eclipse, plus our annual block party. The above photo is recycled from April’s lunar eclipse. I didn’t stay up for it again last night. A full moon is always an opportunity for lunacy, but a total lunar eclipse goes beyond the pale. 

Smith corks one into right, down the line! It may go!! … Go crazy, folks! Go crazy! It’s a home run, and the Cardinals have won the game, by the score of 3 to 2, on a home run by the Wizard! Go crazy! – Jack Buck, 1985

Last night, while Anne was putting her finishing touches on her Lemony Lemon Brownies, I was trying to follow the Cards game online. I was watching one of those simulated play-by-play renditions of the game, which tend to lag a bit. By the time Anne was ready to go the Redbirds were still down 2-0 at the end of the sixth inning. After we had walked the fifty yards down the block to where people had congregated, the Cardinals were ahead 3-2 at the end of the seventh.

A neighbor had set up a big screen TV in the back of his SUV and the live telecast was on there. I’m guessing that the lag was greater than I had thought. I should get cable TV, but AT&T is already my biggest payee, so why would I add to that bill? Still, it would be nice to see more of the Cards in the post-season, other than just glimpses and the World Series.

While the series starts this Saturday, Rey called today to suggest that we get tickets to next Saturday’s game. Both are scheduled to be played at Busch. Next Saturday’s game is an optional one, so it may not be played, but Rey and Dave were already scheduled to be in town for Next Sunday’s Rams and Seahawks NFL game. We’ll green light Rey’s idea. A clinching Redbird victory the previous night would take a lot of the sting out of the inevitable debacle on the following Sunday afternoon.

A Fruit Loopy Kind of Day

Clayton Antique Storefront Window

Clayton Antique Storefront Window

Today was one of those days, as one anonymous text that I received today said, “A Fruit Loopy kind of day”. There was a lot going on, but none of it was momentous enough to comprise the entirety of one decent sized blog post and a lot of it was a little bit on the screwball comedy level. So today’s post should be a delicious blend of potpourri, I hope.

Our son, Dave posted to Facebook yesterday the phrase, “Best Day Ever.” Along with this post was a photo of his car’s odometer, which read “123456”. I co-opted this picture and reposted it on this blog this morning. Anne decided to check her car’s odometer, which it turns out read “124000”. It is too bad that she just missed the same six-digit sequential number milestone that Dave had. Anne’s car is the oldest car in the fleet and as such is rightly the highest mileage vehicle, but her lead is little more than one roundtrip from Purdue to Saint Louis and back. Anne’s commute is about three miles roundtrip. I suspect by Thanksgiving, Dave will have overtaken her. I also suspect that if the Cardinals make the World Series this year, this overtaking may occur by Halloween.

It was a relief to put those pesky Pirates down yesterday. They have been a plague on Saint Louis all season. I am less concerned about the Dodgers than I was about the Pirates, maybe foolishly so, but that’s my gut check. Over the last week, I’ve noticed a lot more red about town. The trees are only just beginning to turn, so it can’t be autumnal foliage, but I bet that by the World Series our red maple will be in full Redbirds colors. In addition to the opportunity of luring Dave back to town, the possibility exists that our nephew Rey will also visit Saint Louis, if and when the American League comes to town.

I visited my doctor today and he gave me another lease on life. He also gave me a flu shot. I like my doctor, but I hate that he is always running late. I had a 9:00 appointment, but I didn’t see him until 9:45.

During my examination, he asked me if I had seen the game, either game, both the Cards and the Blues played last night. I told him no, instead Anne and I watched The Proposal, a schlocky Sandra Bullock Rom-Com. I mentioned then that I watched this movie, because I had just seen Gravity. This piqued my doctor’s interest. He had heard about some of the geeky pushback from this movie. I’m sure that he was expecting something along the lines of flaws in the movie’s orbital mechanics, so I threw him my first curveball. There is a scene in Gravity, where Ms. Bullock is in some space station and is seen slipping out of her spacesuit and left wearing only a sexy little two piece, a tight t-shirt with boy’s under shorts. Realistically she should have been wearing the standard astronaut blue diaper, but from an artistic point of view that wouldn’t have worked as well. I got a knowing laugh out of him with that. Strike One!

I guess that it was because of the flu shot that we got on the subject of multiple vaccinations at one time. I had told him about a new pediatric device that involves vibrating ice cubes that numb the arm before the injection. It is packaged in a yellow plastic bumblebee like shell. He is an ex-navy flight surgeon, so he thought that he had the best story to tell about taking multiple shots. I trumped him though, when I recounted all the shots that I needed to take before a family vacation to South Asia, the Philippines, Thailand and India. It was in the 1950s and I was not yet in grade school. I had to have some twenty needles, because then none of the vaccines were yet combined. Strike Two!

I think that I horrified my doctor death a bit with that story, so I decided to go for his jugular, because in his heart-of-hearts he is still a Navy doctor. Before this tour of Asia, we were stationed on Guam. My brother Chris and I had managed to pick up some tropical parasite. It created boils about our bodies, which our parents then had to cut out the larva from. My doctor suggested blowflies, but I don’t know. I remember the shots and the subsequent trip, but I’ve repressed the other incident. Strike Three!

I score today’s doctor visit a complete 3-0 success. Go Cardinals!

2012 Photo Review