Saturday, October 28, 2006

Playoffs, Day 14: Incredible, Unbelievable, Indescribable

I just... wow. Wow. It's been two hours since the game ended and it's only now that I can finally put my thoughts into any sort of semantic cohesion. It's only now I've finally settled down enough to write about what may be the best moment of my baseball life. Screw all the ESPN pricks who think that a team from New York is a vital ingredient for a good Series and that the Tigers were going to take out the Cardinals in "three." Screw 'em. Screw anybody who doesn't believe that any Fall Classic, ever, isn't well, a Classic. And above all, o ye of Redbird loving persuasion, be thou glad.

As you may have guessed by now, the St. Louis Cardinals are the World Champions. It's just starting to sink it. Did I think they were going to do it? Not really, no. I wanted them to. I thought they'd put up a fight. And's like Christmas.

So I lied. I didn't watch the game. I was dying. Rocking back and forth and hyperventilating and feeling like I was about to expire. Then my phone rang. I'd left it on for this very necessity. My hands started to shake and I couldn't fumble it out of its case.

It was my sister. She said, "Your St. Louis Cardinals are the 2006 World Champions."

I screamed. Loudly. Then I began to shake even more and laugh and say, "OH MY GOD," in this wild, giddy voice over and over. I rocked back and forth and then I cried and talked to her and called my family, who were a) lucky and b) brave enough to watch the proceedings as they unfolded. They nearly died during the ninth, as I might have (my baby put two men on before ending it with a strikeout... my God, Busch III went berserk).

It gives me chills just thinking about it. Now... the offseason. Wow. No baseball. Ouch. I must fill the void with a constant succession of baseball movies recommended by a friend of mine, and I'm going to start tomorrow night (well, technically, tonight, as it's 1:47 AM) with Bull Durham. Should be fun. "He's having trouble breathing out of his left eyelid."

One week until my family comes. That's going to be awesome. But.... wow. WOW. If you'd told me this as I was suffering through their third losing streak of seven games or more, I would have swatted you aside and told you mournfully not to tease me like that.

I can't wait to see the World Champion Cardinals on May 28-31 at Coors Field in lovely Denver, Colorado. You can bet that I will be there, in any assortment of:

a) an Adam Wainwright T-shirt
b) a Chris Carpenter T-shirt
c) a Cardinals National League Champs shirt (should they ever ship it)
d) a Cardinals World Series Champs shirt (ditto)

I love the Cardinals so much that it hurts. My heart is raw and overflowing. And the Church of Baseball is the only one I worship. Because this is more than a game to me. It's everything. And tonight was the pinnacle of ecstasy. I've been down to the dumps before. I've cried in pain instead of happiness. But tonight reminded me why I'm in this mofo for the long haul.

St. Louis Cardinals, all my love to you and you can bet there was at least one fan in Bronxville, New York, screaming her heart out with pure, true, delirious happiness. You guys are the champs. Drink that champagne. Savor it. You earned every inch.

I love you guys. Goodbye and good night for 2006, and when you pull up the curtain for 2007, I'll be there to adore you every step of the way.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Game 5 Pregame Good Luck Vibes Post

Okay, so it's approximately three hours before Game 5 starts and I'm as nervous as hell. I know that I promised to watch, and if the boys in red take their tenth World Championship, HELL YES I want to be there to watch it if even only electronically, but my nerves are shot and frazzled. I know that we have a good chance - the Tigers are demoralized and Jim Leyland is inexplicably NOT pitching Kenny!Cheater!Rogers, but rather Justin Verlander, who the Cardinals beat like the proverbial red-headed stepchild in Game 1.

Opposing him is the mercurial Jeff Weaver. Dunno how I feel about this. I'd feel more comfortable with Reyes, but Reyes is also capable of turning in a total turd after he's authored a gem. Weaver didn't do badly in Game 2, but seemed to be living on the edge a bit much. Of course, any pitcher can become someone transcendent with the might of 46,000 screaming red-clad Redbird red-blooded red-hot fans behind him. Busch III is going to be rocking. Dammit. One of those games that it would be absolutely MAGICAL to be at. Why, oh why didn't I go to, say, Washington and Lee?! ;)

I'm re-writing an article for my school newspaper that assumes the Cards win it. I feel sort of weird. They really need to win it, or I'm going to have to annoy my editor and stall for time to see if the Cardinals can pull it off in six. I'd rather not. I want the Cardinals to do this bitch at home. And I also don't want to piss off the Sports Editor, who happens to be my friend and probably would be moderately cool with it, but as I'm still a rookie journalist, best not to irritate authority.

Gah. Although I'm going to go into deep mourning when the season ends, as I hope it does tonight, my nerves just need a break. By December or January, I'll be slobbering and cross-eyed and whimpering and desperate for baseball, but it's a bit of a relief from the grind of caring so much and feeling either so ecstatic or so utterly miserable. Well, baseball is my love and my religion, heh, so that's what it does to me.

Okay, everyone, say it with me....


P.S. Yes, the color change is temporary. It'll go back to normal after you-know-what.

Playoffs, Day 13: An Ode to Adam

Having been bombarded by bad bloggery and putrid photoshoppping, prepare yourself for the advent of VILE VERSE!

(And yes, you've figured out that my date headers are in no way relative to the actual days of the playoffs, just when I remember to blog about them).

Curveball buckling at the knees
Go ahead and swing, but hit it? Please!
You are gone, bitch, gone wit'out a fight
You don't know who it is; it's ADAM WAINWRIGHT

Man stands six-foot-seven, he's as skinny as a pole
Stop talkin' about hittin' him; yeah, shut your damn hole
He's going to wind up and put that Yellow Hammer in there
Stand up there if you want, even swing the bat if you dare.

We got him from Atlanta and we snagged him for a song
(Remember J.D. Drew? We're glad that he's gone)
It's just a beautiful sight when the man in number fifty
Comes out there and does his thing; he's really kinda nifty.

You may have noticed that I have a total Adam obsession
I can't go without mentioning him each blogging session
That's because the man is amazing, and also hot as hell
If he'd just wear his socks like Anthony Reyes, all would be well.

The World Series has come down to this mind-bending fact:
The Cardinals have easily fended off the Tigers' "attack"
And after the heroics of Runt Eckstein and Adam my man
The "scrappy underdog Cardinals" are the "Cardinals who can."

If tomorrow comes and Jeff Weaver does not do very badly
Every Redbird fan will explode from their chair and shout very gladly
For we would have nailed down championship twice-five
The last time they did it, I wasn't even alive.

So all I can do at this point is to cheer and to cheer
And hold my breath tightly as the moment draws near
I'd say that I'm turning blue, but that isn't quite true
As a matter of fact instead I'm turning a lovely shade of RED!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In Which My Rudimentary Blogging Is Surpassed

...only by my amateurish photo-retouching skills.

He looks great. Seriously, he does. Isn't that one of the most amazing things you've ever seen in your life?

a) ADAM, enough said
b) celebrating a Cardinals trip to the World Series, enough said
c) high socks, enough said

Okay, so you have to put up with my suspect skills to see it, but seriously. Adam, baby. Do it for me. Right? [nudge nudge wink wink]

Also, Adam is trying to fiercen up his adorable face with a playoff beard. He is far from the only one. Jeff Suppan, Baby Duncan, Carp, and other notables are doing so as well. I think that Adam is trying to look more bad-ass. Well, he has a prerequisite. Those curveballs he fed to Beltran were pretty fucking bad-ass.

I think that all this post proves is that I need to quit while I'm ahead. Seriously, it's 1:54 and I don't think I should have access to a computer right now, much less the Internet.

Playoffs, Day 10/11/12: Much Yayness/Doodoogate/CHRISGASM

Okay, so it's a lump update since I'm lazy. Either that or I was trying to write two essays, one for history and one for philosophy, and having to resort to yanking the Ethernet cable so I wasn't tempted to get on the 'Net and procrastinate. I did finish the philosophy essay, mostly there on history. They seem to be good at first glance, but I can't shake the feeling that I am just refining myself as a bullshit artist. Thus far, however, in my experience at community college at any rate, how much I like the papers seems to be inversely proportional to how much my professors do. Therefore, I guess that if I think the current batch is crap, my professors will eat them up. Eew. That sounded so wrong.

It is a little over a week until I get to see my family. I really cannot wait.

Now. Onto the mass update. It covers, as you can probably tell, the first three games of the Fall Classic. The Cardinals won the first one 7-2 on the back of eight dominant innings by Flat-Hat, High-Sock Anthony Reyes, who I wish would make the other Cards copy his look because I love the high socks and Adam would look even more dreamy in them then he does already. The rest of it... I could do without. Reyes is as fugly as hell, but seeing as he is my team's Game 5 starter, I will refrain from talking too much smack about him. Hell, if Suppan does well in 4 and Reyes locks it down in 5... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Tigers won Game 2, behind what is rapidly turning into a controversy the size of the George Brett pine tar incident, except that wasn't in the World Series. Doodoogate, as I like to call it, involved a certain suspicious-looking smudge on the hand of one aging pitcher that, until now, had been a postseason washout...

Take a look for yourself, if you can bear the pain of having Kenny Rogers' hideous mug foisted electronically onto yours. Then compare the two shots that follow.

Kenny Rogers' mug. Note hand.

On the left: Rogers' hand from ALCS Game 3 against the A's. (I'll shed a tear for my boys, who I wish were at the big dance, but the Cards have taken so much of the pain away, it isn't even funny). On the right: Rogers' hand in World Series Game 2. And I'm sure, Kenny, that the same smudge of "dirt" got there twice, in the same spot, without you knowing. Uh---huhhhh.

Of course, after the umpires (rightly) made him wash it off, he kept the Cardinals off balance all night. But if LaRussa pressed the issue - which he didn't, for whatever reason - he could have had Rogers ejected immediately and the Kitties' starting rotation massively fucked in the event of extra games to seal the deal. I'm curious as to why he didn't.

Either way, Kenny Rogers is still a douchebag.

As for Game 3, well, the only reason that people came sprinting out to the mound to examine Chris Carpenter's hand was in the seventh inning of a dominant performance from the Redbird ace, after he complained of having a cramp. There was no scuff or smear on that masterly palm, assure you me, and it did not stop Carp from finishing out eight innings of blemish-free work, permitting only three hits. He also allowed no walks and didn't even get to a three-ball count on a batter. On his first appearance on the World Series stage, Carp was his usual brilliant self. (He missed the '04 postseason with a bicep injury, which is just as well since the Cards disappeared in the World Series anyway). What a way to debut in baseball's biggest spotlight. Braden Looper, a pitcher who causes all of the Cardinals faithful to pop a handful of antacids, finished it off with a relatively uneventful ninth, and the boys in red took a 2-1 edge.

I came into the Series with the conviction that the Tigers were probably going to win it, but it may not be easy. I'm slowly starting to shift. I want desperately to believe that my beloved Cardinals can do it, but I'm trying to stay realistic. Well, reality is that if NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan follows up Carp's masterpiece tomorrow night, the team that everyone expected to "lose in three" according to certain smug self-confident sportswriters, will in fact have a 3-1 lead and possibly, possibly be in position to capture a tenth World Championship at home.

But that's really getting ahead of myself. There's a world of difference between 3-1 and 2-2, and the latter is still entirely probable if Suppan gets on his knees and blows the game tomorrow, which he may or may not do. (Obviously, I hope not). But if it is....

The thing is, these Cardinals are playing like a championship team. They're getting outstanding pitching (even in the game that they lost, they only surrendered three runs) they're getting contributions up and down the order, and they're not the one making the stupid mistakes. Such as tonight, when Albert Pujols hit an easy, dinking grounder back to Joel Zumaya, and instead of going for the double play at second, he opted instead to throw it to third - despite the fact that a 1-5-3 DP in the World Series hasn't been turned since 1923. Zumaya possibly showed why, as his throw went into foul ground and the Cardinals added two runs to their lead.

The Cards have completely muffled the heart of the Detroit order, and, well, the Tigers just look rusty. Thus, while I'm still cautious, I'm getting warmed up to the idea that this Hunt for Red October might end in fruition.

But that's just my take after tonight. It will be appropriately more optimistic or dispirited after the results of tomorrow night. If they win, then you can bet your ass that I am watching Game 5 to see my boys clinch. If they lose, it's back to the religious avoidance of anything baseball-related while online. I'm really bad with pressure, and cannot take the pain of actually watching the game... so I'm a wimp. But I will watch Game 5. But only if the Cardinals win.

I feel like I have schizophrenia. My "optimistic" and "there's no way they can actually do this" sides are warring. I should probably go to bed anyway, as classes (depressingly) resume tomorrow after I had the first two days of the week off, which was a good thing because of those freaking aforementioned essays. Guh... wish me luck, I'm gonna need it...


Friday, October 20, 2006

Playoffs, Day 9: OH. MY. GOD.




Okay. So. I love my Cardinals dearly, but my heart just can't take the pressure of watching a Game 7 after Chris Carpenter did his damndest but Braden Looper blew it last night in an agonizing Game 6, forcing the series to the limit. Game 7s are good for baseball. NOT for my nerves.

So I didn't look at a single baseball-related site all day long. Not one. Except for the Rockies blog, which is lightly trafficked and where I might be less likely to see if they were losing. That was it. I stayed utterly away until 11:30. Then my cell phone rang. I saw it was my sister. I thought, "OH MY GOD WHY IS SHE CALLING I THINK I KNOW..."

I picked up. She said, "Do you want to know?" I said, "YES." She said, "They won."

I went apeshit. I screamed and began to shake and began to babble and laugh in incoherent happiness. I felt like a million dollars. I was pure light and happiness and joy. I was trembling all over and ecstatic. It was an amazing feeling.

And yes. HELL. YES. Jeff Suppan and Oliver Perez duel, keeping it tied at one all the way until the ninth. Scott Rolen is robbed of a two-run homer in the sixth. (As you can see, I came up to speed very quickly). And then in the top of the ninth, Yadier Freakin' Molina pumps a two-run homer to shut Shea Stadium up very quickly. It starts coming back to life in the bottom of the ninth. My husband gets two outs, but also permits two baserunners. Then he walks Paul LoDuca to bring up Cardinals murderer, Carlos Beltran.

What does my husband do? He strikes him out. HE STRIKES OUT CARLOS MOTHERFUCKING BELTRAN. On three straight pitches. LOOKING. And the Cardinals are on their way to the 2006 World Series. I bought an NL champs shirt pronto. I spend too much money on my teams, but you'd better believe that I love them to death.

Everybody. EVERYBODY thought that the Mets were going to wipe their shoes on the Cardinals. What do the Cardinals do but WIN IN SEVEN GAMES. And now they're on their way to face the other team that no one thought would make it out of the first round, for an All-Underdog World Series.

If you see a girl walking around SLC tomorrow, wearing an Adam Wainwright T-shirt and a giant smile, that's me. *

* Of course I'll be wearing something else as well. You people and your perverted minds.

Presenting Your 2006 National League Champions:


I'm so happy right now... I can't even tell you how it feels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Playoffs, Day 8: A Sound as if a Million Sportswriters Cried Out In Terror

....and were suddenly silenced.

Wow. Just wow. I think that the only reason I wasn't crushed about the A's was because the Cardinals were still alive, and making it a respectable series at that. That feeling was vindicated tonight in another amazing Game Five for the Redbirds. Last year at this time, Albert Pujols was launching moonshots off Brad Lidge that probably still have yet to come down, and the series switched back to St. Louis for a sixth game, which the Astros won. Now, the series is switching back to New York for a sixth game, and if the Cards win, they're in. Who would have believed it. No one, absolutely no one, including to some degree myself, gave them a chance in this series. Certain smug Yahoo! sportswriters were publishing snide opinion pieces that the baseball world might as well crown the Mets the champs.

Well, said sportswriters can't be feeling that confident today. Jeff Weaver turned in six outstanding innings - yes, Jeff Weaver. Baby Dunc, also known as Chris Duncan, can't hit lefties and was put in against a lefty that was mowing the Cards down. What does he do? He hits a home run. King Albert retorts immediately after the Mets had scored two early runs with a homer of his own. And Adam... ah, I mean my husband, came in with two on and two out in the top of the eighth and absolutely bedeviled Jose Valentin (who had hurt the Cards earlier) with filthy stuff to end the inning before making similarly quick work of the ninth. I'm so in love with him I don't think it's possible for me to be more. I need to wear my Carpenter shirt tonight because Chris is pitching tomorrow with a chance to punch the Cards' ticket to the 2006 World Series, but DAMN. Adam, my baby.

Wow. To say that I'm thrilled with this turn of events would be a major understatement. And I know that I should write about something besides baseball, but baseball is my life right now. And speaking of writing about baseball, that's actually a job of mine. Yep, I'm now a sportswriter for The Phoenix, SLC's school newspaper, as I was recruited by a friend on the softball team who knows about my mutual passions for a) baseball and b) writing. How enthusiastic am I about this job? I already prepared a piece - 700 words on the World Series. I did two versions of it, one with the Mets as NL champs and one with the Cards as NL champs. I pray I never have a need to send the Mets' one to my editor.

The Mets have to be worried. They admitted they felt tremendous pressure to wrap this up in six games, and now that's not possible, unless of course the Cards wrap up things in six games, which they have a good chance of doing with Carp on the mound tomorrow. They have to win two games started by John Maine and Oliver Perez while the opponent throws the NL Cy Young winner and a guy with a 2.39 ERA after the All-Star break. That has to be in their heads just a little bit. Game Fives are pivotal for series that are tied at 2 - something like 6 of 7 teams that won 5 went on to capture the title.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Playoffs, Day 7: Green and Gold Train Derailed

Not that it was ever really on the tracks for the ALCS. The Kats just flat outplayed them. Hitting, pitching, defense, and fire, the Tigers played like world champions and the A's...well...didn't. I'm not as upset as I thought I might be, because after watching the travesty of a Game 1, I was really irritated and thought, "If they win the next game, they have a chance. If they don't, they're done." That proved to be the case and saved me from probably severe emotional trauma. So they're done for the season now, and I have to wait until 2007 for them to play meaningful games again.

The Cards, meanwhile, are deviously going about surprising people. After a pathetic showing Game 1, they rebounded by winning Games 2 and 3, one on a clutch homer by So Taguchi and one on a brilliant effort from Jeff Suppan. They are making an actual series out of what many people predicted would be a Mets sweep. Anthony Reyes goes against Oliver Perez today with a chance to bump the edge to 3-1. Let's hope that Good Reyes shows up - the one that shut out the White Sox for eight innings after the Pale Hose had scored an ungodly amount of runs against the Cards (33) in the past two games, and not the Reyes that allowed 7 runs in 2 innings against the Diamondbacks. Reyes is talented, but totally unpredictable.

As for Perez... that may be interesting. I actually like him, and have for a while, despite his mercurial nature and propensity to suck after a brilliant 2004 season, but I hope the Cardinals pummel him. I really want at least one of my teams to do the deed. Although, if it's a Cardinals/Tigers World Series... cats eat birds, you know. Erp.

Might post some other stuff later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Game Is Only A Game

...and anyone who loves it cannot truly count themselves unmoved by the events of today, or else they are an exceptionally heartless person. As wonderful and euphoric and occasionally heartbreaking as baseball may be, it is still just a game, and the tragic events of today drove that home.

Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, a licensed pilot, today crashed his plane into a downtown Manhattan high-rise apartment building, evoking memories of 9/11, Thurman Munson, the talented and iconic Yankees catcher who died untimely in 1979 after crashing his private plane, and of Darryl Kile, the Cardinals pitcher who died at age 33 in 2002, stunning the baseball world. Today, it was treated to a nightmarish repeat and lost another of its own.

I'm not a Yankees fan, but this is more important than just team loyalty. This goes to the heart of what it means to love the game and to respect those who play it, regardless of the colors they may wear. I heard the news, was stunned to the core, and then I began to cry. If anyone calls themselves a baseball fan, they should feel the same.

You can read more on ESPN.

The outcomes of tonight's ALCS/NLCS games - both of which, of course, I want the Cards and A's to win - suddenly don't seem that important. Lidle was absolutely otherworldly for the A's in the summer of 2002 and their magical 20-game win streak, turning it on after an unremarkable start of the season. It was something that may never be repeated in baseball and I'm glad that he got to be a part of it.

God go with you, Cory. Rest in peace.

Cory Fulton Lidle - 1972 - 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Condemn The A-Roddian Heresy

[crosses self, crosses self, crosses self]

What's going on? I'm getting there in a minute, once I put my blog muscles back into use after I've spent an evening of alternately doing my homework and telling myself that I should. I've exhausted my profundity quota for the night with my dismantling of A-Rod over on Viva El Birdos, not as if that requires you to be profound, only stubborn and with a hide of steel. Reading back over it, I realize that I was way too nice to the little bitch. Especially since some other poster there was tossing around a sacrilegious idea. In his defense, it came from the spawning fount of stupidity, which is sports talk radio, and not from him.

The Crank Yankers, evidently realizing that their "buy up superstars" plan to win the World Series has been backfiring for the past few years, have decided that they're going to go in a rebuilding direction, starting with (reportedly) firing Joe Torre. No official word on it yet. I personally believe that this is incredibly stupid. Joe manages all those gargantuan egos as best as he can, and he can only work with whatever Georgie's cash supplies for him.

Okay. I'm getting to the blasphemous part. I don't know if the Yankees actually brought up the name or if some bored sports commentator had a spreadsheet in front of him and picked out a name at random. Whatever it was, it was heresy. They suggested a possible Yankees/Cardinals trade. To the Cards: A-Rod. To the Yanks: Adam, and/or Anthony Reyes and presumably, lots of cash.

I'm sorry. I need to continue this post in a moment. I just had an aneurysm.

If you're interested, this is what I said in relation to that idea. Like I said, I let A-Rod off the hook way too easily, but I'm tired of butting heads with people who think he's a superstar. You know how I feel about Adam. This is like, the worst of all possible trade scenarios. Fortunately, it's total hot air. There's no way the Cards are stupid enough to take on the Yanks' problem player. Right? And even if they do (God, let me die quickly) there's no way they'd cough up Adam to do it.

Grr. You stupid Yankers can never have my husband.


Ahem. Anyway. I thought I'd try out some bloggery that doesn't have expressly to do with baseball, which I have not done much, and which is what I'll be doing once the season is over. (SOB! SOB!) So I thought I'd best dust off my life-bloggery skills, if you all really find that fascinating. (And yes, I'm aware that "you all" is limited to a goofy sixteen-year-old in Colorado. Hi, Gillian. If you're still reading, you little cretin).

Life here is well...different. I can definitely say that for sure. And at the same time, it's not too radically out of line. I still sleep and stay up late, and do homework, and my idea of a fun Saturday night is to hang out in my dorm, write, listen to music, and occasionally purloin a peanut butter sandwich. I am not a party person, and that is just fine with me. I've already made over 20 friends without having to make a spectacle of myself and doing an impression of the Cardinals after they clinched. (To see what I mean, please reference the post beneath this one).

I have activities. I have classwork and conferences and my usual trip to Bronxville, and I also have softball, which is going to be a lot of fun. However, I'm already foreseeing one little problem with that. Nothing major, and certainly nothing big enough to derail me from my desired position, first base, where I've been playing at pretty much every practice and where I dearly hope to stick.

It was just that we were playing a scrimmage game tonight (with eight girls, four on each team) and I realized that I don't quite fit the typical Sarah Lawrence athletic participant model. Let's face it, this is not a school for jocks. It is a school for intellectuals, nerdy intellectuals, slacker intellectuals, and nerdy slackers. Therefore, you can probably understand why we're practically going door-to-door and begging for participants.

Also, the SLC mantra is "go out, play, have fun, don't care about winning." There is just a little problem with this, as admirable as it may be. I DO care about winning. The other team was beating my four-girl team badly at the scrimmage (I think the score was something like 6-0 after three innings) and I was like, "This sucks. Even if it is a freakin' scrimmage game with not even a whole team to scrimmage with."

(In case you're wondering, I went 3-for-4, all singles, and picked a few out of the dirt at first base. Being flexible helps when you are corralling frequently wild throws from your third baseman/shortstop).

This being SLC, all the devoted athletes and competitors are on the team already, and everyone else is just out doing it for a lark...which is perfectly fine, but dammit, I hate losing. Part of the reason that the other half of the team was scoring 4 runs in one inning against our team was because we could not play defense to save our lives. Muffed grounders, bad throws, total misjudgments - you name it, we did it. In their defense, I suppose that's why we have all winter to sharpen up before we start playing actual games against other colleges.

Also, however, I'm having a moment of revelation in that I'm actually starting to understand one of the major, major baseball cliches: "Get a pitch you can hit and try not to do too much with it." If you're up there, have a good stance, not doing anything funny with your feet or hands, and have a mechanically sound grip, etc., then you have a pretty good chance of doing something. Gaah, I'm going to end up in that scene from Bull Durham, I just know it, which I am going to have to actually watch now that I am at college and can get R-rated movies whenever I want.

Speaking of movies, I rented several from the library. The Bronxville Public Library is very nice, with a decent collection, and the free-movie situation makes it ideal for a college student such as myself. But since Sarah Lawrence is apparently in Yonkers despite having a Bronxville address, it'll take a little while longer to get my card. Whatever, Westchester municipality planners.

On that note, I love Bronxville. It's a cute and comfortable little town with shops and trees and it's my personal weekend retreat from campus. It is, in fact, equipped with coffee shops - two of them, in fact, which was something that my dad was concerned about when we first came out here last year. There's Starbucks, which is always good, and then Slave to the Grind, which has the whole Seattle/Pacific Northwest vibe going for it and makes the world's best muffins. Cappuccino chip. Cinnamon streusel. Mmmmmmm.

I love my freedom. I like not having parents to nag me, and I like doing what I want (well, to some degree) when I want to. I can eat dinner, go to bed, wake up, go where I want, etc., and not have to answer for it. However, there is one really weird thing that I'm missing, aside from the usual home/family thing, and that is: driving. I'm serious. I really miss the days when I could hop behind the wheel and drive somewhere. Especially since my family apparently got rid of our two stick-shifts and got a freakin' automatic instead. Feh. Americans are evidently too lazy to drive manual-transmission, so they stopped making them. :( Yet another reason I can't wait to go to Oxford. ;)

There are also some aspects to college life that are quite interesting and probably shouldn't be written about here in case they were accidentally read by the person that is the subject of it. Let's just say that yeah, I want a boyfriend, and it'd be nice, and yeah, one of my hobbies is being uselessly horny, and yes, I have all sorts of X-rated imaginings that definitely cannot be written about, but I cannot imagine ever doing some of the stuff that people talk about. I mean.... eeeew.

What should I be doing? Finishing my piece for tomorrow's writing class. At least I got the reading done, although I probably should have written up my customary blurb about each story. Tomorrow, I need to re-read Spinoza, again, finish up Freud, read a few chapters in The Anglo-Saxons for history, and give my story to Joan at conference. And I should probably write up the blurbs before I fall behind. I live in mortal fear of doing that. I am also disgusting myself with my apparent habit of slacking off on the weekends, so I cram on Monday before my first class, which is at 3:30. It is nice not to have to wake up right away. I am opposed to morning people on principle.

Okay. It's 1:00 AM. I either need to do a little more homework, or go to bed. Butterfly kisses and rainbow wishes to you all. Or whatever.

Monday, October 09, 2006

For Your Viewing Pleasure

...a few extra pics from today's Cards celebration.

Well, they must like him, and small wonder, after that man put the team on his broad back and hauled them into the postseason with a little help from Carp. What does victory taste like, Albert? An overload of alcohol?

Wow, I didn't know he could do this. Albert's really cuttin' loose...

Good christ, Albert. What is this, the Pujols Multi-Pronged Dozen-Beer Backloading Assault on Dave Duncan? (Chris Duncan's Papi). Man, is Albert ever lubricated by now. Reminds me of Adam, bless his heart. They had him on for an interview, and he was gibbering wildly, too hyper to answer coherently, and drinking beer in between questions.

Adam, please call me.

Tyler Johnson and Jeff Weaver cut loose. Wow, check out the tattoos on Ty. He seems like a sweet and quiet type, but he does need to get rid of the hunk of chew in his jaw. And Weaver's mullet is a monstrosity. You're not in California anymore, punk. But pitch well in Game 1 and it won't bother me that much.

(For the record, here is what Ty looks like when whatever remaining brain cells he has are not soused in alcohol. Cute kid, huh?)

And here's Ty's pal, catcher Yadi Molina, getting drenched by John Rodriguez, who has a blog. Evidently, he shaved his head, AND remembered his goggles, something which Adam did not. You need to plan these celebrations better, darling, if you're going to be in more. (Hint hint).

I'm out for now. Enjoy!

Playoffs, Day 6: I Lied. There Is No Other Man For Me

....besides him.

Yeah, yeah, you say. Why am I singling in on somebody who only closed out the ninth inning, instead of the true hero - a certain Christopher John Carpenter - who after looking pretty damn shaky in the first inning, locked in and locked down and went seven of them, only allowing two runs, in a brilliant ace-like outing to show all the Redbird doubters that the Cards are never dead?

Dunno. Why am I centering on him? Because I love him? Awww, I suppose I can give Carp some love as well.

I love you too, Chris Carpenter. You and Adam have the most adorable smiles on this entire team.

As you may have guessed by now, the Cardinals secured their playoff berth today with a 6-2 win over the Padres. Carpenter had a bad first inning, as mentioned, but he's Chris mothafuckin’ Carpenter, and he doesn't give up easily to a bunch of ballplayers named after an order of tonsured nincompoops. He instead, brought the pain. 96-mile-an-hour fastballs paired with a devastating, disorienting big-hook curveball, a filthy slider, and just plain unfair breaking stuff. The Padres didn’t have a chance.

By the top of the eighth, however, Carp was gassed, since the Cardinals did not allow him to sit down for more than thirty seconds at a time, seeing an average of 1.6 pitches per at-bat, which all added up to scant rest for him. Therefore, it was probably understandable that a pair of dink singles to open the eighth finally chased him. However, what threatened to make the game too close for comfort was put out by the firemen corps now known as the Cards bullpen, instead of the fire-starters. It is a nice change. Ty Johnson and Josh Kinney did their thing again and the ball was handed off to Adam to inaugurate the ninth.

Of course, he does his thing... kid is too nasty and amazing for words. Not before he let his nerves get the best of him a bit, and allowed a pair of base hits, but neither of them scored, and he got a little sweet revenge by getting major pest Dave Roberts to ground out to Albert for the final out, setting off a wild celebration in Redbird Land.

So, we'll see if they can pull off the scrappy underdog mojo as effectively as they did in the NLDS, in which all the so-called experts at ESPN gave them zero chance of getting out of the first round. In case you've noticed, almost all of ESPN's picks are wrong to date, and I love it.

Also, I'm planning to see if I can actually bring myself to pony up $250 for NLCS Game 2 tickets at Shea Stadium. I'm going to have to see if I can rope a few of my guy friends, Steve and Nick, into coming with me. However awesome it would be, I'm scared of going alone, since I'd be an eighteen-year-old girl in the colors of the enemy riding back and forth on the subway at night. Not a good idea. If not, I may get together with some other of the NYC-area Viva El Birdos posters to invade a bar in the Big Apple and watch the game. I'll be the one with a ponytail, a Cards hat, and a Wainwright #50 shirt.

Wow, this post is way more coherent than some of my other celebratory posts. Probably because I cheated, and cut-and-pasted some of it from a bit I already wrote for my sister. But before I sign off, I must leave you with this photo and its caption (major hat tip to Deadspin).

The Happy Italian Vegetarian Lawyer Genius Elf

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Playoffs, Day 5: C'est Petit Mal

The Cardinals failed to go for the jugular as effectively as the A's did today. Instead, Jeff Suppan suddenly decided to be terrified of an underwhelming Padres lineup that had scored a grand total of one run in 18 innings, and was gone early after coughing up a total of three. However, the Cards' bullpen continued their stellar work - now unscored-on in 11.1 innings or something close to that - and managed to hold them there. Unfortunately, the offense apparently counted on the Padres' bats not showing up either, and went MIA, with the only run coming on a So Taguchi eighth-inning home run. The Cards will throw Chris Carpenter tomorrow in Game 4. Should they clinch, he'd then be unavailable until at least Game 2 or 3 of the NLCS. Hopefully, the second-stringers (everyone in the rotation aside from him) can hold the fort until then, so he doesn't have to return to a do-or-die situation.

I got my daily dose of Adam by watching his video interview. That hair...those eyes... yeah, yeah, I know, moving on.

Well, my roommate and her boyfriend just came back to the dorm, which messed up my concentration. Feh. Hate it when that happens - I seem to do my best writing when I'm alone, naturally, so now I have to contend with the extra inhabitants. It's probably Bad Person of me to say, but I sort of dislike the sometimes constant stream of visitors. This IS my room, after all, my little sanctum in the crazy world of college, and I like it when we have peace and quiet.

Yes, well, returning to the topic at hand. Baseball. The Tigers confounded the world, and the talking heads at ESPN, by upending perennial media darling New York and their entire group (I am loathe to call them a "team") of overpaid, self-interested, aging superstars. I just don't get the sense of fire and urgency from them at all that I got from, say, the A's. The Yankees are four and out once more in the ALDS, and the Motor City Kitties are on their way to an ALCS face-off with the A's. Should be interesting.

Gah. Invaded again. I sense this is a doomed effort. More later, and probably a bubbly and incoherent post from me tomorrow if Carp seals the deal.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Playoffs, Day 4: Screw Adam (Yes Please!) I Want To Marry Marco!

Amazing. Simply amazing. The Miracle A's hopped on the "If The Fucking Red Sox Can Win The World Series, I Want To As Well!" wagon! And while they haven't made it to the WS yet, they have a chance if they make it through their next destination - the American League Championship Series.

It feel SO GOOD to write that.

Either my mortal fear of the Twinks was unwarranted, or this Athletics ballclub is scenting victory and wants it desperately. They steamrolled the Twins today, 8-3, in a game that was much closer than it looked - until the bottom of the seventh.

Quick digression. I swore that I couldn't watch the game at all. Around the bottom of the fourth inning (as it turned out) I snuck over to AN (Athletics Nation) to see if the general consensus was good, bad, what have you. It was good, so I opened Gameday and watched the A's bat. It was too stressful to watch the Twins bat, so I turned it off. Came back a little later, watched the A's bat, turned it off again, rocked back and forth neurotically.

Top of the seventh, 4-2 A's, I couldn't take it. I walked up and down my hallway, too nervous to breathe, shaking wildly and scared to death. Then I said to myself, "Hilary. You love this team. Get your ass to the computer and find out what's going on."

Then, in the bottom of the inning, with two outs, none on, and the A's frantically nursing their lead and putting their hopes in the hands of elite setup man Justin Duchscherer (who is truly amazing) the Twinks made the bad decision to intentionally walk Frank Thomas. That brought up Eric Chavez, who'd been having a great game, and he walked.

Pitching change. Jay Payton swings at the first pitch, as usual, but Justin Morneau, A's Killer, can't come up with it and the break comes in our direction instead. Nick Swisher takes a walk, but not before fouling a ball off his foot in a scene scarily reminiscent of Jermaine Dye breaking his leg in one of the A's previous failed ALDS attempts. He's all right, takes ball 4, and forces in a run to make it 5-2.

This brings up Oakland's magical little man, Marco Scutaro, who had already been having a great series. The electricity in the Coliseum is amazing. The entire place is chanting "MARCO! SCUTARO!" at the top of their lungs, but after the fourth pitch, they can't go on. They're screaming too hard. Marco lines a double into the rightfield corner and everybody scores.

I was watching it on Gameday. I was absolutely stunned. I teared up and then I started to cry, sitting at my computer, completely overcome with shock and euphoria. I sobbed, blew my nose, wiped my eyes, delirious and disbelieving.

When Morneau cranked a home run in the top of the eighth, it was just like, "Whatever, Justin, if it makes you feel better." The ninth came along, Huston got a runner on, then a DP, then another runner, then a pop-out, and the deal was done.

The Oakland Athletics are going to the American League Championship Series.


I can't decide if I want them to face the Tiggers or the Crank Yankers. If it was the Tiggers, the A's would have homefield, since the Kitties were the wild card and therefore don't get homefield advantage. If it was the Yanks... a) I could walk around NY in my A's gear and annoy all the rapper-hat-wearing faux-NY fans, and that would be fun, and b) an A's/Yanks series would be classic. However, I may need to pull for the Kitties. Just to make sure that A-Rod doesn't accidentally get a ring.

Monsieur Rodriguez's line for the postseason: AB: 10. BA: .100. HR: 0. RBI: o. OPS: .200.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! And he's batting cleanup!

I'm too happy to care about anything else.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Playoffs, Day 3: "Mrs. Hilary Wainwright" Has A Nice Ring To It

I swear, I'm not even joking. Adam, if you're reading, call me, okay? ;)

The Birdies totally defied all expectations today, starting with Jeff Weaver's good game against a lefty-heavy lineup that most amateur pundits, myself included, were predicting would lay down the ass-whooping stick on him. Weaver didn't allow a run in 5 innings before handing off to Randy Flores, Josh Kinney, Tyler Johnson, and my future husband, none of whom allowed a runner past first base. It was pretty clever of the Cards, to play such putrid baseball, make everyone think that they were going to slide 3 and out, and then pop up and take everyone by surprise. The bullpen has yet to allow a run in this series. The starters have only allowed 1, and that came off Carp.

The Cards now head back to Busch with a 2-0 lead and Jeff Suppan on the mound in an attempt to seal their berth in the NLCS. I guess you can't underestimate the Redbirds, and mighty Prince Albert, when it comes to the postseason. Sir Pujols is now batting .625 in the postseason. Wow.

Scott Rolen, however, who is supposed to be backing him up, is not doing his job. He's batting .143 and went without a hit today. His D is still irreplaceable, but the other Scott (Spiezio) would be contributing more offensively right now. Hell, the bat boy would be contributing more offensively right now.

I don't want to jinx anything, but the AL/NLDS's are going better than I ever dreamed right now. The Tigers beat the Yanks today, 4-3, thanks in large part to A-Rod going 0-4 with three K's, one to leave the bases loaded, one to end the fifth, and one to end the eighth. If you compare him, Mr. "MVP," to Albert, there is absolutely no way he matches up. Not at all. Not a bit. I love it.

Total randomness: Whenever I type in to get to here, I always end up typing How embarrassing.

I got whatever cold/snuffle/cough bug was going around the dorms, so I'm sort of under the weather. Woke up, stumbled out of bed at 10:50 for an 11:15 meeting with my professor (who then didn't show until 11:30) and coughed and sniffled through the entire thing, leading him to kindly suggest that the next time I was sick, I could call and reschedule.

I got my conference project hammered into more or less order, though. "The King's Isle: A Study of the Religious, Cultural, and Royal Aspects of Iona" is what I'll be banging my head on for the next few months in an attempt to corral it into 20 pages or so. As I said, length isn't an issue, but I'm always scared that my profs won't like it.

I went into Bronxville, my adopted hometown, and just chilled for a while. I bought two packs of gum and a new ring/some nail polish - I love rings and nail polish, and I can seriously chew two 15-stick packs of gum in less than a week. I also got a very large Frappuccino and a maple streusel muffin and just sat out in a gloriously beautiful October day and watched the trains in Bronxville station.

I need to workshop two stories and write my philosophy definitions soon, especially since there's a mini party for a hallmate's birthday and I'll be eating pizza and cake. I also need to go to bed at 12:30 or so since I have to be up by 8:45 tomorrow. Get your lazy arse into gear, Hilary...

Playoffs, Day 2: All Systems Go

2-0 still doesn't mean anything. Nothing will mean anything until the A's exorcise the big, fat, brimstone-blowing demon known as their record in potential ALDS-clinching games since 2000 - 0-9. That is one ugly number. Nine times, the A's have had their chance to book their ticket to the next round - and nine times, they've fallen on their face, jumping out to a 2-0 lead against New York in 2001 before losing the next three, losing the DS to Minnesota in 2002, and taking a 2-0 lead against the Red Sox in 2003 before blowing the next three straight to hell. So, it's understandable that as an A's fan, I'm excited, but this deal sure as shit is not yet sealed.

Mark Kotsay provided the heroics today with a two-out, two-run, inside-the-park homer after Torii Hunter tried an ill-advised dive and the ball went past him all the way to the wall. Esteban Loaiza showed why he's a #2 starter on a playoff team after being a nightmare for the first few months of the season, keeping the Twinks off the board until A's murderers Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau took him deep for back-to-back HR in the sixth inning. Can't fault the A's bullpen work after that - the three-headed monster of Kiko Calero, Justin Duchscherer, and Huston Street closed it out.

I am, however, worried about Street, as most A's fans are. He got the job done yesterday and today, but not without a little too much drama, and I believe that his 11 blown saves in the regular season were the most in MLB. Just think of that - we could have won 113 games if he'd converted them all. This team is young, and good, and hungry, and it's not the Chokeland teams of 2000-03. I think they can do it, but I'm not breaking out the green and gold streamers just yet.

Danny Haren takes on Brad Radke at 4 PM ET on Friday. Haren's been up and down - after a rocky start to the season, he was as solid a number-two guy as can be found on any staff, but scuffled badly down the stretch. However, his last start was serviceable, if not stellar - 3 runs in 6 innings - and his last brilliant start came against these very same Twinks - 8 innings, no runs. He matched up amazingly with Johan Santana last season, pitching a complete game and allowing 1 run, but losing anyway since the bats couldn't back him up.

We want to win tomorrow. We really need to. Otherwise, a short-rested Santana may be back out for Game 4 against Rich Harden, and if the Twins take that, it's back to the Terrordome for Game 5. We do not want to go back to the Big Baggy, Santana or not. We got unbelievably lucky the first time; I want to seal the deal before we ever have to see him again.

However, all was not sunshine and unicorns for the A's today. (If you read Athletics Nation, you'll get the reference). Mark Ellis broke his finger after an abortive swing at a high and inside pitch, and will be out for the rest of the series and the ALCS as well...assuming we get there...knock on wood). This isn't bad news for the A's offensively, but it's bad defensively. Ellis is one of the superior second basemen in the game and made only 2 errors all season long. D'Angelo Jimenez, while serviceable, isn't close to his standard. Hopefully, though, this will have a negligible, if at all, effect on the remainder of the ALDS. Get well, Ellie!

(I have his signature on my hat... I actually got it at a time when he was out with a broken thumb. As a matter of fact, I have the signatures of Ellis, Barry Zito, Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, Huston Street, Brad Halsey, Kirk Saarloos, Jay Witasick, Scott Sauerbeck (ugghh....) and Chad Gaudin on that hat. I'm very proud of it).

Speaking of which, I'm still wearing A's gear - it's the A's ALDS hat's turn tomorrow. If the slipper fits... and if we go to the ALCS, I'll spend more money on yet more A's gear. They're the only team that I will do that for. I recently bought $50 worth of baseball posters - $35 of that went to one A's poster. I love them, what can I say?

The Cards had an off-day today, probably so that their slot on ESPN could be filled instead by the Mets/Dodgers game, which the Mets won 6-5. Jeff Weaver (!) vs. David Wells tomorrow, 4 PM ET. No, that's not a misprint: he of the 3-10 record and 6+ ERA for the LAAAAAA has turned into the Cards' #2 guy, probably attesting to their rotation's utter lack of depth after Cy Young Carp. It's a bit puzzling how Jeff Suppan, who had a 2.27 ERA after the break, didn't get the call, but apparently he's slotted to open Game 3 in New Busch Stadium.

As long as they don't pitch Jason Marquis, whose place on a playoff roster is utterly confounding.

Things don't look that great for the Birdies tomorrow. Lefties hit a whopping .340 off Weaver, who's worse on the road anyway. 7 of 9 Padres hitters will be lefties, including the starting pitcher, and the Cards have trouble hitting lefties. But as long as they have Prince Albert, and Scott Rolen, Jimmy Edmonds, Chris Duncan, Ronnie Belliard, and everyone else (cough cough) contribute, things could go either way. Hopefully, if the Cards get down, they can get Carp another start in Busch, where he was unbeatable this year. (Aside from the late-season debacle against these very same Padres, but he atoned very nicely for that yesterday).

Ah, October baseball...

The start of the Tigers/Yanks game is apparently delayed by rain. I'm 30 minutes outside of the city and it's not raining here, but it was definitely looking gloomy the last time I checked. It's 9 PM now, so they'll be playing late if they do get the game in. Whatever. My dearest hope for this series is that A-Rod fails utterly to get a meaningful hit in any late-game situation, the end.



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Playoffs, Day 1: Everything Be Peachy

It's too soon to put on the Nostradamus hat or do any serious prognosticating at all, but you have to like how the pertinent (for me) ALDS and NLDS games turned out today. The A's, the overwhelming underdog (at least according to all the so-called "experts") against the Cinderella Twinkies, pulled off the improbable and stunned the Snack Cakes in the HostessDome. Frank Thomas... man, without him, the A's would have been sitting on their hands and meekly watching the LAAAA trot off with the division again. He's the man who's doing all the heavy lifting that Eric Chavez was supposed to, and Chavy, while I love him, has never demonstrated a propensity for "clutch" heroics.

The Big Hurt brought the pain yet again, jacking 2 HR - one off Johan Santana and one off Jesse Crain - and Marco Scutaro added an RBI double off his fellow Venezuelan. Huston Street survived a Baggy-induced triple to open the ninth, as Milton Bradley lost Michael Cuddyer's routine fly in the cursed Metrodome roof, and flashed his balls of steel by not melting down, as he's had an unfortunate tendency to do against worse teams than the Cinderella Twinkies. End result, 3-2 A's win, 1-0 series lead.

Barry Zito, aside from blogging about the entire post-season experience, also got in on the whole Balls of Steel thing with eight gritty innings to match Santana's. 1-0 isn't anything to pop the champagne corks about, and 2-0 wasn't safe for the A's 3 years ago, but beating Santana is huge. HUGE. Esteban Loaiza goes tomorrow in an attempt to put the A's firmly in the driver's seat before they go home to McAfee, which will be undoubtedly as loud as (or louder, once you factor in the drummers) the Baggydome.

Now, confession time: I didn't watch the game. Not a pitch. Not an inning. I can't handle pressure, and I felt that if we lost here, we were doomed from the outset. I'm still trying not to hope too much - we still have to win two more, and God only knows what can happen in baseball.

My inner optimist is coming out and hopefully snuffling at the air, all the while waiting for the big bad pessimist to return. I don't know what's going to happen, but.... GO ATHLETICS!!! If you see a girl walking around campus at SLC wearing a) an A's jersey, b) an autographed A's home hat, c) an A's AL West Champs shirt, d) an A's ALDS hat, or e) any combination of these, it's definitely me.


As for the Cards, their game today was all that a very, very nervous Redbird fan such as myself could hope to see. Chris Carpenter turned in a high-quality outing to open the set with the Friars of San Diego, lasting 6.1 innings and allowing 1 run on five hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts. Tyler Johnson finally got command of his finicky slider and worked an inning and a third in relief before handing it off to Adam Wainwright (no words needed. Please pardon this post for a moment):


But you knew that, right? ;)

Anyway, Adam's stuff was filthy, he came out as pumped as ever, and dispatched of the Padres with a mixture of an absolutely sick curveball and some high-90s heat. We have a closer, and he is GOOD. It's awesome to see. I will wear my Adam shirt to bed tonight with even more pride than usual. :D

As for the offense and defense, they also showed up. Albert Pujols, El Hombre, Yo Daddy, or simply GOD, whichever is easiest to remember, got new life after Mike Piazza (one of the worst defensive catchers in the game, and absolutely hopeless at catching base-stealers) dropped a harmless foul pop. Albert retaliated by taking a fat Jake Peavy offering downtown for a 2-0 Birdie lead, which Carp ensured was never lost. A couple other Cards made contributions as well, most notably Jimmy Edmonds, who had two base hits after returning from post-concussion syndrome. Great to see... I love Jimmy and I'm thrilled that he's back for the postseason.

But the defense was exceptional and may have saved the Redbirds' behind in a major way. Ronnie Belliard made a spectacular sprawling catch and throw from his back to stab a sure-ticket 2-RBI single and end the inning, after Johnson was cleaning up Carp's slight mess in the bottom of the seventh. And Albert flashed the leather (he can field, hit, and use the Force... don't mess with this man) to end the inning after Adam came in and to take an RBI single away from Piazza.

Of course, this is baseball, so everything could change tomorrow. But for a fan nervous that her teams were both going to get steamrolled in the first round, it's good to see. It's also interesting to see all the pundits who predicted a 3-game sweep by the Padres stumble over themselves to mention how good the Cards still are and how they shouldn't be discounted so easily. Try this on for size, talking heads: The Cards are 7-0 in postseason play against the Padres going back to 1996, I believe, and have owned the NL West this season.

Side note: I have a terrible baseball addiction. I was trying to read Part I of Spinoza's Ethics for philosophy class (tomorrow, so I really needed to get it done) and at the same time, I watched the entire Yankees/Tigers game. I don't like either team and would be happy to see them both out of it (although I hope the Tiggers make it to the ALCS, since they'd be easier for the A's). However, that is unlikely. Getting swept by the Royals at home to end the season and cough up the AL Central crown does not bode well for postseason glory.

With slightly more optimism than yesterday, * I close this post with:


* until Esteban Loaiza and Jeff Weaver probably get shelled tomorrow and send me plunging back to ground zero

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Oh Shit

The Detroit Tigers are lucky they got that playoff spot sewn up before they played the terrifying Kansas City Royals (62-100 final record). Today, the Tigers, despite holding a 10-game lead on average throughout the entire season, coughed up the AL Central division title to the ferocious upstarts, the Twins.

This is bad. This means that the A's will now face the Twins in the first round of the playoffs. This also means that if the series goes 5 games, they draw Johan Santana twice, both times in the Metrodome, where he is absolutely unbeatable (hasn't lost a start there since August 2005). Plus, the Twins are storming into the postseason aboard a wave of serious momentum and already have perpetual A's-killers Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau, plus AL Batting Champion Joe Mauer. Basically, the Twins are very, very scary in a 5-game series. Ulp.

I'd be lying if I said that my hopes just took a dip. There is, of course, a silver lining: the Twins hit .204 off Game 1 (and 5, if necessary) starter, Barry Zito. (Of course, the A's hit .186 off Santana, with the exception of Frank Thomas, who carries a .375 clip). And the Twins scored 4 runs in 4 games in Oakland, so if we can somehow steal one in the Metrodome and then seal the deal on our home turf...

I'm scared.

Screw the Tigers. I hope the Yankees take them out.... no wait, I don't. I hate the Yankees even more, and if Alex Rodriguez gets a World Series ring, I'm committing hara-kiri.

The Cards will face either the Padres or the Dodgers in the NLDS. They handled the Padres pretty easily last year, and they swept the Dodgers in the season series, 7-0, which could be good or bad. Good: They can handle them. Bad: The Dodgers would likely have a chip on their shoulder because of this.

I just am not good with pressure. But bring on Tuesday, nonetheless...

The '06 Cardinals - The New '64 Phillies? Hell No

The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies are somewhat ignominious in baseball lore for holding a 6-game lead with 7 more to play, and then promptly losing all 7 of those games to cough up the division title and seal one of the most embarrassing collapses in sports history (aside from the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS vs. the Red Sox). Recently, there were rumblings in Redbird Land that the Phillies may have found a new companion in loserdom.

The Cards were on the verge of choking in dramatic fashion, losing seven games off their once-comfortable 8.5-game lead in seven days, while the Astros staged a furious last-minute roar and closed to within .5 games of the Central lead while the Reds lurked hopefully but were never that much of a threat. It seems as if the Astros are dead and buried every year - for the past two they were under .500 before the All-Star Break and then came roaring out into the playoffs in both '04 and '05. This year, they pulled off another cockroach imitation, refusing to be squished and making Cardinals fans everywhere very, very nervous.

Let's face it - this year's edition of the Redbirds is nothing like the overwhelming '04 squad, which amassed 105 wins and rolled into the postseason, dispatched of the Astros in seven thrilling, classic games, and then apparently decided that they'd had too much excitement and promptly got swept by the Red Sox in the World Series. This team is pretty flawed - too much So Taguchi, Jose Vizcaino, even Jason Isringhausen-type players. They still have Chris Carpenter, and of course God Himself, Pujols, but their dominance definitely hasn't been there this year. I'm not sure that many Cards fans, myself included, are expecting a serious postseason run, but we can deal with the exit - we're sort of prepared for it. We can't deal with the collapse and sportswriters everywhere chortling like a flock of buzzards.

Well, those fears were laid to rest today, as the Atlanta Braves kindly dispatched of the Astros, 3-1, to bump St. Louis' magic number down to zero and put them in possession of a third consecutive division title. Now, the playoffs are a total crapshoot - the White Sox backed into the postseason last year, having also almost been caught and overtaken (by the Indians) and then won the World Series, sweeping those same Astros. It's hard to say what ramifications the regular season can have on the postseason.

My God, the regular season is over. The playoffs start on Tuesday. I must admit that I'm not good with pressure - I swear to myself that I'm not going to look in on the game because I put way too much emotional investment in them, and then I usually do look anyway. I'm addicted... but scared as hell. I really, really want my Athletics and Cardinals to kick some behind. My dearest dream is of a World Series with those two, but I would be absolutely torn as to who to root for.

My next post will probably be "Requiem for a Season," since I'm going to relive the thrilling ride that was 2006. Holy crap, where does the time go? I nearly died last off-season and I don't want the playoffs to be over... because after that is a long, cold, dark, depressing winter with no baseball. It sucks.

In the meantime, REDBIRD POWER and GO ELEPHANTS!