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.

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