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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Game 6, Revisited, And A Fan Reflects

If you're a Cardinals fan, you know which game I mean. The greatest comeback I've ever seen. I was so happy when Freese tied it at 7, I should have repented. When they came back again after the Hamilton homer in the 10th, I knew the whole Series was ours. Everybody knew. Game 7 felt like a formality, after the greatest comeback in World Series history. And it was. Chris Carpenter in Game 7. Sorry, Texas. You lost.

I took one of those, "How St. Louis Are You?" quizzes. What do you think, Sparky? I'm apparently as St. Louisan as the Arch, which is funny, since the steel was made in Pittsburgh. I hate Imo's Pizza; I'm just being honest.

But I noted with some amusement that the balance of the questions were about our sports teams, and the balance of those were about the Cardinals. And rightly so. You don't understand until you've been here what that means. As a kid, you're a kid. Even if you're a fan then, you don't understand, truly. You need to live through the joy and the heartbreak a few times, and then it's inside you, like a surgical implant, or an old wound. I guess it's been a good time to become an adult and a Cardinals fan, because they seem to be there, competing for it all, every single year.

I get how annoying this is to the fans in the other cities, but the paradoxical thing about being a fan of one of the most successful baseball franchises in history is how not complacent it makes you. You see exactly how almost impossibly hard it is to win, and you see how one play here and there makes the difference.

I told Confirmation Sponsor Guy the other day that I thought the fans in St. Louis were worth 5-10 wins a year, and I don't think that's crazy at all. If only we went to Reconciliation and Mass with that much passion!

I fall deeper in love with the game--and the Cardinals in particular--with each passing year. I know it is a "Dad" thing. Every time I look at my nephew, I rejoice that my brother and his Cardinals--our Cardinals--will always be there for him. Which is funny, too, because my Dad was a Dodgers fan. Ah, well. Is there a more successful trifecta than the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cardinals? No. Anyway, to me, "baseball" and "family" mean (almost) the same thing. That's why it's so sentimental here.

I hope if I meet the players, they don't mind being addressed with their first names.

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