The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Game 5: Cardinals 5, Astros 4

I can't believe how exciting this was. Every second of this day was tense and exasperating and terrifying and magical. I got into Houston at 3:00 and met up with my friends, and had lunch. We got to the juice box around 5:15. The security guards saw my Pujols jersey and my friend's custom jersey w/ birds on bat, and jabbed us a little bit at the gate, but everyone was quite friendly. At least at first.

We made our way down to the good seats by the dugouts to watch bp and warmups. Friendly staidium worker. Some trash talk, but apparently he was working right next to Bill DeWitt the previous night. At this point, the stadium was about 50/50 cards/astros fans, including some girls wearing homemade "go crazy, folks" shirts. We Weinberg gave us a thumbs up about how the guys were feeling. Eck warmed up next to Larry Walker. He looked very small. Reggie hit the shit out of a bunch of bp balls, and then, on the way to the dugout, he saw me and my friend in our cards jerseys, gave us a big smile and threw out a ball to my friend. Right before the team went into the dugout for the start of the game, Tony la Russa did the same to me (well, minus the smile).

I did a lap around the stadium, wanting to check it out a bit and also, hopefully avoid the massive line to the upper deck (turns out there's only one way to the upper deck.), as it was my turn up there--there were four of us, me, my other cardinals fan friend, and two neutral guys who we knew from school. It was my turn with the upper deck seats first. So, up I went, and sat and watched the first bit of the game. I felt every damn pitch that Carp threw up there. The guy sitting next to me was reading his high school lit stuff, though. Often during innings. Odd. His dad was watching, though. Pettitte drove me crazy with his nonstop throwing to first. Though I guess it did eventually work out for him. Some dude in front of me stood up right before grudzie's rbi single. But we all saw the looming pitch count up on Carp.

Several innings pass, and the game starts getting very, very tense. Reggie makes a big catch out in left, and my bosox fan friend calls me to switch down to the good seats, the ones about 6 rows in foul territory by the LF porch. So down I go, me and my cardfan friend sitting in this sea of clemens jerseys. Immediately, I notice an interesting crowd surrounding us. to my left are two friendly guys who kinda rib us a little, but are more just watching. They didn't quite know what to do when they turned around to hi-5 me after a Biggio single, and see the birds on bat. It was a cute moment. To our right is an old, serious Astros fan, who really knows and loves baseball. He spent these middle innings just chatting with us.

Then behind us, is a goddamn CFB and her boyfriend. Both of them are completely drunk. She is screaming about how she wants to sleep with the various Astros at bat, and he is busy screaming at us "You guys are DONE" in the midst of a 2-1 cardinals lead. The crowd at Minute Maid is still asleep, and we are completely tied to the edge of our seats, as both pitchers dribble runners off and on. Then comes Carp's 6th inning, one of the most spectacular things I have seen out at the game. After not really having his full powered fastball (or maybe the juicebox has a slow gun), throwing in the 92-93 range most of the night, he pulls back and powers out the side with 96 mph heaters and a nasty nasty 12-6 curveball. Astros go in order. I say to my friend, with Pettitte at 100 pitches and the top of our order up, this is the time that we need to make things count. Unfortunately, they don't, encouraging the home crowd. During the stretch, they run the kiss cam, and GHWB and Barbara come up, resulting in a lame "fuck you bastards, get this thing off of me" kiss.

Then, out comes Carp for the 7th, against the pinch hitter for Pettitte, Orlando Palmiero. He grounds up, but this is simply the preview for the two out jam that comes up, with Berkman at bat. At this point, Carp is at 110 or so pitches, and I am shocked that he stays in. But he does. The crowd gets on their feet collectively, and begins really yelling. Berkman hits his bloop HR. Crowd fucking explodes. CFB and drunk guy dance around, absolutely covering us in beer. We have some words with them, but things calm down quickly. I heard shannon's call of 7th, 8th and 9th, and broadcast does absolutely no justice to how loud this was. Couldn't hear anything--just a loud overall din of the crowd. Carp stays on. He somehow manages to keep his composure and his stuff enough to get two outs and escape the inning. The blood has left my face, and all I can do is just clench my fist. The drunk lovers begin to talk about nothing but Lidge, Lidge, Lidge.

Out comes the LOOGY to get Walker. Chad Qualls sends the next two down. Crowd gets progressively louder. Friendly joke guys give a pat on the back. Is appreciated. But the same time, I start screaming that it's not over yet, and am enheartened to see TLR send out Izzy to start the 8th. Izzy pitches like a hero. He forgets all about the pointless drama, he just gets his outs, despite how they battle. Crowd doesn't care, drunk dude shouts out "It doesn't matter, this is over."

Lidge comes out to start the 9th. Crowd goes absolutely apeshit. Moreso than they did for the Berkman HR. Jumbotron leads the crowd into a chant of BEE-LIEVE. Which I find completely rediculous. Your team has a goddamn 3-1 series lead, and a 4-2 game lead, in the 9th inning, with the best closer in the game on the mound. If you don't believe, I'd call you a fairweather fan, but that's an insult to fairweather fans. Strike one on Johnny Rod. Screams--two, three. I can't hear anything. Mabry strikes out, same thing. 9th inning, two out, Lidge on the mound. Eck comes up. My friend says, "this is the time for magic to happen." I say, "this is the guy to bring it about." Mighty mouse takes strike one, crowd gets yet louder. Astros fans are covering their ears now. Only rock concerts compare at this point. My knuckles are white. Ball, boos. Strike two, more cheering. Then, Eckstein hits a dribbler to the left infield, the 3b tries, misses, the ss tries, misses, base hit. CFB is passed out, drunk guy reiterates how it doesn't matter. Lidge throws a strike on Jimmy E. cheers. Lidge buzzes one inside on Jim. Drunk guy -- "that's right! plunk him! plunk him! plunk him!" In response, smart old astros fan -- "do you know who's on base? We don't want Pujols hitting again" drunk guy -- "it doesn't matter! Plunk him!" friendly guy -- "we aren't all like that, you know" me -- "I know, I really like most astros fans" (and I do). Jed walks. Crowd starts to get confused, but remembers to cheer again on the Pujols swing and miss. Me and my cardfan friend are absolutely silent--tense as all hell. Ball one, and then...

The crowd absolutely fucking dies, everyone waiting to see what happens. The second it leaves the infield, there is no doubt. I didn't even see it hit the back wall. I just watched the Cards circle the bases, me and my friend the only ones still standing, cheerign and shouting. We then start chanting MVP MVP MVP as loud as we can. I think Albert even looked over at us as he rounded 3B. We sat down. Reggie is retired. Cards up 5-4.

Drunk guy now recovers, and starts screaming at us. In particular, he seems focused on the phrase "where's Izzy now?" "who's gonna hold this up?". After I hear "Where's Izzy now?" for the 200th time, I reply "On the fucking mound, moron." And there is #44. Also, I remember seeing that #7 is not out at 3B and scream in elation, "Mabry's at third! Mabry's at third!" My friend and I look at each other, and he says, "Izzy, if you spare us the pointless drama just this once, I take back everything I've ever said about you." And with two up and two down, and a one run lead to protect, up comes Chris Burke. Crowd gets into it again. Izzy gets to what I think was a 1-2 count, and popup gets thrown in the air, hard play, but So is over. And that is a winner. The fans, in just 20 minutes, moved from counting down strikes to the world series, dancing and holding up signs about Chicago to dejectedly staggering out of the stadium with chins against their necks. Absolutely amazing.

Drunk guy reminds us that we have only beaten Pettite, despite our constant reminder that Lidge took the loss. Then we wished the best to the good fans, as vocally excluding the bastards as possible, and sit in the stands waiting for the staidum to clear out. We take pictures near the field, and of the scoreboard, showing

WP - Isringhausen (1 - 0)

LP - Lidge (0-1)

which we thought was very hilarious. Stadium clears out, we walk down to the bus station, I call everyone that I know. We see my freinds sweet office down at Rice University (he's faculty now), and I drive home, listening to the radio coverage of the game. The coolest thing was hearing a guy from the MO nat'l guard, stationed in New Orleans call up and talk about the game. They replayed Shannon's call of the last part of the game, and I didn't even come down enough to get tired until 3:00 AM, despite having gotten up at 5:00 that morning. Of course, now I can't wash my beer stained Pujols jersey.

I'll have photos up as soon as I have them emailed to me.

UPDATE: edited for readability somewhat. Some minor addiotns.

7 Comments:

  • At 18 October, 2005 15:16, Blogger glennrwordman said…

    Valatan:

    Great blow-by-blow. Everything I've read about this game convinces me that it was indeed one for the ages...

    See you 'round lboros' place tomorrow...AND Thursday!

     
  • At 18 October, 2005 15:42, Blogger CardinalWill said…

    I'm surprised my fiancee's neighbors didn't call the cops after our very vocal outburst (that coupled with me beating on any wall I could find I was so happy).

    One game at a time, and maybe my Game 5 W.S. tickets will be of some use...

    Don't ever wash the jersey.

     
  • At 18 October, 2005 17:42, Anonymous matty fred said…

    Great first-hand report!

    Way to keep your composure and perspective too. By and by, most fans of any team are cool, but there are always a couple drunk morons to give a team's fans a bad name ...

     
  • At 18 October, 2005 18:12, Blogger Birds-on-Batgirl said…

    I thought I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be there...but you took care of that. Great story.

     
  • At 18 October, 2005 22:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Totally awesome account. I got goosebumps! And I was there! Truly one for the ages. The only thing I would add was how surreal it was to see 43,000 people collectively deflate in a matter of seconds, literally. The ringing in my ears before the Pujols moonshot was second in intensity only to my desire to strangle the f@ck&rs behind me. But once that ball punched a hole through that enclosure like a straw through a juicebox, it was like sexual release. Lighter than air. Amazing. I'll never forget it.

    Go crazy, folks! Go crazy,
    Friend in beer-soaked cards jersey

     
  • At 19 October, 2005 07:40, Blogger Valatan said…

    Thanks all!

     
  • At 28 October, 2005 22:20, Anonymous John said…

    I don't want to be a pest, but how 'bout those pictures? :)

     

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