Alright faithful readers, we apologize for the slow weekend, but I’ve been out of town and I think Weller is still reeling from blogging the entire draft. If you’re like me and haven’t seen a TV all weekend, you probably missed the Kentucky Derby where Big Brown became the first horse to win from the 20th gate since 1929 and filly Eight Belles had to be euthanized on the track after suffering two compound fractures in her ankles. Elsewhere, Marvin Harrison may be in some hot water and the chances of me watching any college basketball next season just got slimmer as Duke Crews and Ramar Smith were dismissed from Tennessee.

Now, onto my first Cards-Cubs experience.

As of late Thursday night, we didn’t think the game would be played since most of Missouri was getting pounded with strong storms and the forecast was for them to continue well into Friday. Here in Columbia, most of the rain came early Friday morning and then let up completely, making for a very nice day. In St. Louis, it apparently lasted a little while longer but cleared up by the time we rolled into town around five o’clock. The game time temperature was a beautiful 74 degrees and it only dropped to about 68 by the end of the night.

We didn’t bother going for batting practice, figuring the rain would force it to be taken inside. We were wrong and got there for the final two groups of Cubs hitters, but nothing ever came close to us. After BP, we milled around a bit, bought some hot dogs and beer, and made fun of all the Cubs fans with their tucked in jerseys. It doesn’t look good, guys. Stop doing it.

Anyway, our seats were great. We were directly beneath Big Mac land, four rows back from the fence. The picture to your right is our view from the seats. The batter is Ryan Theriot, since Alfonso Soriano hit the first pitch of the game to the wall in right and I was trying to get the camera out of my pocket. (Soriano’s middle name is Guilleard, by the way, who knew that.)

Adam Wainwright pitched well, giving up going 6.1 innings and only giving up one earned run while striking out five. The same cannot be said for the Cubs’ starter, Rich Hill. Lou Pinella yanked Hill after only two-thirds of an inning when Hill walked the bases loaded and then walked Yadier Molina with a full count to bring in a run. Speculation in the left field seating area was that Hill was probably hurt. We were wrong. After the game, Pinella blasted his 28-year old starter.

“Hill can’t start like that in the big leagues. Every time he starts, it’s an adventure. I don’t know what the solution is, but I can’t start him anymore.”

Pretty harsh words for a guy 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA and 183 Ks last year. Granted he has had some control issues this year, but this may have been a knee-jerk reaction. I’m hoping they pull an even more knee-jerk reaction and send him packing to a team who can fix his control issues and make a fine pitcher out of him…a team like the Braves.

The Cubs fans were about what I figured they’d be. They were awfully vocal and awfully arrogant. I still can’t figure out why. Cards fans, for their part, had no problem pointing up to the Championship banners above the scoreboard. I did think it was funny how fast Cubs fans turned on their own. After Soriano missed Albert Pujols cloud scraping pop up, several fans behind me started screaming at Soriano like he was Bartman.

Anyway, the Cards were cruising until the ninth, when Soriano pounded a cutter from Jason Isringhausen that didn’t cut. It was a no doubter that sent Cubs fans into an absolute frenzy. The same fans who had hated Soriano only a few innings earlier had a radical change of heart. I had a hard time taking them seriously. Soriano’s homer was met with mixed emotions from our crew. Roommate 1 went into a scathing rant about how Izzy was terrible and had blown a great effort from the entire team. Roommate 2 was angry at the thought of extra innings because they stopped serving beer after the 7th inning. I was okay with it because i wanted to see a Pujols hit a walk-off homerun or some free baseball. Roommate 4 was busy heckling Cubs fans and wanted to see more baseball as well.

It didn’t turn out to be Pujols providing the walk off, but we did get our free baseball. Once Brendan Ryan sacrificed Aaron Miles to third with one out in the bottom of the 11th, most of the stadium though Skip Schumaker was going to try and squeeze Miles home. That would’ve been exciting. Instead, Schumaker took Chad Fox‘s first offering deep to right center for a two-run homer.

This touched off raucous celebrations from the Cardinals fans while most of the Cubs fans hit the exits before the ball landed. No one in our crowd had ever seen a walk-off homer while not working, so this was a new experience. (I had seen Richie Sexson hit one in Seattle while working for the Mariners, so I couldn’t technically celebrate with the fans.) I tried to get pictures of the stands afterward, but my camera ran out of batteries and I didn’t get anything worth sharing.

This game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen walk-off hits before, but never a walk-off homer. Even without the walk-off, the atmosphere and the tension between the two fan bases was enough to make it a great time and a great game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: