The thing about a Game 7 for your team, we're noticing this morning, is that you forget that you and the people you are with aren't the only people watching it. Every pitch is so intense, every second's pressure so heightened, you lose all perspective: It feels like it's only happening to you. And along those lines: It's impossible to imagine anyone's perspective other than your own. That is to say, every Cardinals win in the NLCS felt, to us, as if it were a classic game in baseball history, one we'd talk about for years, even though, objectively speaking, a couple were pretty ugly. When we talked to a non-Cardinals fan friend late last night/early this morning, we legitimately had to ask: "Was that game as amazing as we thought? We couldn't tell."
It was. A Game 7 is inherently exciting — even the 11-0 Game 7 Cardinals loss to the Royals in 1985 must have been exciting for a little while — but last night was unusually gripping. It's rare for a game to have a signature moment that you'll talk about for years. This game had four. Endy Chavez's catch in the sixth inning was, simply, the most unbelievable catch we've ever seen in the postseason; he had to time his leap perfect and still get lucky. You couldn't get angry at Jim Edmonds for being doubled off first base; it seemed impossible that anyone would catch it. Then, in the bottom of that inning, NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan, after Rolen's horrific throwing error, beared down — we'll remember that closeup of Suppan's eyes forever — and retired both Jose Valentin and Chavez in the most stressful of all situations. (This game was nothing but "most stressful of all situations" situations.)
And then, of course, Yadier Molina's homer. Molina is Albert Pujols' best friend on the team, a fact that has mostly annoyed us, since Molina cannot hit. His homer was better struck than Rolen's, but we'd been burned ... we didn't cheer until it was long over the wall. And ... ah ... the bottom of the ninth. Carlos Beltran, the source of 60 percent of our nightsweats over the last two years, with the bases loaded. Adam Wainwright's yakker, which is just beautiful, and Beltran has no choice but to stand there.
Four signature moments. We're all gonna have to start thinking about the World Series soon ... but those aren't ever going away.