This is exactly what we did last night, when David Eckstein had two strikes on him in the ninth inning against Brad Lidge: We shut off the television. Watching your team make the last out to end a season — particularly one that's on the road after an immensely frustrating series, particularly when it means the imminent distruction of our childhood home — is not an activity we handle well; we weren't able to do it last year either. It's typically the only pitch we miss all postseason. We went downstairs, next door, to grab a magazine and, just to see the long shot — safely tucked away from inside a bar — we snuck our head into an Irish pub. There, we saw Eckstein standing on second base and Jim Edmonds walking to the plate. We stood outside the bar, like a kid really wishing he could afford that bike, and watched. Then Edmonds walked. We slowly crept into the bar, where distracted Yankees fans played video keno and hung their heads. And then ... BAM.
We jumped up, started screaming in the bar and sprinted out the front door. Our phone was already ringing and we exchanged about two minutes of nonsensical babbling with our father. And then Jason Isringhausen got the last three outs, and Busch Stadium would live at least one more night.
Our sincerest sympathies to Astros fans, to whom the game of baseball is becoming downright nasty. (Chiming in with I-feel-your-pain this morning is Our Boy Bill Simmons, who tells Astros fans that they'll survive this setback, even if their team probably won't.) But this series is going back to Busch Stadium on Wednesday. We still won't believe it until we see the Arch.
The Cardinals still have a whole to dig out of, but, as Viva El Birdos put it: "Maybe we just let all that stuff go. maybe, in this newly born season, we simply watch like the newly born — with little understanding but much wonder. maybe we mull nothing but newborn thoughts: so this is what it's like to be alive. well i'll be damned."