It reminded me of a few things:
1) Just how evil are the Rangers? :) They just refused to go away...sheesh
2) How much fun a good back and forth high scoring game is.
3) What it sounds like when your fans are really into baseball, not just winning and not just a night at the park. STL has some great fans...knowledgeable and keenly alert...it couldn't happen to a better group.
This is one of the great win probability charts you'll ever see in the World Series. You can open a second window-tab and see the right version of it here. (And Fangraphs' robust game charts have gone from "great" to "mind-boggling.")
Take a moment and picture the fans' emotions at various points on the chart:
(1) Down 1-0 in the first, with Andrus and Hamilton on ... St. Louis already faced 5:2 odds against.
But they came back to take a 2-1 lead. From a queasy, sinking feeling to vast relief.
(2) Napoli bats in Cruz in the 4th to give the Rangers the lead. Cardinal fans at the park knew, intuitively, that at that moment, they'd probably lose the game. ... they faced a 5:3 dice roll against them on the evening.
But the Cards did, improbably, tie the game right there in the bottom of the inning.
(3) Young doubled in Josh Hamilton with the lead run in the 5th. Young was in scoring position. Again the Cards' chances were in the 20%'s. For the third time on the night, death looked -- and was -- probable.
Once more the Cardinals tied it at 4-4 and, with a big rally going, the Cards' fans sensed their 71% chance to win.
4) In the 7th, Cruz' home run slashed the Cards' throats, and slashed their WE to 17%. Three chances were all the Cards were going to get...
By the 9th inning, with Felix on the mound, the Cardinals' chances were down to 4%. That's about like telling you that unless you roll 12 with two dice, you're going to the guillotine.
The Cardinals rolled their 12. Nelson Cruz failed to catch a fairly easy fly ball, and the Rangers were (for once) paying the price for the big lumbering HR man in right field.
As you might have heard, the Cards tossed Feliz into the deep freese and survived to extras.
5) Josh Hamilton hit the home run that seemed scripted, way back when he got that first tatoo on the road to perdition. AGAIN!!! The Cardinals' chances to win power-dove to 7%.
Hand me two dice, and tell me to roll an 11 or a 12, or I die on any 2-10 roll? And I'm better off than the Cards were in the bottom of the 10th.
Berkman's lefty shot into right-center was a Rembrandt in baseball history.
From here, both sides still had a 50%* chance to lose ... when Freese went deep, the Cardinals' chances to win gained about 1% per 0.1 seconds the ball was in the air.
oves blowouts in his team's favor. Give him a choice and he'll take a 13-2 win on Opening Day next year...
Still, have you ever meditated on the way that a life valley can --- > sharpen your taste for triumph and blessing?
Would Nelson Mandela's presidency, honors, and acclaims have been as sweet if he hadn't rotted in prison for 27 years?
In the Johannine account, what part did John's three days of misery play in his later joy? If he spent three days suffering miserably under the impression that his Messiah had been killed and disposed of? The three days of darkness were required, before he'd be able to load his gospel script with the emotion that it contains.
Winning 116 games in 2011 was awesome. But were the emotions equal to those in 1995, when the Mariners were 13 games down and climbed back to accomplish the impossible? ... or would the Edgar Double vs. NYY have tasted the same, if the M's hadn't been down two games and then 5-0 in the third game?
A valued local author is given a 10%, 20% (?) survival prognosis and then, having received the prayers of hundreds or thousands, including ours at SSI of course ... a few short months later, is told he's totally cancer-free. Now that would fill the coming 50 years of life with bright colors.
It's a funny thing. Only when you have a 7% chance of winning, does the winning then taste like it did for the Cards on Thursday night.
Sports are inherently childish and silly, but in the best sense. Human beings spend many hours each day in imaginary places. Watching baseball, we (those of us not among the 50 people on the active rosters) imagine ourselves at battle.
Others use books, or movies, or daydreaming. We use baseball. I prefer baseball to movies and books, precisely because it's not scripted and because it is laced with real-time, dynamic free will.
Baseball is imaginary land for me, but there is nothing imaginary about the human emotions that baseball causes. Those emotions are every bit as real as they would be, if baseball meant anything.
Psalm 30 is the one that explains the weeping at night, followed by the joy in the morning. Everybody's cycle of life sines in and out of these phases. The phases snap us out of lethargy and remind us that there are things we want, that there is meaning out there, that life is worth living.
It reminded me of a few things:
I don't want to be kicked off the site for posting innapropriate content or anything, but shouldn't we feel a little bit bad for Texas?
Texas has never won the World Series. St. Louis has won it a million times. Texas had this game in the bag again and again, but then snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Our own Mark Lowe (who went to college in Arlington and probably dreamed of one day closing for the Rangers) lost the game. I'm sure some Texans might feel bad if Justin Smoak messed up Seattle's world series.
Also, shouldn't we hate on St Louis for its lucky dispatchment of Atlanta, Philly, Milwaukee? It appears that the latest victim is just on the horizon. St Louis beat three superior teams to get where it is, and now is about to do the same with the undisputed toast of the American League. Why? Lucky breaks, all of it. This sort of winning makes baseball seem unfair.
"I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV).
Sometimes the best teams don't win. Sometimes, all of them get beat down by the Cardinals.
Just a thought.
You never fail to impress, Dr. D!
...if it were any team outside the AL West...I'd agree with you. I'm no lover of St. Louis, though I do appreciate their fans.
But this is Texas...the EEvil Empire West...and my undisputed enemy as a Mariner fan. Maybe it makes me a bad fad, but I want to see nothing but misery befall the franchises against whom I compete. :) Well...not nothing but misery...but I want to be happier than they are...LOL
Speaking over the last century? I've heard it said that they're the ultimate represenation of what 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-generation hardball fans should be...
Wexxelent post Matty...
No, I know whatcha mean counselor. In spite of myself... I had to remind myself, a dozen times, not to root for Texas :- )
Great quote. ... have heard very spiritual people take offense to the idea of 'luck' but the 'time and chance' quote straightens that out. There might not be an invisible, superstitious 'luck' force, but probability is a part of life...
There was a postal chessmaster who, himself an agnostic, loved to quote Scripture to illustrate resonant ideas. I wonder how well that would play at SSI, quoting ancient texts as philosophy, rather than to create a hybrid baseball/worship site :- )
That being Bishop to b5, check...
Personally know doodly about the NL, and the first I'd heard of Freese was last night :- )
Guys, check out Freese on B-R.
9th round pick. But he's a hitting machine.
In all of his MiLB and MLB stops, at every level, he has hit better than .296 except in 4 games and 14 AB's at AAA this season.
Minus that, regardless of the level or the length of the stop, he has hit .296+, sometimes way plus.
Holy Consistency Batman!
The cut-aways to Nolan Ryan during game 7 when his relievers couldn't find the strike zone were painful. Dude looked like he swallowed something that was still wriggling on the way down. Games 6 & 7 are going to stick with him for a long, long time.
As soon as that comeback in game 6 was final, I knew the Cards would easily win game 7...you could just see the Rangers' spirits completely crushed by it. They were never really in that game 7.
Freese was regarded by the Padres as organizational filler. In 2007, when they traded him for Edmonds, Kouzmanoff was viewed as the "can't miss" 3B for the next 10 years in Southern Cal. Freese was a 1B/3B and the Padres had a pair of 25-year-olds (AGON and Kouzmanoff) at those two slots. (Random aside - the 2007 Padre Roster includees the following names, Seattle fans might recognize: Mike Cameron, Jose Cruz, Milton Bradley, Russell Branyan). Edmonds was done, so the trade was a disaster. But, after an 89-win 2007 season, the Pads thought they were just a key veteran addition away from winning the West. (Oops).
Honestly, Freese is a solid RH bat with too little power to go with a too high K-rate. He fans like a 25-30 HR guy, but has only 15 HRs in 667 MLB PAs. He brings a good (not great) walk rate. But, he hits .300 steadily. He brings a steady, but unspectacular glove.
The problem with Freese is that he doesn't do ANYTHING exceptionally well, but he does nothing at all poorly. This makes him a great guy for your roster, but leaves a GM (and manager) in a constant state of "wish-he-did-this-better". If he had a little more power. If he walked a little more frequently. If he had more speed. If he had a little better glove.
David Freese is what the masses *perceive* to be a replacement level player. (They are, of course, horribly wrong on this count, but I digress). He platooned with Descalso because ... well, Descalso is left-handed. Freese kills lefties, keeping his overall stat line up ... but can best be described as pedestrian against righties. Like always ... he's not bad. He's just exceptionally "not great".
It's not so much that he hits an empty .300. It's that he hits the most boring .300 one could imagine. So boring, it's actually only .296. That is David Freese.