Freese, October legends and late nights

It’s late.

It’s late for most folks who work a normal shift. It’s especially late for someone like me, who typically gets up around 6:15 a.m. every morning before walking downtown to work. And typically, I would be in bed by now.

But typically, one of the more exciting World Series games in baseball history isn’t taking place, and as much as I wanted to be asleep by 10:30 or so tonight, it didn’t happen.

It didn’t happen because Albert Pujols hit a double in the ninth inning.

It didn’t happen because David Freese drove in Pujols and Lance Berkman with a triple to tie the game at 7-7.

It didn’t happen because Josh Hamilton gave Texas the lead back with a two-run home run in the 10th.

It didn’t happen because Berkman avenged an intentional walk to Pujols with an RBI single to tie it again at 9-9.

It didn’t happen because Freese, again, wrote his own legend and hit a home run to dead center field in the 11th inning.

St. Louis, late-comers to the playoffs to begin with, came back twice in the ninth and 10th.

And there I was, in an old UMass t-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts, jumping up and pumping my fist every time the Cardinals came back.

I haven’t been too invested in this World Series, I thought. I’d watched the games passively, quietly rooting for the Cardinals to win their 11th World Series crown over the Rangers, who I’ve never cared for much. The Cardinals have always seemed like a classy team, I’ve always appreciated the attitude of their fans, and it’s hard to top their uniform in terms of baseball beauty. Chain-stitched to perfection, striped socks worn high, red and white, everything baseball should be.

But I sat in quiet resignation most of the game, watching Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz power the Rangers to near-certain victory. And there was admiration, too, for the Octobers that Beltre and Cruz have had. If Texas was going to take this, they would certainly have earned it. So when Neftali Feliz entered the game to shut the door, it looked very much like the Rangers would win their first World Series.

Usually, that’s how it would work. But baseball’s great, because the outs that rest in the hands of the pitcher aren’t always found. It’s hard to throw strikes, it’s hard to get outs, and it’s hard to rise above the drama to shut the door.

Why didn’t I go to bed on time?

It didn’t happen because the St. Louis Cardinals refused to lay down and die.

I’ll see you all tomorrow night for Game 7.

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