It was a party in the stands. I was a total stranger who wasn’t even wearing anything Nationals-related, but it felt like I was sitting in seats with people whom I’d been suffering alongside for 30 years. High fives were exchanged. Blankets were shared. Everybody poked good-natured fun at the guy who was loudly offering Harper tips on how to properly maintain his balance throughout his stance just before he took Wainwright deep. I started wondering whether I would get fired from Grantland if I changed allegiances and Simmons noticed. It was the sort of scene you dream about as a fan, just complete and utter joy with hours more to go. It wasn’t my personal team’s joy, but I was having a lot of fun faking it through three innings.
And then, slowly but perceptibly, the situation began to erode.
Even after last year, I found what happened this weekend to be pretty improbable. But I never turned off the game and never gave up hope that just one more hit would turn things around. Barnwell nails how Cards fans feel about our team:
Think about it. In 13 months, the Cardinals have gone through last year’s September run, Game 6 of the World Series, and this 25-to-1 comeback win over the Nationals. If you were a Cardinals fan, why would you ever believe that your team is going to lose a playoff series again? If they happen to lose to the Giants, I feel like Cardinals fans will sit in front of their televisions until February expecting to hear that Yadier Molina’s exploited some loophole, restarted the playoffs, and somehow walked, hit a game-tying home run, and threw out runners at second and third on the same play. The Cardinals are closer to superheroes and action stars than baseball players in elimination games at this point.
By the way, I hope you’re ready for a lot of baseball stuff to hit my blog. It’s pretty much consuming my life right now, and in a good way.