Every once in a while we reach a point in our lives when our next action will dramatically affect our lives. The string has been tightened as far as it will go without snapping. There is no in between. We either do or we don’t. It’s time for action, and that action will have long-reaching consequences.
That’s where the St. Louis Cardinals were Friday night in Washington, D.C., down 7-5 in the ninth inning to the Nationals with two strikes on catcher Yadier Molina. The next strike would’ve ended the Cardinals season. Period. But Molina worked a walk and kept the season alive.
Then the Nationals had two strikes on second baseman Daniel Descalso. The next strike would’ve ended the Cardinals season. Period.
But Descalso hit the next pitch up the middle and two runs scored to tie the game, and the Cardinals went on to win 9-7 in one of the greatest postseason comebacks in the history of Major League Baseball.
Wait, didn’t this just happen last year? The Cardinals were down to their last strike twice against the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the World Series before coming back to win on a walkoff homerun by third baseman David Freese.
Stuff like that isn’t supposed to happen. Even if a team pulled off a miracle in one instance, the chances of that same team recreating that miracle the following season are so incredibly small that people who even think it is possible would be considered crazy.
That’s part of what made Friday’s win so amazing. Winning a close playoff game is always exhilarating, but the Cardinals won these two games under historic circumstances. The string couldn’t be pulled any tighter without breaking. As the Nationals’ fan said during Descalso’s at bat, “Just one more” would’ve completely changed the rest of the playoffs.
It’s also what makes baseball such a great sport. Within the last 12 months, baseball fans have seen the greatest final night to end a season when the Cardinals won, Atlanta Braves lost, Tampa Bay Rays won and Boston Red Sox lost. Every game ended in a walkoff except for the Cardinals, who beat the Houston Astros 10-0.
Then all of the magic rested with the Cardinals.
The Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 in Game 5 to win a series in which they were serious underdogs. And then Game 6 of the World Series turned out to be arguably the greatest World Series game ever played.
To have all of those moments wrapped up in one team within the span of a year is an incredible blessing for that team’s fans. The Cardinals might not have a dynasty the way the Yankees did in the late 1990s, but they now have a dynasty of great moments.
People will surely talk about the last two seasons long into the future. What Cardinals fans are experiencing right now is absolutely as good as it gets. Please remember that, because there will be tough times at some point in the future.
But right now soak it all in. These are days we will remember for the rest of our lives.