It fucking owns you.
You spend too much money on it every year. You devout too much time to it, every day, from April to October. You obsess over it. Changing social plans and planning family events around it. It owns you. It encompasses your days at work, your nights at home. The first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing on your mind as you slumber. It's an addiction, plain and simple. It's not your fault, it's probably in your genes. Your father had it. Your grandmother had it. Your great-grandfather used to stagger home down Grand every evening because of it. In no other terms, you are an addict.
It's Cardinals Baseball.
And you're an addict.
So, what's the point? You give you're heart and soul to the franchise, only to see your devotion hit you in the nuts with a proverbial fly ball in the ninth inning of the game of life. What was the point of spending countless hours since Spring Training broke in February, virtually befriending a group of strangers that you invite into your living room all summer long, only to see the hometown nine wilt in October?
Why do we do this? Why do I find myself sitting in the car, in front of my house, having a cigarette at nine o'clock at night, listening to sad The Band songs, trying to wind down before I walk into my house to see my wife and dog, so I don't sound like a fucking raving lunatic after watching a random sports game at a friends house? Why is a grown man, that I will probably never meet, missing a fly ball, the most heartbreaking moment of the year for me? Why should I care?
I care because of Skip Schumaker. A fourth outfielder that I, along with many, hoped would get a shot at playing second base last year (anyone can play second base, I said, much as Thom Yorke assures us anyone can play guitar) and who finally got a last second shot at being a regular in the 11th hour before Spring Training this year and worked his ass of to become a serviceable second baseman and continued to be a serviceable leadoff man, all on the cheap. I care because he cares.
Chris Carpenter cares. He could have packed it in a year ago and lived off his giant contract, but he cares. He lives to get mother fuckers out, not to rehab. And after two years of rehab for this, rehab for that, he got mother fuckers out all year.
Adam Wainwright is fucking brilliant. He cares. His goal in life is to provide for his family, glorify Jesus Christ, and, like his mentor, get mother fuckers out. He is an absolute bulldog and proved again tonight he is nails personified. Adam Wainwright is a big game pitcher.
I care because John Smoltz cares. Because Yadier Molina cares. Hell, Boog cares! Because Colby Rasmus is proving he can hit lefties on the biggest stage possible.
I care because I get to watch the greatest right handed hitter in Major League Baseball history on a daily basis. And he, because he was bored, set the all-time assist record for first basemen this year. I care because Albert Pujols cares. Because he wants nine more rings for him, which means nine more unforgettable nights for me.
I care because of the Man Stew, Hawk's backpack, Lugo's glare, and all of the other random, idiotic moments that made this summer enjoyable.
I care because dinners on my deck during the summer aren't the same without Mike Shannon's cackle. Spring isn't the same without random tweets from Jupitor. My lunch break isn't the same without Goold's 10 @ 10.
We care because it makes us happy. It's Saint Louis summers, beers on a patio, and losing yourself in a kids game. It's how we were raised, it's what we know, it's how we do. We care because we cherish memories like "Go Crazy Folks!" "That's a Winner... A World Series Winner!" "Swing and a miss and the Cardinals are World Champions for 2006!" as much as we cherish life lessons from family.
We care because if the worst thing that happened to us that day is the Cardinals losing, in the big picture, it really wasn't that bad of a day.
And, most importantly, we care because in downtown Saint Louis, this Saturday eve, the Perfecto's are going to take one from the Trolley Dodgers, and after that, it'll be just two more wins until the NLCS.
Lets go Redbirds!