ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 04: Fans cheer in the stands during Game Three of the National League Division Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 4, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
"Baseball breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling in the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."
-- A. Bartlett Giamatii
"I wish I knew how to quit you."
-- Some gay cowboy
You know, I almost threw up watching the game last night.
I was sitting in the bar side of a chain restaurant with my two closest friends, because if you're going to have your heart broken you may as well be with the people you love, right? Drinking the watery old fashioned brought over by the bartender with the 9 breasts and the 3 nose; should have put some food down first.
It was the eighth inning, Rafael Furcal at the plate. Swing, a hard liner foul, and just like that, my stomach turned over, swoop, adrenaline and alcohol, and I nearly lost it. I gritted my teeth and forced it down; puking thanks to a foul ball has to carry some sort of stigma, like a coroner's assistant who loses his tuna melt over a river corpse. It was a close thing, though. I suppose it would have been a little funny, but I would imagine the angry patrons would have outweighed the comedy somewhat.
I honestly thought I didn't care about this team. I've written time and again how ambivalent this team has left me, disdain and fatigue for the manager and the politics sucking my enjoyment out through my eyes. But there I was, weak booze in hand, staring holes through the screen and trying to control how fast I was bouncing my leg. Living and dying with every delivery the same as every year October rolls around and the Cardinals are involved.
Two weeks in a row now I'm writing on what could very well be the last day of the Cards' season, and two weeks in a row I have very little actual analysis to offer you. Too many missed opportunities and one bad pitch; what else can I say? So instead I'll just tell you how the game pulled me right back in and made me love it, made me care, made me hate every second of watching and hoping and cringing and trying to remember how to breathe properly.
I don't care about this team, I don't like this team, and I don't care about this season. And sitting there last night fighting and failing right along with them I can honestly say I would give anything I have in this world to see this season I don't care about last just a few more days. It's sad to be so beholden to something so meaningless, but I seem to be stuck with it. And if you've read this all the way to here, I have a feeling you probably are too.
It is October in St. Louis, and there is baseball to be played.
The Baron's Playlist for the 5th of October, 2011
"Life's a Gas" - T. Rex
"'Til Dawn" - T. Rex
"Ain't No Use" - Nina Simone
"I Get Along Without You Very Well" - Nina Simone
"True Love Leaves No Traces" - Leonard Cohen
"A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" - Leonard Cohen (if someone would hire me to work for the Cards' television side, I would put together my season highlight montage to this song)
"The Last Page" - Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton
"Winning" - Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton
-- 8tracks is down at the moment; at least the uploader anyway. I'll try to put a mix together later, but here's the list itself for now.