What was the point?

Sure, "Game Seven" are the two best words in sports, but could it really live up to what had happened the night before? After a Game Six like that, was there even a point to playing again?

Heck yes, there was, for both teams. Texas needed to prove Freese's extra-inning heroics were nothing more than a bump in the road, not the knockout punch it felt like the night before. St. Louis needed to prove that it could finish the magic show, not peter out during the final illusion.

The Rangers had suffered, and surely wanted to assuage that by promptly stomping the Cardinals into the soft Busch Stadium grass.

Honestly, how do you mow an arch into the grass like that?

But Destiny - that fickle mistress who had toyed with this outstanding October before - had one last card to play. Remember that rain delay- the one that pushed Game Six back to Thursday? It was more than a mere headache for the programming department at Fox - it was an extra day of rest for Game One and Game Five starter Chris Carpenter.

During the regular season, starting pitchers typically enjoy five days of no hard throwing between appearances. That allows the arms they torture with 90-or-more-mph fastballs and twisting curve balls to recuperate. During the playoffs, when more is on the line, it's not uncommon for starters to pitch on four days' rest, and in dire situations, three days' rest.

Without that rain, Carp would have only pitched in Game 5 two days before, not enough time for the veteran to get his strength back. But that rain delay - that gift from Destiny herself - meant Chris Carpenter, 9-2 in the postseason with no losses at home, would be ready.

That's the face of a winner, right there.

Was he ever.

Sure, it was a rough start - Carp let in two runs in the first inning. But David Freese, that hometown hero in so many ways, erased the mistakes with a game-tying two-run double in the bottom of the inning. Carpenter settled in and did what he does, holding the Rangers to only four more hits, none of which produced any runs. He'd done his job, and the bullpen did the rest.

That's really all there is to Game 7. The only other player to really shine was Allen Craig, who hit the go-ahead-and-eventually-winning home run and kept a Nelson Cruz fly ball from leaving the park. The Texas bullpen struggled, the Cardinals bullpen shone, and at 10:15 p.m. on October 28, Craig hauled in a David Murphy pop-up to secure the last out.


There I was, in Shiloh of all places, waiting for this moment. All around me, deafening beer-fueled roars or jubilation sang out. Whoops and hollers and yells of joy sounded off the brick walls and big-screen TV's. Complete strangers embraced each other in the shared feeling of victory, for which the fight had been long and hard and frustrating and exciting and so many other adjectives.

Somewhere in Texas, the opposite: Imagine the tip of your tongue, mere micrometers from a heaping spoonful of Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk, and the gob of frozen awesome drops to the muddy ground. Imagine waiting for months to see "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King", and right when it gets to a crucial- nay, utterly essential - point, the theater manager (likely a acne-imbued teenager sucking on an Icee) decides to call "intermission."

I imagine that's how the Rangers felt. I admire them, respect them: their coach, their players - there's nary a fault among them, and they were worthy opponents.

But, dang.

It feels good to be a Cardinal.


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