The media is unexpectedly happy – in spite of none of their little petsy-poo teams being in the stories, this post season is just FULL of storylines.
The Home Town Boy is the World Series Hero!!! Good for David Freese – traded from the Padres for Jim “Hot Dog” Edmonds at the end of his stellar Cardinals career, he overcame too much boozing and too many injuries to come through for the hometown 9 when it counted most.
Allen Craig, nobody, comes out of nowheres to hit all kinds of Important Hits and to Save The Game when Nelson Cruz, both Hero and Goat (more on that latah) hit what would have been a rallying homer that Matt Holliday would nevah have caught.
Matt Holliday, hitting like a pitcher in the cleanup spot, gets picked offn 3rd base in an absolutely crucial time with bases loaded, by Mike Napoli, woulda been WS MVP only IF – and gets his fingah spiked and can’t play at all. How fortunate for the Cards, because he was worse than useless and TLR wouldn’t nevah have benched him or batted him 8th.
Mike Napoli, disliked and discarded by the Angel’s manager, who holds more power than most GMs, proves himself to be unbreakable in the playoffs.
Nelson Cruz comes within an Allen Craig of breaking Barry Lamar’s record for most homers in a postseason. Almost makes it to a tie with Napoli for Ws MVP, but earns the Buckner-Bartman Designated Goat Award by misplaying Freese’s fly ball in the bottom of the 9th, which SHOULD have been the 3rd out. I shouldn’t really name the award after either Bartman, who had absolutely NOTHING to do with Alex Gonzalez then booting a dead easy GIDP ball, which ACTUALLY led to the remainder of the disaster (AND that was Game 6, and The Flubs blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7, which nobody remembers) - or Buckner, who wasn’t the one who couldn’t pitch with a 2 run lead, 2 out, nobody on, top of the 9th and wasn’t the one who couldn’t hit in the bottom of the 9th neither. But Cruz just flat out misplayed that FB. And in that minute, went straight from Hero to Goat. Which, he wouldn’t have had the Cards not tied it up again in the 10th. But I digress….
Which brings me to the REAL Designated Goat of the Series – Ron Washington – of whom I have to ask, why on EARTH didn’t he, with a 2 run lead, 9th inning, have his best OF, Endy Chavez out there? This is not even beginning to ask questions like – why didn’t Derek Holand pitch the last, crucial game? Why on EARTH did he send in Scott Feldman instead of Holland to pitch to all those leftys? All those idiotic IBBs???!!! My GAWD, he made Phil Garner look like a GEEEEENYUSSSSSSS.
I thought about the one pitch away business – we all know that the Rangers botched it in Game 6 not once, but TWICE – thank you Lance Berkman, who, as he did in 05, had a WS OPS over 1 – still basically underrated. He went 11 fer 26 with 5 BB, a double, a homer, 9 runs scored, 5 RBI.
Of course, the one most painful is the strike 3 that wasn’t made to David Eckstein in Game 5 NLCS 2005. 2 outs, no one on, count 0-2. People never remember that, just the hung slider to Uncle and that wasn’t a 2 strike count.
It wasn’t an 0-2 count, or even 2 outs, when Mo Rivera got blooped by Luis Gonzalez to lose the 01 series – which SHOULD have been won by the DBax long before Game 7. It wasn’t 2 outs, 0-2, 1 strike away when BK Kim gave up those game losing homers in Games 5 and 6, neither.
AND it wasn’t bottom of the 9th in Game 6 of the 2002 WS when, with 1 out, 2 on, Dusty Baker decided to pull Russ Ortiz and give him the Game Winning Ball, neither. And it wasn’t the last strike in the last game when Jeff Kent hit the walkoff against Izzy in Game 5 in the 04 NLCS – the best series no one ever saw. Though of by me as The Year When McLane refused to spring for one more reliever and 1 more starter after Pettitte went down and Micelli lost 3 games on walkoffs all by his lonesome.
I suppose my favorite 1 strike away game would be this year’s game in which Bogusevic hit a walk off grand slam against Carlos Marmol, but it was really a meaningless game. But I was more than happy for Bogusevic, long since discarded from the list of “prospects” at age 27, just like David Freese and Allen Craig, who has been labeled 4th OF, lefty bat for the past 2 years. Yes, I know the count wasn’t 0-2 and there weren’t 2 out and the game was between 2 loser last place teams, but like, so what. Us Astros fans are relegated to enjoying the few teensy bits of joy like these.
There is something absolutely magical about 9th inning comebacks for the simple reason that teams who are winning at the start of the 9th go on to win over 9 of 10 times. Comebacks, whether against yesterdays’ starters or today’s closers, are rare (please omit 2011 Astros from database – thank you). Yes, you read that right. Closers have NOT increased the winning percentage of teams who are winning entering the 9th. But there you are, a fan of the losing team watching the other team’s guy come in. Maybe it’s even the bottom of the lineup and you are out of bench guys – especially these days when there are so many relievers that there are only 3 pinch hitters plus the spare catcher. And your #8 guy gets HBP. And your reliever, who hasn’t had an AB since high school, maybe, fouls off 2 bunts, then hits an inside the parker. I mean, everyone expects Uncle to hit balls over the tracks, but not, say, Wandy. It’s the youneverknow.
But you want to know what on earth A Strike Away has to do with a Red Cat.
It’s that damm Siamese. A couple weeks back, he introduced himself to me when I was eating lunch with a few gf – scrawny, loud and proud, he talked his way into my gf’s car after I insulted him by calling him a Yankee fan. She was meaning to take him to the shelter, but he’s a grown cat and has no papers, and that would be signing his death warrant by lethal injection or disease, whichever came first. We (yes, me too – don’t look at me, I don’t know why because I do NOT like cats) checked the cat rescues, the lost and found, the local Petsmarts, but nobody seemed to have a lost Red Siamese – and they aren’t very common, so it was either put him on Death Row or find him a home.
My gf couldn’t keep him because her daughter, like my Husband, is allergic to cats, and we (yes, me too – I don’t know why – don’t look at me because I do NOT like cats) got him a cat carrier so as he would have a place to stay – he was quite indignant about the whole thing, but tolerated it. Very strange because cats don’t exactly need people as they can manage quite well on their own, unlike most Dogs, but he did NOT like being by himself with only his lonesome to talk to and that cat he hardly EVER shut up.
So when I told Husband about him – this was during the LCS – he said – well, Red and Cat – guess it’s a sign that either St. Looey or the Tigres are gonna win the series. So you can call him either El Tigre Rojo or Louis, depending on who wins. I said to Husby – well then, I guess if the Brewers win we can call him Dead Meat. Husband sneezed, then rubbed his eyes. Know what, he sez, I think you like that cat. You been petting on him, aintchu? I glared – don’t be stupid, I told him – you KNOW I do NOT like cats and I do NOT touch no cats – he prolly full of disease and cat cancer or something. Natcheriilly, sez Husby and pretends he don’t notice he’s getting glared at.
So we, I mean my gf, tried to find him a new home, but people want little kittens, not cats. And it’s already been 10 days and it’s Saturday night, the night after Greinke looks bad against the Cards because his fielders don’t got no glove – or bat, and the Crew are gonna face Saint Looey at Miller Park, where the Crew don’t lose, unless it’s to the Cards, who swept them just a few weeks back. But anyway, I’m talkin to My Mama and we’re both rooting for Berkman and for the Crew, even though we both got a feelin that they don’t have anything left as both Braun and Da Prince seem to have de-composed them selves, and I’m telling her that Myesha is sending Louis to Death Row (calling Animal Control) on Monday morning because we, I mean she, can’t find someone to take that stupid loudmouth caterwauler seeing as how he’s a grown Tom, gots no papers and is most likely gonna cover someone’s entire place with cat pee unless he gets cut.
So Mama sez, suspisciously, I thought you don’t like cats and I said, I do NOT like cats – don’t mean I like sending a perfectly healthy animal off to his death when I’m sure he would make some person who for some reason, actually LIKES cats, a good pet. So of course, she tells one of her cousins, who, by Family Tradition, is a Cards fan, and says – well, if the Cards win tonight, it’s a sign and I’ll keep him until you find someone who wants him for good.
But come Monday, he says that I best go get the cat and Myesha tells me I have got to get him before she leaves for work and she’s got to call animal control to get him, so I call Mama because I can’t put that stupid cat in our car, and off we go to pick up that stupid loudmouth, who is supposed to be ready in his carrier, and naturally, he’s out and about Myesha’s place, stalking about like he owns it and when Mama and I come in, he ambles over, jumps up on the back of the couch and starts talkin to Mama – arrrrrrrrrrrow, mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwooooowwwww rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrow. She looks at me – I look at her – she says, Well, I’ll be darned, he really IS a red Siamese, and I told her – yep. She says – he reminds me of someone, can’t think of who, know what I mean? So I tell her – he reminds me of a cat won’t never shut up, that’s who he reminds me of. But I kind of know what she means, somehow, I have this odd feeling I know him, although, of course, that ain’t possible.
So Mama picks up the carrier and then is going to try to get the cat to put him in it – he kind of looks at it like a grrrrl wearing Prado shoes who has to step in a mud puddle and I tell him – cat – it’s the carrier or the needle, what’s it gonna be, and he jumps on down and struts in all the while miauowing in loud cat swear words. Mama sez – damm child, he reminds me of SOMEone, can’t think of who. And we get to cousin’s place and naturally, he’s out and when we call him, he’s forgot – been out celebrating and is at his woman’s place and Mama and I both have to go to work and I certainly can’t take him to MY house, so Mama growls and takes him back to her house.
So we go back to her house and she’s gonna leave the cat, carrier, food, water and litter box in the laundry room, when in walks my Daddy, who sez – damm woman, what is that thing – looks like a *)%#%! cat!!! I never seena cat looks like that before -what’s that noise he makin, don’t he shut up? His name is Louis, sez my Mama, and I’m takin him off to Anthony’s after work. Daddy opens up the carrier, take a better look at the cat and out he comes and he jumps up on the washer, looks at Daddy, sez something like Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwwwwwwww, miarrrrrrrrrowwwwww and Mama tells him, don’t be lettin him out to tear up the furniture, spray everywheres.
So off we go, we both gonna be late. So Daddy calls me at lunch, tells me that Louis is sittin on the couch with him, watching John Wayne (Daddy LUUUUVVVVS John Wayne) playin Hondo.
And he was watching baseball with Mama – he sits on the top of the couch, and comments on all the plays and hisses when Nelson Cruz can’t judge fly balls and just like the Cards, he was one strike away from elimination. Twice, too.
One of these days, Louis is gonna be goin off to his new home and new owners, sez Daddy, scratching Louis under the chin. Louis has had his shots, but he ain’t got fixed yet – you know how men are about fixin their male animals. Oh – sorry, Daddy sez – he’s NOT my cat.
I understand. I don’t like cats neither….