12/28/2006

 

The FYC-zie Game of the Year: Cardinals v. Mets; Game 7, NLCS

As a blogger (albeit a bad one), I feel obligated to write some sort of “End of Year Awards.” There are two problems with this:

1) That sounds like work.
2) I don’t really “pay attention” to “new things” enough to write one.

It’s not that I am afraid of change or new things, it’s that most new things suck. For example, if I were to write an album of the year post, it would look like this:

Album of the Year: “The Bends,” Radiohead
For the 11th straight year, nobody has made a better album than “The Bends,” so it wins again.
With apologies to: Exile on Main Street, Who’s Next, Dark Side of the Moon, Being There, and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle”


My favorite book is a constant struggle between “Catcher in the Rye” and “On the Road.” While I don’t doubt that some newer books are good, I can say with 99.9% certainity that they’re not going to throw Salinger or Kerouac off from the top of my list. And in today's modern times, with our frantic lives and porn addictions, who has time to read, anyway? Or, for some, even learn how to read?

Much like Floyd Gandolli, I know what I enjoy.

The one thing I do enjoy that changes (kind of) every year is sports. So, without further ado, I will name my award (I believe we agreed to call them FYC-zies once before, so we’ll roll with that again) for best game played:

The FYC-zie Game of the Year: Cardinals v. Mets; Game 7, NLCS

I did a lot of debating after the NLCS as to what the best Cardinals NLCS game has been in the last three years. Game 6 of the ’04 CS is a favorite of many, and Game 5 of the ’05 (when Albert Pujols unapologetically murdered Brad Lidge’s career) is the cats pajamas for others. Game 7 of the ’04 NLCS, however, was my number one. And I had previously assumed it would stay that way for a long time to come.

I was wrong.

This years Game 7, for many Cardinals fans, will go down as the most dramatic and unlikely game we will ever see. (And yes, I realize that there will probably be a more exciting game in the next year or two, and that the previous sentence may seem like nothing more than hyperbole to you, but some of us plan on dying in a freak warehouse fire somewhere outside of Helena, Arkansas next May, thus making my claim true.)

The first five frames were back-and-forth, tightly pitched innings by Jeff Suppan and Oliver Perez (that about covers the unlikely part already), and with the score knotted up at one, we headed into the sixth inning. With one out and Jim Edmonds on first, Scott Rolen came to the plate.

Perez had begun to struggle in the fifth, but Mets manager Willie Randolph decided to stick with him then and he got Pujols to pop up and end the inning. With the slumping Rolen stepping into the batters box, Randolph decided to stick with Perez again. It was a risky decision to say the least; with shades of the Grady Little – Pedro Martinez fiasco from the ’03 ALCS all over Shea Stadium.

And Scott Rolen got his groove back, crushing a ball deep to left field; only to have Endy Chavez come out of nowhere and make a leaping, snow cone grab to take a two run home run away. He fired the ball back into the infield and doubled up Edmonds at first to end the top of the sixth. The Cards rally was effectively put to rest.

In the bottom of the sixth, Chavez came up to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. With a highlight reel, game (nay, series) defining, two run saving double play just a few minutes earlier, Chavez (already somewhat of a cult hero with Mets fans) was all set to become the hero on a cold, rainy New York night. With the moment set -- Endy was getting a hit there; I knew, you knew it, it was going to happen. A Phil Collins moment, if you will: it was in the air, and you could feel it calling -- Suppan did what he does best (use his defense) and got Chavez to fly out to Edmonds. Inning over.

We’ll skip through the seventh and eighth innings (I’m pretty sure I blacked out and missed them, anyway) and head into the ninth.

With one runner on, Yadier Molina, the rocket armed, light hitting Cardinals catcher, came to the plate facing Mets "reliever" Aaron Heilman. Yadi, a lifetime .238 hitter with a mere 16 homeruns in his young Major League career (and only 6 in 2006), took a rip on a first pitch "changeup" by Heilman and... well, you know what he did. I could only spoil it by putting it into words -- It was, and remains to be, virtually impossible to correctly describe. The best attempt at it which I remember reading was by Dan of Get Up Baby, who wrote afterward: “(Yadi) grinned like Charlie Brown after sex”

In the bottom of the ninth, de facto closer Adam Wainwright, the skinny rookie with both a beard and curveball that could destroy lesser mortals, came into the game to finish it off. He immediately channeled his inner Isringhausen and gave up back-to-back singles to Jose Valentin and Chavez. The Wainer looked, to say the least, rattled.

This was not going to be easy.

With runners on first and second, nobody out, and the pitchers slot coming up, Randolph was in perfect position to have a pinch hitter sacrifice the runners over. Instead, he wanted a Kirk Gibson moment and sent up his injured slugger Cliff Floyd.

He struck out.

(Looking back, Randolph really did lose this game for the Mets, didn’t he?)

And we come to two on, one out for Jose Reyes, the dancing Muppet who annoys everyone in the entire world (but man I’d love to have him on the Cards). As chants of “JOSE, JOSE, JOSE, JOSE!” rang throughout Shea, Reyes stepped into the box and ripped a frozen rope to center field, where the ever present Jim Edmonds was there to record the second out.

Two on, two out for Mets catcher Paul LoDuca. Sensing that there wasn't quite enough drama already, The Wainer walks him, bringing up...

Carlos Beltran.

The Cardinals postseason nemesis.

The man who went toe-to-toe with Pujols in a slugging match during the ’04 CS and nearly carried the Houston Astros past the Cards that year, even though he was essentially their only offensive weapon.

He doesn’t just own the Cards in the postseason; he sells them to other people and then buys them back at a greater rate, just because he can.

He was, without a doubt, the last man in the world any Cardinals fan wanted to see at that particular moment.

And the self loathing and doubt began:

“He’s going to get a hit and win this. Fuck.”

Change, strike one.

“We were lucky to even make the playoffs, though. It was a good run.”

Curve, fouled off for strike two.

“Wait a second... wait just one god damn second...”

Curveball, strike three.

“WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


[*I take off my pants and start making out with a lamp*]

And I like to think that somewhere, in a parallel universe perhaps, Beltran is still standing there, bat on shoulder, knees buckled, wondering to himself how in the world he was supposed to hit that freaking pitch.

------------------

I said after the game that if the Cards went on to win the Series it would then, and only then, become my new #1 game of all time. Looking back, I think that may have been a bit disingenuous and most definitely unfair to the game itself. The only thing that ‘04’s Game 7 had over ‘06’s is that it was played at Busch, and it’s always more fun to win at home (witness: ’06 World Series).

But the way this year's Game 7 played out: Shea Stadium, in the words of Joe Buck “literally shaking” (I find that a bit hard to believe, Joe), the cold, the rain, Endy’s grab, Supp’s balls, Yadi’s scream, Wainwright’s hook...

There it was: The perfect game.

With apologies to: Bradley over Kansas, Bradley over Pitt, Albert Pujols’ Easter Miracle, Illinois over Mizzou, Texas over USC, Drinko, and Illinois over Arizona in the '05 Elite Eight (a game which could win this award virtually every year).

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Comments:
Best. Game. Ever.
 
As much as I hate Joe Buck, I was there and Shea was "literally shaking."

Thanks for bringing this up again, by the way. You suck.
 
I vote for K-Fed's album as album of the year.


K-Fed rulz!
 
i hate the fucking cardinals
thoo that was one of the best met games ive seen my beloved mets lose in. I seriously thoguh Floyd would of ended it their in a pure Gibson moment. Or reyes would have blooped a single and beltran with a game winning double. Unfortunately we got our first taste of the 2007 season. This season seems pretty good probly will end up better ; ) but 2006 lives on forever. Lets go mets go!!!!



and fuck the cardinals
 
tht game was str8 nigga but the cubs finna win it this year haha 40-24 the best record in baseball and soon to be 43-24 after we sweep the braves and ima be at the throwbak game on thursday =D
 
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