Column: Bleeding Cardinal red

The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs lineup for The Star Spangled Banner on Oct. 9, 2015, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis during game one of their series. The Cardinals won 4-0.

I have a family video that shows me as a four year old. In the video, I sprint down the stairs of my house. I am a ball of energy. As I wreak havoc on the first floor, my dad calls to me.

“Peter! Guess what?”

He’s caught my attention.

“What?” I yell and sprint up to him. “What is it, Dad?”

He looks at me and says, “The Cardinals won last night.”

The look on my face is pure elation. I run around the house, jumping for joy. “The Cardinals won! The Cardinals won! Mom! Guess what! The Cardinals won!”

I bleed Cardinals red. I always have. My daily emotions ride on the team. I know the history, the stories. I know all the players. My best childhood memories are at Busch Stadium.

And so, when the Cardinals were set to play the Cubs in the 2015 National League Division Series, I had to be there. It was history. In all the years of the rivalry, the Cardinals had never played the Cubs in the playoffs. Never!

I bought the cheapest ticket on Stubhub, threw on my lucky Cardinals socks and traveled to St. Louis.

Walking into a Major League Baseball stadium is a special feeling. You never know what you are going to see. And, with playoff baseball, this feeling is amplified. Every pitch you see could be history. That’s the beauty of the game.

Busch Stadium was electric. Fans waved white rally towels throughout the game. The stadium shook when Yadier Molina was announced as the starting catcher. The bitter St. Louis wind didn’t even bother me.

The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead as Matt Holliday drove in Stephen Piscotty with a single. John Lackey, the St. Louis starter, looked great. He didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning.

Still, I never felt that the lead was safe. Anything can happen in the playoffs. Every time a Cubs runner reached base, I got worried. Even routine ground balls scared me.

The atmosphere at a playoff game is different. Fans exchange high fives with people they have never met. The hot dog lines take 25 minutes. Everyone knows that the season could change on any pitch.

In the bottom of the eighth the Cardinals got a little security. Both Tommy Pham and Piscotty hit monster home runs, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. Still, my heart rate did not slow down until the final out in the ninth inning.

After winning the night I was there, the Cardinals proceeded to lose the next three games and the series. The entire four game stretch was an emotional rollercoaster. Watching the final out in Game four felt like a punch to the gut.

But that night, taking the subway home from game one, I couldn’t have been happier. I got to see my team win in my home city.

The excitement I had as a four-year-old was still there.

Share: Facebook / Twitter / Google+

Article comments


This item does not have any approved comments yet.

Post a comment

Please provide a full name for all comments. We don't post obscene, offensive or pure hate speech.