Dang it, Nationals

Oh, the baseball gods have not been kind to me this fall.

First, the Braves last weekend.

Then the Reds went down.

The Orioles couldn’t break through against C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees last evening.

And then the Nationals.

From this morning’s New York Times
The first round of baseball’s postseason unfolded spectacularly into a full week of high and prolonged drama.

Each of the four matchups lasted the full five games, and one after another the unlikely moments came: The Oakland Athletics overcame a two-run ninth-inning deficit Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers to stave off elimination for another day. Raul Ibanez of the Yankees bashed a pair of late, dramatic home runs against the Baltimore Orioles during an unexpected pinch-hitting cameo for Alex Rodriguez. The San Francisco Giants won three straight games away from home to advance past the Cincinnati Reds.

And the final moments of the opening round, which played out just past midnight Saturday morning in Washington were perhaps the most unbelievable.
We successfully put Faye down for the night after we finished dinner – which last night was, after a long and hectic week, Applebee’s takeout around our coffee table and in front of TV as the Yankees finished off the Orioles. Then Phoebe made a cozy spot for herself to watch the game from the floor; about midway through the Cardinals-Nationals game, I noticed the unusual silence in the room and looked down to see Phoebe zonked out. Kates was fighting sleep, too, gave in and headed to bed some time in the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, I was determined to stay awake to see the Nationals move on to their first league championship series and continue to warm the hearts of Washington, D.C., and baseball fans everywhere.

Or not.

I dozed off for the seventh and eighth innings and into the ninth as well. The Nationals had led the game by as much as 6-0, and it appeared they were going to survive another feisty comeback effort by the Cardinals.

Later, the Nats were up 7-5 and needed just one more out to eliminate the Cards. I was fighting hard to keep my eyes open long enough to witness the celebration.

Then Carlos Beltran doubled for the Cardinals. Nationals pitcher Drew Storen had two strikes on Yadier Molina and David Freese, and he walked them both. The bases were loaded.

Now I was having flashbacks to the heartbreak of last year’s World Series when the Texas Rangers twice had the Cardinals down to their last strike and eventually lost the game and the series.

Now I was wide awake.

Daniel Descalso hit a hard shot up the middle that skipped off shortstop Ian Desmond’s glove. Two runs scored and the game was tied.

In another blink of the eye, Peter Kozma singled, knocking in two go-ahead runs.

The Nationals went quickly in the bottom of the ninth inning. And it was over.

I laid on the couch in shocked disbelief. Again.

From the Packers-Seahawks game to the Braves-Cardinals game to last night’s saga, it’s been a disappointing fall in the sports department.

From here on out I'll be rooting for the Detroit Tigers, a team that's had a hold on my heart since they hired Jim Leyland and nearly won it all in 2006. If only those dang Cardinals hadn't stepped in their way that year, too. ... Now our boy Prince Fielder is with the Tigers, which gives us more reason to root for them. Those dang Cardinals got in Prince and the Brewers' way last year, too.

Nevertheless, social media in these situations never fails to fascinate me with the ways it brings millions of people from throughout the globe together, all of them caught up in the moment of whatever cultural moment is playing out.

It was fun to watch last night as the Cardinals mounted their comeback. A wave of social media barreled to a crash of contrasting tweets dependent on allegiances by the time the game finished. At the climax of the comeback, the tweets and status updates were appearing so fast, I could barely keep up.

Here are some of my favorite tweets of the night …
#Cardinals have taken the lead in the 9th. RT if you saw this coming! (... Yep. I retweeted this.)

You cannot kill the Cardinals unless you have a wooden stake and an iron hammer, dressed in garlic.

this is like watching a baby being eaten by a wolverine

For those just joining us in Washington, it began when a rolling boulder almost crushed the Cardinals. Then, a lot of snakes...

This is one of the most crushing meltdowns in memory for a DC sports team -- up 6-0, twice one strike away from NLCS, and....done.

Moral of the story is if you ever think you've killed a Cardinal you should rip its head off and run the body over with your car to be safe

So for 12th time in last 14 years, the team with best regular-season record won't win the World Series.

Good reads ...
a An Exhausting Series With Little Rest in Sight
a Maximum LDS great for game but tough even for winning teams
a One Among Many
a Bernie: Cardinals familiar with must-win situations
a Is Dusty done in Cincinnati?
a Bochy, Posey calmly lead Giants' rally past Reds and into NLCS
a Nationals' Werth quiets critics, forces Game 5 with epic at-bat
a No surprise Yankees-Orioles to be settled in winner-take-all fashion
a Often, the Best Plays Are About What Isn’t There
a Bernie: Cardinals are in a good spot
a Showalter baseball's biggest difference-maker of 2012
a Athletics Become Hot Ticket but Keep Lower Capacity and Cozy Vibe

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