New York City-based Yankees superfan and espnW contributor Amanda Rykoff will be sharing her thoughts on the World Series. Today, she revels in the craziness of the Cardinals' improbable Game 6 win.
If you weren't watching Thursday night's World Series Game 6, I'm not sure what to say. I have one word to describe what happened at Busch Stadium: BANANAS.
Back in March, during yet another crazy Big East basketball game that went to overtime, I used the term "bananas" on Twitter to describe any game that was particularly insane. With comebacks. With drama. With big shots. Well, we had that Thursday night in St. Louis. In baseball form. I don't have a horse in this race, and yet I was on the edge of my seat, hanging on every pitch, my heart racing. I couldn't even keep up with my Twitter feed, things at Busch Stadium got so out of hand.
Consider the following facts from Game 6:
• The Rangers twice were one strike away from their first World Series title in franchise history.
• Texas had its closer on the mound in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run lead and could not close it out.
• St. Louis trailed 1-0, 3-2, 4-3, 7-4 and 9-7.
• The Rangers had three blown saves in the same game.
• The Cardinals became the first team in World Series history to rally from two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th innings.
• Rangers pitcher Derek Holland scored his first run in professional baseball. In the World Series.
• Texas slugger Nelson Cruz tied the major league record for most home runs in a postseason with his eighth, a moon shot in the seventh inning off Lance Lynn.
• Josh Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hit his first home run of the postseason to give the Rangers a 9-7 lead in the 10th inning.
• St. Louis native David Freese, who earlier in the game made a brutal error that cost his team a run, tripled with two outs (and two strikes) in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
• Freese then hit a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th to force a Game 7.
• Freese also tied the major league record with 19 RBIs in the postseason.
I couldn't make this stuff up. And if this happened in a scripted movie, you wouldn't believe it. You would probably laugh.
The last three innings of this game provided so much drama, so much bananas goodness, we almost forgot how bad and error-filled the first six innings had been. The teams combined for five errors and countless mental errors that weren't scored. I even joked that the highlights from the game should be scored to "Yakety Sax" (aka the "Benny Hill" theme).
Yet we will be talking only about the late-inning heroics and the improbable comeback by the Cardinals. I'll leave the slicing and dicing of some of the questionable managerial calls to others. (Rangers reliever Darren Oliver in to pitch in a close-out situation? Really, Ron Washington?) I've chosen to focus on the emotion, the tension, the sheer oh-my-god-did-that-just-happen of the game. That is what I will take with me.
When this series started, I didn't expect drama. Sure, the Cardinals had staged an incredible September run to clinch the wild-card spot on the final day of the regular season. But I was wrong. This has proved to be one of the most entertaining, electrifying and thoroughly engrossing World Series we've seen. And that was true before last night's bananas.
It seemed only fitting that these never-say-die Cardinals would come back from the dead not once but twice in Thursday night's game. And of course we will have a Game 7. After a walk-off home run. This is why we love baseball.
In the words of the late, great Jack Buck, echoed by his son, Joe, as Freese's ball sailed deep over the center-field wall: "We will see you tomorrow night." There's nowhere I'd rather be than watching Game 7 from Busch Stadium on Friday night. Be there. You don't want to miss the bananas.