And watching at Firestone, accompanied by three pockets of Ranger fans and another quiet pocket of Cardinal faithful, put all those crazy emotions on full display.
I don’t really remember how runners got on first and second base, but as Allen Craig watched a pitch float across home plate for strike three to put the Rangers within one out of a World Series victory, I remember one Rangers fan turning in absolute glee to point at his fellow fans in a wordless salute.
David Freese was the Cards last hope and as the count showed two strikes the St. Louis fans by my side were inconsolable.
The good folks at Firestone turned off the music and turned up the announcers on the television so the Texas fans could here the words that had never before been spoken.
“And the Texas Rangers are the World Series Champions!”
Then the bat cracked.
From that point I just remember yelling, “GO!” and waving my arms like Carlton Fisk as the ball hung in the air and glided just over Nelson Cruz’s glove and bounced off the wall. Euphoria erupted as even the impartial observers in the crowd couldn’t believe the Cardinals scored the tying two runs with two outs and two strikes.
Between the 9th and 10th innings a mildly drunk Rangers fan came over to me after seeing my antics and said, “What a game.”
I agreed but for some reason I added, “It’s gonna get better.”
“For one of us,” he replied.
And when Josh Hamilton blasted a monster homerun I was sure he was going to get the better end of the bargain.
The texts and tweets from my friends across the country suddenly stopped, the once bright hope that the Cardinals could force a Game seven was fading. According to the plot of “Win Probability”, the odds that one team would win the game based on thousands of simulations, the Cardinals had a 7.7 percent chance to comeback again by the time Hamilton stomped on home plate.
But once again the men from St. Louis refused to lose.
Two out, two strikes. AGAIN. Lance Berkman, the man who got a one-year contract to play right field because it looked like his career was done, delivered a base hit to send Firestone and the Cardinal fans into a frenzy.
After the Rangers went down quietly in the top of the 11th innning, I walked over and introduced by myself to the Cardinal fans on the other side of the room.
It turns out that the group live just miles from my former residence and happened to be in San Luis Obispo for the week. I will always marvel at the power sports have to connect complete strangers.
We turned to watch Freese, already the hero, bat again and before we knew it he had lifted himself from hero to legend status with a shot to center field.
No, we didn’t hear Joe Buck echo his father’s call with a “We’ll see you tomorrow night,” but the memory of watching what will go down as the greatest comeback in baseball history among friends and foes will stick with me forever.
And to those of you who cheer for the Giants or the Dodgers or the Cubs I can assure you one thing, next spring will be here soon enough. I just need some time to celebrate.