The baseball playoffs are on another level of sports enjoyment. These games are not relaxing, as baseball usually is, at least if you have a favorite team in the mix. You find yourselves fixating on every pitch. The games are intense, suspenseful, stressful. To be sure, they are great fun, but they are draining and exhausting. This year, in the first round, every one of the best-of-five contests went to five games, the first time that has ever happened.
I stayed up until well after midnight watching the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals, my new home team, jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings. But the Cardinals chipped away. In the 9th inning, the Nationals led by two points, 7-5. With two outs, the reliable closer Drew Storen on the mound, though with the bases loaded, the team and its fans could taste victory, especially after two strikes to low-in-the-batting-order Daniel Descalso. But then he hit a two-run single! The score was tied! Once again, Storen, letting Descalso steal a base so with runners on 1st & 3rd, had the next batter, Pete Kozma, down to the last strike. And he got a hit, putting the Cardinals ahead 9-7 for the win!
It could have gone so many different ways. The Cardinals had two last-bat, last-strike miracles in a row. But then again, this is exactly the kind of things that the Cardinals did last year, over and over again, in the playoffs and then in winning the World Series. So now I’m going to pull for the Cardinals, though I’m not sure how many games I can take.