If Jeff Van Gundy were managing the Reds, I’m sure he’d have a perfectly logical and delightfully conspiratorial explanation for what happened to Cincinnati last night, but for the rest of us, it’s just the greatest 9th inning comeback in St. Louis history. 7 runs? That’s little league, turn-your-hat-inside-out-then-make-it-into-a-shark-on-top-of-your-head stuff. Never happens. Or at least not often (see the table I cribbed from the ESPN Baseball Tonight Website)
|Won In Ninth Inning|
|Trailed by 6-plus runs in the ninth inning:|
|Year||Final score||Score in ninth inning||Go-ahead hit|
|2005||Cardinals 10, Reds 9||Reds 9-3||John Mabry HR|
|2001||Pirates 9, Astros 8||Astros, 8-2||Brian Giles grand slam|
|1998||Phillies 8, Pirates 7||Pirates, 7-1||Mike Lieberthal 3-run HR|
|1990||Phillies 12, Dodgers 11||Dodgers, 11-3||Carmelo Martinez RBI single|
|1986||Angels 13, Tigers 12||Tigers, 12-5||**** Schofield grand slam|
|Last five occurrences.
(Source: Elias Sports Bureau)
It’s pretty obvious that the Cardinals are the best team in the division, but I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a compliment. It’s like being the most talented boy band on the block. Yeah, you’re better than everyone else, but really, how good does that make you? Kerry Wood is going to be out for a while, Derrick Lee isn’t going to drive in 94 runs a month for the rest of the season, and the Astros just don’t seem to have the offense. I’m hoping the Redbirds can throw the thing into cruise control around July, and make sure guys like Rolen are totally healthy for the playoffs. Knock on wood. And every game they steal (or have gift wrapped and hand delivered as if by Santa himself, depending on your point of view) this early in the season makes that possiblity more likely.
The only bad thing about the comeback was that I didn’t actually get to see it. I was working at the Dodgers game last night, where I nearly broke fellow MLBlogger Tommy Lasorda’s nose with a door as he was coming off the field. That would have started some controversy. I’d have been accused of Blog-envy, turning the whole Jayson Blair thing on its ear. Instead of making stuff up to put myself ahead of "the competition", I just take them out, one by one. Watch your back, Buster Olney.
Aside from almost killing a Los Angeles icon (which would have, at the least, caused my credential to be revoked) it was a great night. I was able to sit and listen to Lou Johnson, who played in LA and hit a home run in game 7 of the ’65 Series that helped Sandy Koufax win on about four hours rest- give or take- and now works in Community Relations for the Dodgers tell stories about playing in an era I never got to see, with players I’d heard of and read about, but never watched. It was really cool.
Then I hit the Nationals dugout, and listened to Frank Robinson for fifteen minutes or so. He talked a little about his current team, but most of the questions (while I was there, at least) were centered around his incredible history in the game. When you get to hear stories like that and have access to these types of people, it’s that much more fun to show up at the park.