This bush-league psyche-out stuff… laughable, man

Each season I’ve covered, and this is No. 5, has a game that I remember. A single, regular-season game that stands out, that always comes to mind when I look back at that season.

I have to think yesterday afternoon’s game will be the one for 2006. The way the ninth-inning rally happened, with all the two-strike hits. Seeing Oswalt come out, and then seeing Pujols crush that ball opposite way. Really a tremendous, memorable game — basically what I’ve come to expect from Cards-Astros games at Minute Maid Park.

Anyway. It got me thinking about those defining games. Here they are, for me, for the seasons I’ve covered. What are yours, either for these seasons or earlier ones? Leave out playoff games. Regular season only.


2002 – It’s a game where I wasn’t even in
attendance, actually. But the one that stands out is Edgar Renteria’s
game-winner against the Cubs at Busch on a Sunday night right before
the trade deadline. I was in Cooperstown, covering Ozzie Smith’s Hall
of Fame induction, and I watched the game on TV in a bar in Cooperstown.


2003 – It’s really the entire series at the
beginning of September in Chicago, including Woody Williams’ relief
appearance in the fourth game, the back-and-forth fifth game. I think
most of the opener of the doubleheader, though, with Orlando Palmeiro’s
spectacular catch against the wall, Albert Pujols’ error and Sosa’s
home run in extras. That series stands out as the most compelling
regular-season baseball I’ve ever seen.

2004 – This is probably the easiest call, and it’s another game at Wrigley. The defining game of that regular season was the finale of the series in Chicago right after the All-Star break. The Cards dug a huge hole early, but Pujols had five hits and three home runs to lead a comeback. The Cardinals basically salted the division away that day, even though it was July.

2005 – This is the hardest one, perhaps because there was so little drama in the standings all year. There were some tremendous games, including the Braves game with Eckstein’s walk-off grand slam, but the one that I recall most vividly is Mark Mulder’s 10-inning shutout against Clemens and the Astros at Busch.

Now it’s y’all’s turn. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch some soccer and some NASCAR. (btw, how amazing is it that J.P. Montoya is going to run stock cars?! Tremendous.)


One question, btw, for those of you watching soccer today: Will you watch it on ABC? Or will you flip over to Univision? I’m going to start out with ABC, but I’m keeping them on a short leash. The first time they spend 10 minutes straight talking about the officials, or the first time Balboa says two contradictory things in succession ("Germany can’t win if they stay back like this!" … "Argentina needs to force Germany to stop staying back if they hope to ahve a chance to win!"), I’m flipping over to the Spanish call.


Currently playing on the iPod: Drive-By Truckers, A Blessing and a Curse.

-M.

7 Comments

The game that stands out for me the most for 2005 is a Cards/Cubs game in July at Busch. It was Carpenter against Zambrano in extra innings. What a great matchup! The atmosphere was amped and we won in dramatic fashion.
Yes, we are watching soccer and I am getting so sick of hearing the announcers tell me its Zinadane Zidane’s last game! Pulease, find more to talk about or shut up!

I like the game from a few years ago when we came back from like 6 runs down in the 9th against the Reds, in Denny Graves’ last game as a Red.

What was LaRussa thinking, letting Carp bat for himself in the ninth last night, then letting him come out to pitch the bottom of the inning?

Carp was obviously out of gas, and while he had pitched heroically up to that point, with a three day break coming up, there is no reason to hold back on the relievers.

Instead, Carp put the tying run on, then Isringhausen came in to perform his customary blown save. Had it not been for some clutch hits in the 12th, we would have left town with a split.

It just didn;t make a lot of sense to me

The two games that stand out most to me are both of the Cincinatti comebacks.I think it was ’03 when JD Drew hit a big homer to tie a game we had been losing 8-0 at one point. Later John Mabry would win it with a homer. Then the one mentioned above where we did it to them again. If I’m not mistaking, Mabry had another big homer in that game…Then of course I’ll never forget Albert’s 3 homer game against the Cubs.Didn’t he go 5 for 5 that day too??…I’m with Zimm about last night’s game.I was screaming at the television, as if TLR could hear me,because why on earth would you leave Carp in to hit in the ninth??? Pinch hit for him and hope we can create more of a cushion for Izzy. We all know he needs it. THEN he let Carp start the ninth.A friend of mine says to me,” Well, La Russa is trying to let Carp get a complete game. If the lead-off man gets on, I bet he’ll take him out.” Which is exactly what happened.So here’s the problem with that logic. IZZY…He HAS to come in with the bases empty cause he’s probably gonna load them before getting out of the inning. Everybody knows that. So don’t give him inherited runners. They will score almost every time!!!How is it that I can see that and La Russa either can’t or has temporary lapses in memory????

Sometimes a manager does things not because they are tactically correct, but to make a statement with/to his players. By leaving Carp in on Sunday, TLR was saying “Look, this game is more important than the All-Star game. If you think you can go, then go. Yes, there is risk involved, and you’ll be on a short leash, but I have faith in you to do what you can. And Izzy, I trust you to get out of a leadoff-runner mess, if it comes to that.”

That’s the kind of thing a leader does, and he was right more than he was wrong. The only part about the whole thing that he got wrong was trusting Isringhausen, and the team had better start coming to terms with the fact that Izzy is no longer a reliable closer. The issues associated with that fact run a lot deeper than this game. Otherwise, the decisions don’t look so bad to me provided that one is taking the long-term view.

Just finished watching All star game. Can’t believe Garner, in defensive situation, goes with Cabrera at 3rd instead of Rolen. Scotty prob makes that play, game over. But nooooooo…..count on an Astro to screw up the postseason……..

I was at that Saturday game in Houston. When Oswalt brushed Albert back, I told the person next to me, he’s not going to get away with that! Albert made him pay. Last year, I saw Carp’s complete game 1-hit shut-out in Toronto, and that defined his Cy Young season. I also will never forget that Sunday HOF-Induction Day night game on TV, when Edgar hit the HR against the Cubs for the big come-back. And I attended a crazy game in Philadelphia in 2004, the Cardinals first trip into the new ballpark. One run lead, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 out, 2 strikes. Izzy uncorks a wild pitch, the batter swings and misses. Matheny plays the carom off the brick backstop perfectly to beat the runner by a half step at first to end the game.

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