Around 11:00 yesterday morning, the family team is working the front lawn, core aerating and overseeding. Then in a total surprise, our neighbor walks up to us and offers us two tickets to yesterday's Cardinal game. It would be the biggest game of the year, with the Cardinals having a chance to clinch.
The seats were incredible, 9th row of the field boxes, between home plate and the mound. It was the last day of the season, with the stadium filled to capacity, including standing room areas.
The Cardinals magic number was down to one. A Cardinal win or a Houston loss would mean another post season trip for the Cardinals, their 6th in 7 seasons.
At game time, according to the right field scoreboard, Atlanta was already beating Houston 2-0.
LaRussa changed his pitching plans for the day, opting to start Anthony Reyes on only three days rest, and saving Carpenter for either the first post-season series, or a decisive one-game playoff situation.
Reyes was wholly ineffective, allowing 4 earned runs, giving way to a 1st inning reliever. Not to worry, though, by this time, Atlanta was up 3-0.
Now it's late in the game, and the Cardinals are down 5-0. But most people are watching the Atlanta-Houston score in the outfield. Atlanta is up 3-1, but Houston is batting and it's taking a life time to finish their half of the 7th inning. Is Houston having a big inning? Why is this 7th taking so long???
Heads keep turning from the action on the field to the scoreboard. The score stays 3-1, but its still the top of the 7th. The 7th goes on, and on. Then finally, the asterisk switches to the bottom of the 7th, with Atlanta batting, still leading 3-1.
Now its the 9th in Atlanta, and the Braves are still up 3-1. Fans in the left field corner at Busch start peforming the "Tomahawk Chop".
If there's a team I detest more than the Houston Astros, it's the Atlanta Braves, and there can't be a more annoying cheer than Atlanta's "Tomahawk Chop". But now, in St. Louis, it's the 9th in Atlanta, and the fans at Busch are standing, all doing the Tomahawk Chop. If Atlanta can "chop" Houston, the Cards win the NL Central.
Then along the right field line, fans start cheering. No sign from the scoreboard yet. Then on the big screen, they show the Houston manager, Phil Garner with a sour-milk look on his face, then they show a ninth inning play, with Houston making an out, then the Cards fans get louder with their Tomahawk Chop, now chanting that horrid "Chop" theme, backed up by the Busch sound system.
Then the score board changes the "9" to an "F" for the Braves/Houston game. Braves win. Cards clinch! Celebration breaks out at Busch.