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I live for this! October 7, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Baseball.
Roy Halladay, 10/6/10

And that's a no-hitter! Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Yesterday was my second-favorite day of the baseball season. (Opening day, of course, is the first.) Even without the Cardinals in the post-season, I love the playoffs and the way the intensity and excitement build as each series moves along. It’s the last baseball of the season and, in most cases, it’s the best.

In previous years, with the Cardinals in the playoffs, I’ve taken a day like yesterday off so I could watch all the games. (It is disappointing that Cardinals baseball is done for this season but, really, I can’t complain. I’ve been a Cards fan for 11 seasons now. They’ve gone to the post-season seven times, to the NLCS five times, to the World Series twice and won it all in 2006. And when I look at the entire roster of the 2010 Cardinals, not just the five All-Stars and Jaime Garcia, it does not say “playoff team” to me.) Yesterday, I settled for coming home at lunch to watch the start of the Rangers-Rays game and then listening online. It doesn’t necessarily matter to me who wins that series. I like the Rays, but it’s also great the Rangers are in the playoffs once again. And I’m always for Cliff Lee. So I was happy he settled in and got the win.

The game I was most anticipating yesterday was the Reds-Phillies, and that was for two reasons. One, like most Cardinals fans I know, I’m rooting for a Philadelphia sweep just to get Cincinnati out of there as quickly as possible. Any good feelings I might have had for the Reds disappeared in August. Secondly, the Phillies have been my playoff step-team since 2008 and I enjoy their games. So I made sure I was at my desk when the game began just after 4 p.m., then silently cheered as the Phillies came out swinging and took the lead in the top of the first. It was even better when Roy Halladay got a hit and drove in a run in the second inning and the Phils scored three more to chase Edinson Volquez from the game.

Pitchers are my favorite baseball players, which is another reason why I love watching playoff games – the chance to see the top pitchers on their biggest stages. It was exciting just to listen on the radio as Halladay sent down Red after Red, so I hurried home to watch on television. During that short commute, he walked his lone batter of the game. I marveled at his command and precision inning after inning. After Drew Stubbs was called out on an unbelievable pitch to end the top of the eighth, I checked the Reds lineup online.

Yes, what I’d been thinking was true: Brandon Phillips would be the third batter in the top of the ninth inning. The man whose big mouth started all the problems with the Cardinals, then exacerbated them with his shallow gesture that started the brawl on Aug. 10 – yep, that guy. The potential final out in a no-hitter. Thank you, baseball gods.

Like everyone, I was impatient during the bottom of the eighth. It didn’t matter what the Phillies did – just make an out and be done, so Halladay can get back out there! And the stage was set. I wanted so much for this to happen, both for the historical aspect of Roy Halladay throwing a no-hitter in his post-season debut and for the absolute delight of the Reds being his victims. Ramon Hernandez hit a pop-up to Chase Utley at second. That was one. Miguel Cairo was next, pinch-hitting, and he was quickly gone on a pop-foul to third. Two down. Then came Phillips. The crowd had been standing and roaring all inning, but notched it up in intensity. The shots of the fans were wonderful – what an incredible experience to be there! And then Phillips hit a grounder right in front of home, which Carlos Ruiz picked it up and fired to Ryan Howard to end the no-hitter. Beautiful, on so many fronts! And, like many Cards fan, I had to tweet the obvious: karma is the bitch, Brandon Phillips.

The drama, the beauty, the ultimate ecstasy and agony – all are the many reasons why I love baseball. And even with my team done for 2010, my interest and excitement will continue until the World Series champion is crowned in a few weeks. It’s an MLB marketing slogan, true, but I really do live for this. And there are three more games to watch today!



1. Michael - October 7, 2010

And having Orlando Cabrera complain about the home plate umpire? Yeah, who are the whiny bitches now? You know, the Reds did not win the season series against a single team with a record above .500. Not just a contending team, ANY team with an above .500 record. At the risk of karma myself, I think Cardinals fans are going to get their wish in this series.

2. J O'Brien - October 7, 2010

This post is a great summary of why we are baseball fans year after year after year.

3. Kat - October 7, 2010

October baseball is the best! True fans of the game really do “Live for this!”

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