It's always been one of my top life goals to see my team, the St. Louis Cardinals, win a championship live and in person. A World Series Championship would be the ultimate, but I always said I'd be just as happy to see a Division Championship or the National League Pennant clincher. There is something about seeing a truly historical moment for your team in person that seemed like the ultimate in sports fandom to me.
I've been close before. Last season, I was at Game 5 of the NLCS with the Cardinals up 3-1 on the San Francisco Giants, but those hopes ended on an amazing performance by Barry Zito, and to make matters worse, the Cardinals lost the series in 7 games.
I thought that was my best chance to be a part of history. You never know when you might get that close again...and living nearly 7 hours away from my favorite team makes it even more difficult.
I didn't think I was going to make it to any playoff games this season even a week ago. I thought the Cardinals were going to wrap up the NLCS in 5 games in LA. So, when the Dodgers pushed the series to Game 6, I knew I had to be there. The day before game 6, I jumped on Stubhub and bought tickets to Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS. I was fearful of another postseason collapse and subsequent dreary, long drive home especially with Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound in Game 6 and tough rookie Ryu looming in game 7, but I knew I had to give it a shot, even if there was more heartache in store.
I'm not going to spend alot of time recapping the game, but I am proud and lucky to have been able to experience Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS at Busch Stadium last night. There is something about the experience of playoff baseball in and of itself that truly cannot be matched...and a potential clinching game ratchets up the intensity even further.
The game may not have been a classic, but it's something I will never forget. The confetti, the fireworks, watching the dogpile on the mound: these are all things that will forever be burned into my memory. I truly consider this the culmination of my baseball experiences.
I'm still on cloud nine. I don't think it will ever get better than last night. I can now say that I've crossed off the most sought after piece of my baseball bucket list.