Native St. Louisan, and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra said it best of Game 6, “Boy that was exciting.  I always say it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, but that one should’ve been over a while ago.”

To be honest, Yogi, the Cardinals season should’ve be over a while ago.  But, as Joe Buck said on the Game 6 telecast, the Cardinals “just won’t go away.”

When Game 6 of the 107th World Series was postponed, it sent several fans’ schedules into a tizzy.  Some people who could make it Wednesday, couldn’t on Thursday.  By someone else’s misfortune, this author was able to go.  I didn’t have to sit in the pressbox with all our venerable authors in St. Louis; I got to sit with the true fabric of the city – its far more venerable baseball fans in the bleachers.

Between the shirtless morons and the MC Hammer-type red pinstripe suits, there were the fans who’ve agonized with the team over last couple months as they’ve all but stopped our hearts.  While all those mentioned added to the fun, it was the fans who’ve never been to a World Series game in person that deserved the kind of game they saw.  It was the kind of game that requires the line score to truly make sense of what really happened.

In the bleachers there were no “Glee” actors leaving after the fourth inning.  In the bleachers there were no former heads of state.  In the bleachers there were diehards hell-bent on every pitch.  There were folks who just couldn’t sit down; personally, that worked better for me, as my legs would not stop shaking.  Because of my obvious nerves, my friend told me to remind him never to be in a foxhole with him.

I sat in section 527, a stone’s throw away from the “grassy knoll” in centerfield.  Behind me and to my right was a female with a great sign – “He told me I could have an engagement ring, or World Series Tickets.  I’m here!”

In the end, I’m pretty sure she made the right decision.  In fact, we’re all glad we were there – whether we were at the game, at a local establishment, or just at home with our families.  It was a game not easily forgotten.  If someone turned the play-by-play into a Hollywood script, the studio heads and critics would say it’s too unbelievable.  They’d say, “Rewrite it without the hometown boy going from the goat with two errors to hero with two comeback hits; that’s just silly, and would never happen.”

I’m not going to give you stats in this column; I’m only going to give you emotions.  To me, that’s what this game was about.  I sat with two of my best friends – neither of whom had ever experienced the World Series in person.  They couldn’t be more different.  One is the loudest jerk I ever heard at a sporting event – born in another city, St. Louis is now his home, and the Cardinals have been his team for years.  The other is the diehard baseball purist who lives and dies with every pitch and swing by his beloved Cardinals – born and raised in St. Louis, he’s known nothing other than cheering for the birds on the bat.

The loud jerk, as I’ll refer to him, was suddenly best friends with the fan next to him; it’s funny how a dramatic baseball game can bring complete strangers together like it did Thursday.  The diehard, as I’ll refer to him, was in his own baseball world – seemingly bothered when his friends interrupted his concentration.

The entire section went nuts when Lance Berkman’s homerun landed just a few feet away from my seat.  But no matter if you were the loud jerk or the diehard, the errors the Cardinals made as the Rangers took a lead buried our heads in our hands.  The Cardinals, though, just would not go away.

Fans in the section nearly turned on the loud jerk at one point.  David Freese had a pop fly hovering over him.  The loud jerk screamed, “Don’t drop it!”  As if Freese heard him from the bleachers, he did the opposite.  Fans turned to him in sheer anger, as if the loud jerk had dropped the ball himself.  Things looked bleak.  The diehard said, “We’re embarrassing the franchise in an elimination game.”  He later added, after Matt Holliday was picked off of third base with only one out, that the performance was “an abomination.”  He wasn’t alone.  Homers from Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz, followed by an RBI single by the impressive Ian Kinsler, turned the crowd to desperation.  The Cardinals, though, just would not go away.

This was erroneously reported before the Cards comeback

In the bottom of the seventh, hope was granted to the fans by Allen Craig.  “Torty”, nicknamed after his pet tortoise, hit a bomb to left field to bring the Cardinals back within two runs.

The Cardinals were down by two runs with three outs left to their season.  The flame-throwing Texas closer, Neftali Feliz, came in to give the Rangers their first-ever Championship.  The Ranger fans in our section had been vocal throughout the game.  They seemed to be quieter in the ninth.  It was as if they knew it wouldn’t be easy to end the season of the team whose season would never end.

Everyone was on their feet in Section 527.  If you weren’t standing, you weren’t alive.  The Cardinals needed to stay alive.  Feliz had two strikeouts in the inning, but had allowed a double to Albert Pujols and a walk to Lance Berkman.  Then the Hollywood script too unbelievable to even be a movie began to write itself.  David Freese had two strikes.  The Rangers were one strike away from a World Series title.  But the Cardinals just would not go away.  Freese blasted a triple off the wall over Nelson Cruz’s head, scoring Pujols and Berkman to tie the game.  The word “pandemonium” comes to mind when thinking back to our section.  The diehard traded his intense countenance for an ecstatic one.  The loud jerk was getting high fives and hugs from the fans who had given the look of death after the Freese error.  Me?  My legs were shaking even though I was standing – I didn’t know that was physically possible.

Then the tenth inning came around.  The Rangers made a statement about how great their ballclub really is.  They scored two more runs to make it 9-7 off a homer by the guy whose power was supposedly absent – Josh Hamilton.  Hope, once again, seemed to dissipate.  Fans looked to each other to commiserate their pain.  The Cardinals were three outs from having the season end.  The Cardinals, though, just won’t go away.

John Jay had been 0-for-16 in the World Series, but got his first hit of the Series in the eight.  In the tenth, those 16 at-bats without a hit were forgotten.  As far as Cardinals fans were concerned, Jay was 2-for-2 after he followed Daniel Descalso’s single with one of his own.  Kyle Lohse – a pitcher – bunted them over.  Ryan Theriot then drove Descalso in, and brought the Cardinals within one.  Hope…

The “Gray Bush”, “Big Puma”, “Extra-Medium Puma”, whatever you want to call him, Lance Berkman did it again.  He drove Jay in with a single to center, erupting 527 and the rest of the stadium with a single swing of the bat.  When he returned to the outfield, he was compelled to tip his cap to the fans that never stopped believing in their beloved ‘birds.

I don’t remember sitting down, at all, in the final innings.  I don’t remember the count.  I don’t remember how many outs there were.  What I do remember was David Freese at the plate.  “There’s no way he can do it again,” I thought.  Freese drove the ball to centerfield.  I became Mike Shannon, yelling, “Get up, baby; get up!”  For me, the ball seemed to stay up for an eternity.  And then it landed.  Just a few yards away from me, the ball landed in the “grassy knoll”.  Pandemonium?  No, that’s not good enough.  There’s no way to describe it in words.

I guess the only way to describe it is as Joe Buck did, “The Cardinals just won’t go away.”

And now it’s Game 7.  Two great clubs and two incredible sets of fans – Cardinals and Rangers fans – will be there.  No matter what happens, no one is a loser.  The two cities should be proud of their teams, and the way that diehards, loud jerks, and fans of all kinds for these teams (along with a sports writer with the night off) came together to make a mere sporting event a night to truly remember.

Oh, and Yogi?  We’re all glad it’s not over.

Rangers fans deserve better...