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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: The Cardinals in Town

The Cardinals in Town

In general I try to avoid wearing red articles of clothing. This town is full of hungry wolves and when I come home at night, I do not want to be mistaken for a Red Riding Hoodlum. But every year I get one chance to wear a T-shirt whose redness would make comrades in Kremlin swell with pride. That chance comes when the Cards cross their bats with the Nats, which this year happened to be on the Labor Day.

Watching baseball on TV and in a stadium are two very different experiences. Kind of like looking at photos of the Grand Canyon and actually being there. If real estate agents handled the MLB, their motto would undoubtedly be: "Perspective, perspective, perspective".

With each fly ball, you can make a quick mini wager with yourself whether it would become a homer. With each at bat, you get to see tiny little tactical corrections in the configuration of players. And best of all, you get to be one of the co-recipients of those lovely audio-visual cues for a crowd to be spontaneous, which most spectators heed with unfettered enthusiasm, except those that are too busy converting various food groups into a mess around their seats.

This time I got to sit just a few yards behind the Cardinals' bullpen, so it almost felt like I was stationed on the field itself. I could study facial expressions of players as they were making their plays, I could hear the noises generated by the game and, rather sadly, I could also see the devastating pitches of the Nats' starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz in high-definition rendering. Ortiz came within three outs from throwing a no-hitter, which put a crowd into the state of frenzied exuberance, for such heroic feat had been unseen on the MLB turf since Randy Johnson's tour-de-force in May of 2004.

But history is notoriously hard to make. In the ninth the Cardinals did score a hit and even a run to make the score a little bit more swallowable (1:4).

This time last year the Cards were already pondering the postseason strategy. This season's fate still hangs in the balance.

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