Witness to History

Pieces of History
Pieces of History

Last night was Game Four of the World Series, and the first World Series game I’d every attended. My Cardinals were in a tough spot, down 3-0 to the BoSox.

I’d been building up to this ever since Monday, when I first learned I was going to get tickets from Kelly. Going to the World Series has been a dream of mine since childhood — I can’t remember missing a World Series, and have suffered and laughed through the wins and losses over the last three decades or so.

Security was gonna be tough — the news was announcing that days in advance — with plenty of police, dump trucks full of sand surrounding the stadium so nothing larger than two feet wide could get through, concrete barricades, and a very thorough search of every bag and some people. Knowing this, and knowing that there was a bag size restriction (16″ x 16″ x 8″), I had to plan carefully what photo gear to take.

My Domke bag was just a skosh too long, so I was back to using my trusty Tamrac System 6 bag, into which I stuffed my 10D with battery grip, 100-400mm lens, 16-35mm lens, 1.4x teleconverter, cleaning cloth (in case of rain), four spare batteries, and 3.25Gb of compact flash. There was enough gear in there to choke a horse, but it all fit…. just. I had no idea exactly how these seats were with respect to the field, so I just made my best guesses. As it ends up, I did ok on gear selection.

Becky and I arrived just before 5pm, which was the official time for the gates to open. I expected to get searched pretty hard, especially given all the publicity to that effect. As it ends up, getting in was relatively easy, even with my big pack. I had some envy though — past us walked the pro photographers on their way in, suitcases full of gear in tow, and some nice cameras hanging from their necks. If anything ever pulls me away from my current job, a gig like that would be it! 🙂

We wandered around, got dinner, bought me a hat — I wanted a Cardinals World Series hat — and found our seats. I took some quick shots of the stadium, revelling in the glory of being their for batting practice for the World Series, and tried to take it all in.

We watched folks file in to the game, stood for the National Anthem, listened to the roar of a pair of F-18s flyover, and just like that the game had started. Truthfully, the nuts and bolts of the game are a bit of a blur — it’s like that sometimes when you finally check something off the “Things I’d like to do before I die” list. The Cards were in trouble from the first batter, when Johnny Damon corked one over the wall, and never really mounted much of a rally, despite a futile attempt at “smallball” to try to tie it up at one.

Suffice it to say that Boston just wanted it worse than we did. We were virtually shutout in the last two games (save for a Larry Walker home run in the 8th inning of Game 3), and the middle of the lineup — our power hitters — went one for thirty in the Series. This simply wasn’t the Cardinals team that we enjoyed all season. I suspect the Houston series used the last of the gas in the can, and there just wasn’t anything left for Boston, especially after their crushing victory in Game One.

Of course, the Boston faithful went wild at Busch, and that was fun to watch… and in a way, it was fun to be at a spot on the planet where history was being made. If we’d lose to anyone, I’m kinda glad it was the Sox. It’s nice for their curse to be over, and now we can get back to poking fun at the Cubs. 🙂

The Sox fans that we ran into along the way were courteous, friendly, and commented how our crowd is so different than New York. Players and fans alike say that St. Louis has the best baseball fans in the world, and I think we showed that this week. There wasn’t a lot of taunting on either side, no trash talking in the stands, just a humble respect for the long histories of each of these teams. That’s very cool.

Naturally, there’s a ton of blue folk in St. Louis this morning, as evidenced by the newscasters on the early morning news. Everyone’s just a step slower, very gracious in defeat, and pleased to have gotten to the World Series.

(By the way, used ticket stubs are going from $60-70 to over $400 on eBay this morning. Guess folks want to grab their piece of history. I have mine!)

So, we in Cardinals Nation will lick our wounds until April, when the campaign begins anew, probably with a ton of different players. That, though, is a conversation point for another time!