Friday, October 21, 2011

Game 1 World Series: Cardinals vs Rangers

The 2011 World Series: Cardinals vs Rangers

Game 1, October 19, Busch Stadium, Saint Louis

Around noon on Wednesday, October 19, I left Love Field, festively all ballooned-up by Southwest Airlines for the World Series, for Game 1 of the 2011 World Series in Saint Louis.
And in the Saint Louis Airport, lots of Cardinal Spirit.

While looking for the airport's Metrolink train to ride downtown, I met another Ranger fan, Jordan Murray who was looking for the same.  Jordan suggested that we just share a cap, and we did.  Pictured is Jordan, graduate of Wichita Falls High School (Old High) and the cab driver who reminded me of Samuel (Nyambi Nyambi), who works at the restaurant in TV's "Mike and Molly."
The Cabbie is from Ethiopia, but has been in Saint Louis  for 20 years.
At the hotel, Millenium, which is 2 blocks from Busch Stadium, I was greeted by Colby Lewis, who would be the starting Ranger in Game 2.
Actually, Pitcher Lewis was kind enough to have his picture taken with me.

From my hotel room, I could see the top of the Busch Stadium.  Since Michelle Obama and Jill Biden were going to attend Game 1, there was increased security.  You might be able to see the security person on the top of the stadium.
Before the game I went to Charlie Gitto's restaurant about 6 blocks from the stadium.  Jeannie and I always go to Gitto's before Cardinal games when we are on a baseball trip.  It was recommended to us in 2008 by David Reid, one of the biggest Cardinal fans of them all.

Lots of Cards spirit, memorabilia, and fans at Charlie Gitto's along with great Italian food.
That is Charlie to my right and maybe his body guard to my left.

After a great late afternoon meal, I headed toward Busch Stadium to search for a ticket from either a fan or the dreaded scalper.
 Cardinal red in the fountains.
  Lots of spirit
A cold gray rainy day.

But I ran into some Ranger fans from Dallas, Morgan and Keira, freshmen at Missouri U who graduated from W. T. White (where I taught 13 years before they were born) and Ursuline.  They drove about 150 miles from Mizzou to try to get into the game, but they have two guy Cardinal fans with them.  They were going to drive back to Mizzou right after the game so they would not miss class (or so they said):

These two Cardinal fans below sold me a nice ticket, and they are also famous anthropologists (not as famous as Indiana Jones, but they were featured in National Geographic in the February, 2010 issue). They work with chimps in the Congo.  Dave Morgan and Crickette Sanz.  They have spent the better part of 10 years in the Congo.  I read the NGeo issue, and it was fascinating.  Check it out.  They also referred me to a website:

My seat was not with these two anthropologists, but was next to one of their anthropologist colleagues at Washington University, who has spent a lot of time in Madagascar and may know more about lemurs than anyone on the planet.

These are some views from our seats of the opening ceremonies.
Rangers heading to dugout after opening ceremony

First Pitch
The Cardinals scored 2 in the 4th inning, but the Rangers tied it up in the 5th with a 2-run homerun by Mike (Na-Po-Li) Napoli.  In the bottom of the 6th, Ranger starting pitcher, C. J. Wilson gave up a double, a wild pitch, and a walk to put Cardinals on 1st and 3rd with two outs.  Below is Manager Ron Washington coming to the mound to make a pitching change. 

Pitcher Alexi Ogando came into the game, but gave up a run scoring pinch-hit single (almost caught by left-fielder Nelson Cruz) to Allen Craig, and the Cardinals took the lead 3-2.

They sang "God Bless America" at the 7th inning stretch.
and also "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
The Cardinal fans cheered their team on to a 3-2 victory as the Rangers could neither score nor get to first base in the 8th and 9th innings.

ESPN commentator booth outside Busch Stadium and happy fans.
Saint Louis has some of the best fans in baseball, and they were extremely, extremely, extremely happy with the 3-2 win.  Joy was everywhere.
(But tomorrow is another day)

Game 2 World Series: Rangers vs Cardinals

The 2011 World Series: Cardinals vs Rangers

Game 2, October 20, Busch Stadium, Saint Louis

The weather got a little better, so I took a walk to look at the sites on the afternoon before game 2.
Plus a suprise visitor is flying in for game 2.

Old Man River
It is Mr. Chicago, Gregg Fleisher.
We immediately went to eat at Charlie Gitto's.
On the walk to Busch Stadium, we encountered the Saint Louis version of "Occupy Wall Street"

Gregg and I walked around the stadium, spoke to a number of sellers of tickets, bought a pair and headed into the ball park.  Great seats, 10 feet from the foul line between 3rd base and the foul pole.
Ranger pitchers walking from the dugout to the bullpen.

View from our seats toward home plate.  Neither team scored until the 7th inning.
This is the top of the fourth inning.  Ian Kinsler, #5, is on 3rd base (Michael Young just singled and is on first base with two outs).  Adrian Beltre is the batter, but he (like the Mighty Casey) struck out.
This is the Cardinals' mascot Redbird with a couple of friends trying to shoot a t-shirt into the crowd.

Josh Hamilton in left field
The Cardinals scored 1 in the bottom of the 7th to lead 1-0.  The Rangers did not score in the 8th, but posed a threat in the top of the 9th.  These are Cardinal fans in left field cheering on their team.
The ninth inning started with Cardinals bringing in their star late inning pitcher, Jason Motte.  He had faced 28 batters in 8 playoff games and had only given up one hit and no walks.

The first batter, Ian Kinsler, hit a lazy fly ball that fell in for a single in front of the left fielder and just over the outstretched hands of Cardinal shortstop.
Then Ian Kinsler stole 2nd base (barely).

 Then Elvis Andrus got a base hit, Kinsler was held at third base, but the throw from the outfielder was mishandled and Andrus went to second.
This is a view at that time into the Rangers dugout from out seats.

The Cardinals, in a controversial move, replaced Motte with pitcher Rhodes.  Josh Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to score Kinsler and Elvis Andrus moved from 2nd to 3rd.  The Cardinals changed pitchers again replacing Rhodes with Lynn.  Michael Young came up to bat and hit another sacrifice fly that scored Andrus and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.  The Cardinals did not score in the bottom of the 9th and the Rangers won game 2 of the World Series 2-1, and they celebrated.

World Series tied 1 game each.  Next games begin on Saturday in Texas

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Playoffs First Round: Rangers vs Tampa Rays

The 2011 Baseball playoffs start with 8 teams - Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers, and Diamondbacks in the National League and Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Yankees in the American League.

The first round is a 3 out of 5 series.  On September 30, the Rangers lost game one 9-0, but the next night the Rangers overcame a 3 run deficit to win 8-6.

We followed game two from a wedding reception.  Nicole Reid, daughter of Cardinal fan David Reid, married Richard Kamprath.  Both are recent SMU Law School graduates.
One of Nicole's flower girls, Bailee Utter (daughter of Bill Utter), appeared on the blog on days 9, 10, and 12.

This is Nicole with her dad, long time friend David Reid, who is the biggest Saint Louis Cardinal fan I know.

After the nuptials and with the series tied at one game each, the Rangers headed to Tampa and so did Walter.

This is Rays fan Alicia.  Her boyfriend and his dad gave me a good price on a ticket.
This is the dad.  He grew up in Boston and is my age.  We had a great time talking about baseball, politics, the old days, etc.

The Rays' games do not usually sell out, even playoff games.  You can see a blue tarp above mascot Raymond's head that covers thousands of seats.

Before the first playoff home game in each series, all players are introduced and they line up along the foul lines.
The Rangers scored 4 runs in the 7th inning and held on to take game three 4-3.

Game 4 was an afternoon game, and I started with a little nourishment.  My first burger at Five Guys.

Paul, originally from New Jersey about 5 miles across the Hudson River from Yankee Stadium, game me a good price on a ticket to game four.
Good views for game 4 from and near our seats.  A win means the Rangers win the series.
The Rangers won another close game 4-3.  All Ranger runs were scored by home runs, including 3 by Adrian Beltre.  This is the celebration as the Rangers win the series.
and more celebration by Ranger fans near dugout

Next for the Rangers, the opponent will either be the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers.  I have a plane ticket to Detroit and a hotel on hold in case it is the TIGERS.