For those who weren’t watching the Cardinals game tonight (and you really should have been!), one of our rookies pitchers, Michael Wacha, had a no-hitter going into the ninth inning. He was down to the last out when a strangely played ball resulted in a single for the Nationals, and the end of the no-no. We were still winning, and there were already two outs in the inning, but you could see briefly in Wacha’s face, before he was pulled from the game, agony.
40,000 fans were on their feet for the entire ninth inning, screaming their support as they hoped to see their pitcher win a spot in the record books. But as the ump called, “Safe!” 40,000 fans were collectively silenced. You could have heard a pin drop. They too, were in agony. Not because we had lost, but because they had seen Wacha lose out on one of the greatest possible achievements for a pitcher. Not because they were disappointed in him, but because they were very, very disappointed for him.
Here at home, I was crumpled on the floor, with one son informing me that my screams had hurt his ears, and the other, clearly afraid I was having some kind of episode, patting my back and apologizing repeatedly, as though it was his fault the Nationals got a hit. I, too, was in agony, because Wacha is “my” player, the one who answered the question I submitted for Social Media Night, and the one who indirectly led to me winning a prize that night. I wanted to see him get that no-hitter, and I also wanted to share watching that happen with my boys, because we’ve never seen a Cardinals no-hitter before.
This was a great night for the Cards. Another win as the march to the play-offs continues, the magic number continuing to drop. And a one-hitter is still a great accomplishment. But it was still agonizing to watch the last out, knowing what could have been.
You hear much about the agony of defeat, and rightly so. But sometimes, there’s a certain agony to victory, too.