The Agony of…Victory?

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.

Social Media Night at Busch Stadium

Last night was Social Media Night at Busch Stadium. I really wanted to go, partly because they were doing a Q&A with the players, and partly because I really wanted to tweet and blog about it. So, I did something that I’ve never done before…I went to the baseball game by myself!

The event was held in the Bowtie Bar, a place I had never been. Apparently, it’s the only place at Busch Stadium that serves beer through the entire game, and is open after the game, as well. It was a fun, busy place, and they had a “bottoms up” counter, where there “pour” the beer from the bottom up, thanks to a magnet system in the bottom of the cup. It was fascinating to watch, although I can’t quite figure out why it’s a better method than the more traditional pour!

P1310526

P1310529

P1310528

P1310580

It was an amazing night. The Q&A session was great. There was a pretty good crowd, although there were fewer people than I was expecting.

P1310564

There were three rookies answering questions: Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, and Kolten Wong. It was really interesting to hear them talk about their experiences. I learned that Joe Kelly grew up skateboarding in California, Michael Wacha is an Iowa native who was a Cubs fan growing up, and Kolten Wong, being from Hawaii, could only watch ball games on TBS as a child.

P1310544

The most exciting part, though, was that they chose the question I submitted via Facebook, and asked Michael Wacha how he handled moving between the minor and major leagues, and how the players on the team made him feel at home in St. Louis. I learned that being sent back down is a great motivator for him to try harder, and, unsurprisingly, the team is very welcoming, and tries to make the new guys feel welcome.

P1310546

The seats that came with the Social Media Night ticket were on the Left Field Porch, another place I had never been. The view was decent…not my favorite seats at Busch, but then again, there are no bad seats in Baseball Heaven!

P1310586

While I was there, I stopped at the Kohn’s food cart, to buy a “killer pastrami sandwich,” something I’ve been wanting to try for a few months. It was pretty delicious (although the ballpark price was painful to pay!).

P1310280

P1310570

During the game, the Cardinals were also retweeting fans’ Tweets about the game and Social Media Night. I tweeted up a storm, of course, because that’s why I was there. I wasn’t really expecting the Cardinals to notice any of my Tweets, but they did!

Because I was retweeted by the Cardinals, I was entered into a drawing for the night. I wasn’t expecting to win anything…I already hadn’t won any of the give-aways at the Q&A session (one of which was throwing out the first pitch…I was relieved not to win that one!). You can imagine my surprise, then, when I saw a tweet from the Cards on my way home on the train, announcing me as a winner of an autographed photo! The evening had already been so great, but that totally put it over the top for me!

This is the second Social Media Night event I’ve been to now, and I hope it won’t be the last!