I don't like the St. Louis Cardinals. I'm a Cub fan. Actually, I hate the Cardinals. But I respect the Cardinals for what they've done this year and this last game.
First, a little context. The Cardinals were 10½ games back
of the Atlanta Braves for the wild card spot on August 25th
. They then won 23 of 31 games to amazingly clinch that wild card spot.
They then went on to beat Philadelphia and Milwaukee, 2 great teams, in 2 playoff series.
In the World Series, they were down 3-2 to the Texas Rangers before game 6.
In what was arguably the best World Series game in history, the Cardinals faced defeat and were down to their last strike not once, but twice in the game, and came back to win it
to force a game 7.
Here's how it happened: being down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Albert Pujols hit a 1-out double. Lance Berkman walked. Down to the final strike that would have won the game for the Rangers, David Freese hit a 2-strike, 2-out pitch for a triple, scoring Pujols and Berkman to send it to extra innings with the score tied 7-7.
In the Rangers' 10th
inning, Josh Hamiton hit a 2-run homer to put the Rangers up 9-7. But just when you thought it was over again, the Cardinals came back in the bottom of the tenth. Back to back singles by Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay put runners on first and second. Kyle Lohse bunts the runners over to second and third. Former Cub Ryan Theriot grounds out, scoring one run, making it 9-8. With first base open, the Rangers intentionally walk Pujols to bring up Berkman. And it happened again - with two-outs and two-strikes, Berkman singles, scoring a run and tying the game at 9-9.
After a scoreless 11th
for the Rangers, David Freese comes through again with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning, winning the game for the Cardinals, and sending the series to a game 7.
Depending on what happens in game 7, this has got to be one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history. Even the 69 Mets (don't get me started) might have to concede to this team.
And no matter what happens in game 7, game 6 has got to be one of the greatest World Series game comebacks in baseball history.
The way they came back in the regular season and the way they were at הגיע מים עד נפש, and they came back to win reminds me of the history of the Jewish people.
The Jewish people were on the brink of extinction too many times to count. Think of the sins of the Egel and the Meraglim. As Tehillim 106:23
reminds us, Moshe Rabbeinu needed to pray for our continued existence. Think also of Par'o, Haman, Hitler, and everyone in between. And they're still trying to destroy us as the Hagadda reminds us, while HKB"H saves us from their hands.
We needed our Go'el Rishon, Moshe Rabbeinu, who saved us with his prayers when Hashem thought to destroy us. That was David Freese's ninth-inning triple.
We also needed our intermediate Go'alim, like Mordechai and Esther, among others, who saved us from extinction from history's madmen who would like nothing more than all Jews dead. That was Lance Berkman's tenth-inning single.
And finally, we will need our final Go'el, Mashiah Tzidkeinu, who will bring us home and build the Beit Hamikdash. That was Freese's walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th
All the signs for Mashiah's arrival have passed long ago. Although the third 2000 year period is called the days of Mashiah, we have yet to experience this fully. We are currently in extra innings. May we all merit to see that walk-off home run in the very near future.