Friday, October 9, 2009

Cardinal Blue

When was the last time a team was down to its final out with no one on base and came back to win a postseason game when that final out became a game-changing error? Never, according to the folks at ESPN.

Never, at least, until Matt Holliday lost a two-out, bases-empty line drive Thursday in either the Dodger Stadium lights (likely) or the white towels waved by Dodger fans (unlikely) that opened the door to the Dodgers improbable 3-2 come-from-behind win.

Holliday makes the catch - and he made one error in 63 games with the Cardinals this season - and the series shifts to St. Louis tied at 1-1 with the Cardinals having the home field advantage.

But Holliday doesn't, and now the Dodgers are one win from advancing to the NLCS.

''I didn't see the ball,'' Holliday told reporters in L.A. after the game. ''Obviously, I can catch a ball that's hit right at me. It's very difficult to swallow. We had a chance to win the game. It was unfortunate that it happened when it did.''

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright, who was in line for the win, had this to say: ''That ball got lost in 50,000 white towels shaking in front of Matt's face. It doesn't really seem fair that an opposing team should be able to allow their fans to shake white towels when there's a white baseball flying through the air. How about Dodger Blue towels?"

I thought about that as I watched the Tigers-Twin playoff game Tuesday and the NLDS games in Philly. Fans there wave white towels. The ball is white. Is it possible for a player to lose a ball in the towels?

I would think so. I wonder why it hasn't already happened.

I don't think it happened Thursday, because Dodger crowds are a tad laid back, and I doubt they would be waving towels when James Loney sent that catchable line drive toward Holliday in left field. Maybe before the pitch, but once the ball was hit? I don't think so. It wasn't like it was whistled down the left field line, drilled into the gap or sent sailing over the outfield wall. Loney didn't give the Dodger fans a chance to cheer. Holliday did.

Holliday is considered the goat, though Cardinals All-Star closer Ryan Franklin deserves equal blame. He didn't retire a single batter in the ninth.

Still, Holliday makes the catch and the biggest news Thursday was the Angels win against the Red Sox.

But he didn't, and we were treated to something we have never seen before in the long history of postseason baseball.

Boy, I love this game.

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