It's difficult to believe that a year has already passed since the Cardinals improbably overcame a two-run deficit in both the eighth and ninth innings of game six of the 2011 World Series to beat the Texas Rangers and force a fateful game seven.
Of course everything about that night was -- and still is -- difficult to believe. I've watched game six about 10 times and I still can't comprehend how far the Redbirds came back not once, but twice. Every time it gets to the ninth inning I expect to uncover a previous misunderstanding and realize the Cardinals really lost that game.
As we were all reminded this post season, momentum is a tremendous thing in baseball. Teams that look invincible one game can look incompetent the next. But i don't think I can recall an occasion in which I remember the momentum swinging so greatly in the middle of one contest.
The Cardinals looked absolutely terrible in the first half of game six. It was as if they just wanted the World Series to be over so they could go home, seemingly giving half an effort on easy plays in the field that resulted in Texas base runners and runs instead of outs. And then, as if someone turned on a switch, they were seemingly inspired and refused to give up even when they were down to their last strike.
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The Rangers weren't able to reclaim momentum even after Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th which seemed as if it might wipe away the monumental ninth inning effort of the Cardinals with one swing of the bat. Instead, the Cardinals tied the game again in the bottom of the ninth and then David Freese hit one of the most famous homers in Redbirds history in the 11th to win the game.
It's almost miraculous that the Cardinals were able to come through so many times when down to a two-strike count. From 2000-2009 Major League Baseball players hit .160 with an 0-2 count, .178 when it was 1-2, .195 when it's 2-2 and .234 with a full count. Those aren't promising numbers. And imagine how much tougher it is to bat in a stadium full of screaming people when an out results in your team's loss in the World Series as opposed to hitting with an 0-2 count in second inning of a tie game against the Astros in May.
The Redbirds may have flamed out in the 2012 NLCS, ending their defense of the 2011 championship. But I'm not ready to stop celebrating the events of a year ago just yet. And I have the feeling that game six will still be talked about 50 years from now as one of the greatest comebacks in World Series history.