The rain was cool, not cold, and there was little wind to speak of. The drops came down at first like tiny grains of salt, and then the rain hit hard. The Giants and Cardinals kept playing, and the umpires let them. The crowd roared, and when the rain doubled its pulse and tumbled down over the lip of the stadium, everyone's voice acquired another gear, a kind of giddy hoot more often heard when someone opens the door and finds a surprise party, or when the pillows in a pillow fight miraculously explode into feathers.
You know about the game. The proud Redbirds imploded, led by their snakebitten rookie shortstop. That's not the way the Cardinal script is meant to flow. Clean, tight, upstanding Midwestern baseball, that's the ticket. But the Giants, who do the voodoo they do so well -- just ask Ian Kinsler, who's still whispering to the ball teetering atop the center field fence -- somehow decided that things would be different this time. Well, they didn't exactly decide -- they just participated. When Hunter Pence swung and the incredulous Kozma broke to his right, only to see the ball shoot past him to his left, I figured from my left-field bleacher seat that Kozma out-clevered himself. He must have broken toward third as the pitch was delivered because he expected an extreme pull swing. I didn't know that the voodoo was in full effect. I only just got home an hour ago to see it myself. I still don't believe it.
I don't believe that Matt Cain had some of his worst stuff of the year, missing both in and out of the strike zone with his fastball and lacking any sort of feel with his off-speed stuff, yet he shut out the Cardinals for nearly six innings.
I don't believe that the Giants just came back again from an abysmal deficit, this time outscoring St. Louis 20 to 1 in the process.
But then the skies opened, and we danced and sang and smiled at each other as water soaked our ringing skulls and dripped from the brims of our caps. Everyone got high, and not just from the yerba buena gardens that by mid-game were in full conflagration in the bleachers, if you know what I mean. It was yet another Giants thing that wasn't supposed to happen: Baseball in a downpour. Not just baseball, important baseball. The clouds skittered away just before game time, hallelujah, and stayed away most of the night. Not all of it, though, and the baseball gods -- obviously in close consultation with the weather gods -- deemed it proper to let the downpour begin with the decision already in hand. Why then?
Indeed, why did the Giants wait until elimination time, with the world's baseball lovers watching, to play their best? Why did the buttoned-up Cardinals so thoroughly unravel? And don't even try to figure out how Fox, desperate for baseball ratings, convinced Matt Holliday and Marco Scutaro to do that "OK, I'll slide into you and you pretend you're hurt" thing, then have Scutaro kick Cardinal ass (James Hetfield's words, not mine!) the rest of the way while Holliday fumbled then faded his way into the off-season. I could have sworn the final out was made by Allen Craig on a pop-up to Brandon Crawford, but all the replays show it was Holliday to Scutaro. Clever, Fox, clever.
As I stood in the cascade carrying peanut shells and hot dog wrappers down the bleacher aisle, I watched a very wet Marco Scutaro accept the series' MVP trophy, and my only regret was that he couldn't rip it apart with his bare hands and toss half of it to Ryan Vogelsong.
Down under the bleachers, the angry young men were already shouting "Fuck Detroit" as they lined up at the urinals; out in the street people were banging on the sides of the Muni trains going by. I was happy in the rain, watching the Giants take a lap and give their fans high fives as the infield turned to mud and the outfield grass disappeared under a puddle.