It was one of those games you just can’t forget.
Last Friday, three friends joined me on a trek to Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game in St. Louis. The forecast for Friday night was pretty bleak and I personally didn’t expect to see four innings.
It started raining about the third inning, but lightly. It picked up a bit in the fourth. By the fifth, Cardinals pitcher Brad Penny couldn’t grip the ball. In the middle of the fifth, the rain picked up, the players took off and the thunder and lightning rolled in. And so did the tornado warnings.
It’s an odd experience, being at a ballgame when the city’s storm warning sirens are going off, the video board shows a weather radar snapshot that’s all red (meaning bad weather) with a few little swirly tornado symbols, to boot. Oh, and at one point, it was raining so hard, we couldn’t see the lights on the opposite side of the stadium.
Despite not getting in a full game, we had a blast. The opening innings had quite a bit of action, including several deep-fly outs that certainly would have left the park under normal weather conditions. We also saw base-running snafus, a guy getting hosed (thrown out) at the plate by a strong-armed rightfielder, and we each downed a massive bowl of pulled pork-covered nachos. Good friends and nachos; life is good, indeed.
Prior to the game, I was able to catch up with an old friend, who works near the park, and her husband. While we sat and talked on the patio of a nearby hotel, a two-man band broke out their version of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.” Does it get any better than this?
Then, one of my friends called in a favor to his step-mother, who just happens to be the niece of Cardinals announcer John Rooney. A half-hour later, we were in the radio booth. Let me tell you, going to work there 81 days a year would be all right.
A 2:32 rain delay allowed me to drive home in time to see the last two innings on TV. I tuned in to Rooney’s radio call for the bottom of the sixth and all of the seventh. I couldn’t believe the game resumed, but it did.
Yes, the night was just about perfect, except for one detail: The Redbirds lost 3-2.