Astros: the Homer

After Edmondsí miraculous homer in the 11th inning of Game 6, Astros started Roger Clemens in Game 7. To little avail though. In the 6th, Pujols started to peel off Clemens' confidence by hitting a tying double and that was just a courtesy warning shot. As the Rocket prepared to pitch to Scott Rolen, he had little idea that the ball he was trying to knead into obedience was surreptitiously tying shoelaces on its seven-league boots. It was one of those young upwardly mobile balls, fresh from the grad school, who still remembered that flying high is the best way of acquiring distance. When Rolen hit the swanky projectile, the ecstatic fans froze briefly, swiveled their heads into the comet-expecting position and - still within the same second - erupted into an uncontrollable bout of cheering, which must have carried all the way to the ever listening ears of Iowa sweet. Homer! In the deafening din that engulfed the bleachers, you wouldn't hear a fully loaded cement truck tumbling down the stairs. But the Rocket must have felt the tip of a titanium auger being hammered into his skull by an uncivilized backhoe. And all that whacking delivered without a single lick of clemency.

In a few seconds, with a few knocks and bangs, the bridge over the Rubicon was built. To fully appreciate Rolenís ensuing odyssey around the bases, we'll have to describe it in Homer's own language.

"Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Houston. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, girded his sword about his shoulder, and left the home plate, heading off to first base, looking like an immortal god. But when he was just about to reach the high promontory of first base, he was caught by a heavy gale which carried him out to sea again sorely against his will, and drove him to second base where an astrologer used to dwell. He at once set himself to think how he could speed Rolen on his way. He cut down twenty trees and made a raft as broad as a skilled shipwright makes the beam of a large vessel, and he fixed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He also made a mast with a yard arm, and a rudder to steer with. In four days he had completed the whole work, and on the fifth he sent Rolen from the second base after giving him some clean clothes and a bag of tootsie rolls. Thus, then, our hero sped on his way through the watches of the night from dark till dawn, until he reached the third base, whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried him weeping to the left and away from the third base. And the wind never fell light from the day when heaven first made it fair for me. Nine days and nine nights did he sail, and on the tenth day the plate showed on the horizon, for the gods backed the wind into his old quarter and he reached home and there he was greeted by his valiant men."

Meanwhile, in the completely related part of the sky over the Busch Stadium, benighted clouds were rejoicing in their celebratory regatta. Macerated in a soft chiaroscuro, their fluffy sails were puffing with pride. And higher still hung the dark awning of night, densely pocked with astral claw-marks of thousands of wishes flitting back and forth through the oceans of empty space. Oceans so vast that they could harbor them all and plenty of fish to boot.

© 2004† Jan Rehacek

The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part III.

Inning: 5

Scott Rolen arriving home (Game 7).

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki


Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak