NLCS Game 7: Rocket grounded

Yesterday’s game:
Cardinals 5, Astros 2

Cardinals win series 4-3
The last time the Cardinals were in the World Series, 1987 against the Twins, the home team won every game. The same happened in this NLCS, sending St. Louis back to the Fall Classic. Should that trend continue, well, that means Red Sox in seven. This will be the third meeting between these two clubs in October, but we’ll look ahead to that matchup later. For the Cardinals, as it was for the Red Sox and Astros, just to get to a seventh game, superb pitching performances from unlikely starters meant the difference. For Boston, it was Derek Lowe with six one-hit innings on two days’ rest. You could even make a case for Curt Schilling’s Game 6 start after his drubbing in Game 1 on the bum ankle. For the Cardinals, it was Jeff Suppan last night. Craig Biggio put Houston on top in the first, but Suppan settled in and didn’t let the Astros build a comfortable lead behind Roger Clemens. I’ve heard it was the first time that two former teammates met on the mound in a postseason Game 7, though I don’t know if I remember the circumstances correctly (that is, it could’ve been the first time ever in postseason history, or the first time in Game 7 in the NLCS, or either LCS, etc.).

What did in the Astros, I contend, was the decision to wear those ridiculous rust-colored jerseys for a Thursday night postseason game. I’ve discussed my displeasure for alternate jerseys before, though my main complaints are with breaking tradition (how the Mets simply adopted black as an official color simply to have a black jersey, rather than introducing the black beforehand or making the alternate jersey the classy, shimmering blue that used to define their spring training uniforms) and the inconsistency of when and where those jerseys are used. For the most part, there’s no rhyme or reason to when a team decides to go with the colored top instead of the home white or road gray. However, I’ve noticed — in highlights and on my Extra Innings package — this season that the Astros tended to only wear the rust jerseys at home on weekends. I don’t remember if it was Saturday or Sunday. And I may be wrong on all counts. In any case, why they went and switched things up last night I just don’t get. Apparently, Major League Baseball either asks or requires the players to wear his team’s standard home or away uniform, because in Houston this year I did not see any alternate jerseys, even on players whose teams love to use them — the Cubs and Sammy Sosa, the A’s and Mark Mulder, and so on. Why won’t Bud insist — or request, but I’d prefer a firm stance on this — that in the postseason, teams should stick with their main standard uniforms. The Red Sox, who wore their red jerseys regularly on Sundays in Boston this season, abandoned them for Sunday’s Game 4 at Fenway. It just doesn’t seem right to see the celebratory pile-on when all the players are in black softball tops like the Marlins are fond of wearing. The game doesn’t seem big enough if that’s how they look. Some may contend that banning the jerseys for entire series, or the postseason, is a little strong, so then make it apply only to night games or, at least, potential series-ending games. But that’s probably just me.

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