Phat Albert

"Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don't you think?" -- Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), "Bull Durham," 1988.

The Wizard. Gibby. Hendu. Add Phat Albert to the list.

It was one of those things that when someone asks me 40 years from now where I was when the Cardinals' Albert Pujols hit the home run that saved St. Louis' season. I'll know exactly when and where: I was sitting in the newsroom on the phone with one of my best friends -- and lunatic baseball fan -- watching Astros pitcher Brad Lidge get ready to deliver Houston's first pennant.

"Wouldn't it be funny if he hit it out," friend says from two time zones away.

"Nah. It's over," says me of no faith.

The Cardinals are cooked. Two out, bottom of the ninth inning, two on, there is no way they're coming back. A 100-win season shot to Hell in the NLCS.

I don't think I could duplicate the sound that came out of my mouth when Pujols turned on the pitch. I have walked outside Minute Maid Park in Houston, never been in it, but from what I can tell, there are train tracks that run above the left field stands and glass panels that stretch above that.

Pujols' shot slammed into the glass about two-thirds of the way up. I heard on the radio Tuesday that the three-run homer which forced Game Six of the NLCS later tonight, measured at 412 feet.

Damned if that ball was not still rising when it hit glass. No glass -- out of the park.

A tide-turner. Maybe. Smith's homer in '85 did it for the Cards. Dave Henderson in '86 put the Red Sox in the Fall Classic and forever doomed Donnie Moore's soul. Gibby on one half of one knee brought the Dodgers back from the brink in '88.

Who says miracles don't happen.

What do you think? I'd like to know.

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