© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
Man, this is tough. No matter how many times you go through it, the end of a season always is an emotional time. You're with these guys all these months, through so many hardships and good times, and then -- boom! -- it's over. Everyone packs and goes their separate ways.
What can you say about this series? The better team won. The key for us in Game 3, to get back in the series, was to get a lead and get the crowd into it. But they jumped on us right away, like they did in the games in St. Louis, and quieted the whole stadium.
They tried to bury us, but we didn't quit. We tried to come back, and we had an opportunity in that last inning to tie the ballgame, just like in Game 1. It's tough to do that against a solid closer like Jason Isringhausen and a solid team like that. Down seven early, you have to battle and get some breaks. We just came up short.
That's a quality team. They look really focused and geared up to make another run at the World Series, and win it this time. They had that taste in their mouth last year and know exactly what it takes to get there. It's going to take a solid team to knock them off. They look very well prepared and determined to go back to the Fall Classic and make it happen.
It's always good to come off the bench and help the team. That's what I was trying to do when I went up to pinch-hit in the fifth inning after Joe Randa got our first hit, a double off Matt Morris. He got two strikes on me and I went with a fastball and put good wood on it, got it through for a hit. That was a great feeling at the time, feeling the crowd come alive as Randa scored our first run. Then I came around to score on Mark Loretta's base hit, and the fans were really into it. At least they had some fun there.
When it's all said and done, it just wasn't enough to overcome the deficit. One thing about this team: We can always say we were fighting to the last moment. Sometimes we came through, sometimes we didn't. But we kept fighting, kept grinding it out. It wasn't always pretty, but we made it exciting.
There were some great guys and teammates on this ballclub, and it was an honor to play with these guys. I think we learned a lot about ourselves and each other this year. I hope to be back and see a lot of these guys back, too. You develop a lot of feeling for guys when you go through so much with them. We might not have been the best team in the National League, but we played as hard as we could and showed a lot of heart and character.