Long after the hellish late-afternoon shadows had mercifully vanished and Game 3 of the National League division series settled into a more conventionally intense late-inning rhythm, Busch Stadium was shivering with the sort of energy that can be generated only by cool autumn breezes and crazed postseason nerves.
Over the final three innings of the Cardinals' heart-pounding 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, the ballpark turned into a rowdy insane asylum as the home team once again followed an all-too-familiar script.
How rare is a playoff team that can make you cheer and curse in the same breath? How irresistible is a ballclub that constantly takes the harder road to glory and spices it up with quick little side trips to the exit ramps of torment, frustration, joy and blind optimism? How many more nights of this heart-palpitating stuff do Tony La Russa's boys have left in them now that they have been forced to the brink of playoff elimination, trailing the Phillies in this best-of-five series, two games to one?
"We'll flip the page and come back (Wednesday) just like we've been doing every day for the last month," said slugger Albert Pujols. "We'll see if we can make it interesting."