Rookie outfielder John Rodriguez wasn't even in the Cardinals organization until midseason, and even after a trade to St. Louis he wasn't on the 40-man roster. Yet an amazing month at Triple-A Memphis, combined with injuries on St. Louis' big league squad, led to an opportunity for Rodriguez to play in the Majors for the first time. Rodriguez will be checking in with MLB.com throughout the playoffs to share his experiences with readers in his first taste of the Major League playoffs.
In the second installment, Rodriguez gives readers a look at his experiences on the first day of the postseason. He didn't get in the game, but the experience of a playoff contest at Busch Stadium was thrilling just the same.
Just waking up today, I was anxious. I couldn't really sleep last night. I started thinking about game plans and different scenarios, what can go on in a game.
Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker, with a big lead like we had today, usually you give the guys a rest. But we have a day off tomorrow. I was thinking about different situations like that. You just put yourself in that state of mind.
Waking up, I wanted to get to the ballpark early, hit the cages, go to the weight room, just get ready for the day. I had a good breakfast. When I stepped onto the field for batting practice, I had another game plan. I was thinking about who are their righties in the bullpen and things like that.
After BP, I came back in and just relaxed a little bit. I watched video on Jake Peavy, just in case. Then going out when they were announcing our names was amazing. From that point on, it was just a dream come true from the first pitch to the last pitch.
Obviously it was an exciting game from the first inning to the ninth. It was definitely a perfect day because we came out on top. I just can't wait until Thursday, and we'll see what happens then.
I was kind of hoping that Reggie would swing at that 3-0, because obviously they didn't want to walk them, so he would hopefully just lay one in there. Reggie did what Reggie does. He came up big today. Six RBIs? Wow. That's a new Cardinals record, also. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of the team altogether. These guys are unbelievable. The chemistry here is fantastic.
It wasn't tense at the end, but we started thinking. But there's no doubt in my mind -- I believe in Izzy. Everybody does. That's our closer. We're going to go with him until the day we die. We're not worried about that. But in close situations like that, you do start thinking.
John Rodriguez's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Matthew Leach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.