There was perhaps no better way for the St. Louis Cardinals to return to the World Series in 2006 than to go through—in Game 7 of an NLCS against the hated New York Mets—their primary postseason bogeyman, Carlos Beltran. And there was no better way for that series to end than Adam Wainwright slaying the Houston Astros' unstoppable midseason acquisition with the greatest curveball I've ever seen. Here, for one last moment (or hour, if you're like me with animated GIFs) of viewing pleasure, is the pixelated video footage of that incredible curveball.â†µ
Here's how good that curveball is: This animated GIF is actually a JPEG file. I can't even begin to explain it, except that some pitches are able to bend both the trajectory of a pitched ball and the reality of image compression formats.â†µ
So that's the added benefit of the Cardinals signing Carlos Beltran—for the next two years, we'll have every reason in the world to think of the time our ace struck out the guy in the middle of our order.