Baseball is a lot like evolution, in that both are a slow, steady march of known variables regressing to the mean until one plucky outlier suddenly stands up on its hind flippers and runs across the beach in a blaze of mutation and recessive genes, changing everything from that point forward. The Texas Rangers were the long arc of life unspooling toward its destined outcome, ready to close out Game Six and the World Series — except for David Freese, the perfectly blended cocktail of outlier and mutant genes, who was surging in the playoffs. In the bottom of the ninth, Freese effectively stood up at the last possible moment; in the eleventh he lit the match on the Big Bang, a home run that swept away everything before it and altered the DNA of the Cardinals, which is almost identical to the DNA of the city. In that instant of unexpected triumph, St. Louis collectively felt something other than the long arc of life's losses. No more shrinking population, disappearing businesses, "most dangerous" city, a march to collapse; we had it in us to still surprise, to adapt, to triumph. In that millisecond of ball-leaving-bat, our DNA was rewritten, the helix knocked pear shaped as we marched, even if only briefly, toward a new future flush with victory.
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