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In one of the strangest sequences in memory, the Cardinals sent Lance Lynn to the mound to face Ian Kinsler. Lynn intentionally walked Kinsler – a straight-up intentional walk, not just pitching around the guy. Then Lynn was pulled for Jason Motte. In the post game press conference, Tona La Russa attributed this bizarre set of pitching changes to the fact that the bullpen warmed up the wrong pitcher, sending him Lynn when he was expecting Motte to begin with.

The Cardinals now head to a must-win Game Six, and since this kind of problem could well recur I thought I would provide the Cardinals coaches with a useful tool to prevent a game from hinging on such a seemingly unnecessary mistake. I present to you the NATO phonetic alphabet:

 

Letter

Code word

A

Alpha

B

Bravo

C

Charlie

D

Delta

E

Echo

F

Foxtrot

G

Golf

H

Hotel

I

India

J

Juliet

K

Kilo

L

Lima

M

Mike

N

November

O

Oscar

P

Papa

Q

Quebec

R

Romeo

S

Sierra

T

Tango

U

Uniform

V

Victor

W

Whiskey

X

X-ray

Y

Yankee

Z

Zulu

Now the same communications technology used by our men and women in uniform can be used by our OTHER men in uniform to make sure the correct relief pitcher is warming! It may be easy to confuse "Motte" with "Lynn" (or at least, maybe after I finish this beer it will be). But how can you confuse "Mike-Oscar-Tango-Tango-Echo" with "Lima-Yankee-November-November?" It's fool-proof, I tell you!

Now if only there was a NATO-sanctioned way to tell someone not to tell Allen Craig to head for second base…