They were angrier on Saturday night. Then, they felt they had been robbed. Tonight, they were simply crushed.
And so, in the quiet of the St. Louis Cardinals' clubhouse there were few tears and fewer excuses. In victory, this has often been a surly team. Tonight, in the wake of an awful 11-0 defeat to the Kansas City Royals in a memorable seventh game of the World Series, they were almost gracious.
"Even if we had won tonight, I'm not sure I could honestly say we were a better club," said John Tudor, the first of seven Cardinals pitchers in this game. "There's no sense making excuses. It came down to one game and it was a complete disaster. The team needed me tonight and I didn't produce. It's tough to take."
It was so tough for Tudor, who had won 23 of 25 decisions before tonight, to take that when he came out of the game in the third inning he smashed his left hand into a metal fan in the dugout and had to be taken to a nearby hospital for stitches.
"I did a dumb, stupid thing," he said. "I hurt myself and I shouldn't have but it's my business."
Asked if he had ever done anything similar in his baseball career, Tudor said simply, "No."
As Tudor spoke, as patient in defeat as he had been impatient after victories in the past, his teammates quietly walked around the locker room, shaking hands, hugging, lamenting.
Tommy Herr, who drove in 110 runs in the regular season but not one in this Series, sat way back in his locker stall, his head against the wall, and fought back tears. "It's hard to believe," he said. "After the season we had, I never thought it would end this way."
It ended, once and for all in the fifth inning, when the Royals, already leading, 5-0, scored six runs off five pitchers. One of them, Joaquin Andujar, was ejected, but not before Manager Whitey Herzog was. By the time the debacle was over, both men were in street clothes and making no apologies for what had happened. That the incident involved Don Denkinger, who made the ninth-inning call that may have turned the Series around on Saturday night, was no coincidence.
"I did say to him that we shouldn't be here tonight anyway," Herzog said. "He blew the call at first base Saturday. If he calls him (leadoff hitter Jorge Orta) out I guarantee you we stuff them. He knows he blew the call and so do 200 million people. But he's a good umpire. I'm ticked off about the call but it happened.
"I was kind of glad to get out of there because I was tired of it all," Herzog said of the ejection. "I went out there because Joaquin thought he threw a strike. That was what I told him, it was a strike."
Andujar, who had claimed he had been "squeezed," while getting bombed in Game 3, came on with the score 9-0. He gave up a hit to Frank White, reached 2-2 on Jim Sundberg and then ran amok when Denkinger called the next two pitches balls.
"I'm not sorry for what I did," he said. "The guy makes bad calls and I shouldn't get mad? I don't care what the score is, we could still come back."
When Andujar charged off the mound after ball four -- Herzog was gone after ball three -- third baseman Terry Pendleton grabbed him in a bear hug and wrestled him away. "I wasn't going to hit him or anything," Andujar said. "I don't want to get thrown out of baseball. But your teammates, they never know."
"I was just making sure," Pendleton said. "The 2-2 pitch was down the middle, the 3-2 was close. But that guy had (cheated) us last night and we were frustrated. I doubt if he made a right call all year long. It just built to that point. Unfortunately."
The whole night was unfortunate for the Cardinals. In the end, they clearly missed leadoff hitter Vince Coleman, who stole 110 regular season bases but hurt his knee under a tarpaulin at the playoffs.
"It finally caught up with us," said first baseman Jack Clark. "When you lose that speed, it can't be replaced. I can't replace it, no one can. We had guys who tried, but in the end, we may have tried to do too much."
Herzog made no excuses. But he couldn't resist a few shots at the Royals.
"We were lucky to win three games the way we hit the ball," Herzog said. "Thirteen runs in seven games is almost a disgrace. Their pitching isn't that good. If it was they would have won 130 games. As it was, they struggled in a weak division. I don't think they would have won our division or the American League East.
"But they're world champions. I tip my cap to them."
And Tudor, whom the Cardinals counted on once too often, could only stare straight ahead and, like everyone else, try to block out a memory that won't go away soon.
"I never did what I did all year, let the guys behind me play," he said. "If I had been nervous and couldn't throw strikes, I could understand. But I wasn't nervous. I hope in a few days we can put this behind us and think about what happened before tonight rather than tonight.
"I wish I could explain what happened but I can't. I gave up a home run (to Darryl Motley for the first two runs) on a high fast ball and I couldn't throw strikes. I don't know why it happened but it did. It was one of those nights. We have to live with it."