posted on February 26, 2010 05:30
The 2010 St. Louis Cardinals could win the NL Central division title.
The 2010 St. Louis Cardinals will win the title as the most milquetoast team in Major League Baseball. They're hardball PBS. Less exciting than a Rams fourth quarter. Verbal Ambien.
And that's neither a good thing or a bad thing. But for the past 20 years we've demanded that athletes don't do or say anything interesting. We want them to play hard, win games and collect their disproportionate paychecks with a hint of remorse for the average Joe.
The NCAA is thinking of enacting a rule that negates a touchdown if you're flagged for excessive celebration. The NFL banned the bob n' weave. MLB have warned the Brewers that 'untucking' will be met with fines this season. The NBA still has a dress code...
After years of hard work- the fruits of this puritanical labor have been born and thy name is Cardinal.
As Spring Training transitions from happy fun interview time with local TV/Radio/Newspaper into actual games, let me list the insightful things we've learned from the media orgy:
1) Ryan Franklin doesn't agree with the new MLB gun ban, but accepts it.
2) Matt Holliday may or may not have allergies.
That's it. That's the list. Our closer likes guns and our 4 hole hates ragweed. A combined 6 figures to house, feed and properly outfit our esteemed colleagues in Jupiter and that's what the combined work of a hundred men has produced.
To be honest, it's not their fault. They couldn't do much. They're up against the most formidable foe yet. Perhaps they might want to re-think that whole 'pile on a guy for any real or perceived act of anything notable'. Because it's becoming a real pisser for shlubs like me or you to watch/listen/read this drivel every day. Even this early in the season.
Just for the sake of having it on paper, let's go through the Cardinals line-up:
1) Shumaker: never had a memorable quote in his life.
2) Lugo: we're not sure he can or can't speak English. He barely talks as far as I can tell.
3) Pujols: again, are we sure he speaks English? But seriously, he's never been funny. Ever. Best ever? Yes. Personality? Not so much.
4) Holliday: dreadful interview. Just dreadful.
5) Ludwick: smiles, nods and says please and thanks. Could be mistaken for gown altar boy.
6) Rasmus: could have tongue removed and we wouldn't know for 3 weeks.
7) Molina: most controversial attribute? Eyebrows. Does he wax or not?
8) Ryan: Ahhh- used to be precocious. Then TLR beat it out of him. Now? The quiet soldier.
9) Carp/Wainwright/Penny/Lohse: yawn.
Bullpen? Bench? Not much hope their either. These guys come in, do a job, answer questions as truthfully as their PR instincts let them and then they go home.
As long as they win, who gives a shit? We get to talk smack, get drunk and make fun of the Cubs failure.
But a small part of me can't help but think that we're rooting for a team here with personality persona-non-grata. That's no fun. Like rooting for the house in blackjack. Or for option traders. Sure they win, but sometimes it's about the journey.
Who are the most memorable Cardinals of all-time?
I guess that depends on what era you live in.
But try to imagine Bob Gibson telling Jeanie Zelasko before an All-Star Game that he wasn't talking to any of his teammates because he'd have to face them in the second half of the season and didn't want them to get too comfortable. It'd lead PTI for a week.
Or maybe Whitey Herzog heading down to DB's to buy everyone a Budweiser after a huge playoff win and wind down? How could he be so irresponsible!!!
The worst part? We really can't do much about it. Athletes in 2010 grew up in the 90's and cut their teeth on the media meat grinder. They learned how to talk without saying anything. It's only going to get more vanilla from here.
Winning cures all. But how much pure joy can we take from professional sports these days?
If you're a Cardinals fan it's going to be solely from the on-field exploits of the team. Not the personality.
Aaron Hooks is managing editor for Cards Diaspora and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He writes every Thursday for InsideSTL. Follow him on Twitter.