posted on May 28, 2010 05:30
The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t having fun. Not at all.
Matt Holliday’s accountant? He’s having fun. Albert Pujols’ agent? So much fun he’s decided to start his own agency before his biggest client hits the free agent market. Jamie Garcia’s family and friends? Can’t imagine how much fun they’re having.
But the St. Louis Cardinals? I can’t see even a shred of joy.
I guess we could have expected this, if we’re being honest. After all, once the Cardinals signed Matt Holliday to a free agent deal last winter, the question wasn’t ‘can these guys win the World Series’ it was ‘how many World Series’ can these guys win with Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter and Wainwright’? The pain of 24 years of waiting for a single championship seemed like an aberration- now the Cardinals can go back to winning multiple championships every decade!
So, now, roughly a quarter of the way through the season, the Cardinals are a few games above .500 and right in the hunt for the NL Central title. But we’re acting like Brendan Ryan and Colby Rasmus formed an Eifel Tower while taking dueling shits on your new living room carpet.
It’s embarrassing, really.
Because at the end of the day, no matter how terrible this offense looks in May, the Cardinals have too much talent to not make the playoffs. Barring a freak accident or a flat out walkout on the job, this team is going to get to play baseball in October.
And truthfully? That’s all that matters.
In fact, it’s the only measure of this team. You can go and enjoy your 9 dollar beers and lotion your farmer’s tan all on plastic red seats all summer long- but at the end of the day- the ultimate judgment is going to come from 5 weeks this fall. Win it all and it’s a success. Don’t and it’s not.
That’s what happens when you have all the best players. This team isn’t a bunch of scrappy underdogs or washed-up veterans. It’s a collection of premium talent that is paid very handsomely to do one thing- raise banner 11 into the Busch Stadium outfield. The woes against the Padres? Window dressing.
The much better argument is if this team is ready for this very real pressure of championship or bust. We’ve seen many teams get buried under the weight of lofty expectations. And we’ve also seen teams find the right chemistry and luck to offset their lacking physical ability. But with this St. Louis Cardinal team, we’re still not sure.
20 games over .500 would be nice. But let’s be honest- if this team won 130 games and was the best regular season team ever but lost in 3 to the Giants in the Divisional Series, would you be happy? No. You’d be miserable. And angry.
Hence the meaninglessness of these next couple of months.
Sure, we’ll pump out words and thoughts and ideas, but all of it’s the shit that gets you through the work day. The games will be a nice release.
But the ultimate tombstone for the 2010 Cardinals is far from being carved. To be honest, we’re not even close to ordering the sucker.
So relax Cardinal Nation. This team will make the playoffs. You don’t have to worry about that. It’s what they do once they get there that’s important. Even more important than Tony LaRussa, who, by the way, knows how to fucking manage.
Aaron Hooks is managing editor for Cards Diaspora and writes every Friday for InsideSTL. Follow him