The Cardinals fucking suck.

The Cardinals totally kick ass.

We have two extremes, and the truth, as hard as it is to believe, most likely falls somewhere in the middle. COME TO GRIPS WITH THIS: The Cardinals are a slightly above average team which has invested massive money into players that can’t produce on a consistent basis.

Matt Holliday- signed. Brad Penny- picked up. Colby Rasmus- year 2. I was right there with you people come April. I thought this was a team that did exactly what it needed to do for contention in October. Bolster the starting rotation, keep an All-Star, mix in some young talent. Shit, we weren’t worried about the Cardinals making the playoffs… we were worried about how they’d match up with the Yankees or Red Sox in the World Series.

Now we are coming out the ass of July and the Reds are not only still in contention, but actually in first place in the NL Central. Say it with me people… the Cardinals aren’t that good.

How did this happen? How did we come to this? These aren’t easy questions to answer. But let’s try. In fact, let’s make a list to splay out for everyone to evaluate.

The Top 10 Things That Have Fucked the Cardinals 2010 Season

1) Brendan Ryan- His ‘meh’ defense aside, Brendan has wielded one the feeblest bats I can ever remember seeing this deep into a season still being given regular at bats. Think about the fact that he’s had a pretty decent week and he’s still right at .200. TWO HUNDRED!

2) Brad Penny-
Mr. Penny hit one costly grand slam. 2 months and change after he somehow jerked his back out slugging a home run, Penny has been seemingly getting worse as the weeks wear on. Still searching for the magic elixir, Penny doesn’t really have a time table for his return. Just the sweet comfort of 9 million dollars and smoking hot girlfriend to pass the time on the DL.

3) Colby Rasmus- Sophomore year is when you grow out of protracted slumps that make Randy Winn look like a viable option in center field. Mid-terms were a warning, young man. And it doesn’t look like he's responding to TLR’s progress report warning.

4) The Road-
Teams that regularly flop on the road are teams that are generally not high on each other’s company. They don’t care to see each other and be with the same 30 or 35 teammates and staff for weeks at a time. They give up leads, hover around mediocrity and generally can’t wait to get back to their home base to get away from these people. 

5) Kyle Lohse’ Forearm- I’m not a doctor. But anytime you hear the words “experimental surgery” in the midst of what was already considered a pretty miserable contract… well… that just can’t signal good things are around the corner. Kyle is on the fast track to the list of worst Cardinal contracts of all time.

6) David Freese’s Luck-
Some guys drink and drive every weekend and never have even been pulled over. Freese has 2 DUI’s. Some people can jog into third blindly and not snap their ankle. Some people can lift weights and not break their foot. Some people have luck. Others don’t.

7) Albert Pujols’ Contract- If you think that part of AP’s frustration is the elephant in the room called ‘Albert’s New Contract’, then you’re fucking out of your skull. He’s pressing all over the place to prove he deserves more money than anyone ever. And for the first time in a long time, he’s on the wrong side of .300 BA when August starts.

8) Blake Hawksworth- He shouldn’t be a starter in MLB. And he definitely shouldn’t be a fourth starter in MLB. He’s a long reliever and junk time pitcher being pressed into duty where he shouldn’t be. You have to feel for him a little… but if he’s going to take the ball every fifth day, he’s got to be better.

9) ESPN- Why did all those assholes have to pick the Cardinals to win the NL? WHY?

10) Old Guys- Miles, Winn, Suppan! When you’re penciling in these guys to your line-up, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong with the youngsters in your system. It’s like a cry for help, only no one wants to help.

Hell, we could be here all day with this list. But the bottom line is pretty simple- guys who don’t seem to be pulling for each other are battling a team that wants ‘it’ desperately. It’s gotten to the point where the next 3 weeks will determine the NL Central winner.

The Cardinals still have a shot. Right? The better question may be if anyone actually gives a flying fuck on this team.

@athooks is on Twitter on CardinalsDiaspora.com and SB Nation STL

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Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse
# Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse
Friday, July 30, 2010 6:32 AM
With all due respect, this column made my eyes feel pain my heart has yet been able to heal.

A. Brendan Ryan has not been a very productive hitter this year. On this we can agree. However, anyone expecting him to hit near .300 as last year, has fallen prey to the fallacy of statistical randomness. He's never once hit close to .300 as a major league player, and only ONCE in the minors. He had a huge spike in BABIP last year, and if you know anything about statistics (which I don't), you knew he was due for major regression to his mean. Now did we know it would be a full 200 points of OPS regression? Probably not. Again, I'm not arguing he's been good this year. But we had no logical reason to suspect he would be a useful offensive player this year, as we've had no reason to suspect he EVER would be, based on his minor league career. Brendan Ryan can NEVER EVER EVER be the number one reason a major league team either succeeds or fails. He just can't. He's not that important. Which brings me to the real number one reason the Cardinals have "underachieved". . .

1. Skip Schumaker! I almost feel badly for killing a guy who isn't an infielder by berating him for playing the infield badly, so I will simply say: Egads! He's always been a butcher out there, but in years past, his bat would have played there because it was JUST useful enough. He always hit a hollow .300, and basically averaged a .750 OPS, and as a seventh or eighth best hitter on a team, it was cheap, useable labor. Well, he's been the second worst hitter on this team this year (I'll get there), so he has no value whatsoever. None. His only smallish value became when he moved to second. And now he has none. If LaRussa wasn't so loyal (both a good and a bad quality of his), he would not be playing. Literally any other middle infielder on this roster, and at Triple-A, would be a slight to moderate upgrade. The problem is. . . he's making 2mil this year. Hard to just piss that away. So you're stuck with him through the year.

2. Has anyone noticed that Yadier Molina's SLG% is now worse than his OB%?! Good God that is a rare and disfiguring achievement. Do you know how hard that is? This is a bat badly in need of an intervention from Survivor's Jimmy Johnson. Since I can't speak intelligently about defensive value, and the runs it saves, again, I will only go so far in criticism. But Yadi has been, by far, the worst bat on this entire team this year, and he's as responsible for our offensive woes as anyone.

Which made it even more amusing when I turned on the Mets game this week, and saw him batting fifth. FIFTH?! If this year's version of Yadier Molina is the fifth best batter on a team, I would hope to the God I don't believe exists that said team plays at a high school.

3. Colby Rasmus has been our third best hitter this year. On a bad offensive team. Why does everyone overreact to sample size?!?! Have we not evolved? I'm looking at BP's annual right now, and even if he got hurt and never swung the bat again the rest of the year, he's already surpassed his projection. He's 22, or 23, for f$#% sake. He was NEVER a high average hitter in the minors. He's going to be either the poor or homeless man's Grady Sizemore. His high end projection is actually something just south of Sizemore. So those of you who want to bury or trade Rasmus, and just plop Jon Jay in as an everyday CF, well lots of luck to you. I'll bank on entire careers, where Rasmus has always projected to be either an All-Star CF, or a notch below, and Jay has always projected to be a fourth outfielder.

I do agree with the larger point, that this team is probably just an above-average team, with not much of a higher ceiling. Which, btw, is good enough! All you have to do, thanks to the. . . um. . . work by Bud Selig is make the postseason, and hope to win the playoff lottery. Extra playoff rounds equals extra randomness and determinations not being meaningful. Best team rarely wins. Thank you Bud Selig, for making 162 games even more meaningless than they used to be!

Wow, I'm brutallly late for work. Priorities obviously in order.
Friday, July 30, 2010 9:37 AM
So, if you had to guess, how old is Albert Pujols? No way this dude is 30!!!

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