St. Louis Cardinals
winning the 2011 World Series
would be good for baseball
Look, nobody knows what is happening with Albert Pujols. He could be coming back to St. Louis. He could be looking for a new challenge. Lord knows the Dodgers, Mets, Cubs and Orioles all would love to get some POSITIVE PR. And the Nationals have seem hell bent to bring a star to DC. So Albert’s fate beyond 2011 has not been sealed.
But if he has to go, leave as a champion! All I can think of is Pedro Martinez, whose contract situation wasn’t always pleasant. But what was the last image of him pitching for the Red Sox? Winning Game 3 of the 2004 World Series.
Pujols owes Cardinals fans nothing… but if he leaves them happy, how could you be mad?
2. Maybe a THIRD World Series title can make Tony LaRussa remotely likable
I can’t comprehend why I don’t like Tony LaRussa. But I don’t.
It has nothing to do with the drunk driving (although that makes you an automatic a–hole.) And it has nothing to do with the Glenn Back rally last year. My dislike for LaRussa goes back WAAAAAY before that.
And all the cute puppies and kittens can’t save it.
But maybe another title can make him seem as cuddly as the animals he loves to be seen with.
Maybe a Tony LaRussa title can turn into a celebration of his greatness and a big love in.
It might be worth seeing.
I know I’ve been picking on Colby Rasmus… but come on! We whined his way out of St. Louis based on one good season. Albert Pujols NEVER calls anyone out and he called out him.
Having him stuck in Toronto while the Cardinals celebrate without him might give players with one good year second thoughts to acting superior to their Hall of Fame manager.
As the Phillies are stockpiling aces, the Giants growing them and the Brewers dealing for them, the Cardinals don’t need them.
They’ll win with Fernando Salas closing games. The Cardinals will win with Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Edwin Jackson.
That’s because Dave Duncan works his magic, just he did when he turned Chris Carpenter from reclamation project to Cy Young winner and Jeff Weaver from waiver material to World Series hero.
The pitchers in St. Louis come and go but they all seem to improve under Duncan. He might be a genius or a wizard. But if he keeps this up, he might be the first person to make the Hall of Fame as a pitching coach!
Hitting coach Mark McGwire hasn’t caused much controversy since taking his new gig. He has had some hitters flourish under his watchful eye. (I really hope the sudden surge in Lance Berkman’s numbers have been because of McGwire tips and not the old method of “inject this”!)
If the page has been turned, then I hope this leads to Barry Bonds, hitting coach… Roger Clemens, pitching coach… oh let’s face it. I want it to lead to Manny Ramirez, MANAGER! Tell me you wouldn’t watch a team managed by Manny every single day!
I wrote about Octavio Dotel’s unbelievably bad luck playing for contenders in The Hardball Times.
Dotel broke into the bigs in 1999. Since then he has played for the Mets, Astros, A’s, Yankees, Royals, Braves, White Sox, Pirates, Dodgers, Rockies, Blue Jays and Cardinals. During his 13-year career, seven of those franchises went to the World Series. Yet Dotel hasn’t pitched in a World Series as of this writing. That is insane.
Like Mike Morgan before him, who bounced from team to team without a ring, he truly savored that 2001 title. It would be the same for Dotel who has been a solid if unspectacular veteran for over a decade. He would cherish that ring.
Chris Carpenter is not going to the Hall of Fame. But he’s had a nice run in St. Louis. He won a Cy Young Award and had two more top 3 finishes in the vote. And when he went down to injuries in 2007 and 2008, St. Louis fell out of contention.
When he came back as the ERA Champ in 2009, they were back in. If the Cardinals win the Division this year, then they would have been a playoff team in 5 of Carpenter’s 6 full seasons for the Redbirds.
Throw in the fact that his injury that kept him out of the 2004 World Series helped cost them the title. And he pitched wonderfully in 4 of his 6 post season series. Another great October could help him get that “Not a Hall of Famer but a big game pitcher” reputation that Dave Stewart and Jack Morris have.
Yeah I know Matt Holliday won the 2007 NLCS MVP. If you have any October memories of Holliday, what are they?
His Wild Card winning slide in the San Diego playoff game where it looked like he never touched home plate?
His being picked off in practically the only critical moment in the 2007 World Series?
Nah… it’s probably his dropping a game ending flyball in the 2009 Division Series that led to a Dodgers come from behind rally.
Holliday has had a terrific career. He deserves better.
I wrote a post a few years ago about a conversation I had with a die hard Cardinals fan who forgot his team won the 2006 World Series. In a strange way I can understand why. The 2004 and 2005 Cardinals teams both won over 100 games and looked like legit World Series contenders, but fell short.
The 2006 team stumbled into the post season and while I am sure St. Louis fans were happy for them, they probably didn’t invest as much “I think this team is going to win it” emotion on that battered squad. But the ’06 squad, by far the weakest of Tony LaRussa’s 8 playoff teams in St. Louis, was the one that delivered.
And I think it caught St. Louis off guard. It was a nice surprise, but the kind that has the awkward “Oh dear, if I had known you were coming I would have cleaned up the house” vibe to it.
Any discussion of baseball’s most passionate fans usually gravitates towards Boston and New York… then heads west and lands in St. Louis.
Relax Giants fans, I know you love your team. So do you Baltimore fans, even though you haven’t had much to cheer about. But in terms of cities that love their baseball teams more than their football teams, that list seems to be three names long. And the Red Sox won in 2007 and the Yankees in 2009. All three fan bases have a recent one and they shouldn’t have to wait for another.
There should be a celebration involving the living Cardinal greats like Bob Gibson, Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Lou Brock. And with the love of the Cardinals stretched throughout the Midwest, maybe Fox, TBS and ESPN will show them on the National stage a little more.
So that’s plenty of reasons to be happy for a Cardinals title.
Now I will make this note. Before any Reds fans comment, yes Cincinnati should be mentioned along with Boston, St. Louis and New York as big baseball cities.
And yes Mets fans, I know that YOU haven’t been appeased by the recent World Series titles. Get mad at Carlos Beltran for looking at a called third strike!
A Cardinals World Series title could be so terrific that it would almost make it bearable to hear Tim McCarver and Joe Buck go on and on about the great Cardinals teams of the past… almost.
If you liked this then go ahead and read the entries for the other teams.