10 Reasons why the St. Louis Cardinals winning the 2011 World Series would be good for baseball

Continuing my series of Why Each Team’s Potential World Championship Would Be Good For The Game, I am tackling the Cardinals.
Now the NL Central race looked like it was going to be a four horse contest. Instead, Milwaukee could run away with it.

So I better get my Cardinals entry done before they fall out of the race. The Cardinals have had a strange year. Wainwright has missed the season, there was the bizarre Colby Rasmus controversy and questions about Albert Pujols and his contract have swirled around the club.
Yet here they sit in mid August in contention and facing a very soft part of their schedule in the next few weeks. Games against Pittsburgh, the Cubs and Dodgers will fill up their dance card before going head to head against first place Brewers at the end of the month. So by Labor Day they could be within striking distance.
So would the Cardinals winning it all be good for the game?
Let me count the ways!
10 Reasons why the

St. Louis Cardinals

winning the 2011 World Series

would be good for baseball

1. If Albert Pujols leaves, another title would be a hell of a Good Bye!

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.

3. It would be a wonderful middle finger to Colby Rasmus

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.

Just saying.

4. The ever growing argument to put Dave Duncan in the Hall of Fame

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!

5. Maybe Mark McGwire’s success can lead to more “Post Roids” work

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!

6. A ring for Octavio Dotel, at long last

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.

7. Chris Carpenter’s reputation as a big game pitcher would grow

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.

8. Matt Holliday deserves a POSITIVE Post Season highlight!

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.

9. Let’s face it. The 2006 World Series was strange.

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.

10. The biggest baseball fans shouldn’t wait long for a title!

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.



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At least it rained in New York

Once again, the Red Sox just can’t lose. They have to make it close and tease me.

I am not thrilled about that.

Wakefield goes for a complete game and gives the bullpen a day off… before they have a day off. So they’ll be extra super rested for the Tampa Bay series.


Ah well, the Red Sox left Seattle in first place alone because it rained.

Not in Seattle but in New York where there rain out meant the Yankees were idle.

Tied in the loss column but alone in first.

You know things are bad when I am talking about the weather.

Let’s update the tally.


April 8 – 9-6 win against the Yankees. (The Sox end their 6 game losing streak with a slugfest. John Lackey stinks but Phil Hughes stinks even more.)

April 10 – 4-0 win against the Yankees. (Beckett and Sabathia duel in a game that was 1-0 until the late innings.)

April 20 – 5-3 win in Oakland. (Red Sox survive a lead off homer and two bases loaded situations and facing the tying run at the plate to win their first road game.)

April 21 – 4-2 win in Anaheim. (The Red Sox stranded 15 men on base and Josh Beckett’s went 8 strong with no decision. But the Sox rallied in the 11th to win.)

April 22 – 4-3 win in Anaheim. (Peter Bourjos makes a 2 run errors and the Red Sox survive a bizarre passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that let a run scored from second.)

May 1 – 3-2 win against the Mariners. (Ichiro loses a ball in the sun that turns into a 9th inning triple for Lowrie. Crawford singles him home for the win.)

May 8 – 9-5 win against the Twins. (Dice-K lets up 3 runs in the first but settles down as the Red Sox clobber Carl Pavano.)

May 9 – 2-1 win against the Twins. (A bullpen breakdown cost Beckett the decision but Cark Crawford ended the game with an 11th inning walk off hit.)

May 13 – 5-4 win in the Bronx. (Youkilis homers off of Joba and Bard and Papelbon make it more interesting than it needed to be.)

May 15 – 7-5 win in the Bronx. (Sox fall behind 4-1 but come back as Youk, Papi and Salty all homer.)

May 16 – 8-7 win against the Orioles. (Down 6-0 after 6 innings, the Sox rally and win it with a 2 run walk off double by Adrian Gonzalez)

May 18 – 1-0 win against Detroit. (With 2 outs in the 8th, Salty doubles home Crawford from first for the only run. Papelbon gets himself in and out of 9th inning trouble.)

May 19 – 4-3 win against Detroit. (Bard blows Beckett’s lead but Carl Crawford wins it with a walk off hit.)

May 24 – 4-2 win in Cleveland. (Varitek throws two runners out and homers as the Red Sox win their first game against the Indians.)

May 29 – 4-3 win in Detroit. (The Red Sox blow an early 3-0 lead but David Ortiz wins the game with a pinch 9th inning homer.)

June 3 – 8-6 win against Oakland. (Buchholz lets up 4 runs in the first but the Sox come back thanks to Carl Crawford’s 2 run single.)

June 4 – 9-8 win against Oakland. (Red Sox blow a 4 run 9th inning lead and trail in the 11th before Ellsbury ties it and Drew wins it in 14.)

June 7 – 6-4 win in the Bronx. (Papelbon strikes out A-Rod to end the game with a runner on base.)

June 9 – 8-3 win in the Bronx. (Down 2-0 to Sabathia in the 7th, the Sox score 7 runs as Papi exacts revenge after getting plunked. A 3+ hour rain delay pushed the game past 1:30 AM)
June 15 – 3-0 win in Tampa Bay. (Youkilis homers in the 7th for the only runs in Beckett’s 1 hit masterpiece.)

June 16 – 4-2 win in Tampa Bay. (Papelbon wiggles out of a 2 on, nobody out jam in the 9th thanks to Youk’s diving catch.)

June 26 – 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. (The Pirates make 4 errors and the Red Sox score 2 in the 7th to avoid a sweep by the Bucs.

June 30 – 5-2 win in Philadelphia.(An injury to Cole Hamels leads to the Red Sox bats waking up.)

July 1 – 7-5 win in Houston. (The Sox score 6 in the 7th inning to come back and win.)

July 3 – 2-1 win in Houston. (The Red Sox score a run in the top of the 9th on a walk to break a tie.)

July 5 – 3-2 win against Toronto. (Lester gets hurt but Darnel McDonald throws out the tying run at the plate to end the game.)

July 6 – 6-4 win against Toronto. (The Sox score 4 in the 4th to take the lead and Wakefield and company hang on for dear life.)

July 10 – 8-6 win against Baltimore. (The Orioles score 6 runs off of rookie Kyle Weiland in the second, but the Red Sox hit three homers in the bottom of the second to tie the game and hold for dear life.)

July 16 – 9-5 win in Tampa. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 3-0 first inning hole, but 3 Sox homers bring them back for the win.)

July 17 – 1-0 win in Tampa. (Beckett throws a masterpiece and the bullpen throws 8 amazing innings. But the Sox bats go dead, leaving 17 men on base before Pedroia drove in a run with 2 outs in the 16th inning.)

July 18 – 15-10 win in Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 6-2 lead but score 8 runs in the 8th to take the game.)

July 22 – 7-4 win against Seattle. (John Lackey beat Felix Hernandez and Mike Carp’s error helped the Red Sox score 5 in the 7th to give them some breathing room.)

July 23 – 3-1 win against Seattle. (Ellsbury gets Beckett off the hook in a tight pitchers duel when he got a 2 out, 2 strike 2 run go ahead single in the 8th.)

July 26 – 13-9 win against the Royals. (The Sox trailed in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th before the bats exploded in the 5th.

August 2 – 3-2 win against Cleveland. (Youk tied the game with a 6th inning homer and Salty dove home for the winning run in the 9th.)

August 3 – 4-3 win against Cleveland. (Ellsbury hits a walk off shot in the 9th.)

August 7 – 3-2 win against the Yankees (The Sox rally off of Rivera in the 9th and win on Josh Reddick’s 10th inning single)

August 8 – 8-6 win in Minnesota. (Down 5-1, the Red Sox rally back, then score twice in the 9th to give the Sox the win.)

August 9 – 4-3 win in Minnesota. (Darnell McDonald’s homer ties the game and Ortiz singles home the game winner as Bard worked out of trouble in the 7th.)

August 12 – 6-4 win in Seattle. (Reddick and Ortiz homered to bail out Lackey.)


April 1 – 9-5 loss in Texas. (The Sox tie Opening Day in the 8th with an Ortiz homer only to have Bard implode and the Sox let up 4 in the bottom of the 8th.)

April 5 – 3-1 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox drop their 4th straight as the bats are dead in Cleveland.)

April 7 – 1-0 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow a great Lester performance on a squeeze bunt and Darnell McDonald overrunning the bag to end the game.)

April 12 – 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. (A solid Lester performance is wasted as Kyle Farnsworth of all people shuts down the Sox.)

April 15 – 7-6 loss to Toronto. (Bobby Jenks implodes with a 4 run seventh inning as the Red Sox waste Pedroia and Youkilis homers and a clutch RBI double by Scuatro.

April 19 – 5-0 loss in Oakland. (Pedroia gets picked off, the Sox bats go dead and waste a solid Lackey start.)

April 26 – 4-1 loss in Baltimore. (Buchholz pitches tentatively and the Sox let Kevin Gregg of all people to close out the 9th.)

April 27 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (The Sox tie the game with a 3 run 8th only to have Bard lose it in the bottom of the 8th.)

April 29 – 5-4 loss to Mariners. (Bobby Jenks blows a 7th inning lead, wasting 2 Mike Cameron homers.)

April 30 – 2-0 loss to Mariners. (The Sox strand 11 runners and let Milton Bradley double home the go ahead run.)

May 4 – 5-3 loss to Angels. (7 hours with rain delays and stranded runners. Marco Scutaro was thrown out at the plate in the 12th)

May 10 – 7-6 loss in Toronto. (8th and 9th inning heroics, including a homer by Adrian Gonzalez, are undone by a walk off sacrifice fly by David Cooper.)

May 21 – 9-3 loss to Cubs. (Up 3-1 in the 8th inning, the bullpen and defense implode. The Cubs score 8 runs while both teams wear their 1918 uniforms.)

May 23– 3-2 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox blow a 2-1 8th inning lead when the Indians rally with 2 outs. Crawford ends the game on a double play.)

May 29 – 3-0 loss in Detroit. (Verlander keeps the Sox off base and prevents the sweep.)

June 1 – 7-4 loss to White Sox. (Konerko drives in three, spoiling a game tying Ortiz homer.)
June 14 – 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay. (Wakefield’s solid outing is spoiled. Longoria scores on a passed ball.)

June 18 – 4-2 loss to Milwaukee. (The Brewers hit three homers early off of Lester and hang on.)

June 21 – 5-4 loss to San Diego. (Ortiz hits a double play in the 9th to stifle a potential winning rally.)
June 24 – 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox strand 7 runners in scoring position.)

June 25 – 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox fall out of first as Pedroia’s error leads to a Pirates run.)

June 29 – 2-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Vance Worley duels John Lackey and slumping Raul Ibanez drives in both runs.)

July 4 – 9-7 loss to Toronto. (John Lackey’s miserable start puts the Sox in too big a hole to climb out of.)

July 19 – 6-2 loss in Baltimore. (Scutaro gets thrown out stealing and the Orioles tack on 3 big runs late.)
July 25 – 3-1 loss to the Royals. (Scutaro botches a potential game winning squeeze play in the 12th as the Red Sox lose in 14.)
July 28 – 4-3 loss to the Royals. (Crawford’s bid for a walk off homer falls just short.)

July 29 – 3-1 loss to the White Sox. (Sox blow a late 1-0 lead and spoil a solid Wakefield start.)
August 1 – 9-6 loss to Cleveland. (Asdrubal Cabrera’s second home run was an 8th inning tie breaking shot off of Daniel Bard.)
August 4 – 7-3 loss to Cleveland. (Carlos Santana’s homer broke a 3-3 tie.)

August 5 – 3-2 loss to the Yankees. (The Sox leave the bases loaded in the 5th and the Yankees score 3 in the 6th to take the lead.)

August 10 – 5-2 in Minnesota. (The Twins score 3 in the 8th, spoiling Ortiz’s game tying homer.)

August 13 – 5-4 loss in Seattle. (Mariners score 5 in the first and the Red Sox come back falls short.)

August 14 – 5-3 loss in Seattle. (The Red Sox comeback falls short as Wakefield loses a complete game).

Down to +7.

Can the Royals help the Sox tomorrow and take a game from the Yankees?

A. J. Burnett is pitching so anything can happen.

Maybe it will rain again.

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