Before Game 5 of the Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals, I called up my dad, who is a rabid San Francisco Giants fan.
I told him I was rooting for the Nationals in the game because I thought they were a better match up with the Giants.
My dad wanted the Giants to play the Cardinals. They would have home field advantage and the Giants had a better record against the Cardinals. “We can beat them.”
I said “That’s what everyone said in 2006 and last year as well.”
The Cardinals are an unstoppable force. They are unbeatable. And in the last two seasons, they had every reason to be completely shut out before the World Series was even near.
Last year they were lumbering behind the Braves for the Wild Card and played out the string. That was until the Braves collapsed and the Cardinals backed in.
Then the Phillies were the invincible team getting ready to steamroll through to the World Series. But they lost 1-0 in the deciding game.
Then the Division Champion Brewers sighed a relief that they didn’t have to face the mighty Phillies. But the Cardinals outslugged them and as they did in 1982, broke Milwaukee’s heart.
Then the Rangers had the Cardinals down to the last strike twice and couldn’t close out the World Series.
This year the Dodgers couldn’t get their act together even after trading for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett and lost the Wild Card in the last week.
Then the Braves got hosed on an infield fly rule. Then the Nationals had the second biggest meltdown of a game where Davey Johnson was one of the managers in history.
Every one of those teams thought the Cardinals were easy pickings.
Same with the 2006 Padres, Mets and Tigers.
Now look where we are.
Subpar Cardinals teams had World Championship Parades in 2006 and 2011 while the fan bases in San Diego, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Texas, Los Angeles and Washington spent an off season wondering “How the hell did they beat us?”
And in San Francisco, the Giants fell 6-4 and gave up home field advantage to the defending World Champions.
And they will be facing Chris Carpenter, one of the best big game pitchers of the past decade.
This would NOT have happened with a young Washington team not throwing all of their best pitchers.
The Giants would have picked the Nationals apart for lunch.
Now I am about to lose my lunch at the thought of another OK but not great Cardinals team being crowned champions.
Get your act together, Giants.
My dad is rooting for you.
So is every other team that the Cardinals have clotheslined in the past six seasons.