Monthly Archives: August 2011
This morning, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story originally penned by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sportswriter Mike Hunt that outlines how the Cardinals and their fans have to “lighten up” about the fact that 2011 may not be their year. The full story can be read here.
It doesn’t take a genius to see what Mike Hunt is trying to say. Mike Hunt thinks Cards fans are taking it way too hard that their team isn’t in the driver’s seat in the NL Central yet again. But really, what does Mike Hunt expect? The Cardinals have won the division title far and away more than any other NL Central team since the divison’s inception. That’s not gloating; it’s a fact. We are told every year “The Cards will compete for the division title.” More often than not, pundits around the country favor the Cards to win the Central. Does the rabid Cardinal fan base make these things happen? Of course not. The Cardinals are generally expected to be good year in and year out. Mike Hunt should know that.
Mike Hunt needs to look no farther than a few miles to the north to see similar passion in action. The Green Bay Packers’ fan base is easily as passionate and dedicated and expectant of success as the Cards’…maybe even more so. Mike Hunt has to realize this. Even if Mike Hunt isn’t a Packers fan, does he honestly believe the cheese heads in green and gold just sit back and say, “Well, good for them! We’ll get it next year!” when the Chicago Bears win the NFC North? Or the Minnesota Vikings? Or the Detroit Li…Minnesota Vikings? Mike Hunt needs to get with the program.
One thing I do agree with Mike Hunt on is that the Brewers have certainly earned their position in the standings. The current run they’re on is nothing short of remarkable. But Mike Hunt can’t tell me I should be OK with the Cards losing. I realize journalists aren’t supposed to be fans, but Mike Hunt should still know what it means to root for your team win or lose.
I know the Cards don’t have much of a chance this year…I’m not delusional. But I think Mike Hunt may be if he thinks I shouldn’t be upset about it. Maybe Mike Hunt would feel better if the Cardinals started untucking their shirts after every victory or pretending to fall like bowling pins when a home run hitter reaches home plate. Mike Hunt must think all teams act like that…and since the Cards are the only ones that don’t, they’re not having fun, right? Sour because they’re not winning AGAIN? How dare these Brewers take the Cards’ division title away from them? Give me a break, Mike Hunt.
Something tells me Mike Hunt wouldn’t write a story like this if the Brewers were actually more successful year in and year out. Has Mike Hunt written this same column about the Cincinnati Reds? Guess not. Maybe Mike Hunt is a little jealous of the Cardinals. Maybe all the other teams in the Central and their fans are. The Cards haven’t done much since they won the World Series in 2006; why hasn’t another team stepped up and taken over the division?
Can Mike Hunt answer me that?
Thursday is Social Media Night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first of a four game series, and before the game a special presentation takes place featuring the three most active Twitter users on the Cards’ roster: David Freese, Jon Jay, and Daniel Descalso. It looks like tickets are still available. This will be my third SMN at Busch, and I can confirm that “real” baseball writers—you know, the ones that do it for a living—attended this event in the past as well. Either way, if you’re going to the game and you enjoy interacting with the Cardinals, other fans, and sports journalists/bloggers/writers via Twitter, Facebook, etc. this is a can’t-miss event. And if you read any of my scribblings, whether you enjoy them or not, please come say hello!
I haven’t posted a Nooner in a while, so it’s about time this little feature reappears.
–Interesting tidbit from last night’s Cardinals game: We were chatting with a couple of the ushers afterward, waiting for the crowd at Busch Stadium to clear out. It was a beautiful night–about 70 degrees throughout most of the game–so we were in no hurry. We sit very close to the visitors’ bullpen, and while we talked I noticed one of the bat boys from the Milwaukee Brewers cleaning up the equipment they were taking with them. He picked up a big metal beverage dispenser and dumped it out near the floor drain…OK, nothing unusual there. Except the thing was full of hot coffee. That’s right…a bunch of professional athletes preparing to go into a game being played in comfortable weather at 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night were drinking coffee. Weird.
–It was a pretty big win for the Cards last night. Being four games out in mid-August is not ideal, but it sounds a lot better than being six games out. I believe this Cardinals team has what it takes to make a run and catch/pass the Brewers in the standings. Whether or not they will actually execute is another matter…so far, they really haven’t. Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter looked really good last night. It was kind of like old times. Here’s to hoping they have a lot more of those games in them this season.
–Tonight’s game against the Colorado Rockies is big, too. Not because it’s the Rockies; they aren’t really playing for anything right now. But with the Brewers heading home to Miller Park–where they’re damn near unbeatable–to play the floundering Pittsburgh Pirates, every win is important. And the Cards really need a good start from Kyle Lohse. I mean at least six innings and less than four runs allowed. He has pitched awful of late, and doubts about his health are starting to resurface.
–Someone pointed me to this link, and while I always hoped I would make some ink on MLB Trade Rumors, I never expected it to be for that.
And no, that’s not really me. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish it was.
It’s getting late, folks. The Cardinals have dropped two of the first three games in this pivotal series against the Brewers. Now the Brew Crew is five games up on the Redbirds in the NL Central standings. Last night’s game was almost a must-win, and the Cards didn’t win. That makes tonight even MORE of a must-win. And I’ll be there to watch it all go down.
Mathematically, of course, the Cards are far from elimination. And even if they do lose tonight, they still have six games remaining against the Brewers this year. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season.
But what can the Cardinals do to turn it on? It seems like we’ve been waiting to see that all year. Once everyone gets healthy…once the rotation starts clicking…once the offense puts it all together. Things looked pretty good in April, May, and June but now unanswered questions abound. It’s been a frustrating season, and we still have six weeks left. It can get a lot better. It can get a lot worse.
If the Cardinals lose the division, this series will be one of the glaring reasons why. I hate going into tonight’s game thinking about that. The Brewers have absolutely pummeled the Cards this season. Home field has held no advantage. I’d be optimistic about Chris Carpenter getting tonight’s start if it wasn’t Yovanni Gallardo taking the mound for Milwaukee. Normally I would think “Wow…could be a great pitching duel. I can dig that.” But the Cardinals don’t need that; they need a sustained explosion of offense. If the Cards can’t hit Randy Wolf, what will they do against Gallardo? Will they win any of their remaining games against the Brewers?
Look for me in the stands tonight…I’ll be the one sipping a beer, nervously fidgeting, hoping I’m not witnessing the death of the Cardinals’ season in mid-August.