Posted by Steve
Ah, the Cardinals. Let me tell you why I despise the Cardinals (picture Chris Farley in Tommy Boy when he says to the waitress, “Let me tell you why I suck as a salesman.” That’s how I said that sentence).
- Their fans. Okay, not their fans specifically as much as the reputation of their fans, and in turn the fans who brag about said reputation. Go ahead and google ‘best fans in baseball.’ Here, I’ll even do it for you. It’s a friggin’ Redbird lovefest. Cardinals fans don’t boo. They don’t turn on their team. They’re knowledgeable. They don’t interfere with play. They don’t leave early. They are friendly. They work at soup kitchens. They respect Ozone Action Days. They’re courteous drivers, but only when they aren’t biking to work. They’re celibate. I get it! But you know what? I heard a lot of booing when the Brewers swept them out of their stadium. And if you go to a Cardinals game on a Saturday night, I guarantee you’ll find some drunk, obnoxious fans, just like at every other stadium. Must we glorify a fan base for simply not being on the level of scum-of-the-Earth Cub fans? I say no! Give it a rest.
- Their over-performing crappy players. In seven minor league seasons, Skip Schumaker has an OPS of .738, so it only makes sense that he’d be at .795 this year in the majors. Aaron Miles has a 96 OPS+ this season, but a career OPS+ of 76 (and that’s with two seasons in Coors Field!) Ryan Ludwick was never a bad player, but who puts up outstanding numbers in their first full-time season at age 29? Either the Cardinals are idiots for not giving him a chance earlier, or Ludwick is an outlier in a group of outliers—which seems to happen to the Cardinals all the time.
- Their crappy players performing where they should be and not costing them wins. Seriously, this team has Brian Barton, Skip Schumaker, Adam Kennedy, Aaron Miles, Brenden Ryan, Joe Mather and Cesar Izturis. That’s not all. On the pitching side, they have had a rotation including Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse, Braden Looper and Joel Pineiro the entire season, and they have given 40+ innings of relief to Ryan Franklin, Ron Villone and Russ Springer! What the hell? How are they not terrible? Pujols, Glaus and Ludwick are all great, but that doesn’t make up for a team half-filled with scrubs.
- Aaron Miles specifically. I don’t think any player irritates me more than Aaron Miles right now. What is he, 4’9”? Baseball Reference has him at 5’8”… Not buying it. Hey Aaron, why don’t you choke up another foot on the bat? Better yet, turn it around and hold the bat by the barrel. That should help you hit the ball even more weakly. And check out the dude’s goatee. Have you ever seen a goatee that full in your life? It looks like he has hair plugs on his face. You can’t convince me his back isn’t just blanketed in hair. I bet he even has the Mo Williams shoulder hair. If Aaron Miles grew out his hair and a full beard he could easily pass for a dwarf, but for now, he looks more like a lawn gnome. In closing, Aaron Miles=Gnome.
- Albert Pujols’ nonexistent injury. At the beginning of the year we were hearing how Pujols’ injured elbow was bound to blow out at any moment, and there was virtually no way he’d make it through the season. Well, so much for that, and it hasn’t even affected him. Annoying.
- The Antichrist. Yep. You knew I’d get there eventually. Good ol’ Tony La Russa. First of all, thank goodness it isn’t September yet, because La Russa would use 20 pitchers in each game if he had an expanded roster. Each game would take five hours. My favorite moment of the greatest series in the last decade was seeing La Russa run out of bench players in regulation and having to send up relief pitchers to hit in extra innings. Thing is, you know he’ll have something up his sleeve. This is the last time the Cards will have a crack at the Brewers this season, so he’ll be pulling out all the stops. Last season, he played Ned Yost like Andy Dufresne played the warden with that beanball ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ ordeal. I’m really hoping that Yost has learned to ignore that crap this time around, but somehow I’m not very confident. I also hate that La Russa is being credited for winning with this crappy team, even though it’s probably warranted. Would he get 100 wins out of this Brewers team? Seems that way, but they’re probably too talented and deep for him. I imagine if he was offered the Brewers job, he wouldn’t agree to it unless Tony Gwynn Jr. and Laynce Nix were called up and Craig Counsell was named starting shortstop.
I’ve accepted that no matter the outcome, the games themselves, like all Cardinals games, will suck. They’ll be drawn out with multiple pitching changes and double switches. If the Brewers get swept, I’ll be much angrier than I should. All rationality says I should be very pleased with a split, and I’m sure I would, but I’d love nothing more to take both and almost be single-handedly responsible for keeping them out of the playoffs. After years and years and the Cardinals’ doormat, I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.