Monday, August 15, 2011

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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  1. Anonymous10:11 AM

    You just listed ten reasons why the St. Louis Cardinals winning the 2011 World Series would be good for the Cardinals. Surely it's good for the Cardinals, but it's bad for baseball. When a team who plays like crap 85% of the season eeks into the playoffs and wins it all, it diminishes the importance of the regular season. Nobody, outside of St. Louis, wanted to see a team peopled with underachievers and throwaway players compete for a title. It's not even like St. Louis is an underdog city. They had 10 previous world championships. Bad for Baseball. The ONLY good I can see coming out of a Cardinals WS win is it'll really piss off that festering boil on the face of baseball known as Nyjer Morgan. Other than that, we're witnessing the culmination of Bud Selig's utter disregard for 100 years of baseball tradition in the name of padding ownership’s pockets. Did the ’63 Dodgers or Yankees have to worry about getting knocked out of a short series against the Colt .45s? Nope. Bc back then Bud Selig was ripping off car lessees rather than baseball fans.

  2. Wow. So you think an exciting playoff system that puts even the best teams on their toes is bad for baseball?

    Well, I guess you can't please everyone

  3. Anonymous2:05 PM

    The idea that the wild card format is bad for baseball isn't a nouveau one. Of course you'd praise the wild card system now because it benefited your team. But in 2005 no one outside of Houston wanted to see the stinking Astros in the WS. The Cards were far and away the best team in the NL, and in baseball overall. More than any other sport, baseball is subject to non-representative outcomes over the short-term, i.e., upsets. Since the MLB implemented the wild card in 1994, 10 wild card teams in those 17 years have gone onto the world series. By comparison, The NFL began their wild card in 1970 and, in these past 41 years, only 9 wild card teams have gone onto the Superbowl. The disparity is even more obvious in the NBa where only 4 8th-seeded teams have beaten the 1st-seeded teams in the history of the sport. Clearly, the best baseball teams lose more often to statistically inferior opponents in a 7, or worse 5, game playoff round than other major sports as is evidenced by the unusually high percentage of baseball wild card teams advancing to the championship. The idea of rendering all of the hard work and subsequent outcome of a 162-game schedule meaningless by allowing more teams into the playoffs is bad for baseball. I'm sorry, but it is. I’m sure you thought so in 2005, and if you’d take your blinders off now, you’d agree. Oh, and this trend will only worsen when Bud Selig has his way and allows a second wild card team into the postseason in the coming years.

  4. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Oh Jeez, just noticed you're a Red Sox fan. You're forever indebted to the wild card. I expect all my points to fall on deaf ears. lol. For the record, I believed in the wild card back then. I thought it unfair that a team such as the Red Sox who were consistently better than the other AL division winners should be prohibited from competing in the playoffs because they happened to play in a tougher division. Unfortunately, all too often we've seen inferior teams get in on the wild card bid either by getting hot for the last few weeks of the season or by seeing another, better team implode, e.g., Braves/Red Sox this year. I think the latter scenario just cheapens baseball.

  5. How were the Braves and Red Sox better teams than the Cardinals and Rays exactly? My being a Red Sox fan has nothing to do with me finding your stance that a playoff system that is unpredictable is somehow bad for baseball is somewhat puzzling.

    So I take it you think it should go back to AL Pennant vs. NL Pennant?

    As long as there is a playoff system a team like the 1973 Mets, 1985 Royals and 1987 Twins will sneak in.

    Teams like the 1977 and 1978 Phillies and the 1987 Tigers and 1988 Mets can get eliminated.

    I like wild unpredictable Octobers.
    I am still not 100% sure what you are getting at.

    The best as I can see is

    a) You only want the top teams in each league in the playoffs.

    b) You only want a big market team in the playoff.

    Anyone who could watch the end of this season and this post season and say "SEE! It's broken" is someone I might have to shrug and say "Well, I guess some people don't like chocolate cake, smiling children and a bright sunny day."

  6. FYI... I was rooting for the Phillies, Brewers AND Rangers against the Cardinals.

    But the Cardinals earned it.
    I am sorry that you didn't like an exciting post season.

    Please tell us in advance which teams should win

  7. Wasn't 2005 a year when the White Sox, the best team in the AL, Won the World Series?

    Didn't the Red Sox in 2007 have the best record in baseball and win the World Series

    Did the Yankees in 2009 have the best record in baseball and win it all?

    So some years the best regular season win... some years they don't

    I literally don't know what you are talking about.
    But I thank you for reading the blog

  8. Anonymous4:44 PM

    I'm okay with there being playoff upsets. My point, which you've admitted has escaped you, is that since the implementation of the wild card, upsets have occured more often in baseball than any other sport. In fact, I'd venture to say they've become the norm. And that, to me, defeats the purpose of having a 162-game season. That, to me, is bad for baseball. Oh, and regarding your rebuttal, I too can refute your proposition by replacing it with superficially similiar yet unequivical propositions and refuting them, without ever having actually refuted your original position: So you're saying you'd prefer to forgo the regular season and have a playoff which included every Major League team because that would be exponentially more wild and unpredictable? See how easy it is? I can also insinuate that because you don't agree with my perspective, that you are somehow abnormal, that you must somehow enjoy sadness over smiles, gloomy skies over sun, and bitter turnips over sweet chocolate. That's called ad hominem, and it means your argument is flawed.

    1. Anonymous5:27 PM

      Wait. Shouldn't there be more "upsets" in MLB Playoffs anyway??? The "worst" teams in MLB Playoffs are ranked higher than the worst teams in Playoffs in other sports respectively.

      NHL & NBA - 16 teams
      NFL - 12 teams
      MLB - "10" teams (8 really)

    2. Anonymous5:41 PM

      It's a 4 seed beating a 1 seed

  9. So you are saying you don't mind upsets. You just wish they didn't happen so often.

  10. I am very sorry you had to sit through this post season

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  12. Anonymous2:22 PM

    any chance you can publish your reasons why the red sox winning the world series would be good? im curious lol

  13. Actually I was going to post that the day the season ended, assuming they'd be in the playoffs.

    Never got to post it

    I wrote THIS instead

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  15. Cardinal team was not only its resolve which included going an entire season without stud ace Adam Wainwright.

  16. Anonymous3:36 PM

    In the day when I see a team with 80-something wins qualify for the playoffs but then turn around and say, "Oh my! This just isn't fair! And in the interest of what's good for baseball, we're going to forfeit and let the other guys advance instead." When that happens, I'll be impressed. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen. The Cardinals are overall second only to the Yankees in wins since 2000. When you play that way overall, you earn the right to get in the back door now and then. In 1981, the Cardinals had the best overall record in their division and didn't go to post-season due to a ridiculous split-season decision by Bowie Kuhn. Nobody cried for the Cardinals then, and quite frankly, St. Louis owes NOBODY an apology for flying the 2006 World Series Title flag.

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