Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey You Guys!

For the past two years the St. Louis Cardinals have been doing the unthinkable in postseason play.  They are the defending World Series champions and are once again in the thick of the playoffs with a group of guys who defy logic.

This really all started at the end of the season last year when the Cardinals caught fire and were helped by the utter collapse of the Atlanta Braves to get in the playoffs. 

It isn't how you get in the playoffs that matters it is just getting in the playoffs.  Nobody cares if you were a 100 game winner or you limped in the playoffs.  It you are in then you have a chance. 

And these Cardinals ALWAYS seem to have a chance.

This group of what seems to be a rag-tag group of guys were able to fight off elimination against Texas in Game 6 of the World Series last year.  They were down to their last strike and David Freese was able crank the game winning homer and the rest is history. 

They remind me of the Goonies, you remember that movie, this group of misfits who are kind of counted out, misunderstood, and struggling to achieve something great while going through adventure after adventure while searching for a wondrous treasure.  The treasure, though, in this case being a World Series title and they ultimately found it.

But could they do it again?  

Coming into this season, after having such success last year, they were now faced with adversity by trying to replace our generations greatest hitter in Albert Pujols.  You take away not only his offensive production but his stature on the team and city. 

So what do the Cardinals do? 

They replace him in the line up with Carlos Beltran, pictured at right, who had his best season in years!

There must be something in the water down in St. Louis because they seem to do this year in and  year out.  

They have created a culture of winning and an attitude of not giving up no matter what the circumstance.  This belief system has culminated in this seasons run to the NLCS.

They have taken advantage of the new playoff format and found themselves once again thriving.  They don't see themselves as an inferior team, considering they finished 9 games out of the division behind Cincinnati.  They see themselves as a playoff team.

Plain and simple.

They took out the Atlanta Braves in the winner-takes-all one game playoff.  Now all the Braves fans can say what they want about the infield fly fiasco but that didn't cost you the game.  The three errors made by your team cost you the game.  The infield fly issue was just icing on the cake. 

But again the Cardinals just move on. 

Survive and advance. 

Now they faced the best team in the National League, the Washington Nationals.  It was a hard fought first four games and then came game 5.  What happened on this night was almost surreal.  The Nationals hit them hard early but the Cardinals will tell you the game isn't a 4 inning sprint.  It is a 9 inning marathon with twists and turns and they will use ALL of their 27 outs. 

Once again they were finding themselves in a precarious hole and a hole most teams would have felt couldn't be climbed out of. 

Not these Cardinals.  They almost welcome the moment being down 7-5 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and once again facing elimination. 

They feel no pressure.  I can't remember a team so relaxed in tense moments than these St. Louis Cardinals. 

So, Boom just like that they are up 9-7 after a tremendous rally and the Nationals and their fans didn't know what hit them.  It was like a right upper cut from Mike Tyson.  The knockout blow had been delivered.

They earned the right to face the San Fransisco Giants in the NLCS and the Nationals were left to wonder what the hell just happened.

Chris Carpenter, left, and Lance Berkman, both veteran guys, have been asked about their influence on the team and they both feel the players listen to them and believe what they say.  

Their egos are left at the door and everyone battles as a team.  They are all in this together.  It is refreshing to see such team unity. 

It makes a team built for the postseason because, as you can see with the Yankees, when guys aren't hitting and the fans are ruthless you need your boys in the dugout on your side.   

It doesn't just end with the position players.  The Cardinals have been getting it done with the pitching staff as well.  They obviously have their struggles in the regular season but te bullpen has been a saving grace for the Cardinals this postseason.  They have been shutting down opposing teams and this was never more evident in Game 1 against San Francisco. 

Any time a team can get excellent bullpen work it obviously increases their chances of winning.  They have put together a good group regardless if they weren't supposed to be pitchers or not.   

Their closer, Jason Motte, is a converted catcher for crying out loud.  The Cardinals look for baseball players first and then find them a position.  They have the talent in the starting rotation with a now semi-healthy Carpenter, Wainright is a stud more often than not, Lohse is a consistent winner, and then find a scrap heap pitcher and the Cardinals will make him an All-Star like Lance Lynn.

The Cardinals have the chemistry to make another deep run in the playoffs with the likes of David Freese, John Jay, Daniel Descalso, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, Skip Schumaker, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holiday etc... 

These guys have been there and done it. 

They are Goonies.

And Goonies never say die!


  1. The Cardinals most certainly are not “goonies”.

    Their entire infield is a product of the Cardinal minor league system: Molina, Craig, Descalso, Kozma, and Freese (who was obtained from the Padres, but matured in the Card’s minor leagues). John Jay, also, came through the system.

    I won’t take time to list all the young power arms on the team, but the same can be said of them.

    They are not misfits, but players who have learned how to play the game the right way in the Cardinal system.

    P.S. You forgot to mention the “misfit” 2006 World Champs.

    1. Goonies never die...and neither do these Cardinals. I was attempting to give them, a team I dispise, a compliment. Sorry if you feel it was out of order. I am glad you are so passionate about your team as I am about the teams I root for. Keep the comments coming and I will attempt to grasp their persona better. Hopefully the Giants will win the next four games and I won't have to write about the Cardinals again till next season. One Cub fan can only be continued for sure. Thanks again.