As Pujols lays in his bed of millions, The Saint Louis Cardinals are once again in the NLCS. In fact, the last two World Champions are playing against each other in the NLCS.
It is amazing to me how many national sports writers and so called experts out there believed that the Cardinals were going to fall off the radar this year due to Pujols and Larussa being gone. In the same breath, they believed that the Angels were almost assuredly guaranteed a playoff spot. In a post at the beginning of the season, I reported the complete opposite. The Cardinals would go to the playoffs and the Angels would be testing their golf game early. Baseball, more than any sport is not just one man, nor one manager. This has been proven over and over and over again. When are the experts going to wise up to this simple fact?
The reason the Cardinals are so successful is because they are the best run organization in baseball top to bottom…period. The second best run organization isn”t even in the Cardinals rear view mirror. Call it arrogance, call it pompous, but it is the truth. Fans fill up the stadium, managers develop their players, and the front office doesn’t try to keep up with the Jones’ or the “Benjamins” like so many teams do. The Cardinals have developed a culture of winning, a culture of respect, and a culture of ”I want to be better, so that my team is better.” I liken it to a well run company whose margins keep growing because the employees have a will to win, a will to beat out the competition.
The Cardinals are not just one bloated contract after another. They have a balance of young and old, well paid and minimal contracts, high strung and calm personalities, but most of all a will to win more than any other team. That will to win has been on display a lot in the past year or so. Carpenter taking the mound in game five against Hallady of the Phillies last year, being down to their last strike twice in game 6 of the World Series last year, and again being down to their last strike in game 5 against the Nationals this year. This team is resilient and never says die. Now I am not guaranteeing another World Series victory this year. Anything can happen in the playoffs, and there are some good teams left. However, what I am saying is that this team will fight to the death more than any other team, and they will be fun to watch for as long as they are in it. Hopefully, they will once again raise the trophy, but if not, there is always next year. The Cardinals aren’t going away, so haters you better just accept it.