September 3, 2008

Wild Card not nearly out of reach for Cardinals

The toughest of the tough Cardinal Nation fans are most loyal to the St. Louis Cardinals when a challenge lies before them--like now.

The Cubs are double-digits in games ahead of the Cards in the NL Central Division, but the the NL Wild Card is well within reach of the St. Louis team. You don't want to be in a position where you have to depend on other teams to beat those ahead of you in such a race, but things may come down to that at some point.

Manager Tony La Russa and his squad are well aware of their position in the division, and are also aware that the Wild Card includes teams from all three divisions of the NL. In the current placement, the Phillies are a game ahead of the Cardinals, and both are chasing the Brewers.

The Cubs and Brewers lost yesterday, while the Phillies and Cardinals won, so the the Phillies are now 4.5 games behind in the NL Wild Card while the Cardinals are 5.5 games behind. Also still in the hunt and not counting out their chances are the NL Central's fourth place team, the Astros, who in large part are competing right now due to a recent sweep of the Cardinals.

But it is the several remaining series of the St. Louis team that count now, and some of the more notable include the Cubs, Brewers, and the Diamondbacks.

It doesn't matter how tough the road ahead is, either, because the Cards have a shot at the playoffs, regardless of anything the naysayers spew forth. It seems the negativity is the calling card of the so-called Cardinals' fans, who have learned nothing about this team, nor taken any lessons from one of the best managers in baseball.

For whatever reason, much of the media and so-called fan alike are content to say: "Well, the Cards did way better than expected this year." And they would be right, if they hadn't expected the St. Louis team to do very well. But there were a lot of us who did believe the Cards were very good from the start.

It's doubtful many thought the Cards were in position to contend for the World Series, but in baseball, where anything can happen, and often does, just getting in position for a shot at the title is important. The Cardinals have that shot.

And most importantly, what does it serve to downgrade your home town team, to count them out prematurely? Answer: It only serves to save face for those who probably weren't real fans and home town backers in the media to begin with. For those folks, jumping off the bandwagon just as soon as they dare is an important part of their selfish makeup. It's the same thing as saying: "I'm too good to cheer for this team to which I was never truely loyal, unless, of course, their determination proves me dead wrong, in which case, I will gladly jump back on the front-running bandwagon, because I'm pretty spineless when it comes to fan loyalty."

Now is exactly the time when Cardinal Nation needs to put the cheering into overdrive, not start in with the excuses. Doesn't matter the dire straights. This is why we love baseball. Recognize it, and enjoy it, with your favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
photo by Barbara Moore