Just over a week ago, the Cardinals won the World Series, and the city of St. Louis is still celebrating. Well, actually, we're not. We're just worrying about whether or not Albert will re-sign with the Cards. No, really--that is all we're doing. Doctors have begun prescribing medication to people who are NOT worrying about Albert. Police have let criminals go free if they explain that they "got caught up in worrying about Albert's contract". Law firms have permitted "worrying about Albert" to count as billable hours.
But the household of the Hungry Preacher went the proactive route and scheduled a "Please Re-sign Albert" parade. To conserve resources, we scheduled it the same time as official St. Louis Cardinals World Series Victory Parade. Here's a picture.
|Me with Yadier Molina (sophisticated software required to see me in one of the reflective surfaces in the picture)|
Since the parade, I've had some time to reflect on the Cardinals amazing post-season run. Here are a few thoughts, presented in Hungry Preacher style (i.e., bulleted list form).
- vs. Phillies. I liked the Cards chances against the Phillies. They have done OK against good pitchers, while flailing against lesser-known, lesser-skilled types (the “Bud Norris effect”). Oswalt, Halladay, and Lee didn’t scare me.
- vs. Brewers. The Brewers DID scare me. Their lineup was crazy good, better than the Phils at almost every position. Their pitching was good enough to win, but not so good as to transcend the “Bud Norris effect”.
- vs. Rangers. Same as Brewers: killer lineup, good-not-great starting pitching, excellent bullpen. But with the momentum the Cards were riding, I figured the series was a toss-up.
- LaRussa. I’m sure I’m the only one, but I sometimes find LaRussa’s managerial moves to be, at best, irksome and, at worst, contrived to call attention to himself for its own sake. But kudos are due (“phone-gate” notwithstanding). Some of his good moves: 1) erring on the side of yanking starters too soon rather than too late; 2) sitting Jon Jay for games 6 and 7. I would have figured Jay would pull out eventually and was worth keeping in the lineup, but Schumaker did well replacing him and Jay proved most useful off the bench in game 6; 3) not jumping the gun on defensive replacements: that Berkman AND Freese were both still in the game for the 9th, 10th, and 11th innings of game 6 was nearly as amazing as their performances.
- Westbrook. Jake Westbrook turned in the most overlooked performance of the World Series. Not bad for a guy who barely made the roster and was probably only going to get used for either “mop up” work or “crap, we’re out of pitchers” work. Jake leapfrogged ahead of Boggs and Rhodes to work the 11th inning of game 6. This is when Cards fans, conditioned by watching Ryan Franklin pitch in the first half of the season, expected a progression like: solid single ("oh, here we go again") - pop out ("well, he got an out, so maybe he'll get through this") - bloop single ("OK, that was just a blooper--that could have happened to anyone") - 3-run-homer ("oh crap--why didn’t they bring in Schumaker to pitch?"). Westbrook gave up one hit, and no more, and will go down in history as the winning pitcher of one the of greatest World Series games in history.
- Freese & Berkman. I wonder how many games at any point in the regular season came down to a team being 1 strike away from winning, once in regulation and once in extra innings, and still losing. It wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t happen at all during the regular season. So for it to happen as it did in the World Series of all places, well, that’s pretty much as amazing as the media has made it out to be. Jawdropping.
- Ringlessness. I wish there was at least one player on the Rangers who was kind of a punk so I could not feel bad about them not getting a WS ring (at least the Brewers had Niger Morgan). Truthfully, I feel kind of bad for the team. They seem like a standup organization from top to bottom. Why can’t EVERYONE get a ring?
- Re-signing Pujols. I actually think winning the series will help the Cardinals NOT have to overpay to sign Pujols. Fan bases tend to be forgiving for a few years after a World Series championship. Plus, the WAY the Cards won the series--with Pujols really contributing for only 1 game--would make it easier to justify to the fan base that he is NOT worth $25 million a year for 8+ years. Allen Craig's World Series production was comparable to Albert's, and he currently doesn't really have a position with the Cards for next year. See where I'm going with this? Just sayin'.