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Two Words: “Uh” and “Oh”

 

Written by – KMFP  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/the-kmfp/)

Well shit…

Let me preface the rest of this column by saying that I sincerely hope that I’m wrong and that all of you who are somewhat hating me after reading it will be further cursing my name in a week… but I’m VERY afraid – and you should be too.

UO1Sure, it’ll be absolutely electric over at Busch Number Three for at least two games, and the pure beauty of these lifelong rivals finally meeting with something on the line is as satisfying in that respect as ultimately bedding that high school crush a few years after graduation, but did this Cubs team have to be SO good… SO young… SO hungry?

I don’t even like typing it, but this has a similarly frightening “feel” as those 2004 Red Sox, and how annoying is it that Theo Epstein could potentially have a hand in ending both historic droughts?

Should the Baby Bears run the table like their Northeastern predecessors of over a decade ago, Mr. Epstein may just deserve a bronze tribute in front of two of the most archaic, overrated shit-heaps to ever host a professional sporting event… but I digress.

The Cubbies are coming, my KMFP-eople, and make no mistake about it – they are NOT scared.

They are young enough not to give a fat fu-you-know-what about the “big bad Cardinals”, but well managed and perhaps just mature enough not to disrespect the notion.

Sure they know the history, the tradition, the “Sea of Red”, “Cardinal Nation”, and – undoubtedly the most obnoxious, self-anointed label of them all – the “Best Fans in Baseball”.  They’re professional baseball players, and you can bet my sweet ass that they’ve followed it from youth.

However – in the most respectful sense of what I’m about to write (or maybe not?) – they just… don’t… care.

They won’t come here tipping caps to tradition on their way to mere contentment with being deferential bit players in yet another St. Louis postseason script, and a footnote to an additional flag in the outfield.

They have every intention of clearing a road-bump… not being one.

And – as ridiculously taboo to say as it’s often considered by these “Best Fans” who I live amongst– they are the better team right now.

I know, I know, “but look at the standings”.  I know, I know, I’m just a “fair-weather fan”, I’m “not loyal”, and I should probably “just move”, lest I speak analytically, honestly, and yes – even emotionally and NOT on the side of our – yes “our” hometown team.

You see, I AM a fan of not only the team, but the game, the season, and the realities that usually govern it, and not the “idea” of showing up in October to be seen at an event after watching these guys pop corks on the ten o’clock news before even realizing that we’d get that chance again.

UO2And any true fan of this game, its 162-game structure, and the very realistic elements of momentum and “peaking”, will look right past the numbers under “W” in the paper, the avenue by which they punched their playoff ticket, or some inherited arrogance of “our team” always being the deserving one when attempting a rational assessment of what could transpire – regardless of which side that lands you on.

My own assessment unfortunately sees a team of the aforementioned “peaking” variety, who is playing fearless, and with that overhyped, proverbial “nothing to lose” designation that so often accompanies major sporting events.

But – at the risk of writer’s hyperbole – has there ever been a more suitable target for such a label than a rookie-laden squad of a historically futile franchise, with a new manager and an appointment with its fiercest rival and pretty much the exact opposite of a lot of those adjectives?

(for the record, I just vomited after typing that… but I may be getting newspaper offers now)

And let’s be careful not to forget St. Louis’s own most recent 2006 and 2011 World Series runs when already crowning the home team on statistics and swagger alone.  These two Champions won 83 and 90 games respectively… but “peaked” (that word again) at the right time.

Well this is looking like “the right time” again – just not for the Cardinals.

On top of that, it’s not like Chicago fields some “lucky to be here” group of Wild Card beneficiaries, hoping to ride a magical wave into the sunset shores.

This team won only three fewer games than our beloved boys of summer, being gifted the dreaded “play-on” game by virtue of being in the best division in baseball alone.  Most other seasons AND most other divisions, and both the Cubs – and those Pirates who they just dispatched – could’ve been waiting for the winner of that matchup as well.

Furthermore, they’ve got the best pitcher on the planet in Jake Arrieta right now, a downright terrifying lineup, and a Manager who – despite his current tenure – has some postseason experience, two-time Manager of the Year accolades on his resume (soon to be three)… and a sack full of nuggets in his trousers.

I like this guy, and it’s very hard not to.  He’s not “by the book”, he loosens things up and he takes some chances.  He truly believed, he made these kids believe, and a city does as well – possibly not in jest for once.

UO3I could never discount the injuries and adversity of their own that this Cardinal bunch had to overcome in this incredible season, and I wholeheartedly believe that Mike Matheny’s steady hand and presence in that clubhouse was most definitely the guiding force behind it, as well as making him deserving of MOTY honors himself.

But one – his playoff decisions scare me; and two – I’m just being honest.

Here’s to hoping that I’m equally dead wrong… KMFP-out!

 

(MORE Cardinal Baseball: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/cardinals-baseball/)

(KMFP Archives: http://www.thekmfp.com/the-kmfp-2/)
(“About The KMFP”:
http://www.thekmfp.com/about-the-kmfp/)

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