Thinking Out Loud

The Cardinals have settled into a pattern of winning. That is great news for them and for the fans, but it makes it tough to come up with fresh material for a blog post such as this one. There is no real controversy, other than the continued beating of the dead horse that is Ryan Franklin. So while trying to think of something new and exciting to write about today I says to my self, “Self—instead of one story, why not touch on several?” Away we go…

–The Cards have now won eight of their last nine series, and the ninth one was a split of a four-gamer against a pretty good (no, really) Florida Marlins club. Entering Friday’s action the Cards were 22-16, which is good for third-best in the National League behind the Marlins (told ya) and the Philadelphia Phillies.

–The series against the Cubs was an interesting one. Going into the series, the two teams were #1 and #2 in the majors in team batting average. The Cardinals scored a total of 19 runs on 36 hits; the put up Cubs 16 runs on 39 hits…but the only home run in the three-game set was the solo shot that landed in the street by Matt Holliday in Thursday’s finale.

–Speaking of Holliday, he was the only member of that game’s starting lineup that was not drafted and developed by the Cardinals’ farm system.

–A lot of Reds fans hate the Cardinals. I mean, really hate them. During the series at Busch, I spent the entire game online both crafting a blog post and monitoring Twitter topics #stlcards and #reds. The vitriol coming from Reds fans was really quite unbelievable. It was hate the Cardinals this, little bitches that, expletives and wishes for injuries to various players…it was non-stop. I thought maybe this was something every rivalry experienced, and I know the fringe is often the loudest no matter how many of them there are. So I did the same thing for one of the games against the Cubs. I did see a lot of “Cardinals suck” and things of that nature, but nothing like what was coming from Reds fans. Maybe those people are not truly representative of the majority of Reds fans. But I even saw this after the series was over! What could be the cause of this hatred? Is it resentment because of all the time the Cards spent winning division titles, league championships, and a World Series over the past decade or so? Did all of that really stem from the fight last season? If anything, I would think Cards fans would hate the Reds rather than the other way around. After all, the Reds were the ones doing all the kicking and screaming. Of course, some fans understand what it means to win with class…

–If you have not seen the video of Kyle Lohse’s impersonation of Tony LaRussa on Thursday, your assignment from me is to go to the video page (after finishing this article, of course) and watch it.

–The Cards have a chance to put a little distance between them and the Reds this weekend, and if recent history holds true they will do just that. The Cards won two of three at Busch Stadium a couple of weeks ago and 12 of 18 throughout 2010. The Reds won the NL Central crown, of course, and that’s what ultimately matters. First place is nice but means very little in May…remember, the Cards were in this position this time last year. It will truly come down to which team stays healthy. The Reds just got Scott Rolen, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey back from the DL, so they will likely get a boost. Likewise, the Cards have had most of their success with key players like David Freese, Skip Schumaker, and of course Adam Wainwright on the shelf. Unfortunately, Freese and Schumaker will not see action for quite a while yet this season and Wainwright will not be back at all. So it will be interesting to see how sustained the Cards’ attack will be, and what will happen should anyone else go down.

–Barring something unforeseen, I do not expect any extracurricular scrapes between the Cards and Reds this weekend. I probably would not think this way if Cueto and Chris Carpenter were facing each other in this series.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained

2 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud

  1. I am a Reds fan who happened upon your site while googling about Scott Rolen. I enjoyed your article about Rolen, as well as your observations about last year’s Reds-Cards brawl (I think your characterization of it as the Cueto incident brings your bias a bit more forward than your articles otherwise do). I have to say having watched the brawl live on from my office in Honolulu, and countless times afterward, I really do not see where much blame lies with Cueto. I think everybody bore the blame. Who knows what a person will do when they are frightened and in the middle of an out of control mob? Viewing the video, I did not see anything malicious about Cueto’s actions. I see frightened and defensive.

    Having watched the somewhat improbable outcome of this weekend’s Reds-Cards series, I can’t help but wonder if the Reds haven’t turned a corner in their dealings with the Reds. A series sweep against the Cards, and even beating Carpenter says quite a lot. Even the most recent series in SL probably belonged to the Reds, but for Yadi Molina’s clutch homer that claimed the series for the Cards. I don’t see the same kind of pressing and apparent nerves in the Reds that I saw last year when they played the Cards.

    Anyway, I do appreciate your intelligent and thoughtful writing. A pleasure to read. If nothing else, maybe this weekend will at least provide you some fresh blog material as your most recent post lamented the Cards’ winning ways of late were robbing you.

    Aloha, Steve.

  2. Steve,

    I appreciate the kind words and the read. I’m not going to lie; even though I’ve never met you, as soon as I saw you were from Honolulu I became insanely jealous. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but it’s near the top of my list of next destinations.

    As far as Cueto is concerned, I do understand that, in the heat of the moment, it’s tough to gauge how one would react in that mob. But what really bothered me is that he had LaRue’s face front and center. It was no accident. And Cueto kept going and going. Maybe I am more sympathetic to LaRue because I’m a Cards fan, but I think Cueto could have exhibited more self-control and maybe not ended the guy’s career. I also believe his 7-day suspension–which basically equaled one missed start–was a joke.

    With all that said, the Reds proved they were the better team last year and have played the Cardinals well this year so I think we’re in for a fight down to the wire. Perhaps the 4th of July celebration will yield more than one fireworks show in downtown STL this summer, or perhaps all of the remaining nine meetings between these teams will remain civil. But it looks to be another solid season in the NL Central, and that makes me happy no matter what.

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