October In St. Louis
…Usually this means we are getting ready for Playoff Baseball. At least for the majority of the last decade that is what it has meant. Well there is a chance that for the fourth time in five years that will not be the case here in St. Louis.
For the fourth time in five years the best player in baseball will be at home not on Fox, TBS or whoever is carrying the games this post-season. And most notably, for the fifth year in a row a team with Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and the 3rd winningest manager of all time could fail to win a playoff game. Unacceptable, upsetting and….maybe a good thing.
Now before anyone gets fired up, I want the Cardinals to make the playoffs, I love the Birds on a Bat and I would much rather have them in than out of the playoffs. My point is this is not necessarily a bad thing. I am also not suggesting Dewitt and company blow the whole thing up and start fresh. But perhaps by missing out yet again it will instill a new sense of accountability in management.
Perhaps another fall on the county’s finest golf courses will encourage management to abandon the stop gap approach the Cardinals have been using for years. Seriously address the middle infield and the back of the rotation. And dare I say it…think about life after Pujols. Because whether he stays long term, short term or leaves there needs to be a plan in place.
Going into an offseason for once with major issues under control or at minimum addressed might make the winter a lot more bearable rather than sitting around waiting for baseball’s winter meetings to take place only to be disappointed in who the Cards did sign, or didn’t sign or trade for.
If the Cardinals are not careful their grip on a city is at stake. For years this town was without the NFL. This allowed the Cardinals to dig their roots even deeper into an already faithful fan base. Well if you haven’t noticed the economy has been better, so entertainment dollars are fewer and far between for families.
The Cardinals have taken for granted for years that their fans will always be around. That Cardinal Nation will show up in droves with their wallets open. Well, funny thing about people. Turns out they do not like to be taken for granted. Weird, huh. Take a look at attendance numbers at Busch this season and you see more empty seats than in years past.
You want our money, fine. Put a quality product on the field. I am sorry Mr. Dewitt but I do speak for a large group when I say 86 win seasons and $9 beers are not going to cut it anymore. You now have a rival in town for our entertainment dollars. The Rams are exciting, must see TV. Their home games have once again become an event.
This fall take a look a few blocks North on Broadway and you will see fans, once more than willing to give you their hard earned money, filing into the Edward Jones dome to watch the Rams and open their wallets for Mr. Kroenke.
St. Louis is and will always be a baseball town, I know this. But if the Cardinals are not careful they are going to lose that stranglehold. And those fountains that flow Red come the fall may start spouting a different color.
These are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.
Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com
Also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SportsByWeeze