So, You’re Saying There’s A Chance?!

“St. Louis Cardinals sweep Milwaukee Brewers.” It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Throw in “at Miller Park”, and if you’re a Cards fan and not smiling, check your pulse. As a Cardinals fan, and the guy who believes every February that the redbirds are legitimate contenders to win the National League Central divsion, I was pretty stoked about this series in Milwaukee that just wrapped up. Sweeping the Brewers in a 3-game set, and doing so in their house shouldn’t be a big shock, based on the way the Cards played in this series. I can only wonder where that kind of play has been all year.

But, a 3-game sweep of the division leaders does not a playoff caliber team make.

This Cardinals club has lacked “it” all season long, and nailing down while three wins in Wisconsin is nice, the reality is that it’s just too little too late. If you’ve not looked at the numbers, let me sum it up for you. If the Cards play .500 ball (go 13-12) the rest of the way, the brew crew needs to go 4-20. Let that sink in. Four wins. For the rest of the month. Derrick Goold tweeted the same thing another way last night. So, while it’s not mathematically over…Cue her.

She's Warming Up

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like the Cardinals to go on a ridiculous run, and capture another division title. I’d also like to win a couple hundred million bucks in the Powerball drawing. A house in Milan where Jessica Alba just hangs out all day and waits for me to come visit would be nice too, while we’re at it. Ain’t gonna happen.

Not only am I tired of reading tweets about the 2006 season, I’ve been kinda tired of reading them for most of the season. I suspect that only because the level of social media interaction is elevated primarily among those born since 1970 or so, are we not hearing even MORE about the 1964 season. That’s right, folks, just like right now, the redbirds were 7 ½ games back on September 2nd. And yes, I know, one of those ten flags has 1964 on it, but that was a friggin’ miracle. In those last couple of weeks, every play that could possibly go right, did, and went the redbirds way, while at the same time, every play that could possibly go wrong for Philadelphia did, and went against the Phillies.

So, you're saying there's a chance?

The ‘64 Cardinals, who by the way had Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, Curt Simmons, Bill White, Ken Boyer, Tim McCarver and others, rattled off an 8-game winning streak in the last week and a half of the season. That Cardinals team won 9 of their last 11 games (.818), including a sweep of the first place Phillies. Meanwhile, the 1964 Phillies lost 10 of their final 12 (.167) games that year, and today that “choke” is STILL what Gene Mauch is best known for, especially in the Philadelphia area.

If the 2011 Cardinals go 20-5 over their final 25 games of the season, and the Brewers go 4-20, the last four weeks of the 1964 will be pretty much mirrored. Your mind should be blown in two directions right now:

1) Ok, I see his point. College football starts tomorrow, right?
2) Wow, I knew the ‘64 team was good, but I had no idea it was such an exciting finish!
2a) I should read more Netherton.

So take your pick of long shots, and no matter how minuscule the chance, there’s always that tiny bit of hope until the math says otherwise. The rest of the month should end the Cards season, and that’s what I expect. You should too, even if you’re rooting the other way. I’m rooting for them to win, but my realistic expectation is they’ll fall short. But just like the powerball, even when the odds are long, and the expectation is to lose, you have zero chance win if you don’t play.

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