Just When I Thought I Was Out…They Pull Me Back In
Michael Corleone must have been a Cardinal fan because he said it better than anyone. In excruciating agony the Cardinals toy with us. We love them in the begining and throughout the season. Then as has been the case the last six seasons, the August-September lull kicks in. Not the grind of the 162 game season, I am referring to the now annual late season Cardinal decline.
No one starts looking for their out quite yet, but the world outside of organized crime, rather baseball, becomes more and more appealing heading into Milwaukee August 1st for a three game series the Cardinals were with 3.5 games of first place. August usually marks the official dog days of the season when the grind is in full effect. With 53 games remaining anything is still possible and a pennant race begins.
Entering the August series at Busch against the Brewers the Cards were 3.5 games out with a 57-52 record with a chance to pull within a half game. This would be their best chance to sniff first place since June 9th when the Cardinals were a season best 12 games over .500 and had a 2.5 game division lead and promptly coughed up three in a row and the division.
In what was a crucial three game series the Birds had a chance to put some real distance between themselves and the Brewers. Instead they decided to go another direction. The Cardinals kicked off the dog days in spectacularly disappointing fashion losing all three to Milwaukee and the division lead in the process. One could hear a collective “here we go again” throughout Cardinal Nation.
Five years running the Birds had swooned big time come August and September and this season looked to be no different. Leaving Milwaukee the Cardinals nose dived to long time low of 10.5 games out of first on August 28th. Now was time to panic, time to let go…time to move on.
This was fine with me. It is hard to let go when it’s five or six games. Start getting into double digits and my attention can justifiably turn elsewhere. The Cards dinked and dunked a bit and were still 10.5 out on September 5th. The division was lost and the wild card well out of reach.
Still mathematically alive so much would have to happen for the Cardinals to make a serious run at the wild card. Well wouldn’t you know it all started to fall into place. The Cardinals found their pride while the Braves lost the ability to win.
Cue Michael Corleone and work on your best Al Pacino impression… “Just When I Thought I Was Out…They Pull Me Back In”.
As the Braves lost four in a row and seven of ten. The Cardinals, a team without a five game winning streak all season, won five in a row to pull within 4.5 games of the Wild Card with 15 games left to play. Dammit. I was done, seriously. With six games against Milwaukee and Atlanta sure to be the nail in the coffin it was over. Dammit.
I want off the roller coaster. Just win it all or stop all together. The odds are still heavily stacked against St. Louis but not out of reach. The Birds are back to 12 games over .500 and out of the 14 remaining games only four are against a team with a winning record. We have to accept that it could happen.
Just as I was ready to block Fox Sports Midwest and focus entirely on the Rams the Cardinals have pulled me back in and become must see TV once again. Dammit.
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
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