NL Central Shakeup

2013 is Bud Norris’ first year of being eligible for arbitration. I sincerely hope you’re grinning to yourself right now, after that sentence. C’mon, though, don’t act like that thought hadn’t crossed your mind too, after yesterday’s announcement. In 2013 the Houston Astros will defect from the National League Central division, and join the American League West. This could be particularly good new for the Cardinals and their fans when it comes to Bud (“Chuck”) Norris.

“Go West, young man. No, seriously, get out of our division.”
Nevermind that his team lost more than 100 games in 2011, and in the last five years has had exactly one third place finish, their highest-ranking finish over that period, when Bud Norris faces the Cardinals, it’s usually a gloomy day in St. Louis. He’s 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA in10 career starts against St. Louis, and it’s somewhat hard to believe the Cards scratched out those two wins against him. Sometimes one guy or team just has another guy or team’s number. As dominant as future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson was, the Cardinals usually fared pretty well against him.

Mike Metzger wrote a nice piece yesterday about some of the other factors of this move across leagues and divisions for the Astros, and as Jayson Stark wrote, it impacts all of us. The days of the rivalry between these 2001 co-champions* are numbered, and things had already cooled off considerably, and given way to new rivalries.

The Brewers and Reds have moved up that list now, thanks in part to the mouths of Brandon Philips and Nyjer Morgan (whose fingers have no rings, mind you). Those two have created some sparks between the teams…the two, who throughout all of history have appeared in a combined 13 postseason games. Their respective .333 (4-for-12 lifetime) and .179 postseason batting averages are good for exactly zero World Series appearances, let alone championships. Heck, Philips hasn’t even been on a team that’s won a postseason game, including being on the wrong end of the 2nd no-hitter in postseason history.

So, all is not lost with this rearranging of the NL Central, and the shakeup of the Astros. The Cards will have plenty of rivalry opportunities, I’m sure, even without Houston in the mix. Who knows, though, the two teams may end up playing against each other a few times a year anyway–we’ll just have to wait and see what the schedule looks like, as we don’t yet know.

We also don’t know which is the official, un-official hashtag for those Norris/Cardinals matchups: #BudChuck or #ChuckBud. After all, when it’s his day to start, he doesn’t take the mound, the mound gets Bud Norris-ed. One thing’s for sure though, after 2012 the Astros won’t have to worry about finishing the division in 6th place anymore.

*”Co-champions” is dumb.

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