By Jason Keidel
Despite your monolithic love for the Cardinals, no one was rooting for the Redbirds more than I was.
Not only as a Yankees fan, but as a native New Yorker imbued with an epic allergy to all things New England, I am biologically skewed against the Red Sox. My immune system literally spasms every time Boston does well.
This idea that we must be a good sport and grudgingly congratulate the Red Sox is absurd. I personally think that David Ortiz juiced his way to the World Series MVP / PED.
But even still, the Red Sox were the best team this year, and proved it from April Fools’ Day and beyond.
But that does not mean that the Boston Red Sox are the greatest franchise. That symbolic crown rests in the Midwest.
Cardinal Nation should not see this six-game slight as an omen. Your team’s fall in the Fall Classic is not a referendum on your team. In fact, the Cardinals’ future is as bright as it is red.
Indeed, during a recent game in these playoffs you threw three pitchers on the mound who threw a three-headed shutout. While that is certainly impressive, the most gaudy statistic was that no member of that triumvirate was older than 23.
You have a conga line of young bucks and young bats spawned by the most fertile farm system in the sport. You have an endless conveyor belt of homegrown pitchers on the mound, and a phalanx of former icons to teach the current crop the Cardinal Way.
You can beat the Cardinals but you’ll never be better than the Cardinals. Most teams make the World Series one year and then miss the playoffs the next year. Forgive the cliche, but the Cardinals do not rebuild, they reload.
Just look at that pitching octopus, a stockpile of rubber arms hurling lightning at home plate, from Wacha to Martinez to Rosenthal. Not even the most forlorn fantasy geek could name them in April. In just six months, they blossomed into a Cardinal calling card, a road sign leading all World Series traffic to Missouri.
I got much grief from my neighbors for daring to suggest that the Cardinals have supplanted the Yankees as America’s Team. Forgive another nauseating cliche, but the truth hurts.
And the truth is very favorable to the farmland. The Cardinals’ nucleus is nuclear, which will provide a funnel for more than one October in the very near future.
Look at the Yankees, who flex their checkbook every winter only to return with buyer’s remorse. Look at the crosstown Mets, who are still burning from Bernie Madoff.
You can even look at Boston, where the champs were chumps the last two years, an animal house of malfeasance and malcontents who literally quit, deciding to dine on fried chicken, beer and Xbox, costing two managers their jobs.
St. Louis may not always win, but they never lose with that kind of ignominy.
We all know no words can assuage the agony of faltering in the fall. But it can’t hurt to know that you’ll be back soon.
Jason writes a weekly column for CBS Local Sports. He is a native New Yorker, sans the elitist sensibilities, and believes there’s a world west of the Hudson River. A Yankees devotee and Steelers groupie, he has been scouring the forest of fertile NYC sports sections since the 1970s. He has written over 500 columns for WFAN/CBS NY, and also worked as a freelance writer for Sports Illustrated and Newsday subsidiary amNew York. He made his bones as a boxing writer, occasionally covering fights in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, but mostly inside Madison Square Garden.
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