Hot Stove League: The Definition of Insanity for Cardinal Nation

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Fool Me Ten Times — Shame on Me

Come every fall, the purported Best Fans in Baseball (BFIB) put themselves through a perennial grind of insanity.

Despite a near two decade sample-size to dissuade any visions of grandeur, they somehow always end up in a very familiar spot: hoping, wishing and probably even praying for one of the top-shelf free-agents to wear the Birds-on-the-Bat.

Unfortunately, the MO of this Front Office is to generally look elsewhere rather than reach for the check book.

That’s not necessarily a strategy worth belittling; it’s just that the competitive landscape has evolved in Major League Baseball.

Other Front Offices have learned to emulate the Card’s blueprint of developing talent. If you combine that with teams such as the National League rival Dodgers and their seemingly bottomless pockets, a mid-market franchise like St. Louis is now compelled to consistently nail their drafts — or compensate by opening the somewhat creaky vault and buy some premium talent.

This breeds anxiety in Cardinal Nation — lots of anxiety, as John Mozeliak and company have stumbled with this aspect of re-tooling.

Offering Jason Heyward a fifth of a billion dollars when he was likely worth somewhere in the $80-85 mill range, was enough to make some call in a refill on the Xanax prescription. I’m talking permanent scarring here.

All we can say is, thank you, Jason Heyward!!

Pride Runs Deep

Passion Central; Busch Stadium

Baseball is a generational religion around these parts, with local stations and pundits talking everything Cardinals on a daily basis. With time slots to fill, they often fuel the yearning among the fanbase for certain available free-agents as the Hot Stove-hype permeates local airwaves.

Not trying to insinuate these men and women aren’t true Cardinal fans at heart (because they are), but the daily dangling-of-the-carrot speculation takes a toll. I’m thinking this directly contributed to local liquor sales being up a few ticks in the Lou.

Cardinal fans are both knowledgeable and passionate….VERY passionate!

Every year — one-by-one — the BFIB watch each FA on their personal Santa’s list go elsewhere. The news is often painful; yet again, the Cardinal Nation sails temporarily go limp.

As a result, the local ESPN radio affiliate (101 ESPN) is one of the most successful in the nation. God bless ’em for fielding those text messages (not from me, of course).

That said, it’s hard to argue with the success of the “Cardinal Way” (but I’m going to try!).

By developing their own talent and avoiding long-term nightmare contracts (yes, with luck in a few cases), the Birds have made the playoffs 15 of the last 20 years. Amazing sh*t to say the least.

However, they haven’t won a World Series since 2011, and the team has struggled to regain championship form in recent years.

I can hear the echo from diehards in cities such as Pittsburgh: you BFIB a-holes are spoiled and take your success for granted. Maybe…., but the last 20 years set a standard and Cardinal Nation has developed an insatiable appetite for elongated post-season visits.

Red October or Bust!

Playoffs or Bust!

The BFIB have grown stale of mere Wild-Card appearances and early post-season departures. The lightning in the bottle spin from 06′ & 11′ hasn’t passed the eye test with recent Red Octobers. Just making the post season doesn’t mean the have-nots can legit take down the haves’ (see the NBA and NHL).

With that in mind, if the team is dispatched from the playoffs, or even worse — fails to qualify, the potholes in the roster become an instant focal point all winter long.

Quite predictably though, in the end, the 700-lb Marlin always gets away, and hope again surrounds the Spring roster at hand.

Wait, I Thought We Can Afford the Big Fish?

After adding some much-needed pitching depth (lefty Steven Matz – 4yrs @ $11 mill per) St. Louis reportedly has around $50 mill on the roundtable to spend.

Seager, Semien, Scherzer, Baez, Ray, Gausman, Gray and Stroman have all been taken; Carlos Correa is still available. Yes, I cringe a bit when I type that.

While the Cardinals have at least shown the wherewithal to sign a big FA (Pujols, Hayward, Price, Stanton) — when it comes to Correa — it’s much wiser (and far-less frustrating) to expect DeJong and Sosa to once again fill the role at shortstop. Nonetheless, sure would be nice to have the best left-side infield in the entire league, Mr DeWitt; just sayin’.

The reality may be the Cards see a lot of Correa…..in a Cubs uniform that is.

The Big Fish: Carlos Correa

PHOTOS: news.wsiu.org, ibtimes.com, sportskop.blogspot.com, sportsmockery.com

About Post Author

Steven Miller

Dedicated Cardinal and St. Louis takes; grab-bag posts on a variety of sports and related issues; whatever hops on my radar. From the sandlot to the hard court to the gridiron, I'll take a deep-dive for you. Thanks a bunch for reading! wordsrfun2@protonmail.com
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  • Dedicated Cardinal and St. Louis takes; grab-bag posts on a variety of sports and related issues; whatever hops on my radar. From the sandlot to the hard court to the gridiron, I'll take a deep-dive for you. Thanks a bunch for reading! wordsrfun2@protonmail.com

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