Memo to St. Louis Cardinal Fans
Cardinal fans too young to remember the 1990’s or the 1970’s, this might mean you.
One lost baseball game is no reason to panic. That’s one game of a 162 game regular season schedule and the Pirates are pretty good. I suppose the same people would write off their favorite football team’s championship chances, be it college or NFL if they gave up a season opening scoring drive against another high level opponent. Can you visualize a Packers fan throwing in the towel if Seattle for example, dropped a 5 play 80 yard touchdown drive on them off the opening kickoff on opening day? Didn't think so.
This isn't 1980 when the Cardinals had a bullpen guaranteed to make a bad late inning situation much, much worse. Often, games spiraled out of control that summer with astonishing speed. Veteran Bobby Bonds replaced the just retired Lou Brock in left field and turned in a remarkably disinterested performance hitting .203 with 5 homers in 86 games.
This isn't 1978 where a sore armed Mark Littell led the pitching staff in saves with 11 as the Cardinals somehow managed to win 69 games.
One swing resulting in solid contact in either bases loaded situation Sunday and the Cardinals very likely win the opener. Likewise with one loud hit from Matt Adams in the 9th on Sunday. And remember, major league hitters make outs on 70 to 80 percent of their at bats. The margin between winning and losing in baseball is that small almost every day.
A check of the standings in 2015 also shows that the Cardinals and Pirates were the best teams over the course of the regular season. Even a quick check of the current rosters shows little reason to assume much of a change with either team in 2016.
The Cubs are also going to be a factor. I’m nowhere close to being on board with those assuming the Cubs will roll through the season and win their first World Series since 1908. Sure, they might make that happen. They might also run into injury problems among the pitchers and be on the golf course on October 3rd.
This is going to be a wild ride from here through October 2nd. Not for the faint of heart and the easily discouraged.
This 2016 season in the NL Central will not be for the faint of heart and easily disturbed. As former Cardinal pitcher Joaquin Andujar said…”Youneverknow.”