Opinion – Making Sense of the Awkward End of the Cardinals Season
I wanted to take a few days before writing this to talk to friends and make sure I'm not writing out of pure emotion and/or frustration. Now, I think it's time to try and make sense of the awkward end of the St. Louis Cardinals season.
I've heard the 2022 St. Louis Cardinals season described as "magical" and in many ways it was. The story of Albert Pujols coming home and surpassing the 700 career home run mark all by itself makes that description accurate. The fact that he and Yadier Molina were able to finish their careers together was perfect. So, what went wrong and why did it all end so suddenly?
This is where it gets complicated. I understand that in a short best-of-3 game series anything can happen. It's not the fact that St. Louis lost even with home field advantage. It's that it all ended so suddenly and yes awkwardly. I'm not the only one that feels that way. Adam Wainwright said the same on Twitter.
Adam Wainwright is correct. We fans did deserve better.
I think part of my problem with the end of the Cardinals season has to do with how the team just disappeared into the dugout after Tommy Edman popped out to end game 2. I had many friends at the game who said that even after the last out the crowd was chanting for Yadi and Albert yet no players emerged out of the dugout to acknowledge the fans. I was watching it all happen on TV and wondered the same. Not trying to be petty, but I thought the players just stepping out one last time to thank the fans for their support would have been a nice touch. But, nothing happened.
To make matters worse, there are many people on Twitter who are torching Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado for their sub-par performance during the playoffs. Both of them will likely either win or finish in the top 3 for the MVP voting, by the way. Why are fans turning on the team? I don't understand.
So, what now? Now that the dust has settled and I've had almost a week to digest where the St. Louis Cardinals are at, I'd prefer to just appreciate the history we witnessed. Albert Pujols displayed one of the greatest final season performances you'll ever see in Major League Baseball. How he became reenergized enough to smack 703 career home runs, I'll never understand. I'm in awe. Yadier Molina showed a ton of heart as he suffered through an injury-plagued final season. If the Hall of Fame voters don't put Yadi in on first ballot, they're blind.
I'm as frustrated as anyone that St. Louis didn't go further into the playoffs as they had a team that was capable of it. But, I'm not about to set them on fire for losing a best-of-three wild card series. Too much good happened in their 2022 season to not look back in appreciation of all we witnessed.