Let’s Face It, This Season Might Be Lost

I hate to be a pessimists considering all that’s going on with the Cardinals right now. But considering how the team had been playing before the untimely death of Josh Hancock, and the series they just completed against the Brew Crew, that sentiment might not be too far off.

After the three game sweep by the hands of the surging Brew Crew the Cardinals record is now 10-16. And they are dead last in the NL Central. 7 1/2 games behind the Brewer’s who’s record is now 18-9. They have played the entire season without any fire, or competitive spirit. They can’t hit with runners in scoring position. They can’t seem to hit period. Albert is just now starting to come around. But he has only shown sporadic signs of power. Duncan is the only other other player on the team hitting with any consistency. Scotty, Jimmy, K Dub, AK, ECK, The Imperial, are all hitting below .250. Only three every day players are hitting above .250 with Yadda exactly at .250. And Albert is just now up to .280. Duncan is the only every day player hitting above .300 with a .315 average. Our bench has only two players performing well with Bennett hitting .333. And I found this very surprising, SO Old Gouch is hitting .294. Miles is hitting .255, and Skippy is hitting .244. And least you think hitting is this teams only problem, LOOP is the only starting pitcher with a ERA below 3.00 at 2.84. He is also the only starter with multiple wins with 3. Adam and Kippy only have 1 win each. Carp and Anthony have ZERO wins. With today’s loss Anthony falls to 0-5, with his ERA at 5.46. Carps ERA is a ungodly 7.50. Adam and Kippy’s ERA’s are very similar with 5.65 and 6.14 respectively. Keisler who filled in for Carp for is 0-0 with a 5.65 ERA. Our bullpen has done a fine job so far with only Thompson and Springer’s ERA over 3.00. They are clearly the only part of this team pulling their own weight. Every player outside of the bullpen other than LOOP, Duncan, Bennett,  and Albert are under performing.

It does not help that the Cards just can’t catch a break. The Cardinals have the worst luck in all the major leagues. With all the bad hops the balls keep taking. With all the bad calls that the umps keep making against the Cardinals. Every line drive and hard hit ball the Cards hit is being caught. And on the flip side all the weak hit grounders, and seeing eye singles, and bloop hits are finding holes for the Cards opponents. One might come to the conclusion that this team is cursed. I don’t know if I’d go that far. And I am one of the most superstitious people on the planet. There is definitely a bad vibe surrounding this team. And it has been with the team since the first pitch of the season. The baseball gods, if the one true GOD allows there to be some, are not doing the Cards any favors. It seams like they are being punished for all the good furtune they had last October. It definitely is not fair. But as my dad always used to say, life is never fair.

Let’s face facts here. This team has major, major problems. I could throw more and more stats at you, but we already know what they will say. Despite all it’s talent, despite all it’s potential, this team is just not performing like it should. They are playing sloppy and uninspired baseball. Even before Josh died they just didn’t play like the games meant anything to them. I hate to kick them while they are down, and I don’t share Tony’s beliefs that the team gets no passes for playing so poorly in Milwaukee because Josh died. I think they do, but I understand why Tony said that. Tony is right when he said after last nights 11-2 beating that they have been playing “fuzzy”, with no focus all season long. The fire, the killer instinct, the drive, the emergency, the chip on their shoulder for being viewed as a team that did not deserve to be in the playoffs, whatever you want to call it that they used to get them through October and to a World Series victory is clearly gone. I have no idea what this team can do to get that fire they need in their bellies to win again. With everything going on surrounding Josh’s death, it’s going to be a long time before anyone of them begin to feel like playing baseball again. I hope Tony and the team can find the winning formula the Cardinals had last season. Because if they don’t, every one around baseball will be pointing to the death of Josh Hancock as this teams undoing. But to be honest, we all know the Cardinals were not playing the way they are capable of playing long before Josh Hancock died. And if the Cards can’t bounce back, and they do continue to keep losing. Losing Josh won’t be used as an excuse by anyone on the Cardinals, but it will be used by all the unknowledgeable baseball people around the country. And that simply is the wrong way to view the 2007 Cardinals season. Because we all know, that if they can’t bounce back from this loss, it had very little to do with Josh Hancock’s death. It just proves what we’ve feared all along. That the 2007 version of the St. Louis Cardinals was never that good of a team to begin with.

About the events surrounding Josh’s death. It looks more and more likely that alcohol and drugs played a factor in his death. Walt admitted as much today in the Post-Dispatch. If it does indeed turn out that Josh was drunk and high at the time of his death, it does nothing to belittle or demean his memory. It simply means that Josh made a series of tragic decisions that lead to his untimely death. The fact that he was in a accident early Thursday morning while in the vicinity of bars and strip clubs on the east of St. Louis could show a pattern of bad decisions that Josh made in his life. It should in no way lead anyone to believe that Josh was a bad person. I think it speaks more about the culture of young, single rich professional athletes who continue to think that they are above the law, and more importantly above the laws of nature as they continue to live their lives like they are invincible, bullet proof, and have the mind set that they will never die, and nothing bad will ever happened to them. I hope and pray Josh was not drunk or high when he crashed early Sunday morning. But the facts are he was a known partier, he was seen drinking shorty before his accident. And the police found a tin with weed in it in his SUV. It does not take Dick Tracey to put two and two together. But if it does turn out to be true, and Josh was indeed drunk and high. I hope that some how, some way it’s a wake up call to everyone, not just the rich athletes who we let into our homes each and every night to entertain us. But to everyone who makes that choice to get behind the wheel of a car, truck or SUV after one too many drinks. I hope that it makes them think twice, and instead of taking their life, and the life of everyone else on the road in their inebriated hands, they call a cab, or have a friend drive them home. Maybe they’ve gotten lucky in the past, but eventually everyone’s luck runs out. It’s not worth taking that chance. No one’s life is worth taking that chance. Just ask Josh Hancock’s family, girlfriend and teammates.

Tomorrow the Cardinals will face one of the most trying days a ball club could face. Burying a teammate can’t be easy. It’s going to be a long, emotional day. But one they need to have so they can start moving on. As cold as that sounds, this team needs to begin to move on. Their season is hanging in the balance. If they keep this losing streak up, come May 31st, the 2007 season will be over for the St. Louis Cardinals. They simply don’t have the fire power in the every day line up and starting rotation to be able to afford to fall more than 10 games behind the Brewers. That team is too young and too good and they are ready to win, and win right now. And they are ready to take the central division away from the Cardinals. They can feel that their time is now. And they won’t screw this up. They’ve been laying in wait for a couple years now, and I think that if the Cardinals don’t start winning, and winning now. Not only will they not repete as divisions champs, but they won’t even make the playoffs. And that would be the worst way to remember a fallen teammate. Not playing hard. Not playing up to their potential. And completly missing the playoffs.

Staring Friday night we’ll see how the Cardinals are going to be playing for the rest of the season. I’ll be back over the weekend to drop some more knowledge about our beloved Cardinals. Till then my thoughts and prayers are still with the Hancock’s and the Cardinals as they bury Josh tomorrow. And I’m sure the rest of Cardinal Nation is right there with me. May GOD bless each and every one of you.

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