Circumstances being what they are, I don't see this team recovering from all that has happened to it.
I know it's only May, and that usually we wait until June to make a conclusion on what we've got, but this team just looks old and broken. Once again one must accept that nothing lasts forever in this world.
It's been a nice run since 2000, and it culminated last year into one World Series champion. But the magic and energy now seem drained.
Then, today, we have a funeral for Josh Hancock. And because of it I don't think too many care that this team is 10-16 and has lost 5 straight games. Or that this is just not a very good team. On paper or on the field. But in a figurative way, we could just as well have been having a funeral for the Cardinals as we have known them.
I miss the feeling of seeing the first pitch and knowing, most assuredly, we were going to win. I miss the feeling that, if we were down 3 or 4 runs in the 5th, we were still going to come back and win. It was just a matter of guessing when it would happen. Now a 3 run deficit equals a sure loss.
I miss the swagger of those teams stepping on the field. Of the MV3 years. Of balls flying out of the park. This team is a shadow of its former self. Pujols has been off. Rolen also. Edmonds should have retired after the WS. Where Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker used to patrol left and right field, we're now subjected to a steady diet of So Taguchi, Preston Wilson and Skip Schumaker. Molina can't hit or run. And Eckstein, though I can't say anything bad about him as a player, is having a bad year also.
Then there is the pitching. Carpenter has pitched in one game this year. Mark Mulder, if he ever returns to his former self, is not available until at least July. Anthony Reyes problems are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Amazingly Jason Isringhausen has not been bad.
And Jason Marquis, now a Cub pitcher, is bewilderingly unhittable.
Almost every part of our machine has been broken this year.
What to make of it all?
Things happen in cycles. We've been on a downward cycle the past 2 seasons. Thank God this team won last year, because it was obviously their last chance as a group. And our last chance to see a championship for the forseeable future.
I know it is still early, and there's still time to make up ground. But let's face facts. That isn't going to happen. This is a mediocre team. At best. Even if this team lucks out and goes on a winning streak, who in their right mind believes they can win it all again this year? No one except the crazy folk.
I'm not whining. Heck, we just won. According to Bartlett's Fan Etiquette, there's no right to whine until your team hasn't won a championship for at least a decade. (And it gives me more fodder to write about. Rush Limbaugh always said liberals winning elections made his job easier. I now know what he is talking about).
-Rolen will be traded before the deadline for some youngin's. I don't believe LaRussa will ever let last fall's feud be erased from his memory bank.
-Pujols and Carpenter stay.
-Edmonds will retire honorably with one year remaining on his contract after this dreadful last year.
-Isringhausen will be allowed to become a free agent.
-Eckstein will be allowed to become a free agent. It's just an age thing, man.
-With all that salary gone, at least one or two big trades or big free agent signings this winter. I'll let Walt Jocketty worry about who and where.
But, as my distant cousin, Bon Scott, used to sing- "It's A Long Way To The Top". (Gratuitous plug for my favorite AC/DC song- enjoy!)
And not just if you wanna rock 'n' roll. It's a long way to the top in baseball, too.
One last thing. Thank God we did win last year. Watching this team this year makes me conclude- it really was a miracle.