If the 13+ year friendship with my gloomy and oft perfunctory colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, has taught me anything, it has taught me that the pipe dreaming, star chasing default drive of my youth would be better served with a hard, double dose of good old fashioned realism.
Because despite my enthusiasm, the reality of the situation is this:
Erin Andrews isn’t going to sit on my lap. Lucy Liu isn’t going to give me a full body massage (with a whip). And Albert Pujols might not be a Cardinal forever.
I hate it.
I hate all of it.
I want what I want ‘cuz I’m human and needy and, from time to time, self-serving. I don’t want to be that way, but sometimes I just can’t help it.
The hard truth right now is that negotiations between the St. Louis front office and Albert Pujols’ representatives aren’t going too well. Or, to be more accurate, they’re not going… at all.
And in times of realistic despair it’s best to take a step back and assess the situation:
What can I, Jeff, the Cardinals fan, do about any of this?
Nothing. I can do absolutely nothing. Sure, I can wait anxiously and dream and hope and yearn… but in the end, I can really do nothing that will have any affect on the outcome.
I can only control myself. No one else. That’s it.
And the most successful, most respected people I have come to know in this life all seem to have a pretty good grasp of that idea — that the only thing you can control is you yourself.
I know this: I was a Cardinal fan before Albert Pujols. And I’ll sure as hell be a Cardinal fan after Albert Pujols, whether his number is retired on the Busch Stadium wall or hanging high at Wrigley Field on a background of Cubbie blue pinstripes.*
So with that admittedly uncalled for bit of uberpessimism, I implore you, fellow Redbird crazies, join me… take a deep breath… and picture a hole at first base. Pretend the baseball gods are drunken a$$h0les and Chris Duncan somehow made it back to the ‘Lou… his Lurchian frame is manning first base. Every. DAY. Yeah. It’s true. Picture it… see it… cry about it for a while (I will)… but know that it won’t be the end of the world… we are the St. Louis Friggin’ Cardinals and our birds-on-the-bat laundry is worth more to me, to you, to the entire city of St. Louis, then one single person. That interlocking “S.T.L.” incorporates a lifetime of emotions. It has always been there for me. Like a good parent, or a best friend, it has never let me down, because it always shows up and it always gives its best.
And if the greatest player I’ve ever laid eyes on can’t be a part of that anymore… then, so be it.
Like any tough breakup, it will hurt like holy hell. And I mean really, really hurt. But… life will go on, time will numb the pain, and something better might even come along.
Otherwise I’m gonna look like a real dick.
Hate me, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*Yes, I vomited. Many, many times after writing that sentence.