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.
Strange things happen in October. I could probably go so far as to say that strange things are normal for October. Anything can happen. Chris Duncan can turn into an evil spirit and invade other people’s bodies. The Angels can jump all over the Red Sox. And the still new President of the United States can win the Nobel Peace Prize before having done, well, anything.
But it’s not as though events like President Obama’s stunning win are without precedent. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the preseason 2008 Detroit Tigers. Many people, including myself, looked at that lineup and had them penciled in for the AL World Series slot. But, come October, the Tigers were sitting very pretty in last place.
I don’t mean to say that Mr. Obama will fail like the Tigers did but it’s a lot of pressure. It’s kind of like the Nobel committee said, “Hey, Obama. We’re going to give you this prize so that you can go out and achieve something. Now, prove us right.” That’s a tall order to fill in a country who’s political process runs at a snails pace during the best of times.
Look, I don’t understand why this happened just like I don’t understand how the Tigers were so awful last year or how they managed to lose the division on the last day of the season this year. But if it gives the president the political capital to pull off some stunning successes with respect to health care and US foreign policy, we’ll all be able to sit back and admit that the Nobel committee is a modern Delphic oracle. If not, well, we’ll just say they’re a lot like me circa February 2008.
…because Chris Duncan somehow invaded the body of Matt Holliday and the St. Louis Cardinals broke my wounded heart.
Sorry, dear readers, but I have nothing else to say about that.
It is Friday… and we like to make people smile on Fridays… but I haven’t the ability; so please go peruse the message boards of B3TA for a good laugh.
If you need me, I’ll be under a rock.
P.S. Matt, you know I still think you’re the man, but throwin’ you under the bus is the only thing keeping me from lying down in front of one myself right now. I know you understand.
(*Shout out to Miller Park Drunk for the image link — click it if you dare)
Indeed, it is no secret that whilst in our bogarting college days, I brought my dubious and oft erratic colleague, Mr. Krause, up on a live stage in front of hundreds of people with the promise of providing wholesome entertainment only to publicly embarrass him by tying him down and shaving his overgrown forest of an otherwise pasty white chest.
Something tells me he hasn’t gotten over the humiliation.
Which explains his hurtful yet accurate tirade ridiculing the Julio Lugo/Chris Duncan exchange from earlier this week.
But let me step away from the GOP-like mudslinging smackdowns and ask this simple question: Can we not just call this trade what it is? Literally?
It’s crap for crap.
And no, I ain’t happy about it.
But I have found that in the darkest of hours, the most tumultuous of times, the most republican of regimes, that sniffing through all the sugar-coating just to figure out what is really going on often brings out the heartiest of laughs.
Don’t believe me?
Now if that doesn’t make you want to relive 1983 — and laugh all the way — then I don’t know what will.
I do know that giving up a top prospect (Brett Wallace) and some minor leaguers for the player formerly known as Matt Holliday (now just a shell of his former slugging self) is something that will keep the smiles off my face and torment my sleep patterns. Until I see some serious power surge protection for Albert Pujols from our new unsignable Scott Boras client, I am not going to budge from my disgusted stance. Ah, the pain… I cannot help but remember that Dan Haren and Kiko Calero trade for Mark Mulder a few years back. But hey, if this motivates Tony LaRussa to stay on with the Cardinals, then I suppose it is more than worth it… that and as long as Jesus continues to hate the Cubs.
Happy Friday! And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*And a special RSBS cap tip to St. Louis boy, Mark Buehrle, for not only achieving perfection, but for providing me with uber-stimulation while I should have been working.
Julio Lugo scares me. He’s the guy who walks up to you in a crowded room and sticks a knife between your ribs not because you did anything or because you deserved it but just because it seemed like the right thing to do. You can see it in his eyes.
But there is one thing I love about Julio Lugo. And that one thing is the fact that he now plays for the Cardinals and I know that this is having the same effect on Jeff as some Tijuana tap water. His intestines are forming such interesting knots at this point that he probably qualifies for some sort of merit badge.
The only other way I think you can understand how Jeff feels right now would be to imagine that you’re Jack Nicholson in the early 90’s and, as you come out of your drug and alcohol addled haze one morning, you read that the Lakers have decided to bring Bill Laimbeer on board. Jeff inhabits the same land right now.
Now, I’m not going to judge this move one way or the other. The Cardinals got a deal in that they needed a backup at shortstop and the Red Sox are picking up most of Lugo’s salary. And even though there’s no denying that he was a liability in the field and an ever increasing liability at the plate as well, everyone says that Duncan was loved in the clubhouse. So, maybe it is a fair trade. However, the upside on the “pissing Jeff off quotient” is out of this world so I am fully in favor and hope that John Mozeliak will stay the Cardinals GM forever.
So, happy Thursday to everyone out there and let me remind you one more time, just in case you forgot, that Jesus Hates the Cubs.
Unlike Ernest Hemingway’s poignant parlay into the world of non-fiction, mine hath not the slightest utterance of death today… unless, of course, you consider the thousands of Cub fans who felt stabbed through the heart after their sloppy loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For today was a celebration, not only for the Redbirds’ ultimate triumph, but also for good company. Indeed, dear readers, I have friends who don the Cubby blue, like one soon-to-be-wed Adam Marshall — talented author of Our Man In Los Angeles — who was crazy enough to arrange for 22 Cub fans and one Cardinal fan (me!) to stake our claim amongst the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field on what may have been the most beautiful day of the year.
My first stop was to pay homage to the wondrous artwork to the right, found at the Addison Red Line stop, depicting heroic Hall of Fame icons Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith in a too-close-to-call play at second base. I scrounged through the melee of already drunk Cub fans and snapped this amateur photo, hoping it would bring me good luck.
Dear readers, I have been going to Major League Baseball games my entire life and I have never, ever caught one ball, be it foul, fair, or B.P. Never.
Once inside the cathedral dump also known as Wrigley Field, I went straight for the beer man, bought myself a cold one and swarmed through the slew of drunkards to find an open seat. Entering to an onslaught of “F*** your mother”, “Go back to St. Louis”, and “Cardinals su<k”, I did my very best to make sure my Bud Light did not spilleth over. While perfecting this baseball ballet, I noticed the crowd around me take to a chorus of oohs and ahhs, duck and spread. I looked up and there it was: a ball coming straight towards me at a rifling speed. With no time to react, I simply stuck my chest out, felt a thump, looked down, and in my left hand was a baseball!
After 30 years, folks, I finally caught one.
A Colby Rasmus batting practice homerun at Wrigley.
And my beer did not spill one drop.
And it was, if you consider sloppy defense good. In fact, Cardinals left fielder Chris Duncan put on a clinic of how not to play the position. Then again, so did Alfonso Soriano. And in the end, Duncan’s bat powered the Redbirds to a win.
Of course, no Cub game would be complete without crying; and Milton Bradley came on late with the bases loaded, looked at six straight pitches without swinging the bat, then whined like the spoiled brat child he is before getting tossed.
Cards win. Cubs lose. I live.
Oh, and those crazy bleacher bums oft known to take an afternoon dip down the urinal trough? They were out in full force. There were a few tiffs and tussles, some skiffs and struggles. They were loud. They were obnoxious. They were obscene. Business as usual… like this clever diva who scribbled out some nonsense on a piece of cardboard and passed it off as truth:
Apparently she was too intoxicated to realize that the Cardinals won the game… or the fact that Wrigley Field’s peanuts are quite savory and that any Redbird would be a fool to not at least try them… just once.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.