And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles…
Albert. Frakking. Pujols. Could this episode really be about anything else? Give it a listen, close your eyes and imagine Jeff really is strangling Johanna. No. Seriously. Do that. Please?
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Recorded Saturday, December 10, 2011
Back in April, if you would have told me that our Democratic president would support a federal resolution that would forgo taxing the über rich while opening the door to make major cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, I would’ve thought that I’d perhaps gotten a bit too tipsy during happy hour.
But I’m as sober as a Mennonite on Christmas.
Might not be too bad of a deal though really. I mean, back in April, reflecting on the season ending injury to Adam Wainwright, I also thought the Cardinals didn’t have much of a chance to get anywhere in the 2011 postseason — that they might not even get there at all. Add Pujols’ early struggles and several untimely injuries to Holliday, Skip, Punto and Berkman and I thought we really were just on borrowed time.
But John Mozeliak went out and made things happen this past week. He sent Colby (and his dad) packing to bring us Edwin Jackson, Scrabble, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson, plugging up some bullpen holes while bringing in a surging starter and a journeymen utility man, TLR’s favorite type of player. Then Mo went out and made shortstop better by bringing in a healthy Rafael Furcal.
The Cardinals went out and took care of business.
Now I know my malleable and oft gloomy colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, would like to think, as he put it, that the Cardinals had a “lack of trade deadline imagination”, but let me assure you: he is blind.
And when it comes to imagination, his beloved Tigers are full of it if they think a 3-12 Doug Fister is something to get excited about.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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.
Nothin’. Nada. ZE-RO.
Which is why waiting is so hard. Sure, we all knew the day would come when Albert Pujols would reach free agency and have the opportunity to test the free agent market — a market that would surely reward him with a plus $30 million a year contract. But we’ve also known that his underlying, true desire is to remain a Redbird. For life. To work it out.
I can’t take it, dear readers! It’s too disturbing an unknown to just let it be and hope for the best, especially now that a timely gauntlet the size of Barry Bonds’ forehead has been thrown down. To be honest, until a deal has been struck and Albert’s mug is securely tied to the birds on the bat forever and ever, I probably won’t get much non-beer-aided sleep.
My feelings that Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak would not have offered Matt Holliday the sort of contract he received unless they had a plan for re-signing Pujols longterm remain intact. No front office would be so stupid as to waste Albert’s money on a guy who dropped the 2009 NLDS ball. I think.
Excuse me. Sorry. Won’t happen again (today).
Of course, I’m no dummy. And I do realize that signing Albert to the kind of multi-year contract his ability commands would probably bankrupt the team’s flexibility to build a solid supporting cast around him in the future… but I, like many naive Cardinal maniacs out there, still cling to the idea that Albert would be hip to such a situation and be an active part in deferring funds so that a full team could be assembled, to win.
‘Cuz after all, that’s what Albert really wants.
He wants to win.
And so do I.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to concentrate on that desire until this contract situation is over.
You have 27 days, boys. 27 days.
Get ‘er done.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Give up yet?
Let’s see, there’s Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Avery and…
You betchya! Move over, Petey, ‘cuz Joe Blanton is about to take his seat on the ultimate bench of irrelevancy!!!
Indeed, as the shock from Ruben Amaro’s impressively aggressive move to recapture the services of Cliff Lee finally wears off, we are all bound to feel the wrath of that stellar Phillies rotation — a rotation that will make National League stomachs churn as violently as a half digested Taco Bell 7-layer burrito after an all-night college kegger where you went home with a chick named Mo.
And then there’s Joe Blanton.
Of course, this is assuming Blanton will even be a Philly once the 2011 season starts. If I were Ruben, I would do everything in my power to unload that salary, then it’d just be a matter of putting a body out on the mound every five days. If said body is able to pitch, that’s a plus. But really, four days out of five, the Phils are gonna be the hardest friggin’ team ON THE PLANET to beat.
Are you paying attention to all this Mr. Mozeliak?
Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Tony LaRussa will be back at the Cardinals’ helm in 2011.
I’m happy about that. I’m just as happy about that as I am happy that I still have all my teeth. And believe me, I like having all my teeth.
But I think I’m in the majority of Cardinals fans who really is over the glamour (if you can call it that) associated with Tony LaRussa. Is he a fantastic manager? Indeed. Is he one of the best ever in the history of the game? You bet. But… Mr. LaRussa, what on earth have you done for me lately?
Not that much. Unless, of course, you consider alienating our number one prospect doing something productive.
Look, y’all, it is not my intent to get all privileged and Yankeefied here, to whine about continued success and be an annoying voice of nag; because I know what it feels like to lose. I’m not seeing this for something it’s not. But let’s face it: a team that features both Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in the lineup and Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in the starting rotation, must be in the playoffs.
2011 is an all-in year for the Cards. They better throw every dollar, every asset, every rosin bag in to winning the whole damn thing.
Anything less will be a complete failure — and probably the last of TLR’s tenure with St. Louis.
Go ahead. Hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Stop. Breathe. Focus.
Now, let’s look at this Matt Holliday signing for what it actually is: John Mozeliak & Co. finally growing a pair and making the St. Louis Cardinals perennial contenders for years to come.
And if you think they made this offer to Holliday without considering the task of signing Albert Pujols after 2011, then you need to be committed… or move to Wrigleyville.
Either way, Holliday is a Cardinal. And Pujols is a Cardinal.
So no more talk about a potential move by one of the big money teams to snatch up Albert and take him away from us in his upcoming free agency. It ain’t gonna happen. He ain’t nobody’s girlfriend but ours.
And I mean “girlfriend” with the utmost respect.
‘Cuz sometimes really bad things happen to girlfriends:
(Image courtesy of Skull Swap)