Wednesday, October 07, 2009

They Have Successfully Lowered My Expectations

So perhaps one good thing came out of the Cardinals stinking up the joint the last three weeks of the regular season. And if that was their goal, they were certainly diligent at achieving it. They lost series to good teams (Rockies, Braves, Marlins), and lousy teams (Reds, freaking swept by the Brewers). They lost by short-circuited offense, defensive buffoonery, games where their good starters got hammered*, and a pile of bullpen failures, by just about everyone available.

So you could say I'm concerned. Concerned to the point I really just want them to win one game. Avoid the sweep, and I'll, well, I won't be happy, but I won't be embarrassed. It's the same attitude I took to the 2006 postseason, where my idea was that after the Cardinals won NLDS Game 1 against San Diego, everything else was cake.

The trick, is, as much as I want to not let my hopes rise, I know they will. They did in '06. Even after they'd won that one game, even after they made it to the NLCS, I found myself troubled by the idea the Cards might get bounced by the fucking Mets. To hell with my promise to myself to be satisfied with whatever happened, they can't lose to the Mets! If the Cardinals win Game 1 tonight against the Dodgers, I'm going to find myself thinking bigger. Not about the World Series, or even winning the NLCS, but I'm sure it'll produce some subtle shift in me to where I'll be disappointed if they didn't end up moving on in the playoffs. That's the struggle of a fan, I suppose, between my wild-eyes hopes and dreams (2 World Series championships in 4 years?! Team of the Decade**!) and my more realistic expectations (The Dodgers' bullpen is much stronger than the Cardinals', the Cards' lineup has lots of holes, Molina's banged up. . .)

* See Carpenter's start versus Atlanta, and yeah, everybody's entitled to a bad start now and then, but it would have been nice to say "With all the other crap, at least Carp's holding steady".

** And if (IF) the Cardinals could pull that off, I'd call them Team of the Decade, and Rob Neyer can fuck off with his "National league Team of the Decade" crap. Goddamn Royals' fan.