Reporting Tim Baffoe
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By Tim Baffoe:
(CBS) I know, I know, Northsiders. Watching the Cardinal players mob each other at the pitcher’s mound really sucked, as did seeing the champagne showers in the locker room and David Freese getting the MVP for the series and Tony LaRussa mentioning the Cubs in his postgame presser and Albert Pujols’ stupid smile and a sea of cheering annoying fans that looked like the elevator opening in The Shining.
But it is okay. This is not as bad as it feels. In fact, this could be a good thing for the Cubs.
New President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, to many a savior, was watching, you know. He took it all in, analyzing, nit-picking, swirling the wine of those whiners around his palate and judging the flavor. And surely Epstein found the bouquet foul, the texture uncomfortable, and the taste bitter.
Now, Epstein is not rash nor does he share your hatred of the Redbirds. When that fly ball to left field ended Game 7 he was not cursing or throwing things or carving anti LaRussa epithets into his wall with an electric carving knife without first realizing he does not know how to properly repair drywall nor is he allowed in Home Depot anymore since the misunderstanding over testing out the merchandise in the bathroom section. No, he was not.
But he was calculating, dissecting, preparing. He was not so much thinking “How can we beat those Cardinals?” as much as “How can that be us? And ASAP.” And he was doing it with his hot wife and money and Starbucks that you cannot afford. No, he is not you, you single fan who works three jobs and may or may not be a Ginger.
The ball is rolling, the gears turning in Epstein’s head and those of Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod and not Jim Hendry, finally. A St. Louis championship can only motivate that crew.
Do not forget, too, that the Cardinals won in spite of LaRussa for once. He managed the series as badly as Ron Washington could have hoped, only Washington did as well. LaRussa may be slipping a bit in his old age, and he has certainly become crankier of late than usual. And he will be sticking around in St. Louis and keeping the same Tea Party attitude toward Theoball as any other accepted science.
Pujols hopefully will be right there with him as well. Yes, hopefully. The free agent market surely is tempting, but the road to a title that was nothing short of miraculous certainly warmed Pujols’ heart for his current team. The Cardinals signing the first baseman to a monster long-term deal would be great, seriously.
The best player in the game is getting creakier by the game, his body gradually breaking down from the many bumps and bruises and “treatments” he uses to heal them. How great it would be in a few years to have Pujols, a shell of his former monstrous self, putting his way through eighty games or so and simultaneously choking the team’s payroll and taking up a roster spot for an otherwise useful player.
The ace of the staff is not exactly a great example of durability either. Nor is Adam Wainwright. “Fat Elvis” will probably become an increasingly appropriate nickname for Lance Berkman who may re-sign. The ouchy Matt Holliday, he of the bruised pinkie that cost him much of Game 6 and all of Game 7, has a huge deal that goes through 2017. Even Jake Westbrook gets over $8 million next season. Have fun with all that.
The Cubs will not be good next year, and probably not in 2013. It will take some time to tear down the roach motel Hendry built and build a gleaming Embassy Suites with the swimming pool that has just the right amount of chlorine to not burn your eyes but also sterilize the urine of that weird-looking kid a few feet away.
But as construction proceeds in Chicago, dilapidation may be starting in Missouri. So smile for the Cardinals, Cub fans. There is a good chance they will be quite jealous of you soon.