Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Concussions, Bursitis, Crappy Hitting...OH MY!!!

Isn't it so ironic? Just when I get the slightest taste of optimism in my mouth, I have to wash it out with the strongest martini I can find. I know I promised not to be such a pessimist, but I don't really know what else to be. I mean, just over the last couple of days both Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan were sidelined with various injuries and maladies. Excuse me for being insensitive, but WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE??? AM I BEING PUNISHED FOR SOMETHING??? Our starting rotation is a mess, we can't score runs when it matters and half the team is ill/injured/completely indifferent. My spirits are so low, I even turned down an opportunity to see the Cubs lose tonight. With my luck lately, they would somehow earn an automatic World Series title. Yeah, I know that doesn't make any sense, but neither does Albert Pujols only having eight...yes, EIGHT!!! home runs this year. MY FIVE YEAR OLD NEPHEW HAS EIGHT HOME RUNS THIS YEAR!!!!!!

AHEM. Okay, so my new "great attitude" resolution isn't going so well. Turns out I am unable to turn off the paranoid schizophrenic living inside of me. I said I would try, okay? I'm not perfect. Close, but not quite. Sue me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

PSA: I Apologize For Being Totally Bonkers

This post is an effort to apologize for being a suicidal lunatic. I'm a terrible loser and have been fortunate to have experienced back-to-back seasons of wild Redbird success. Clearly, I'm misguided and totally delusional. That aside, I would like to say that there is something to be said for my team not being so fantastic. It's called PERSPECTIVE. I'm not completely deranged. I know that we can't have 100 plus wins each and every year. I'm spoiled rotten. (True story. Ask my parents.) It's humbling, in an "I wanna run people over with my car" kind of way. So....sorry to be a wet blanket. I can't help it. I'm hardwired to complain about things that do not agree with me. (True story. Ask my boss.) However, I am making a resolution to be more positive. As well as my self imposed Cardinals blackout has worked, I really can't live like this. I have a trip to St. Louis to brace myself for, after all. And you can't hide behind a computer when you're sitting there watching a game live. I mean, you can try to hide behind a beer guy, but usually you just end up looking like a big creep. Trust me. It doesn't go very well. So, I'm shaking it off by thinking of my most favorite live game experience EVER.

I'm in St. Louis with my Dad and one of his old buddies from work. It's Friday night and absolutely UNBEARABLY hot. I mean, sweating your guts out HOT. Add to that the fact that I had driven four plus hours to St. Louis that afternoon and had been desperately trying to keep up with the beers that kept being put into my sweaty hands and I was one big hot mess. The Cards were losing 0-4 going into the ninth. Somehow, (and the details are fuzzy due to the aforementioned beers,) Yadier Molina ended up capping off an unreal comeback in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 5-4. I have never in my life been such a drunken, delirious, sweaty mess of a human. There was lots of jumping around, high fiving and slurring. Meanwhile, my Dad's friend was snoozing peacefully in his seat. (WHA???? Yeah, it didn't make sense to us either.) I ended up back at our hotel calling everyone I knew to tell them about a game that no one knew or cared about. Meanwhile, it's a memory I will never forget. That's why I love the game. It truly isn't over until it's over. So, while I get frustrated, angry, upset and a few other words that aren't really appropriate, I can handle the losses believing that at some point, even if it is just for one night, I'll get to see something like that again.

Don't Look Now...

Unless I've completely lost my mind and started hallucinating, I think the Cardinals just finished a three game sweep of the Pirates. Is this right? Is this possible? Have we actually won THREE consecutive games in a ROW??? I don't believe it!! It seems as though my little "vacation" from Cardinals baseball has finally performed it's karmic duty. You can all thank me later. I mean, we have people hitting home runs now!! Jimmy Edmonds even crushed a 425 footer to right field on Wednesday!! This is fantastic!!

Okay, so I realize I may be totally blowing this out of proportion, but even if this series was only a temporary flash of competency, it was absolutely necessary for my health and sanity. This ought to keep me from strangling myself with my Albert Pujols T-shirt until AT LEAST July. I've been walking around with the thing tied around my neck looking for a strong tree branch since we left Detroit. Can you blame me? Prior to Tuesday's game, the Redbirds were in the middle of a five game losing streak and had lost seven of their last nine. We'd sunk 10 games out and back into last place. Now, we're only one game back from the Astros and Cubs and a much more respectable 7.5 out of first. (Keep in mind, the benchmark for adequacy is still well below sea level at this point.) Dare I say, this season may have hope for us after all!! Assuming we don't crap the bed against the Nationals this weekend, I may be able to return from my self imposed hiatus and start listening to live games again. Of course, I would do this in a padded room under heavy sedation, but that's really only for the safety of the children. Turns out the young folk get really upset when you kick the dog and yell the F word repeatedly. Who knew?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Anyone Got a Painkiller? A Shotgun? A Shot Luge? ANYONE????

In case anyone cares to notice, I have been MIA for the last odd week or so. It isn't because I don't care anymore, it's just that I don't have much else to say. I know I'm not a good loser, but I never thought it would drive me to total indifference. No matter how badly I want to join the Red Sox, Mets and Brewers' respective bandwagons, I'm still a blasted Cardinals fan. Which, quite frankly, sucks right now. So I've adopted a new practice. It's called avoidance. I have not paid the slightest bit of attention to any specific game since I last posted. So far, it's worked splendidly. By splendidly, I mean it's made absolutely no difference whatsoever. This is absurd. I'm still a homicidal maniac and the Birds are still one million games below five hundred and approximately seven light years out of first place. Where I usually would delve into specifics about a particular outing, I will refrain here. This is mostly attributed to the fact that aside from the final scores, I couldn't tell you what the heck is going on. I will tell you that it absolutely breaks my heart that we gave up fourteen freakin runs to the Tigers tonight. It's sort of fitting, I suppose. We were obviously destined to get decimated at the hands of our World Series foes, particularly since we can't even give anyone in the NL Central a good show. At this point, I'm ready to go to sleep and pretend like this whole season has been one loooooong bad dream. Unfortunately, me and my fellow Card fans have four long months still ahead of us. I don't know. Perhaps I should take up another hobby. Like stamp collecting. Nobody goes crazy collecting old postal service relics do they?

Sadly, the lone bright spot for me over the last few days has been the Cubs stinking it up in New York. My good friend and total savior over in Queens sent me an uplifting play-by-play of the ninth inning yesterday and I nearly felt human again. Oh, those wily Mets! I don't think they have anyone playing for them aside from Jose Reyes and David Wright that is under the age of 63, but they sure do know how to make Alzheimers work for them. This is the kind of thing that happens to the Cubs every day in my head. Boy, it sure is fun in there! I also sometimes climb mountains with Matt Damon, play Yahtzee with JFK and prance around open fields with puppies.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I Like 12-Year Old Boys. I Mean...Uh...Oh, Nevermind.

It sucks for our starting rotation that even on nights when they throw their best stuff, the rest of the team can't pull it together and contribute to the cause. Such was the case for poor Anthony Reyes on Monday night when six innings, two runs, three hits, five strikeouts and zero walks was not enough to lock away a win for the ailing Redbirds. Once again, the team could not capitalize on offensive opportunities and just to mix things up, the relievers decided to get in on the fun. After a call in the ninth that ruled a hard hit pitch thrown by Brian Falkenborg a double instead of a home run, Tyler Johnson came in, loaded the bases and walked in the winning run. Good grief, that's depressing. I had more fun watching Schindler's List then I did talking about that game.

As for last night, things turned out considerably better, despite the fact that we had a 12-year old boy on the mound. Yeesh. I wonder if Brad Thompson has even gone through puberty yet? Regardless, he went five innings and gave up only one run on a solo shot by Matt Holliday. One cannot complain much about that. Plus, after an exhilarating four-run seventh, the Cards pulled out a win! WAAAHOOOOOO!!!! I think things are really turning around! Now, if they could just figure out a way to score runs in more than one inning per game...

In other more positive baseball news, I'm having pizza tonight. That's pretty well all I can come up with.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Well, the good news is St. Louis finally snapped a five game losing streak this weekend. In front of an emotional home crowd, the Cards topped the Astros in their first win since Josh Hancock's passing and gave a beleaguered fan base a small taste of hope. Adam Wainwright, although far from flawless, performed more efficiently then he has in weeks giving up only 2 runs in six innings, while Chris Duncan and Albert Pujols drove home the runs necessary to secure the win. Of course, this was rendered completely irrelevant on Saturday, as they floundered about and gave up 13 runs to their whopping big fat ZERO. For those keeping track at home, that would be the team's 12th loss in 17 games. This also marked the end of Albert Pujols' 12 game hitting streak as he went 0-4. ARRGGH!!!

Ahem...sorry. This is supposed to be the optimistic and uplifting portion of this post. Continuing with the good news, Looper had another solid start on Sunday leading the Redbirds to their first series victory since coming to Wrigley in April. Scott Rolen finally got his groove on and shook himself out of an 0-25 hitting skid and Jason Isringhausen came in to save his 8th game in 9 chances. Of course, Looper was dinged for a run in the first, which continues to add to the team's consistent struggles in the first frame. They have been outscored 21-3 in the first this season. Considered collectively, the Cards have a 12 -17 record which is good enough to continue their stay in the Last Place Motel indefinitely. WOOHOOO!!!

Further exacerbating the Redbird's woes is the announcement that Chris Carpenter will be out for at least another three months as he undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his elbow. Add this to the fact that I had tickets to see the Cubs finish a sweep of the Nationals yesterday in dramatic extra innings fashion and I'm about ready to take a bath with a hair dryer. AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

In summary, there is just not enough good news.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Being Terrible Is The Least Fun Thing You Can Be

Good grief, we suck at baseball. We are 7.5 games back and in last place. In the NL CENTRAL. I don't really even know what to say except that AT LEAST we aren't the Yankees. What kind of crap is this anyway? The Brewers have the best record in major league baseball. It's like we're living on a different planet or something. Not that Milwaukee doesn't deserve their day in the spotlight. Like I've marveled before, they have a guy named Prince Fielder on their team. And a contraption like this. No hard feelings! However, as I've settled into being a Cardinals fan over the last couple of years here in the Windy City, I'm used to consistently solid performances from my Redbirds. You cannot argue that over the last four years this is BY FAR the weakest team we've put on the field. You can blame the starting rotation, you can blame the sorry offense, you can blame almost anything. The fact still remains that as a fan, I have unrealistic expectations for the team that won the World Series last fall. As dynamite as they performed, it was a surreal turn of events that on any given day cannot be duplicated. Which quite frankly, hurt us in the long run. Winning it all last year made our stock skyrocket. This in turn, ensured that key players like Jeff Suppan got swept away in ginormous contracts. No complaints here about that whole experience, but having a transitional team win the Series is like having a bunch of sober jerks win a beer pong competition. They may perform well now, but once the hangover kicks in it becomes clear that they are not the proper caliber to project their success into the future. We are royally screwed.

Anyhow, enough abstract analogies. I obviously realize the team is struggling with the loss of a teammate and a friend. Thinking about it in the context of my own life, I cannot imagine how any of those guys can go on the field and give a crap about whether or not they turn a double play. I give them credit for having the stamina to show up at all. If it were me, I'd be in the fetal position on my bedroom floor. It is because of this I cannot make fun of any given play in any given game over the last three days. In the truest sense, I can't imagine baseball is the most important thing to these guys right now. Honestly, that's okay with me for now. I just hope they can clean it up and be competitive enough in the coming months to compensate. If not, this will continue to make up for it time and time and time and time and time again.