This is a great article that shows how fundamentally different the Cardinals and Dodgers teams are, even though they do share one thing…a storied history. I only disagree with one point…no way do the Dodgers win this thing in six. Go Cards!
St. Louis teams are drilled in fundamentals and are often greater than the sum of their parts. They don’t need superstars if it means paying them $250 million. That’s why Albert Pujols is now an Angelic anchor around the neck of that other Los Angles team for the next eight years. The Cards are doing just fine with Allen Craig, David Freese and Matt Carpenter, none of whom can be identified by anybody who lives beyond the reach of KMOX.
The Dodgers are always better, or worse, than their collective parts depending on whether Pisces is in the fifth house of Kasten or the number of Miley Cyrus wannabes in the Chavez Ravine box seats. The Dodgers have more stars than Orion. Matt Kemp ($160 million) is out for the season, but you hardly notice since Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game, Zack Greinke backs him up and five other Dodgers are playing under contracts with an average value of over $100 million. If you don’t make $60 million, the clubhouse guy won’t pick up your wet towels.
In St. Louis, the populace believes that if a shirt has buttons, God meant for them to be buttoned, all of them. In L.A., you’re lucky if anybody, man or woman, wears a shirt at all. In St. Louis, you dress up for the Cards. At Dodger Stadium, if all 10 toes aren’t exposed, they won’t let you in the gate.
In St. Louis, everybody is friendly and gracious to visitors. If your team loses, they say, “Better luck next year,” while thinking, “Fat chance. Our Cards are anointed by Branch Rickey and washed in Bob Gibson’s sweat.” At Dodger Stadium, it’s friendly, too, unless you wear a Giants jersey in the parking lot. Then “Pulp Fiction” breaks out.
Two years ago, in the midst of all of the “Do it for Torty” madness in the run-up to the Cards 11th World Series title, I suggested that instead of “Do it for Torty,” the team “Do it for Berkman.” Lance Berkman was still a fairly new addition to our team at that point, having joined the Cardinals roster at the beginning of that season, but an invaluable one. He quickly made himself at home on the field and in the clubhouse, winning the devotion of the fans and his teammates. Berkman was one of those rare types in any pro sport…extremely talented, with an endearing personality and great sense of humor, but also a really good guy. The kind of guy you wanted to see win, because he was so good at what he did, but also because he was the kind of person you could count on to set a good example for your children. But in spite of an amazing career, Berkman had never added a World Series ring to his collection. So we really wanted to see the Cards go all the way in 2011, because, sometimes, you just want to see the nice guy finish first, and what a moment it was when he did!
That brings us to this year. We have another fairly new addition to our team (but not quite as new as Berkman was in 2011). Like Berkman, he’s also a switch hitter, which makes him a threat at the plate, and he has played in the NLCS before, including in 2004, when he and Berkman both played for the Astros. A player that we’ve come to depend on for offense and defense. Someone rivaling Babe Ruth himself as far as post-season stats go…he’s that good. In case it isn’t obvious by now, that player is Carlos Beltran. Like Berkman in 2011, he somehow hasn’t managed to pick up a World Series ring yet, despite a storied career that includes three Gold Gloves, numerous All-Star appearances, and more post-season home runs than any other player in history. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Beltran is also a really, really good guy. He is a Christian man known for the charity work he does in his native Puerto Rico, for encouraging young baseball players as they strive to make it to the Big Leagues some day.
I say that this year, we don’t even need a rally squirrel to spur us on to victory. The knowledge that we’re playing with and for a man who deserves to win this title should be enough. We need to do this thing for Beltran!