Friday, October 9, 2009

Cardinals Have a Ways To Go Before They Are Cub-Like

Last night, as I prepared to turn the channel to The Office from the Cardinals' Amish closer trying to set the Dodgers down to close out a 2-1 victory, all hell broke loose instead.

Matt Holliday attempted to catch the third out of the ninth inning with his groin and was unsuccessful.

Then Ryan Franklin threw about 800 pitches to Casey Blake to try and get him out, he ended up walking him.  Matt Holliday ate some sunflower seeds to try to make the pain in his heart and balls go away.  Ronnie Belliard stepped up and lined the first pitch he saw into center to tie the game.  Franklin then threw a wild pitch because the greatest defensive catcher in the world didn't want to be bothered by blocking the ball with his body.  He loaded the bases by walking Russell Martin and set the stage for Mark Loretta.

Despite all that had happened up until that point, I still figured the game would go into extra innings because there was no way that Mark Loretta gets a hit.  There was no way.  Mark Loretta sucks.  He's Mark Grudzielanek with a more pronounceable name.  But then Mark Loretta got a hit and Dodger Stadium went apeshit.

I was stunned and thrilled.  The Cardinals were just plain stunned.

I was, of course, tweeting out my snarky comments along the way and amongst the random blurbs, I sent out:  "I wonder if Holliday is wearing a Cubs batting glove under his mitt."  This is, of course, a reference to Bill Buckner wearing his old Cubs batting glove under his mitt for the infamous 1986 Game 6 ball-through-the-legs play.

Meanwhile, many Twitter folks were piling on the Cardinals' pain with their takes on the situation:
  • @desipiodotcom - So is this what it's like when other people watch the Cubs? Muahahaha!
  • @cubsff - Cardinals Collapsing Like Cubs
  • @cnorman70 - Was nice to see the Cardinals do their best Cubs impersonation last night (and thus far in the NLDS)!
  • @LukeHighley - The Cardinals even do chokes better than the Cubs...DAMN, can't you guys let us have something?!
  • @TMchicago1 - Wow, one almost has to feel for the Cardinals....that is normally how the Cubs lose important games
  • @PTIShow - When did the Cardinals become so Cub-like?
Good times were had by all.

When I went to bed, I started thinking about how the Cubs are still so synonymous with losing and choking.  Mainstream media, bloggers, and casual fans have spent a good deal of time talking about how the culture surrounding the Cubs has changed.  The combination of being so close in 2003, along with the back-to-back playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008 has raised the level of expectations.  Winning is now expected.

But last night proved that isn't the case at all.  Cubs fans and people covering the Cubs still EXPECT them to lose.  The first thing many of us thought as we watched the Cardinals grasp defeat from the jaws of victory was how insanely like the Cubs that was.

The true expectation is that even if they are a good team, they will eventually choke and fail.  They may have changed the expectation of fans attending individual games, but the overall expectation of the Cubs is that they will eventually be on the golf course working on their putting while other teams are playing in the World Series.

The culture of the Cubs and their fans will not change at all until they actually do win a World Series.  In the meantime, everytime somebody makes a misplay, blows a save, or strands runners in a crucial situation, the comparisons to the Cubs will always be there for hack journalists to get some easy laughs. (Thanks for the link, @jmkobus)

Meanwhile, this singular game or series (if they do go on to lose) will not change the overall view of the Cardinals as a top-notch organization.  I wish to hell it would, but it won't.  So I'll just enjoy the moment and replay this video of the Cards collapse as described by the venerable Vin Scully over and over again.


hungeryjack said...

Nice post - Mark Loretta ..Keep Posting

Mark Loretta

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