with the cardinals having wrapped up their first world title since 1982 late last week, thoughts in this head were too uncollected and disorganized to be set to keystrokes. a long weekend of consideration settled thoughts and submissed prejudices. and reflection on the fine and hard-earned words of my good friend yielded me a different sort of closure.
it goes without saying that this writer too detests the white-belt faux-southern "moran" fandom of the cardinals -- their buffoonery is only exceeded, in this humble opinion, by the terrifically pathetic apathy of mainstream cubdom -- to whom it must seem self-evident that doing the same fucking thing every year will yield different results simply because they really enjoy engaging in the insular fantasy they've constructed for themselves -- and to whom doing something different in an effort to break a 98-year deathspiral is not only metaphysically certain to be pointless (despite the fact that different input, even if only incrementally different, might actually yield different results) but is akin to treason and/or heresy. this writer can't honestly accuse cardinal fans of being as stupid as cub fans -- really can't -- but disdains them anyway. redbird nation isn't to be put on high simply because they aren't the lowest of the low.
however, proper respect is given to the organization, the team and their management.
q: did they deserve to win the world series on 83 wins?
a: did they deserve to lose it in 2004 or 2005, when they were clearly the best team in the league?
please, rational readers and dear friends in suffering -- you bet they earned it. six playoff appearances in seven years is all about earning it. it's often said that baseball is not a sprint but a marathon -- but it's a much longer race even than most people seem to think. it transcends single seasons into decades and generations. and no other club in baseball except possibly the yankees and braves has done more to deserve winning the whole enchilada in this generation. the cardinals earned it in such a way that is almost beyond the conception of any living cub fan, so long has it been since a similar example was seen on the north side of chicago -- 658-475 (.581) since y2k makes this the best seven-year stretch of baseball from any cardinal club in history outside the compromised war years -- that's right, better even than the gashouse gang by percentage points -- and one has to go back to the 1930s to find anything even remotely comparable in the annals of the chicago cubs. does it matter that their well-deserved title arrived in the ostensible sunset of, as a golden coda to that run? clearly not.
so here is the clearest statement of honor and respect to be made about it -- and then this sad, horrible season will be over for this observer:
i wish the cubs were the cardinals. i wish our fans were as smart. i wish our ownership was as dedicated. i wish our management was as competent. and i wish our team was even half as good.