The 2010 baseball season is almost behind us. While we had some highs in 'ol 2010, the lows were much lower. I'll be perfectly honest and admit I've been ready for this season to end for about a month now. I don't think I'm alone, either, and would put dollars to doughnuts (is that a saying?) that many in the Cardinals locker room felt the same way.
Looking back and moving on:
What I Will Not Miss:
Colby Rasmus Drama: When the news came that Colby hadrequested a trade earlier in the season, I immediately thought it was leaked by the St. Louis Cardinals org to rile the fan base against him, to make trading him away this off-season easier. Now I'm begining to think Rasmus's camp may have leaked it to force Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak to call Tony la Russa's bluff—"Colby Rasmus is your starting Center Fielder. Play him. Everyday."
Since the earlier dust-up between player and manager went public, Rasmus has started all but one game (yesterday's JV lineup) and has not been substituted out of the lineup late; in fact, he's played every inning since then. And he's hitting 369/455/631 for a 1.085 OPS. Hoooray, Colby!
The Biiiiig 550, KTRS: I feel sorry that John Marecek, a non-hyperbolic, actual level-headed sports talk show host, will be losing his greatest platform, but I also realize he's talented enough that he will do just fine anyway. That being said, never having to hear John Hadley say another word on a radio station is reason enough for the Cardinals to move back to KMOX. I like to think that the day John Hadley said — and I quote — "Randy Winn has been a more productive baseball player than Colby Rasmus" is the day the Cardinals origination decided to shut it down. That I can move on with my life pretending that John Hadley and Frank O'Pinion (clever name! hilarious sound effects! radio genius!) never existed... I will open-mouth kiss whoever made the decision to leave 550 for 1120.
Matt Holliday Is Not Clutch: 148 OPS+. Slash lines of 313/539/925. All Star, probable Silver Slugger, possible MVP candidate on a better team. Oh, but he only has a .815 OPS with runners in scoring position! That's totally becasue he's overpaid, right! He's a chocker and isn't worth his contract!
Except for the fact that his "terrible" performance (with RISP and all) this season would be worth $25.9M on a truly open market, per fangraphs. He's not not clutch. He's not overpaid (yet). He doesn't suck. He does have an enormous, oddly shaped head. Let's all put our El Camino's in neutral, pop a Busch Light and appreciate having one of the best outfielders in the game on our team.
The Reds Brouhaha: Not that Cardinals-fan self-righteousness wasn't at its peak since 2006, but can we please all move on from the fact that one of our players was hurt during a fight? Don't want to get hurt? Don't get into a [bleep]ing fight. I don't blame the bouncers who knocked my teeth out for doing it; I shouldn't have thrown their boss on his ass that night. We all get hot and make mistakes; it's called personal responsibility in owning up to the fact that you shouldn't have lost your temper. Jason LaRue, hell of a guy, shouldn't have gone after Johnny Cueto.
Bottom line: You get in a fight and get kicked in the face... that's your fault, bro. Next time, either don't get in the fight or don't get kicked in the face.
Al Hrabosky: Just kidding! That bastard isn't going anywhere. Not until he says Tony La Russa has poopy in his pants, at least.
(RIP The Thing That Ate Jack Clark.)
What to Look Forward To:
Jaime Garcia, Full Assault: Not that I disapprove of the kid gloves Jaime has been handeled with (for God's sake, shut him down!) but I am excited to see what he can do, much like Master P, on no limits. And can you imagine if a Yankee rookie starter put up a 146 ERA+ in 163 innings? We already get pelted with non-stop coverage of their average rookie pitchers... I don't know what would happen if one was actually was as good as Jaime has been.
(Is Master P still around? Bad rapper, entertaining guy. Perfect guy to be famous for having no talent right now. Are he and Ja Rule out on some island for early 2000's rappers that nobody knows about?)
Albert Pujols, Contract Year: I resigned myself to the fact that 2011 will be Albert Pujols' last year as a Cardinal this summer when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. So, why not enjoy one last summer of the greatest Cardinal of my life timetime, playing his ass off for a contract that will determine whether his kids will never have to work or if his grand-kids will never have to work.
Then, when he signs with the Angels next off-season, I'm totally writing a letter to the Post-Dispatch about how no true Cardinal would wear a black undershirt in uniform and how the franchise is better off without him and with their new first baseman, David Eckstein.
Not the 2010 Cardinals: I mean, dear God, this team stinks. Five easy outs in every lineup! Spotty defense! Atrocious baserunning! No fundamentals! What is sad is that they're six back to their pythag record and it's easy to see to most people that it's not just random back luck, re: run distribution... It's terrible baseball. They run into outs and then they put up a ton of runs when they win, they get shut down by the worst pitchers in baseball. The team just stinks!
I wouldn't be surprised if the entire starting rotation (Wainwright, Carp, Garcia, Westbrook, Lohse) was back, with the majority of the bullpen as well. The outfield will stay the same, as well as Pujols and Molina. that leaves the bench to change dramatically (no more DFA's please!) and the black holes of 2010, 2B, SS, and 3B open doors. Skip actually hasn't been terrible since April, but clearly needs to be a platoon partner at 2B. Ryan's defense is invaluable and if he's your worst hitter, you can live with that. So the only true open position is at third... What to do?
I'll leave it open... What would you do?
And what won't you miss from this craptastic season? And what are you looking forward to to bring the franchise our 11th World Championship in 2011?