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You gotta take what they give ya

This team just seems to be fantastic at finding new ways to lose. It seems like a lot of you in the comments are using this as an excuse to get angry and frustrated with our redbirds.

Certainly, during the game, when it looks like there's actually some hope for the team, this make ssome sense. But to carry over this rage at the team whenever anything else happens, doesn't make any sense to me. In particular, I still don't see the actual reasoning behind the rage at Juan Encarnación. It just doesn't make sense to me. He gives you league average production at slightly below league average price. He's even had a bunch of clutch hits for us this season, yet still there's this continual hatred direct at him, in the comment threads hear and elsewhere in Cardsland. I hear the argument that his salary is a wast, to which I say that

1) it wasn't at the time that he was signed, when the Cardinals were trying to maintain their playoff run and needed reliable outfield production and someone to spell Jim Edmonds, who was looking older and would probably need to start missing games.

2) His production could be replaced by replacement level players like Ankiel, Ludwick or Rodriguez. Ankiel pretty clearly isn't ready to produce at the majors yet--he walks to little, and strikes out too much, without really making enough contact to mask that. Ludwick has put up very similar numbers to Juan, albeit with more on base ability and less power. Expose Ludwick more, and imagine what will happen to those numbers. Johnny Rod, I can't explain, other than saying that Enc bats from the right side and plays all three outfield positions, and Rodriguez barely can play the corner spots. But then again, why is Skippy on the roster other than to spell Edmonds?

Though Rodriguez might be a slightly better option, the point is that Enc has provided exactly what was promised--reliable major league production at a middling price. For a 2006 team looking to contend for a title, this was important--a replacement level player that you're going to call up is going to have erratic performance, and will on average, be below average.

I can understand wanting to upgrade his spot in the outfield, and if someone has a realistic way of doing that (i.e., trading Reyes for Carlos Quentin), then have at it. I just don't understand the invective against Juan for having "the wrong look in his eyes" or whatever.

As for the rest of the team, my suggestion is to start asking the question, WWUD: What would Uecker do? If you read around the blogs about the bad teams, they all seem to be very good at asking this question, and reveling at the good, and mocking the bad. It's how I got through the 90's, making jokes about José Jiménez being kept on the roster just to face the Diamondbacks in the postseason, or about the Lankford/Tewksberry dance club for good players (sorry, I was fourteen). But the point is, continual, irrational rage is going to do nothing for anyone's emotional state, and there are some funny things to notice about this team, and there are some good things, and it's time that we learned how to take the wins with the losses.