I've got a plane to catch, and then another plane to catch, and then--then I'm out of planes, but I'm relatively sure the Cardinals aren't allowed to win a game the afternoon after Brendan Ryan does this:
And then says this:
"Then I almost died, but I didn't. So I got back up and I looked at home and I saw Suzuki flying home, and dang, too bad he couldn't trip and fall or something. I don't know if I would have made it, but it would have been pretty fun to crawl home and score on that."
"I love dinosaurs," Ryan added. "Wouldn't it be cool if they were real and you could fight them? And maybe they could talk."
I didn't wake up itching to rub any more salt into this wound, but I'm going to do it anyway--the Cardinals are three-and-a-half games out of first place, and per bWAR Brendan Ryan is currently worth 2.9 wins over the replacement Theriot. In 2010--0.7 wins. In 2009--3.9.
I'm willing to believe that sometimes a manager has to massage clubhouse chemistry in a way that contradicts what's apparent in the numbers. But what has this clubhouse move done? Who has it loosened up? Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina are having career years, and Skip Schumaker has, in limited time, returned to near-competence. Lance Berkman and Nick Punto are having career years, too, perhaps because they were never exposed to Ryan at all. Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, and Jake Westbrook are, predictably, worse.
Rafael Furcal looks like a shrewd bet, but he comes after four months of sub-replacement-level performance at shortstop. I think the Colby Rasmus doctrine applies here: If Tony La Russa and John Mozeliak can come up with a reasonable replacement for the player Tony can't fit into the system, then by all means work around the system; La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager and I continue to believe that he didn't Zelig his way into all those wins. If Tony can't fit Brendan Ryan into the system, though, and the other option is Ryan Theriot, then he's not doing his job if the team has no choice but to make this downgrade.
I think the same goes for the Unnamed Sources. We gripe about players wanting to play for a winner when it comes time to negotiate their contracts, but whoever found Ryan flakey or unprofessional enough to nudge him out of town made the team worse with no better excuse than the guy who claims to have moved to a last-place squad because of the local schools. And they're paying for it now.
As for Edwin Jackson: Well, he ate innings.