Ah, this team. This maddening, frustrating, flawed, stupefying team. Somehow, despite their own best efforts, this team is still alive. Or, to use the parlance of the mad scientist who assembled this aged group and sewed them together, Allliiiiiiiiive!!!
It was August of 2007 when lboros penned his own version of the zombie Cardinals post, and after watching Chris Carpenter pitch on a day when he signed yet another contract extension -- which replaced the option on the deal he signed back in, when else?, 2007 -- I couldn't help but think of that old post. This year it's the Brewers and Braves running from the zombies, and try as they might, every time they turn back to look there's the stumbling, shuffling Cardinals, throwing up gravedirt as they try to chase down the pack leaders.
Actually, though, this doesn't feel like such a shuffling sort of group. Lots of moaning and brain-eating, yes, but also capable of occasional brilliant play and bursts of energy. More like the zombies from 28 Days Later or Left 4 Dead. But also kind of dumb at times, the sort of zombies who just stop and stare off into space instead of devouring the heroine. So like Left 4 Dead zombies with a really buggy AI. Hmm. Never going to fit on a tee shirt.
Still, 4.5 games back with just over a dozen games to go isn't an easy climb; it appears our zombies may very well have just waited a bit too long to start chasing down the blonde with the big, bouncy brains, and now she's going to get the door to the abandoned bomb shelter closed just before they get there. A pity, too.
And who better than Chris Carpenter to symbolise this zombified baseball team? After all, his career has already risen from the dead twice, and the number of scars and stitch marks he must have on his arm makes him an easy pull to star in any sort of undead-related film. Carpenstein; or, The Modern Mathewson, perhaps, about an undead pitcher terrorizing a Romanian town with something called a cutter. Every night you can hear the villagers begging him not to hurt them, followed by his cries of, "I don't give a fuck, you Carpathian peasants!" He finally hunts down Dr. James Andrews on an ice floe, both demanding of and commanding the doctor. Demanding to know why he gave him this accursed arm which has made him so hated and feared by the hitters of each village he has visited, then commanding Andrews to go and create a dominant softball pitcher to become his bride.
Oh, while I'm thinking about it, I have to get off my chest how irritated I was when I read the story over on the Cards' official website about Tony La Russa wanting to reduce the number of September callups. Now, I'm sure most of you are aware of my own feelings regarding Tony La Russa; they are, to say the least, not particularly warm. Of course, I'm somewhat preaching to the choir here I know, as even the more ardent La Russa admirers on this site have lost a fair bit of their faith in him.
But even with my normal level of disdain for Tony and his methods, I was just flabbergasted at this. I mean, honestly, he not only doesn't like calling up players on his own team, but he somehow can find a reason no one else should be allowed to call players up either? This is just asinine beyond belief. What justification could there possibly be behind this position? We don't want to reward players for success in the minors? Auditioning players for future seasons is just pointless since this world is all just someone else's dream anyway?They get uppity after they've been here? Tony doesn't like it when snot-nosed punk kids do better in the majors than he ever did? I'm sure there's some load of respecting the game bullshit or some other equally pointless drivel behind all this, but for the life of me I can't imagine what it would be. I know we all like to joke about La Russa not liking young players, but honestly, that's the only realistic reasoning I can think of here. It isn't just normal Tony BS; this is verging on out and out misanthropy it seems to me.
Beyond even just that, what possible justification could La Russa find for telling other organisations how to run their own teams? Isn't that as disrespectful as you can possibly get toward your opponents? I can't imagine Tony would take too kindly to some other team's manager coming out in the press saying he doesn't think you should be allowed to make more than three pitching changes in an inning, or you shouldn't be allowed to wear creepy sunglasses during night games, or you shouldn't bash your players in the media because it just makes you look crazy, your general manager look impotent, and your organisation as a whole look dysfunctional. No, I'm sure Tony wouldn't like someone else talking about his team that way.
This isn't just the usual Tony bullshit we've all gotten used to hearing justified with respect or competitiveness; there's really no justification for this crap beyond being a grouchy old fuck whose ego has run completely out of control. It seems to me Tony should maybe be focusing less of his energy on how other teams should run their organisations and use their players, and more on figuring out a simple way for his teams to actually win, rather than an overly complex, ridiculously circuitous way for them to lose. Rube Goldberg sans novelty, sans whimsy, sans charm. Piebald mouse with whiskey on its breath, desultory trot on a squeaky wheel.
On that note, I'll be shoving off for the day. Before noon today (central time, that is), we'll get to see what fresh horrific twist the phantasmagoria that is the 2011 season has in store for us; game thread fifteen minutes before first pitch.
"Hazyville" - Actress
"Lost" - Actress
"Coach Me" - Black Devil Disco Club
"With Honey Cream" - Black Devil Disco Club
"Yoshimitshu" - Ikonika
"Millie" - Ikonika
"Left Hander" - Martyn
"Suburbia" - Martyn