I got really pissed when the Oakland Athletics traded for Stephen Drew, for a few minutes, and when I snapped out of it that was when I knew: It was Late-August Desperation time.
Admittedly: The St. Louis Cardinals could probably have done worse than to give Stephen Drew a chance at second base. He's got a .601 OPS this year, in 40 games, which is better than the .520 OPS Rafael Furcal had over 37 games when the Cardinals traded Alex Castellanos for him.
And admittedly: Sean Jamieson is no Alex Castellanos. At 23, Sean Jamieson (a shortstop) has a line of .234/.345/.379 in the low-A Midwest League. Pete Kozma had a line of .284/.363/.398 in the Midwest League when he was 20. (Sub-admittedly: That was the very peak of Kozma's career, and he proceeded to get chewed up by the Florida State League.)
But the Cardinals have, for all their trouble at the position, an OPS of .690 there. (Oakland has an OPS of .549 at shortstop, so I guess I should be happy for them.) The moment I was angry the Cardinals weren't dropping a few million dollars on a guy who, it appears, could have been had straight-up for Tyler Greene was the moment I became aware of just how near the end of the season we are.
Everyone deals with this in different ways. Last year, in that week or so when we were convinced the season was over, VEB collectively thought: At least we'll get to see Tyler Greene start for a month. Bernie Miklasz went off on the offense, apparently, which is another option.
Me, though—I get really into Stephen Drew types and September call-up types.
Thanks to the second Wild Card, though, this part of the season is taking on a peculiar tone. The Cardinals have a very solid chance of making the postseason, or at least "the postseason," but that concept is suddenly fraught enough for scare quotes.
Last year, we declared the team dead and were pleasantly surprised when they turned into the St. Louis Zombie Cardinals and sprinted (they were Fast Zombies) back into contention. This year, we've just declared the team zombies; their competition with the Reds never quite got off the ground after the All-Star Break, and they've mostly disappointed all August, but as low-key and sour as things have gotten they could very well disappoint us all the way into a Wild Card berth.
Generally I'm okay with the second Wild Card, since it seems like the briefest possible way to extend the postseason, which I'm against. But I think zombiehood might be one of the weird side-effects.