I keep forgetting the Cardinals are good.
I know this is a weird thing to say. You would think that a person who writes for a blog devoted to the St. Louis Cardinals would be aware of the happenings of the team. And yet, even after having watched a vast majority of games in 2016 and after having tracked the team for the last month and a half, I'm still essentially clueless.
Through last night, the Cardinals are on pace for 85 wins. This does not sound great, and indeed it would be the worst Cardinals team in nearly a decade. But this is more of a reflection on recent history than poor performance. They are still a winning baseball team.
And in 2016, entering last night, the Cardinals trailed only the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox in run differential. By Pythagorean win expectation, the Cardinals were the third best team in baseball. Yet, because the best team by a mile was the Chicago Cubs, it drastically affected fan perception.
The Cardinals are an imperfect team, to be clear. The Cardinals can absolutely improve and they should not rest on whatever laurels one could claim they have. But to build a team's entire identity as conditional on another team's success, particularly a team performing as well as the Cubs, is just asking for heartbreak.
Anyway, the Cardinals are still a thing, and often a very good thing, if irritatingly not as good as those pesky North Siders. And here are the posts from yesterday on VEB.
Yadi 4 HOF
I wrote about Yadier Molina's Hall of Fame candidacy. For a bonus fun fact at which I hinted but did not state explicitly: Molina entered yesterday with 19.5 career offensive Wins Above Replacement and 20.3 defensive Wins Above Replacement. Thirty-five players in MLB history have reached these levels. Eighteen are in the Hall of Fame, and six more are not yet eligible for Cooperstown. Cap tip to the Baseball Reference Play Index, co-author of half of the things I write on this website.
How to run a baseball team
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller have had a bit of an influence on my writing, occasionally bordering on ripping them off (though, in my defense, it has been a whole 23 hours since I linked to one of their articles in a post), and on Friday, our own Craig Edwards posted an interview with the Effectively Wild co-hosts and authors of The Only Rule Is It Has To Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team. Having not yet read the book but being intrigued by the premise of their book, in which the two ran an independent league baseball team, I've seen many summations of the book, and it appears to be a genre-bender: it is a baseball book, and a sabermetrics book, but it is also a book about organizational management, juggling personalities, and the human condition. I give this book the highest acclaim I can possibly give a book I have not actually read.
Give Lil Scooter 93 the Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina dual bobblehead
Ebo wrote about Thursday on the Cardinals farm. Overall, it didn't go well, though there were a few nice performances from individual players.
Craig wrote about how the Cardinals should destroy the Diamondbacks. And in the game recap, mister_manager wrote about how the Diamondbacks destroyed the Cardinals (though not as badly as it initially appeared it would be!).
In the immortal words of Ryan Theriot, it is what it is. And what today is is another chance to win a baseball game. Fingers crossed.