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Nearly the End Open Thread

With less than half a dozen games left in this 2016 season, what will you take forward from this team?

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals
This was a moment.
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Good morning, everyone.

I had a post roughly half done, on how poor the Cardinals’ baserunning has been this season (spoiler alert: bad), earlier this morning. Since then, however, I’ve gotten a bit of bad news — questionable just how bad yet; hopefully not as bad as the Redbirds’ baserunning — and have had to deal with other issues rather than finishing up.

I apologise for the lack of a proper post, but typing this on my phone sitting here I have to concede I’m not that sorry; I love writing these silly little things, but occasionally reality intrudes. In other words, shit happens.

But here we are, the final week of the season, still not knowing nearly what we need to know about the quality of this ballclub we’ve followed now for roughly six months already. We have also seen, for the second time in less than two years, one of the sports’ brightest young stars lost forever in an instant to an accident. Jose Fernandez had made it further up the mountain than our own fallen youth, being somehow even more precocious a talent than Oscar, but the effect is the same for me: there is a hollow space in the game I love where a long train of moments should be preparing to be made.

We never got to see anything but one home run in the rain and one home run in the bright lights of October from Taveras; Fernandez gave us more memorable moments in the aggregate — the Tulowitzki line drive gif alone is worth watching a few dozen times straight — but perhaps not two so beautifully framed and dramatic, if only because he hadn’t yet made it to autumn’s grand drama. I am sad that Jose Fernandez died. He seemed like the very best of what baseball can offer, and now we’ll never get to see his Josh Beckett moment. Or his Madison Bumgarner moment. Or his Jack Morris moment. It is unfair that we will not see his moment, and unfair he will not be able to make that moment. We are all the poorer.

I will ask you a question now. My question is this: without the benefit of hindsight, of knowing how it all ends, what is your favourite moment of this season so far? I’m sure there will be more than enough time after the dust clears to properly assess the season and what we loved and hated about it, but after it ends we’ll also be able to cast whatever light we wish backward, colour it in a way our eyes will find pleasing whether in victory or defeat. Now, though, we don’t know. And perhaps not knowing is the more honest state of being, seeing as how it is the most natural state for we humans.

There are only a few games left in this slogging, bareknuckle boxing match the Cardinals have found themselves in this year. Only a few more chances for this maddening, occasionally torturous, team to get things right. What, right now, will you remember about this season?

I will hope that next week my baserunning post will again be preempted by more pressing matters; namely, a playoff preparatory narrative. Nothing would make me happier than pushing back a post lamenting all the runs lost on the bases in 2016 in order to talk about the excitement of a clean slate upon which October magic might once again be written. We’ll see, though; I have very little faith at this point that will happen.

I will see you all again Sunday, on the last day of the season, when we may (or may not, actually), know more about how all this will end. It may be a minor league day, or it also may not. Until then, take care of yourselves, everyone. This is the very best time of the year; let’s hope we’re all in a position to enjoy it.