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A stolen car and a surprising gift

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My dad had his car stolen, which led to something completely unexpected.

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago, my dad pulled his car into a home improvement parking lot. He has handicapped plates so he parked in a handicap spot, close to the store. He has always had this very bad tendency to leave his keys in the car. He has a car with a push ignition where the keys only need to be in the car, though he’s done this even when he had to use the keys to start the car. I have never understood it personally. So he was in the store for maybe ten minutes. He comes out, his car is gone.

He goes back into the store, talks to the employees, they happen to have a working camera and they see someone get in his car and leave. They call the police. Police arrive. This all happens fairly quickly so they have a decent shot of actually catching whoever did it. Police catch up to the car, they get in a high speed chase. My dad finds this all out from one of the officers who offers up this quote:

“I have good news and bad news. Good news is we found your car. The bad news is that it’s in a high speed chase and has already crashed into another car.”

The good news turned out to not be much of good news. The thief or thieves knew what they were doing. They ended up driving into a residential area and the cops legally were not allowed to follow them. I, not being someone to engage in high speed chases, did not know this. The more you know.

A couple days roll by. The expectation is that the car will never be found at this point. It’s safe to assume they took it to a chop shop and my dad would never see his car again. And as far as I know, he will never see the car again. It’s been a couple weeks at this point, and there’s really no reason to expect it to pop up.

My dad eventually gets around to searching for another car, and he is able to pay for most, if not all - I don’t know the money details to be honest - of the car through insurance from his car getting stolen. I happened to be the one who dropped him off at the dealership and I am the one who learned the most amazing part of this story first.

The car he picked has barely any mileage at all. My dad asks the dealer why. As it turns out, this car was previously owned by none other than Cardinals pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim. That’s right. The car salesman asks if he’s a baseball fan. The salesman was more of a Blues fan. My dad says he is. He pulls out a signed baseball by KK himself. KK told him give it to whoever buys this car.

So you heard it here first. You want an autograph for free? Allow your car to get stolen, somehow. Just keep leaving your keys in the car, someone will eventually take it. Of course, if you want it to get stolen, it will be ignored because that’s just how these things go. Then go into a dealer and hope you buy a car previously owned by a Cardinal and hope that Cardinal happens to gift the new owner with an autograph.

Now I’ll warn you. This might be what you would call a real life example of the famous dick in a toaster story. Old VEBers will know what I’m talking about. But it doesn’t hurt to try. Actually it may very well hurt to try. Much like, well, you know. Just read the link if you’re unfamiliar.

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In two days, the Cardinals face the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer. Here’s a fun fact, and it really is a fun fact: Max Scherzer is 4-6 in his career against the Cardinals. That is true. Less encouraging is his 2.76 ERA against the Cardinals which is about over half a run better than his career ERA. So he’s 4-6 because he keeps running into good pitching from the Cards side. The Cardinals have a good pitcher going on Wednesday of course, I’d just be more comforted if the Cardinals were his Achilles’ heel ala Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs.

On the downside to that fun fact: he’s 2-0 against the Cards this year, with zero earned runs and 22 Ks in 14 IP. A grand total of one walk in that span too. He’s been significantly less effective in the last two games he’s pitched, which also didn’t come against that great of teams. He allowed five runs against the Rockies - at Coors to be fair - and five runs against the dead-in-the-water Padres.

Now, I do think Adam Wainwright will have to pitch good, so when I say the following, I’m not saying what he does will not matter. But really, the Cards just have to hit Scherzer. Scherzer is perfectly capable of winning the game by himself. They need to score however they can, whenever an opportunity arises. They need to knock him him out of the game as quickly as they can. If he strikes out 10 guys in 5 innings, but it means he has 92 pitches, that’s not a bad outcome. Strikeouts will happen against Scherzer. Work the count, make him throw a lot of pitches.

It’s a shame the Padres couldn’t beat the Giants one more time, make Scherzer pitch tomorrow, and then the Cardinals face the Dodgers against none of their elite starters. But at the same time, Cardinals have not really done well against bullpen games, which is probably what the Dodgers would have done. For whatever reason. So I kind of feel like the bullpen game would lead to a disappointing loss. A loss to Scherzer is just a tip your cap loss. You lost against a Hall of Famer and a team that won over 100 games. We’re getting the best.

I want to win and badly. But this is just gravy. The streak was honestly all I needed and if the Cardinals actually make a run in the playoffs, it would be magical. But I’m content. I’m okay losing to the best. I’m much more okay with losing to the Dodgers than the Giants, I’ll tell you that. You will get none of this content business from me in the NLDS if the Cardinals manage to win. I’m not promising anything, but if the Cardinals win.... I may just have to release all my negative feelings about the Giants onto the pages of VEB. I will absolutely, no doubt about it, be rooting for the Dodgers over the Giants if the Cardinals lose.

In the meantime, the Cardinals are technically in the playoffs for at least three days. That’s longer than we expected a month ago. Let’s hope we’re in the playoffs for much longer than three days.