It’s here. It took longer than expected. We were spoiled by titles, drunk on an endless well of hope, and now we’re left covered in decade old confetti, destitute in the gutters of Soulard. Hungover, fat, wondering where it all went. The Cardinal way is dead.
It died bit by bit since the final flag was hoisted in 2011. First Tony left. We understood. He was in his mid 60’s and wanted to go out on top after 32 straight seasons as a major league manager. Then Albert left. Hey, we offered him a ton of money but HE was greedy. Why not take less and be the next Stan Musial? Why not stick where a team is committed to competing for titles? Why not indeed?
But, it didn’t end there. The little bits kept crumbling away like the slow erosion of a mountainside by centuries of wind off the swings and misses from Matt Carpenter’s bat. Every time Mo said “We feel like X player coming off of the DL is better than any trade we could make,” another piece of the Cardinal way was laid in its grave. Every time we came in second on free agent bidding because “at the end of the day we feel we have internal options that are just as viable,” even more of the Cardinal way found its way into an urn above Fredbird’s mantle. So where do we turn? Who is on the way?
The Cardinals boast that every single year since the 1920’s they have had a Hall of Famer on the roster. But 2021? If Yadi is gone, who is our man headed to the hall? Goldschmidt is in that Matt Holiday-Jim Edmonds-Scott Rolen hall of really good, but not Cooperstown bound. The front office has dealt away too many potentially great players to count, and the ones they’ve hung on to to this point have been, to quote the young kids, “meh.”
Are these kids the key? Will Carlson, Bader, Gorman, and Liberatore be the next core four? Will we not see the waste of the end of Goldy’s prime? As has been the way of the last decade, more questions than answers.
The Cardinal Way. A hard nine. Make the trade that needs to be made at the deadline. Go get McGwire, Rolen, Edmonds, Walker, Holiday. Get rid of Rasmus for the pitching you need to make that push official. Make the hard choices, not the easy ones. That was the Cardinal way.
The Cardinal Way is Dead. Long live the Cardinal way.