Throughout this 2013 regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been all that is hip, hot, and happening around the bigs. And as the calendar nears the end of October, the St. Louis Cardinals are the 75-year-old man that want the Dodgers to get off of their lawn.
It’s nearly impossible to argue the fact that, from an organizational standpoint, the St. Louis Cardinals are the class of Major League Baseball. They’re deeper than any other club out there, and are constantly in contention for a World Series title as a result of that focus on drafting, player development, etc. They’re the envy of almost every team in baseball.
However, the narrative surrounding this team has begun to wear itself out faster than the flavor in Zebra Stripe Gum. The Cards have spent time criticizing the Los Angeles Dodgers over the course of their National League Championship Series matchup, with the most specific complaint referring to the antics of Yasiel Puig as “Mickey Mouse” stuff.
It was a foolish statement that came out of the organization and one that was hypocritical in nature. The absurdity of the situation itself has lent itself to the narrative that the Cardinals are not only the most well-managed organization in all of baseball, but the classiest as well. Just ask Stan Musial’s grandson. From USA Today:
“This isn’t just about flying another pennant in their stadium – their fourth in 10 years – or having the opportunity to win their 12th World Series championship. It’s about the responsibility of upholding tradition. It’s for old-time baseball.”
This means that not only are the Cardinals attempting to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers and reach a World Series, and achieve a title that would mean their third in less than a decade, but they’re also trying to keep the game, and a national stage like the World Series, clean of the apparent scum that is Dodgers baseball.
The very idea of this narrative is absolutely absurd. When one walks into Busch Stadium, it’s not as if they’re suddenly transported to a better time in baseball history. Many of the nonsensical things that take place in other parks exist at Busch. Heck, it’s not even immune to the wave, which is a cardinal sin in sports these days, if you will. It’s a very similar experience to one would find in most parks. Not to mention the fact that much of the “Mickey Mouse” stuff that the Cardinals have referred to is very similar to what they’ve done in this series.
Or do we not remember Michael Wacha showing up Juan Uribe after a strikeout in Game 2? No? Perhaps David Freese sliding into home and hopping up in a Puig-esque manner? Anyone? Bueller?
The narrative that the Cardinals are not only the class of Major League Baseball from a success perspective (which they are), but also the classiest in Major League Baseball, needs to die. There aren’t two schools of thought here, such as old and new school, a la Trout vs. Cabrera. This is all about arrogance. The Cardinals organization and those around them have every right to think that they’re the best organization in baseball, because they are, quite frankly.
But as for this idea that they’re the heroes of baseball and the ones responsible for protecting the integrity of the game, as if the game still lives back in the mid-20th Century, it is one derived from arrogance and one that needs to disappear immediately before the organization, and their fans, become any more insufferable than they already are.