Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why I'm Rooting For the Cardinals (Sort Of)

I am of two minds on the second NL Wild Card spot.

On one hand, I'm a Phillies fan, and I'd love to see them steal it. A season that's largely been pissed away due to injuries, curious playing time decisions (Hey, whaddaya know? If you leave John Mayberry alone, he hits!), bullpen meltdowns, and too many inexplicable meltdowns against the Houston Astros could still provide a happy ending. And, with this year's cockamamie playoff system, any time you can run a Cole Hamels and a Cliff Lee out there, you've got a puncher's chance.
And yet, on the other side, there's the Cardinals. Lord knows, I should be rooting fervently against them. the luckiest WS champions of recent years - seriously, who did Tony LaRussa sacrifice to Thor to get those fortuitously timed rainouts last year - they angered my formerly-Cardinals-loving wife by not hiring Jose Oquendo as their new manager. (Seriously. They announced the Matheny hiring and she announced they were dead to her. Hope of Jose was all that kept her going through the LaRussa years.)
But at the same time, part of me wants them to win. Why? Not for any love of Lances Berkman or Lynn. Not because I think "the best baseball fans in America" deserve more affirmation. No, it's for one simple reason: For years, LaRussa wallowed in the "genius" label, for certain values of "genius" that include "having one of the greatest players in history anchor your lineup and several gazillions sunk into your pitching staff". If a first year manager...with no prior managerial experience...can win with that same roster MINUS Albert Pujols, well, maybe that takes a little bit of that self-applied shine off that genius label.
It's petty, I know. But with the Phillies 4 games back with 10 to go, it's about all I've got.
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