We hear often that the St. Louis Cardinals are God’s gift to major league baseball. We hear they do everything the right way. The national media never misses the chance to put the saint in St. Louis.
Right now, the Cardinals are the class of the NL Central in the standings. They have won the division each of the last three years, 9 of the last 16 seasons, and reached the postseason 11 of the last 16.
But the hype about The Cardinal Way is over-the-top. Just last weekend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz wrote “Maybe the Cards work too hard.” I mean seriously, a professional writer wrote an article about a professional baseball team trying too hard? Give me a break.
Corey Kluber pitched a historic game last night. He struck out 18 batters and allowed 1 hit and walks in eight innings. In the second inning, Kluber hit Matt Holliday with a 94 MPH pitch on his elbow. Holliday had to leave the game, and is now listed as day-to-day following the injury. While it really stinks for the Cardinals to lose one of their best players on a hit by pitch, there was no intent from Kluber. It was clearly accidental. The pitch was inside, tailed toward the batter and Holliday leaned in at the last moment.
Along comes the 4th inning. John Lackey cemented his place in The Cardinal Way. With two outs, and the bases empty, Lackey drilled Jason Kipnis with a pitch in the back. Crystal clear, this was no accident. It was retaliation and deliberate.
Here is what the Cleveland broadcasters had to say about this:
Well, historically The Cardinal Way is you hit one of our guys, we will hit one of yours. There was two outs, and no one on, and Lackey did what he had to do. He hit him right in the back of the numbers.
There you have it boys and girls. Chalk it up to The Cardinal Way. A pitcher accidentally hits our guy, we will bean yours right in the back. That is the RIGHT thing to do.
I am sorry, but that is not baseball. We’ll see if anyone in the national media criticizes St. Louis. But I won’t be holding my breath. Imagine if the situation had been reversed. Just think what the modern-day Chris Carpenters and Tony LaRussas would have said. What Bernie Miklasz would have written. Their track record shows they are second-to-none when it comes to airing their grievances to the world. That’s one way which the Cardinals really do outwork every other organization – complaining.
There’s plenty to respect about the St. Louis Cardinals organization. But that doesn’t mean they should get a pass for unjustified and dangerous retaliation. Maybe they just work too hard.