Saturday, October 19, 2013

The No-Fun Bunch

There's no Hex quite like consistency. I totally bought into the Dodgers mojo, and after they took apart the Braves in the NLDS, I really believed they were on their way to the World Series. But I didn't account for the Cardinals, who seemed to have an answer for the Dodgers at every avenue. The Cardinals proved themselves impervious to the Dodgers Hex and really threw it back in their faces, culminating in last night's truly methodical 9-0 bombardment that clinched what feels like the Cardinals' 10th consecutive National League Pennant.

It really couldn't happen to a worse bunch of people. I have no particular love for the Dodgers, but in getting as far as they did, they exhibited a certain amount of joy in doing so. There's nothing inherently wrong with winning and celebrating doing so. Sure, Yasiel Puig may be a bit over the top, but he's 22 and hasn't learned how to have a filter. This has rubbed more than a few teams the wrong way, including the DBacks and the Braves, who seem to feel as though they're the MLB Morality Police, and the Cardinals picked on them again throughout the NLCS. I'm sure, were they playing the Mets, I might have felt differently, but then again, the Mets had their own young, irksome star in Jose Reyes. And the Mets haven't won much of anything since 2006, but that's another story. I watched a majority of the NLCS games, and I didn't see anything particularly over the top about the Dodgers (except perhaps Puig pimping on a ball that didn't go out of the park in Game 3). When they were winning, for example in Game 3, they expressed some emotion, and it was emotion that was probably pretty pent up after two games of the Cardinals frustrating them.

The Cardinals are a bunch of jerks, we all know that. So many years of being led by Innovative Tony LaRussa has poisoned all of them. I didn't like them back when their holier-than-thou "great" fans called the Mets "Pond Scum" back in the 80s, and 2006 rekindled that dislike. They're all hypocrites. Yadier Molina tagged out a runner at the plate in Game 1 and started yelling and pumping his fist like he was Ivan Rodriguez. But the Dodgers celebrate their success, as Puig and Adrian Gonzalez did, and they're a bunch of clowns. Even Vin Scully though the Cardinals were being ridiculous in their criticism of the Dodgers. Prior to Game 6, some Cardinal fans brought in signs mocking Puig and Gonzalez. This clearly got under Puig's skin, because he was seen laughing and posing for photos with the signs, and even signed some autographs. But no, a pox on the Dodgers, and praise for the squeaky-clean Cardinals.

The fact that the Cardinals are now looked at as a model franchise and the picture of success in today's MLB really sickens me, but unfortunately, this is the reality. You can't argue with a team that's bounced back after LaRussa retired and Albert Pujols defected and went to an NLCS the next year and a World Series after that. They went up against a team that had been absolutely rolling for 4 months and took them apart, piece by piece. That thing, that little extra bit of magic that had carried the Dodgers through the second half of the season abandoned them and seemed to shift over to the Cardinals. Carlos Beltran didn't hit much in the NLCS, but every hit he got mattered. Yasiel Puig's golden glove turned to pyrite and his failures in the field became more and more embarrassing and costly. And the no-name Cardinal pitching staff, featuring guys like Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal and 7 guys named Tyler dominated, holding the Dodgers to 13 runs in 6 games. But this is what they do. They get on top and don't let you breathe.

So, the World Series will feature one team that's almost universally reviled by everyone outside their home town. They'll be facing an AL Champion that will boast a tough lineup and good pitching, and also a team that plays with a lot of camaraderie and emotion, which of course the Cardinals will wag their fingers at. Rest assured, I'll be rooting for the Cardinals' opponent come Wednesday night. But lord only knows what kind of bullshit they'll be pulling out of their ass this time around.

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