An improbable season ended with the St. Louis Cardinals as the 2011 World Series Champions.
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are a perfect reminder that in sports it isn’t how you start, it is about how you finish.
Considering that they lost their best pitcher to injury before the season even began and with just six weeks left were 10.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, it is quite amazing that last night they claimed the 11th World Series Championship in team history.
Even in the World Series they seemingly had an insurmountable mountain to climb as they were twice down to their final strike before rallying for an improbably extra inning victory in game six.
Then in the decisive seventh game they trailed early, but scored the final six runs to defeat the favored Texas Rangers.
Since Tony Larussa became manager of the Cardinals in 1996, the team has had their greatest success in seasons when they weren’t given much of a chance.
The 90-72 record that St. Louis posted in 2011 was actually the seventh best single season total for the franchise during Larussa’s tenure. Yet, the only other World Series title the team has earned came in 2006 when the team won only 83 games.
The Cardinals finished the 2011 season winning 24 of their final 33 games to sneak into the playoffs on the final day of the season.
They then won the final two games of their first round playoff matchup against the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies to advance to the NL Championship Series. Read the rest of this entry →
Yesterday, Buster Olney of ESPN became the story when he posted an article stating that a “sources” had informed him that there had been internal discussion within the Phillies organization about trading Ryan Howard to get Albert Pujols. Since then, lesser media outlets and the blogosphere has erupted with everything from “professional” condemnations to personal insults and attacks leveled at Olney.
So, we have journalists, both amateur and quasi-professional, accusing Olney of being unprofessional by casting insults at him? That’s the kind of irony that inspires Alanis Morissette songs!
The reaction over an utterly reasonable article seems to be prompted more by the fact that Olney is a nationally read writer for ESPN, the network that is the undisputed king of sports news. The story, in and of itself, lends nothing incredible and is, in fact, much more professional than many of the rebuttals.
While evidently not likely, a trade of Pujols for Howard is not without it's logic, regardless of which side of the table one looks from.
Some points to be clear on:
Olney did not say there was discussion between the Cardinals and Phillies.
“It’s not fully clear whether the Phillies actually have approached the Cardinals with the idea”
Olney immediately contacted Ruben Amaro, Jr., the Phillies GM and included his denial in the article.
“Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro flatly denied that the internal discussions have taken place. “Lies,” he said. “That’s a lie. I don’t know who you’re talking to, but that’s a lie.”" Read the rest of this entry →
After spending a fortune on Matt Holliday, will the Cardinals have the money to resign Albert Pujols?
Watching the post-season wraps ups for Major League Baseball this past November, you could have been easily convinced that Albert Pujols was the greatest player to every swing a bat. If you were convinced, it was not only because everyone and their brother was talking about it as the MVP unveiling drew nearer, but also because even a quick look at Pujols’s numbers leaves people wide eyed. He’s every smart fantasy player’s automatic number one draft choice and someday the term “highlight” itself will be replaced by “Pujols”.
So why is it that the Cardinals have all but decided to jettison Pujols by giving Matt Holliday his new opus magnum $120 million contract?
First of all, am I the only one who realizes that Matt Holliday is not another Albert Pujols. That’s not an insult as we could go decades before we see another AP. But if the Cardinals are telling Holliday that he is worth this much green, how much will they have to give Pujols , the better player, in order to keep him?
Holliday will be getting roughly $17 million per year over the next seven years, not counting a list of bonuses for things like MVP, Silver Slugger, and playoff wins (exactly the same bonuses as Pujols’s current contract.) Read the rest of this entry →
Albert Pujols was the toast of the league during the last decade.
The most prevalent storyline in Major League Baseball during the decade wasn’t a player or even a team. Instead, the subject of steroids dominated the decade. There were so many of the best players of the era linked to performance enhancing drugs that no player was above scrutiny.
For that reason, selecting the best players of the decade is a very difficult challenge. Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds posted statistical seasons that rank among the best of all time, yet Rodriguez has admitted to using a PED and Bonds is under federal indictment for supposedly lying about his use of drugs.
Because I have no true idea which players actually have used PEDs, I chose not to make potential use a major factor in selecting this list. Instead, it was a secondary factor in where a couple of the players on this list were ultimately placed.
Who Was The Best Major League Baseball Player Of The Decade?
Albert Pujols will look to power the Cardinals past the Dodgers.
For much of the 2009 season the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals appeared to be the two best teams in the National League. However, a late slide by the Cardinals suddenly pits these two traditional contenders against each other in the opening round of the National League playoffs.
In Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez, this series features two of the best known players in the game. However, while Pujols is at the peak of his game, Ramirez has struggled to regain top form since missing 50 games due to a positive drug test. Read the rest of this entry →