Dubbing the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, “the worst World Series winners in history,” the Boston Herald’s Tony Massarotti writes “the question is whether to bury them or to praise them.” Guess which he ultimately chose?
For all of the praise the Cardinals deserve, there is one thing we simply can™t get past: They shouldn™t have been here at all. The baseball season is designed to weed out the weak, the mediocre, the inept and the brittle. The Cardinals simply slipped through the cracks. This St. Louis team won 22 fewer games than the last Cardinals club to reach the World Series, the 2004 edition that was steamrolled during the historic run of the Red Sox.
But at least those Red Sox won 98 games. They were championship-caliber. They were every bit as good, if not better, than any major league team that took the field that season.
But really, can we say that about these Cardinals? For all of the good baseball has experienced during the wild card era, parity has come at a price.
The San Diego Padres won the NL West last year with 82 victories. This year, the Cardinals won the NL Central with 83.
Neither of those clubs would have qualified for the postseason during another era and neither would have had a complaint.
Over the years, for whatever reason, one of the more popular theories in competition is that America loves the underdog. That is nothing more than rubbish.
What Americans truly love is excellence, primarily from our professionals, particularly over an extended period of time, from Tiger Woods to the New York Yankees to our very own Patriots.
The Cardinals? Let™s not put them there with the 1985 Villanova Wildcats or the 1968 New York Jets or even the 2001 Patriots. Those were good clubs that unexpectedly ascended to the heights of greatness at a time few expected.