The champagne and Budweiser has dried from the clubhouse carpet. The confetti has been swept from the streets of St. Louis. There is a new skipper to in place to lead the Cardinals. We have a new first baseman since one of our beloved Birds flew out west. Our daily dose of Cardinal baseball has dwindled. The Birds are not the headline each in the sports page. The local news stations are not featuring scores or news worthy stories each night. We are all collectively suffering from the World Series hangover, the long days of winter and the countdown until Spring training starts.
The onset of winter brings hibernation and the Cardinal red depression of no baseball. So what does the diehard Cardinal fan do with themselves in that long period between the final out being made and the dawning of the new season when the first player reports to Jupiter? As the post season depression sets in we begin to resemble the robot Johnny 5 from the movie Short Circuit, “we need input”. We begin to replay the past season. We seek out our fellow faithful members of the Redbird Nation. We evaluate each off season move. We begin to build our own wish list of trades and acquisitions that we hope the team makes. We need our “fix”.
This winter seems especially difficult for me. I can’t wait to see where the Albert Pujols money is going to be spent. Will the front office come through in the end and spend that money for players? Will Mike Matheny be a strong and confident manager? What will Chris Carpenter have left in the tanks? How will Adam Wainright bounce back after Tommy John surgery? Is Allen Craig going to be answer in the outfield and will his surgically repaired knee allow it? David Freese, will this overnight hometown hero stay healthy all year? Will he continue to live up to the post season hype? What will the bullpen be like? Will Jason Motte continue to be lights out? How will Rafeal Furcal swing the bat this next year? Do Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman have the type of seasons we all know they can have? Will the signing of Carlos Beltran pay off?
Why do we concern ourselves with all of these agonizing questions? I know why, because we love every minute of it. We can’t get enough of it. We don’t want an off season. We love our Cardinals and we can’t wait until we see the first clip from Jupiter and we hear the baseball pop into Yadier Molina’s mitt or the crack of the bat sending the ball over the fences.
Until then, we go back to our off season rituals and we count the days. By the way, how many days is it until February?
Tags: Adam Wainwright Albert Pujols Carlos Beltran Chris Carpenter David Freese Jason Motte Lance Berkman Matt Holiday Mike Matheny Rafael Furcal Spring Training St Louis Cardinals Tommy John Surgery Yadier Molina