Now that the NLCS is over, and the Cardinals are preparing for the World Series, I have a few lingering thoughts I would like to express about that series. There was quite a bit of extraneous to actual baseball nonsense that went on during the series, most of which was media contrived for ratings and page views. The media of today is not the media of my childhood and young adulthood. Most of the emphasis is on sensationalism rather than actual truth. More is the pity in my opinion. But I digress.
Oct 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha holds the series MVP trophy after game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
I thought it was a well played and hard fought series. I didn’t care for the distractions that were the media contrived narrative that the Cardinals were uptight and hated fun. Anyone who watched this team for any length of time would know the falseness of that assertion. From the dances and handshakes in the dugout that have become a staple for Adam Wainwright goofiness, to the pre game show antics of Joe Kelly, and the camel suit craziness of recently acquired John Axford, this team knows how to have fun. But they are all business on the playing field, and that’s the way they choose to play their game. It works for them.
The Cardinals players were not nearly as irritated with the on field antics of Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez as the media tried to make it sound. Both Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran were asked specific questions about Puig that they answered. The media then spun those answers into the narrative that the Cardinals believed it was their duty to police baseball for old school rules. That was utter nonsense. As manager Mike Matheny later explained, the Cardinals’ only obligation is to take care of themselves and not worry about what other teams do. Adam Wainwright said it best during a post series interview in the clubhouse when he said the media were “pot-stirrers”.
The fans were more upset about Puig and Gonzalez than the players were. I said in my last post here that I thought both Puig and Gonzalez were disrespectful because their actions were an “in your face” to Wainwright. I stand by what I said there. I am an old school fan, I don’t apologize for that. Ever. Many perceive it differently, including many Cardinals fans, and that is their right. Frankly, in my view, if the actual baseball playing is not sufficiently “fun” that you need circus clown antics on the field to keep you interested, maybe another sport would you suit you better. That’s just my opinion.
But, there was much to like about the series, and for me much to like about the Dodgers. The Dodgers are a good team and have the talent to be even better. I like Clayton Kershaw very much, he is probably my favorite non-Cardinal player. He seems to be an intelligent, thoughtful, and well grounded young man, in addition to being a fantastic pitcher. He reminds me of a younger, left handed version of Wainwright. I also like A.J. Ellis, very good defensive skills, with the ability to improve on offense. Of course, the Dodgers have former Cardinal favorites Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto, as well as St Louis native Scott Van Slyke. The Dodgers are going to be a force in the National League for quite some time if they can stay healthy.
Despite the three ring circus that the media conjured up for this NLCS, the actual baseball was quite enjoyable. The series was a nail biter until the last game, and you can’t ask for better than that. I look forward to the Cardinals’ next meeting with the Dodgers.
Perhaps the media can just stay home.