St. Louis Cardinals: The mental state of Cardinal Nation

Aug 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Young fans wait for a ball during a game with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Red at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Young fans wait for a ball during a game with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Red at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret the St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to play consistent baseball. However, if you ask the team, they are still feeling optimistic about the season. If you ask Cardinal Nation, though, it’s a completely different story.

Before Friday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles, the St. Louis Cardinals were losers of ten of their last fourteen in a span of two weeks. In those two weeks, the Cardinals suffered through a seven game losing streak. The organization went through a management shake-up. The team swept one of the worst in the National League. To top it off, they lost three of four to the first-place Brew Crew.

For as long as I have watched the St. Louis Cardinals, I have never seen a two weeks like that. The two weeks practically had a season’s worth of problems. Strangely enough, it also felt like a microcosm of the season so far: poor offense, bullpen issues, and questionable managing decisions.

The inconsistency of the St. Louis Cardinals’ play is starting to wear down on Cardinal Nation. Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a Cardinals enthusiast. I never give up on the team, but even  I have questioned my faith in their play at one point. Not everyone thinks the same way I do, though.

Just spend ten minutes on social media. Whether you spend time in the St. Louis Cardinals Twitterverse or Facebook, you will find so many different perspectives. There are optimists, like myself, but there are also pessimists who can’t stand what the Cardinals are doing. You’ll also occasionally run into the downright rebellious fan wanting to blow up and sell, sell, sell.

In all of this, however, there is a common theme. Cardinal Nation’s mental state is in a poor state of mind.

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Frankly, I don’t blame Cardinal Nation for being upset over how they’ve played. As a fan base, we expect to win and to compete for championships. It’s in our very blood.

However, the St. Louis Cardinals are struggling to live up to our expectations, and that is a very dangerous thing.

Besides our own expectations, many baseball people had high expectations of the Cardinals. Although most of the baseball people pegged the Cardinals as wild card team, they were still bound for the playoffs.

If you ask Cardinal Nation “will the Cardinals make the playoffs?”, you might be shocked at the result. I would guess the overwhelming answer would be no.

The only remedy to this situation is to get back to winning ways. The Cardinals have not played good baseball in two weeks. Friday’s win might have been the start of a turn around, but it will definitely take some more convincing than a single win.

If the Cardinals can’t turn this around, and are still in third place by the trade deadline, Cardinal Nation will be in full panic mode. Actually, we can go as far as a full meltdown. Not only will the players feel the heat, but so will the coaching staff and owner, Bill DeWitt Jr. Spare me the “it’s the players/coaches fault” debate. I don’t care. They all, including Mr. DeWitt Jr., share a responsibility to win as a team.

The worst thought going through Cardinal Nation now is the fear of missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season. If we get to that point, I might stay off social media just to save myself the grief of seeing the negativity.

Where do we go from here?

I am going to do my best to bring out the optimist in all of us. I have one big reason Cardinal Nation can cling to some hope. The St. Louis Cardinals have ninety-four games to play this season. With just under sixty percent of the season left, the Cardinals still find themselves within 4.5 games of first-place in the division.

Of course, we don’t know whether they get back in gear, but that is a lot of baseball left. To me, the Cardinals are capable of much more than what they have shown. I know most of you believe that, but is it worth giving up on them now?

I don’t think so, and I hope you won’t.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have some work to do to get their fan base back into this season. I believe they are more than capable of doing that. There is still plenty of season left for the team to turn it around. Friday was a good start, but it’s consistency Cardinal nation looking for now.