Bill James, one of the best analysts to cover Major League Baseball, recently posted a poll on his X (formerly known as Twitter). The poll asks if the St. Louis Cardinals' 2023 season was just a blip or a sign of the end of a long run of success in St. Louis. The results of the poll were practically split.
Remember, Bill James has a national audience. Therefore, this poll reflects the feelings of baseball fans across the country, not just local Cardinal fans. It is important to get a pulse on the franchise from the greater baseball world. We as fans may get jaded, over-confident, or morose about the team; seeing things from an outside perspective can benefit us.
The poll, which had over 2,500 people vote, finished with a near-split decision. 50.8% of people who voted saw the 2023 season, the first in fifteen years with a losing record, was "just a bad year". The other 49.2% saw last year as "the end of what they were".
This poll is telling in two ways; first, the St. Louis franchise has power nationally. Fans across the country are able to recognize the team's recent success. While organizations such as the Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, and Rays are mentioned as recent stellar franchises, the Cardinals deserve to be discussed in the same breath.
Second, there is a legitimate fear that the team's era of success is over now. To have nearly half of voters see last year as who the team is now is telling. Recency bias may be playing too big of a role in this particular poll, but there could still be truth in the fact that a team that only won seventy-one games and finished in last place in the second-worst division in all of baseball is experiencing the end of an era.
We will have to wait and see how the team and front office rebound after an abysmal season, but at least a majority of fans still see the Cardinals as a strong team that can measure up to the best teams in Major League Baseball.