Remember what I told you about “The Team Up North?”
Throughout their 2016 Fan Convention, Cardinal fans kept referencing the Cubs, what they have built, their expectations for the season, and so on.
But, instead of simply calling them “The Cubs,” many (allegedly) used the placeholder you see above.
I undoubtedly read too much into their inability to utter the words out of fear – on purpose – but have since continued to embrace and lean into their hate, hidden jealousy, and overall bitterness.
To be fair, they’re right: this is the year of the Chicago Cubs.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they (the Cubs) are necessarily going to win the World Series, or even the division, but they’ve undoubtedly compiled a very talented team and have drawn a ton of attention because of it.
Now, to be fair, the Cardinals are coming off a 100-win season in 2015, five straight post season appearances dating back to 2010, and 17 more wins over that same stretch than any team in baseball. It’s been the half-decade of the Cardinals, not just the year, and they’re feeling the heat of their reign coming to an end.
In an article at ESPN, Jayson Stark has collected a series of quotes from various Cardinals regarding their distaste for the Chicago Cubs and they are both obvious and delicious (revel in it):
“I don’t get much into underdogs, favorites, who should do this or who should do that,” said their longtime No.3 hitter, Matt Holliday. “You’ve got to go out and play.”
“Last year, it was all about the Nationals,” said the Cardinals’ always-erudite third baseman, Matt Carpenter. “Nationals, Nationals, Nationals. They signed Max Scherzer. They were the team to beat. The projections were, the Nationals were going to win 100 games. And they didn’t. So I don’t buy into anything. It doesn’t matter that it’s the Cubs or that they’re in our division.”
Before we address any of the thoughts above, did you catch the “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” employed above by Mr. Carpenter in reference to the Nationals/Cubs? Excuse me, Jan, but there’s a reason Marsha Brady got more attention – she was better. Now, to his point, the Nationals were undoubtedly underwhelming last season; however, it was mostly out of their control. They dealt with an almost unimaginable level of injuries to key players and that’s not something you can just expect or count on, in the offseason (the same way you can’t expect or count on a team like the 2015 Chicago Cubs coming out of nowhere and stealing your hopes and dreams).
Did you expect it to be handed to you, because you signed Mike Leake?
I encourage you to read the rest of Stark’s article, because there are many more quotes from players like Brandon Moss and manager Mike Matheny. And although each of the Cardinals are using different words, it sounds like they’re all saying the same thing: the Cubs are good, and we’re sick of hearing about it. Groovy.