Madi Sundling, Staff Writer
If you feel disappointment in the crisp St. Louis air, it’s probably because baseball season for the Cardinals is over. At least until spring training. Their regular season ended Sept. 30 with a 5-10 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Dreams of clinching the wild card, chilly postseason baseball and a World Series championship ring are just not meant to be for the beloved redbirds. Instead, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cubs got the wild cards, chipping away at the Cardinals’ chances win-by-win. Sadly, the famous saying of well-known baseball figure Yogi Berra has come to pass: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” For the Cardinal’s, the 2018 season is officially over.
Considering the team’s rollercoaster season, it wasn’t a complete failure. Between multiple injuries, overturn of management and a few underwhelming player performances, the Cardinals handled themselves well. The pitching staff was most affected from the slew of injuries. The disabled list captured anchor pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. It went on to claim some other key players temporarily including catcher Yadier Molina, short-stop Paul DeJong and second baseman Kolten Wong. Between these three players alone, they missed 99 games. Needless to say, the Cardinals were rattled with injuries, struggling to stay healthy for the long spring to fall season.
But the challenges continued. Perhaps the largest challenge the Cardinals faced was new management, only adding to the snowballing instability initiated by injuries. After manager Mike Matheny was removed, Mike Shildt, manager for the AA Springfield affiliate, was signed as manager for the next three years.
Tony La Russa, former Cardinals manager, spoke on Schildt’s behalf, “When you look at Mike Schildt, you see the effectiveness needed for a manager.” Effectiveness is exactly what Schildt produced. The Cardinals soared to the top of the league chasing the wild card. The minor-league-gone-major-league manager truly turned the clubhouse around, and that is a success.
Cardinal’s fans especially have high expectations for the Fredbird team. Maybe that’s because the team has had 12 postseason berths since 2000, missing only six postseasons in 18 years. The clubhouse set a high standard for themselves, and fans will hold them to that standard from season to season only expecting the best. St. Louis can only wonder and project what the next season will bring, and what it will look like with Schildt at the helm.
Lucky for St. Louis, hockey is here to suppress any post-baseball depressions. As the torch passes from baseball to hockey, fans retire the Cards jerseys and dust off the Blues jerseys. The Blues come marching in, yet again, with eyes already on the Stanley Cup, determined to bring it back home after 51 years.
Right wing Vladimir Tarasenko said it best, “You start the season with the goal to win the Cup because if you don’t, there’s no reason to play in this league.”
If the preseason predicts the season at all, it looks like the team might be in some pretty good shape winning 4-7 games. Of course, time will only tell if the Blues will dominate the league and end the Stanley Cup drought.