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Big Ass MLB Preview 2012 – St. Louis Cardinals

Last season: 90-72 (2nd in NL Central, 6 GB; Won NL Wild Card)

2011 Playoffs: Beat Philadelphia in NLDS, 3-2; Beat Milwaukee in NLCS, 4-2; Beat Texas in World Series, 4-3

Kyle Lohse had a 3.39 ERA in 2011. Skillful pitching, or black magic? You decide. (Photo: Associated Press)

Josh says: It used to be, when people knew other people were messing with the supernatural, they did something to stop the hijinks. The very survival of the village and its sustenance-farming economy was at stake; no one could trifle with the possibility of taking away a peasant’s eternal reward and live to cackle at the demonic tale. So Joe and Genevieve Six Rows Of Corn did the right thing: If s/he looked like a witch and weighed like a duck, they burned him/her. Or drowned him/her. Most likely, they did both (in some order), along with a whole slew of other tortures that even pay cable would censor in these soft days.

And we are soft in these “everyone’s a sunbeam, no one’s a witch” politically correct times, for we see evil users of black magic and let them complete their careers without even one good stake-burning. Instead of salting the fields where they grow their noxious herbs, we allow their cauldrons to bubble merrily all spring and summer until the brew is complete: Another above-average season from Kyle Lohse, and another World Series win.

What else can explain a Cardinals’ Series win but extrarational intercession?  No positive human thought or action can be praised.  Would you laud John Mozeliak for trading Colby Rasmus for two months of Edwin Jackson and 50 at-bats from Corey Patterson (a punishment worse than a PED suspension)?  Will you say “What a blessing that Tony LaRussa cannot use a telephone, for if we had not lost a Game 5, there could not have been a clinching Game 7!”?

Their second baseman was a squirrel!  Yadier Molina has a jugular vein covered in Oriental symbols!  Adam Builder-of-Hay-Wagons was out the whole year. Ryan Theriot played a lot, and sucked, and they still won. Lance Berkman produced a .301/.412/.547 line. He was fat, and old, and ugly, and playing the outfield for the first time in a decade, and gave them almost 600 plate appearances.  How much more proof do we need?

The question, now, is whether the Cardinals, without LaRussa and Dave Duncan and that Pooholes guy, can continue to defy nature and win baseball games.  In comes Carlos Beltran, and if the dark magic is working, he’ll give them a minimum .300/.400/.500 line and 150 games. If not, if the evils were all contained in Tony’s fuzzy red nose, Beltran will likely shatter on a chalk line before April is over.  If Wainwright returns, less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, and starts spinning webs of deception over opposing hitters’ eyes, we’ll know that the Dutch-owned American light lager presumably still allowed in the clubhouse has some sort of magic in it that can’t be captured by an accurate Born-On Date.

At age 35 and appearing to be headed into the twilight of his career, Lance Berkman was a huge part of the Cardinals' 2011 World Series run. (Photo: Associated Press)

Get your pins and dolls ready, and your stakes, and save up all the kindling you can.  It takes a special sort to light torches for the elimination of an evil as subtle as the St. Louis Cardinals.  Hate the Yankees all you want for their money and power–sure, we’re all broke, and who is actually from New York City?–they deserve our resentment.  But this humble ballclub? Hailing from a declined Midwestern city more crime-ridden than most, with tenuous claims on styles of barbecue and music long ago absorbed and improved by its neighbors and a few halcyon years in the forgotten Gay 1890s when people thought St. Louis was really the future’s Place To Be–it takes a certain type of red-eyed rage to recognize the dangers the Cardinals pose.

May the Cardinals sink, so that they must burn.

Worth watching: Tyler Greene and Matt Carpenter are white men who play the middle infield for the Cardinals. Joe Buck will realize during an August game against the Cubs that he is calling not just any stupid baseball game, but one that involves his father’s club, and so Buck will skip the fifth-inning Ambien that, to his credit, is the only thing that gets him through three hours with Tim McCarver, and he will get all weepy over the American Pastime as it is played in this Midwestern city, and one of these two mediocre middle infielders will be the receiver of his greatest slobbering praises, since Hometown Hero David Freese will be 0-for-28 in his last six games and hitting .227 on the year.

Featured Image Credit: Associated Press