Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the St. Louis Cardinals. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
Take a look at that. Fans of baseball know that there aren’t many more beautiful sights in all of the game then this sea of red that convenes near the Golden Gates. I know the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs all have exceptional and rich historical fan bases. But I’m taking St. Louis as the Green Bay Packers of the Major Leagues. Cardinal Nation is simply the mecca of the sport.
The Cardinals have the best player in baseball in his prime at first base in Albert Pujols. He’s fun to watch hit, and he looks built for the Hall of Fame as you look at him in that uniform. He looks legendary, like Willie Mays in a Giants jersey.
This year, the team surrounding Pujols should be strong enough to win the central. Rick Ankiel has emerged as a very nice little player who will hit behind Gigantosaur. Adam Wainwright pitched like an ace at times last year. Just as he did in Oakland, Tony LaRusa could piece together 24 journeyman behind a star and lead them to a division title. Guys just work out and fit in for the Cardinals. They’re a classy organization. Their fans are class. You don’t hate seeing them have success like you do the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, or even the Mets to a smaller degree. They deserve it. Kind of like the Pittsburgh Steelers. How can you hate on an organization that is operated so constructively?
So I’ve came to expect certain things from the Cardinals every single year. They’re going to pass the torch to Colby Rasmus very soon; a guy to carry on the rich tradition of Musial to Ozzie to Pujols. I expect Rasmus and Jay Bruce to have hundreds of duels throughout the years just like Yaz and Dimaggio used to back when my father was young.
I expect the Cardinals to be very good this season. It must be nice to enter every season with contending being a normalcy. This is an organization that grinds out wins with blood, guts, and sweat and one that has came to earn my respect while at the same time hating to see them come to town.