Somewhere around the seventh inning, I said to myself, “I’ve seen this game.” I know it all too well, as a Northsider who’s had to crawl through the river of shit that is hating the Cardinals as much as I and the rest of us do. I may have left the Cubs behind, but that distaste never goes away.
I’d seen this game. The one that’s tied into the late innings. The one where the Cards keep knocking on the door but don’t break through until it can hurt most. And they parade a bunch of relievers out there that don’t have the weaponized vapor trails that other relievers throw. But they get everyone out, just like Adam Wainwright and his walker did. And you get his reaction shots in the dugout, the same ones we’ve been seeing for 20 fucking years or whatever it is. There’s like 47 of them per game.
You’re sitting there, and you turn into Krusty betting on the Washington Generals, and are no less doomed. “He’s spinning it on his finger! Just take it!”
And it’s never their star players who end it. It’s always some jamoke they picked up off the waiver wire, the one whose swing couldn’t break wind before they end up in St. Louis and suddenly they hit .700 for two months. And you know it’s just luck, and/or sequencing, but you have to listen to the toothless masses tell you it’s just The Cardinal Way. And you have no retort, because your team has been eating shit for your whole life. Been eating the Cardinals’ shit your whole life.
At least this time, the Cards got done in, falling to L.A. in the ninth, 3-1, thanks to the type of player they’ve been foisting upon us for decades. Chris Taylor couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a snow shovel the last couple months of the season. Before he joined the Dodgers from Seattle in 2016, he was on his way out of the game. And then suddenly he thinks blue, and he’s an All-Star who can play just about any position. It doesn’t make any sense.
And he ends the Cardinals’ season with a two-out, two-run dinger. Their cute winning streak to just be above mediocre? The callbacks to all the Devil Magic that defied explanation in the past? All wiped away by the same kind of phenomenon that’s been plaguing the rest of us.
This is how it feels, Cardinals. Soak it in.