Kids today are spoiled. When I was growing up, the Cardinals went without a post season from 1969 ‘til 1982. The Cardinals have been to the post season ten times since the year 2000. Kids expect it. They think if the Cardinals are not playing baseball in October, there must be something wrong.
I am here to say this is the greatest era in Cardinals history. If you factor in the present, the future and the Busch Stadium experience, this is the best it’s ever been.
I think when this roster is healthy, it’s actually better than last year’s World Series team. You are better at shortstop, third base and center field. Your starting staff is better because you have Michael Wacha for a full season. Your bullpen will be better because of the return of Jason Motte to go along with Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez. You have more speed. You will have better defense at second, third and center. They may not win quite as many games as last year because the schedule is more difficult playing the American League East. However, this will be a better team in October. I mean, you may have Jhonny Peralta hitting 20 homers batting seventh. Instead of bringing Pete Kozma off the bench, it could be Mark Ellis. Jon Jay is a lifetime .292 hitter and he may not be good enough to start.
Cards GM John Mozeliak told me the other day that their outfield in Memphis is the best they have ever had. Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Oscar Taveras all could hit in the big leagues right now. The Cardinals are so deep that there really is nowhere to play them, not now or in the near future. Matt Holliday is under contract for two more years with a club option for a third year. He is still really productive, too. The team has two centerfielders; and Allen Craig in right—if he’s right—could be their best offensive player. Kolten Wong could be a star, Matt Adams is on his way to being a star and Matt Carpenter already is a star. And there is no organization that comes close to the Cardinals in terms of pitching: To have Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Wacha, Martinez and Rosenthal all 26 and under is an embarrassment of riches.
The Busch Stadium Experience
Have you been to Ballpark Village? It may have taken eight years, but it was worth the wait. The rooftop seats make you feel like you are in the ball park. No other city in the country has anything like it. You throw in Paddy O’s and the other fine establishments around Busch, and you feel like you’re at an SEC football game. It’s a little different than in the ‘70s where you would go to the game, watch it played on astro-turf in a sterile stadium and then go home afterwards.
The phrase, Best Fans in Baseball, is thrown around a great deal. Who knows if it’s true? But Cardinals fans should be. I mean, if you have this kind of history, this kind
of future and this kind of baseball experience, you likely should be supporting your team better than any fans in baseball.
My All-Time Cardinals Team
Catcher: Ted Simmons
Third base: Scott Rolen
Shortstop: Ozzie Smith
Second base: Rogers Hornsby
First base: Albert Pujols
Left Field: Lou Brock
Centerfield: Jim Edmonds
Right Field: Stan Musial
Pitcher: Bob Gibson
Manager: Whitey Herzog
Frank Cusumano is a 15-time Emmy Award winner on KSDK-TV, and also has been a radio commentator for 20 years. Follow Frank on Twitter @Frank_Cusumano.