Everywhere I go, people ask me the same question:
“Is it over for the Cardinals?
Am I disappointed this team is two games over .500 in the middle of May? That it has the most porous infield defense in baseball? That it’s starting pitching has been a major disappointment?
Yes, yes and yes.
Still, people who think there isn’t anything to hope for in 2016 just haven’t paid much attention to baseball history.
I’d argue that the 2004 and 2005 editions of the Cardinals were the best teams of my lifetime. Dominant pitching, excellent defense, much more offensive punch than the Whiteyball teams of the 1980s.
It’s easy to look back at history through rose-colored glasses and forget that there were bumps in the road even when Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter were in their primes.
On this date in 2004, the Cardinals were the exact same 21-19 that they are today. They sat mired in fourth place in the National League Central.
Was it over then?
The Redbirds would gel as a team as the summer went on and ended up winning 105 games. A team that was 12-11 in April and 15-12 in May went 19-9 in June, 20-5 in July and 21-7 in August as it realized its full potential.
The Cardinals have their work cut out for them. But let’s not run up the white flag just yet.
2004 isn’t the only time the Birds rallied from a weak first couple of months of the season.
In 2011 they were a pedestrian five games over .500 at 23-18 on May 19. You’re not a true Cardinals fan if you aren’t aware of the comeback St. Louis pulled off in 1964.
Perhaps in no other human endeavor is what you did yesterday less relevant toward what will happen tomorrow than in the field of baseball.
St. Louis will soon add one of its best hitters from 2015, Jhonny Peralta, back into the middle of the lineup. Ace Adam Wainwright is showing signs of life after an uncharacteristically lousy start to the season.
It’s perfectly acceptable to be disappointed by the Cardinals’ start. But let’s not lose our marbles just yet.