"Want some cheese with that whine?"
It's downright annoying when you're complaining about something and someone pulls that phrase out on you. Or better yet, they rub their index finger and their thumb together and say, "Do you hear that? It's the world's smallest violin playing a sad song for you."
Well, Cardinals fans, I'm not going to do that to you. But I am going to tell you to quit your whining… at least those of you that have been walking around with a big sour puss on your face as of late.
For the past few weeks, I've heard complaint after complaint after whiney complaint… in the office, on the street, at the ballpark, on the Internet. Dreading the cost of playoff tickets to watch their team lose again, some season ticket holders went so far as to openly wish the Reds would've swept the Cards this past week and finally put them in the rearview mirror for good. Other fans have admitted they'd rather have the club run off a good ten-game losing streak and just be done with it.
I apologize for the generalizations, as I clearly know all fans don't fit this bill, but it's almost like the Cardinal Nation has become a lot of spoiled little two-year-olds. They have grown so accustomed to their beloved Redbirds dominating the competition during the regular season. And now that things aren't quite up to par, they feel a need to carry on and on until they get their way or cry themselves to sleep. Maybe it's time for a timeout.
the Cardinals open a three-game series in
As this series between division rivals in drastically different places kicks off, let me bring to your attention some facts as they stand today, along with some side commentary:
- Jason Isringhausen has blown eight saves, but he's also converted 29. OK, so he's not Mariano Rivera, but he forgets what happened the night before and goes right back out there just as a successful closer needs to. That's more than we can say for shell-shocked Brad Lidge.
- While the Cardinals team ERA (4.60) is ninth in the National League, the team batting average (.272) ranks second. Pitching could definitely be better, but it's at a premium across the league. At least the team is hitting the ball. If you look at the Houston Astros and their intimidating starting staff, you'd expect them to dominate. Their team ERA is fifth in the NL at 4.31, but that bottom-scraping .256 batting average just isn't getting the job done. And well, look where the Astros are right now.
- Which leads us to the fact that the Cardinals have Albert Pujols. I would normally say, "Enough said" here and leave it at that, but let me put this into perspective. Pujols is batting .326 (5th in the NL) with 35 home runs (4th), 94 RBI (5th), and a .684 slugging percentage (1st). Keep in mind that includes a two-week stint on the disabled list.
- Scott Rolen is batting .321 with 17 home runs and 75 RBI. That is about as good as you're going to get in protecting Pujols in the order. Oh, and he's the best defensive third baseman in the game.
- The Cardinals are 64-56. Sure they were many more games over .500 earlier in the year, but the season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Cubs, in comparison, are 52-68. For those mathematically challenged, that's 16 games under .500. And the Cubs are riding a four-game win streak.
- The Cardinals are in first place in the National League Central Division by 2.5 games with just 42 games to play, roughly one quarter the season. Not a bad place to be, I don't care how you got there. Thirteen NL clubs are in a not-so-fortunate position, including the Cubs, who are 12.0 games behind the Cardinals and 9.5 games off the Wild Card pace. Do you think Cubs fans would be complaining if their club were 2.5 games up in the division in mid-August?
I can go on and on. But hopefully you get the point.
Sure things aren't perfect, but they could be a helluva lot worse. Just because you're driving around town in a decked-out BMW 5 Series automobile, don't whine about how you wanted to get the 7 Series because it handles the bumps in the road a bit better. I'm tired of the recent airing of grievances. So quit your whining, take a look around, and enjoy the luxury ride. You're on a road trip to an unknown destination. Nobody likes a whiner in the car.