The Five Hole with Chris Gift

One of the pointless classes I took in college was Ethics. I didn't feel it was necessary to be taught by a college professor the difference between right and wrong. To me, ethics has, and always will be my conscious telling me: "Five Hole, do what you think is right."

Whether it is a decision at work, when to visit relatives, when to know I've had enough for the night, or how long to stay at a party, living by the credo of "do what you think is right," is what I use for a barometer.

It seems pretty obvious either Bill DeWitt doesn't use that saying, or his definition of "doing right" and everyone else in Cardinal Nation's definitions are polar opposites.

What, Bill DeWitt, has the benefit of the new stadium been to this point?

Payroll remained the same. Granted, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen, and Jeff Suppan, among others received raises. But, for all the sponsored areas in the new park, three buck text messages, $30 Build-a-birds and those bricks outside the stadium, the organization could have done better than Juan Encarnacion, Gary Bennett, a week of Ricardo Rincon and closed captioning the U-Man's between innings promotions.

I'm not going to say the new Busch should never have been built, but correct me if I'm wrong here: the new Busch was built so the team could increase revenue and remain competitive, right?

As we end the fifth month of this season, the increased revenue and has brought Jose Vizcaino and Preston Wilson to St. Louis. The new stadium couldn't pay for two more years of Reggie Sanders and Mark Grudzielanek? The new stadium couldn't keep John Mabry here?

Sure, Rod Stewart sings, "I wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger." And if we had known in April what Chris Duncan was going to become, having Sanders stick around for two more years would have been easier to afford. While we all fell in love with Larry Walker, admit it, last year he was terrible. He was Willie Mays as a Met terrible. The 2007 Sanders will be leaps and bounds better than Walker was last season.

The other big name that was targeted this year was AJ Burnett, late of Florida, now with Toronto. Instead of using the new stadium's revenue that Mr. DeWitt spoke of and outbidding a Canadian team paying in American dollars, the Cardinals tried to use the logic that "if we pay Burnett what he wants, then we're going to have to pay Mark Mulder even more after this season."

Translation: We're going to have to pay market value for a pitcher who (until 2006) was just about as good as it gets. There's no way we can do that, we don't have enough revenue.

Tell me this. Did Anheuser-Busch think they were spending all that money on naming rights, the huge Budweiser sign above the scoreboard and the Bud Light roof above the press box so the Cardinals could let Julian Tavarez go to Boston and replace him with Josh Hancock? For some reason "remain competitive" seems more attainable with Mars resident Tavarez and Braden Looper than Hancock and Looper.

Here's another thing. Chris Duncan is about all there is from the farm pipeline. The next stud is Colby Rasmus; he should start 2007 at AA, and he'll take Edmonds' job in a few years but until then, be prepared for an over-the-hill Edmonds, or an Encarnacion-like veteran to patrol centerfield.

Now, Walt Jocketty told a New York newspaper there will be budget constraints for 2007. Perfect. The team that needs a cash infusion and was supposed to get it because of the new stadium is now cutting payroll.

I guess one good thing can come of this: A rivalry with Pittsburgh. At this rate, the Cardinals and the cellar dwelling Pirates should be battling each other in the standings for years to come.



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