Giving Thanks, Cardinals Style

There’s been a lot going on so far this offseason.  We continue to focus on Giancarlo Stanton, new coaches have arrived, and we wait for some sort of activity.  However, today is a day to pause, reflect, and give thanks for all that we have individually and as part of various groups. It’s tradition around this part of the Internet to take a look at Thanksgiving and what it means as a Cardinal fan.  Some of the things we mention every year, some are new, but all are part of what makes it great to be a fan of the birds on the bat.

For instance, there’s solid and engaged ownership.  I know, the folks that like to point at Bill DeWitt as being cheap are starting to again crawl out of the woodwork.  You can point to certain situations where maybe some extra money might have made a difference, but there aren’t many of them.  When you look at the market size and compare it to the payroll, though, you can see that the owners have definitely invested in the club.  You also have them putting their own money into the stadium as well as the surrounding Ballpark Village.  It’s no coincidence that their run as owners has coincided with possibly the best extended run of Cardinal baseball in history, which is saying something as the club marked year 125 this season.

There are also a lot of fun players to root for in St. Louis.  For the most part, the players stay out of controversies and headlines, at least to a national degree.  We’ve not seen anyone arrested or anything like that.  You have guys like Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina who are such a part of the fabric of the club and then there are plenty of players that spend their time getting ingrained in the community, whether it is hospital visits or charity work.  It’s hard to top what Matt Holliday did here but it’s great that some of the guys are doing their best to emulate him.

We also should be glad to be relevant.  Yes, the Cardinals have come in second on some things in the last few years and the cynical among us would lay that at the feet of ownership or John Mozeliak and say that they didn’t do enough.  Maybe that’s true, though I think it tends to disregard the other side of the equation, that the player gets to choose.  Still, they’ve been involved in these things, like they are now with Stanton, and there’s a reasonableness to it.  I mean, how easy would it be for Twins fans or Padres fans to believe their team really is trying on Stanton?  Yet we trust that the Cardinals are in the mix.  They may not get him, but they could, which says a lot about where the team is at.

There’s also the fact that winning is an expectation, not a surprise.  Most fanbases would be thrilled with five playoff appearances in a row, while we sorta just treated that as the way things should be.  Missing October the last two years has perhaps shaken a bit of the spoiled fan mentality off of us (which is not necessarily a bad thing) but it’s great that making the playoffs is like the minimum we expect out of the club and those in charge not only know it, but share that attitude.  Losing long-term doesn’t fly here and folks know it.  We should be grateful that we’ve not had to endure it for much of the club’s history, especially recently.

The history of the Cardinals is another thing to be thankful for.  We can make a full team out of Hall of Fame players that spent a large portion of their career in St. Louis.  No National League team has more World Series titles.  Some of the greatest baseball playoff moments have happened with Cardinals on the field.  We’ve seen Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols, and many more that thrilled us and rank among the best to ever play the game.  It’s been a blessing to be able to watch amazing players day in and day out.

The Cardinals have a lot of young talent that should provide a lot of excitement over the next few years.  Some may not be with the club if trades happen, but right now thinking about players like Alex Reyes, Luke Weaver, Tyler O’Neill, Dakota Hudson, Harrison Bader, and Paul DeJong makes it easy to believe that the run of relevance will not be ending anytime soon.  There are quality players with more experience, like Carlos Martinez and Matt Carpenter, to mix with these young up and comers to make the present and the future bright.

There are also a lot of great Cardinal fans out there, a community that I enjoy reading and interacting with.  There are some that are more dour, there are some that are more cynical, but all of them love the Cardinals and most of them can have a reasonable conversation even when they might not agree.  It can be frustrating and headache-inducing at times to be on Twitter, but that’s just part of the deal.  Kinda like a family, you know?  You might experience some of those same feelings today at dinner, for instance…..

So those are just some of the things Cardinal fans could be thankful for, but let me take a moment as I end this to say what I personally am thankful for.  I am thankful for the support that all of y’all have given me in the various projects I’ve done over the last 10 years.  I’m thankful for those that have occasionally dropped me a Twitter reply or message or even a comment here to say how much you liked a post or had some points you want to make on what you read, because that meant I knew you’d found it worth thinking about.  I appreciate everyone that regularly listens to Gateway to Baseball Heaven or Meet Me at Musial.  I am very lucky to work with two dedicated and informed fans in Tara Wellman and Allen Medlock and I like to know that their work is being heard.  I also am thankful for those that follow and interact with me on Twitter, because not only do I often learn something, it also makes the work day go by a lot faster!  I always tell bloggers and the like to do it because you want to, not for the hits or the exposure or the downloads.  That’s very true, but seeing people consume your work and apparently enjoy it is a great feeling.  Thanks for that.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that you enjoy time with friends and family during this weekend.  We’ll be back next week talking about Stanton and other things, I’m sure, so let’s just appreciate the rest right now, shall we?  Blessings to you and yours!

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