Here’s Where the Fun Begins

As Dan McLaughlin will say in about seven hours from this writing, “Welcome to Cardinals baseball.”

This is it, folks.  We’ve made it through the long offseason, made longer by the fact that it was the third without playoff baseball.  We’ve survived the winter of our discontent with the front office.  We’ve plowed through rumors and trades and all sorts of social media nonsense.  We’ve come through and now stand on the other side.  Baseball returns to our side today, like a faithful dog that strayed off the path to chase something interesting but then returned to walk beside us.

Today, at 1:10 PM Central time, the 2019 baseball season begins for our favorite team and they don’t get to ease into the season like sliding into a pool when you don’t know the temperature of the water.  Instead, they are doing a cannonball by taking on the divisional champs from the prior year.  They’ll have to see a banner raised and (I assume) rings given out.  Perhaps it’ll serve as some motivation this season but honestly, I think this team knows what it wants to do and how it is going to do it.

As the season has come into view, the excitement level surrounding this team seems to have grown.  With all the distractions of the free agents behind and with Paul Goldschmidt locked up for the next half-decade, which allows us to fully embrace him, all that is left is what this team has and, at least on paper, this team has a lot.  A solid rotation with pieces that can fill in.  A lineup that, if Marcell Ozuna is healthy and productive, can be the most potent one we’ve seen in quite some time.  A bullpen that has flame throwers and veteran presence.  A bench that doesn’t have a black hole but every member can be a contributor.  A manager that still has that “new manager” smell and the ability to let us dream on how he’s going to approach games.

If you aren’t excited, right now, about the St. Louis Cardinals, I don’t know what to tell you.

Miles Mikolas goes for the Cardinals today.  You may remember Mikolas’s first start last season was against the Brewers, where he allowed four runs in 5.2 innings.  Well, you may not remember THAT part, but I bet you remember this:

Mikolas had a couple of rough outings to end his spring (one on the back fields), but there’s no real reason to think that’s going to carry over.  I don’t know if we can expect another Cy Young-level season out of him, but he’s going to be a great option at the top of the rotation and I look forward to seeing him pitch this season.  Also, if you missed it, Mikolas (and his wife Lauren) have inspired the Birds on the Black crew to #BeLikeMik.

The Brewers will run out Jhoulys Chacin.  Chacin had a strong season last year for the Brewers but in some ways it feels like this emphasizes the one major weakness (from my perspective at least) of the club–starting pitching.  It may be good, it may be solid, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be that impressive.  We’ll see–they obviously made it work last year–but hopefully the Cards jump out early on Chacin and they don’t have to worry about any good part of the Brewer bullpen.

Matt Carpenter is ready to go.  You know Danny Mac and Brad Thompson (who draws the Opening Day nod he never got as a pitcher) are ready to go.  I’m ready to go.  I bet you are ready to go as well.

So let’s do it.  Let’s go.  It’s #TimeToFly.

Welcome to Cardinals baseball.

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