We’re all looking for content right now, right? We want something that entertains and preferably something that involves our favorite team. So the folks over at FOX Sports Midwest put together a special called “Top 25 Cardinals Regular Season Moments of the 2010s” and it ran Thursday night on FSMW. As starved as anyone else for anything baseball-related, I sat down and watched it. It’s one of those things you’ll see for years to come in the middle of a rain delay, a highlight package with Scott Warmann doing voiceover, probably from his home given that you never actually see him on the special. While the network might have had this thought for a while, I don’t think there’s any doubt they rushed to put it together to try to fill the void. It was probably pretty quick to do and there are limited graphics, so it would think it was cost-effective as well.
For the most part, it’s an interesting little hour-long special. I did have a few thoughts on it, though.
I felt like there was some recency bias in the rankings, though not as much as you might get I guess. And when you are just looking at the last decade, it’s not surprising that there are a lot of moments from 2018 and 2019. Moment #2 came from just last year and it might not in 10 more years, but it’s a really good moment (I doubt it’s much of a spoiler to tell you it happened on a Saturday afternoon in Wrigley) and it probably did stand out a lot from things that happened in the past 10 years, especially when probably three of those years were kinda meh (though they still had highlights).
There was a section on Kolten Wong‘s defensive wizardry, which was definitely worthy of inclusion (as Tara is always telling us), but somehow they put this package together, with all those amazing plays, and they didn’t include his play last year at Dodger Stadium that probably sealed his Gold Glove. How do you leave that one out? Was that an ESPN game that they didn’t have the rights to use footage from? I don’t remember it being that way but that’s the only excuse for leaving that out.
Which actually leads me into my major critique of the program. It was less “top moments” than “top storylines” or “top themes”. For instance, the Cardinals hitting a lot of home runs in pinch-hit at bats in 2016. They didn’t just pick the game against the Braves where they hit three and set a major league record, they used the whole thing, all the various homers of the year. Which gave for more highlights, I guess, but it wasn’t really a moment. Same thing with Wong above. If they’d had one of his plays as a moment, maybe that diving catch that kept the shutout going for Adam Wainwright last year or that play in Dodger Stadium. To just show us a lot of great Wong plays, while fun, didn’t really feel like a moment to me. “Jack Flaherty‘s second half” is much more than a moment, I think.
And that’s an issue I had with the top “moment” as well. (SPOILER WARNING, if you care.) The top moment was Game 162 in 2011. Now, the entire run for 2011 was special and they’d just had a couple of numbers before the Adron Chambers game, which was outstanding and definitely needed to be on there. And while there was obviously drama around that final game in 2011, that drama dissipated quickly when the Cards scored five runs in the top of the first. Yes, they had to wait around to see if the Braves lost or if there was going to be a playoff game, but….I don’t know, I just don’t think it was the best moment of the last decade.
With those gripes out of the way, there were still some great things to see. Albert Pujols‘s last regular season three-homer game. Both of Michael Wacha‘s attempts at a no-hitter. Wainwright’s shutout in 2012 after returning from Tommy John surgery. Shelby Miller‘s almost-perfecto. Matt Adams‘s two extra-inning homers in one game. And, when you are limited to the regular season, you can’t show any of the famous stuff from 2011, Wacha’s game against the Pirates in the 2013 NLCS, etc.
They could have highlighted Dexter Fowler‘s walkoff homer against the Cubs more (I think it was lumped in with some other walkoff shots) and I’m sure there are other things that they could have brought out (though, even though some might rank it very high, they were not going to include the changing of managerial guard) but on the whole it was a nice special that sated, at least for a little bit, that baseball need. So if you haven’t seen it, check the listings to see when it’ll be on again. It’s worth catching.