The Spirit of St. Louis
Larry Borowsky, of the estimable "Viva El Birdos" blog, tries today in Slate to answer the question, "Why is everyone so annoyed that St. Louis is in the World Series?" His answer: Because the Cardinals "are two wins away from becoming baseball's weakest World Champions ever."
I disagree. The problem, it seems to me, is that the Cardinals simply aren't fun to watch. The team's staff, Carpenter and Wainwright aside, chiefly consists of slow-working, yawn-inducing finesse guys. Its lineup features a bunch of aging and/or unlikeable stars. Sure, Jim Edmonds plays a flashy center field, but there's a kind of sullenness to his demeanor that repels me. Pujols ranks as the best hitter in baseball (though not of this postseason), but we're discovering he's upholding the Bonds legacy in more ways than one. You might enjoy watching David Eckstein, I suppose, but the media's infatuation with him—McCarver et al. have hyped him as the ultimate overachiever, a designation they typically reserve for scrappy white guys—has distorted the actual value of his contributions to the team. Here's some perspective: Baseball Prospectus calls him "basically filler with a great narrative."
Where is this team's Reyes, its Wright, its Swisher or Mauer or Morneau? In all, the Cardinals are playing this national championship with a kind of joylessness. Whereas the young Tigers love being in the World Series—you could practically see them go saucer-eyed in Game 1—and that's why I'm rooting for them.