As the 2010 season begins to wind down, I thought it was a good time to reminisce. So, I pulled out my “Yo, MTV Raps” greatest hits and put together my own personal Top 10 Rap & Hip Hop Hits: 2010 Cardinals Edition.
So, Party People, here we go …
- Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
The 2010 Cardinals seem to have been defined by an underlying power struggle … between the front office and the field manager. And of course Colby Rasmus’ dad seems to have inserted himself in that power struggle as well (see greatest hit #8 below). Whether or not that struggle actually exists or will manifest itself isn’t really known — but the perception was/is certainly there. And perception is reality, as they say. My friend Jeff Gentry spoke about this yesterday when he listed the 5 Pressing Questions for the Cardinals, including “Whose team is it anyway?”. Check out his post for a more thorough (and better written) analysis.
- Nuthin’ but a “GD” Thing (Dr. Dre)
With apologies to Dr. Dre (“Nuthin’ but a G Thing”) … The 2010 Cardinals entered the season seemingly answering some of the offensive questions from last year. They signed Matt Holliday, had Colby Rasmus from Opening Day, and had a healthy David Freese chillin’ at the hot corner. And there were few defensive questions. However, the defense seemed to let them down – most notably in the middle infield. Furthermore, a few of the moves the Cardinals made were apparently for defensive reasons– they certainly didn’t sign Pedro Feliz for his bat, and Lopez isn’t an offensive threat — and those moves didn’t really help with the defense either. There are some offensive holes to fill for next year. And the 2011 Cardinals will need to address the defense as well.
- I Used to Love H.E.R. TLR (Common)
Okay, this time with apologies to Common (“I used to love H.E.R.) … There is nobody Cardinals scribes & media gurus (and Cubs fans) love to hate more than Tony LaRussa. A few Cardinals fans are on that bandwagon as well. They seem to have forgotten that he brought the Cardinals up from the abyss of the mid-90’s (see SoeBeck’s piece here). Certainly a time comes when a change in manager is necessary. And it is possible that time has arrived (or passed, or will arrive in the near future). The common refrain from many in the know (or who like to sound as if they are) is “I used to love TLR”. For the record, despite the times he frustrates me, I still love TLR. And I’m not afraid to admit it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think it might be best for the Cardinals to go in a new direction now or in the near future. However, I think he deserves to go on his terms and in his time. He’s earned it.
- It Takes Two (Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock)
There are several things the Cardinals needs to address this off-season (see #10 below). But, there are two primary questions they must answer — and likely before any other questions are addressed. First, they must answer the Pujols question. Will he stay? And what will it take to keep him? Secondly, they must address the manager question. Is TLR going to be back? And if not, who will replace him? Those two primary issues must be answered. And quickly. Every other move the Cardinals make likely revolved around the answers to those two questions.
- Stan (Eminem)
Cardinals fans were reminded again this year of the amazing history we are part of — an there are no goats orcurses to be found. Every day El Hombre reminds us of The Man by his consistency and character. And this season we were reminded of Stan the Man through the “Stand for Stan” campaign. If you haven’t already, you should consider Standing for Stan as well. You can find out more at the official Stand For Stan site.
- Shed So Many Tears (2 Pac)
It’s been a tough year for Cardinals fans. What should have been an exciting season has turned into an excruciating one. And I admit, we’re a spoiled bunch. We can be whiny and annoying. We’ve become accustomed to playing in the postseason and competing for championships. It’s hard to watch your team implode when you’re not used to it. Which leads us to …
- Keep Ya Head Up (2 Pac)
While the 2010 Cardinals were consistently inconsistent … there is promise for the future. The foundation of the team is strong, with Wainwright, Carpenter and Garcia at the top of the rotation and (assuming) Pujols and Holliday at the heart of the order. The front office has already announced a plan to increase payroll the next two seasons and the team drew 3 million fans again. It was a frustrating year, but the future looks bright. While there may be some payroll baggage (Kyle Lohse) there are no Soriano’s to worry about. And Garcia, Rasmus, a healthy Freese and success in the farm system all bode well for the Cardinals in 2011 and beyond.
- Parents Just Don’t Understand (DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince)
Colby Rasmus is either going to be the next great National League center fielder or the next outfielder that should have been great but never really was (J.D. Drew anyone?). It’s anyone’s guess. But if he wants any chance of being his best, daddy is gonna have to back off. No one can serve two masters. And, once you make it to the big leagues, it’s time to let daddy stay at home or sit in the stands. Read Gentry’s take on Colby in “My Two Dads”
- O.P.P. (Naughty By Nature)
Dating back to the Jocketty era in St. Louis, the Cardinals have a history of building teams with O.P.P (Other People’s Players and Other People’s Pitchers). But the 2010 version of O.P.P. didn’t include the likes of Will Clark, Big Mac and Larry Walker or Dennis Eckersley and Jeff Suppan circa 2006. Instead it included the likes of Randy Winn, Felipe Lopez, Aaron Miles (not circa 2006) and an injured Brad Penny. It might be time for the Cardinals to focus more on developing a strong farm system and winning with their own rather than relying on O.P.P.
- Bust A Move (Young MC)
We finish with a classic. And for the Cardinals perhaps the most important. They must first sign Pujols. But soon after, if the postseason is the plan, they need to get busy this off-season and bust a move. Or two or three. With Pujols signed, the core is there. But they have to build around the core with more than retreads and has-beens. Another big bat or two, an upgrade at middle infield and a solid back end of the rotation and bullpen are crutial for the 2011 Cardinals to outperform the 2010 edition.