Sigh. One week.
There are two times of the year that I absolutely hate. The first is that week between Christmas and New Year. Everything is slow, no one is around, it's cold, and all you're really left to do is watch bad bowl games and reflect on a year that probably didn't live up to your expectations.
The other is this week—that last week of the baseball season when your playoff hopes have (often) been dashed. And you know that at this time next week, the gates at the park are shut and players will be jetting off to warmer climates.
And you're left with nothing but rosterbating and a calendar to mark down the season to the first day of spring training.
That's where we're at. The Cardinals are in, and after debating whether to acknowledge it, I'll go on record as saying that I have a new-found respect for the franchise.
Personally, I still think they shop at the A&P way too often for a team with that strong a fan following, but they have a strategy. More importantly, they execute it. You have to respect that.
They don't try to win championships in January. They maintain a competitive team most seasons, and when the season goes their way and they're close, the Cards make big moves at the deadline. And I mean big moves.
When they're not, they'll hedge their bets and fight another day.
This year, when things were close, they grabbed Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa, and Julio Lugo, all of whom have been productive. The Cards grabbed John Grabow and Jeff Baker, then hoped for the best.
With Holliday doing his best Larry Walker impersonation, the Cardinals look primed to go places. I wish them luck, and just know that we'll pick this up next season.
As for the wild card, with elimination just one game way, I'll not even hold my breath.
So, for this last homestand of the season, I'm going to relax and take in as many games at Wrigley Field as I can. Hopefully, the memories will keep me until February.