The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most storied franchises in American sports history. They've won 10 World Series—second only to the Yankees. Their uniforms are perhaps the best-looking in all of sports.
But hungry fans want more. They want the Cardinals to compete harder against the Yankees' (Jankees') legacy. By spending the cheddar, the Cards can stay competitive.
But is this my only suggestion for improving the Redbirds? No, my pen has too much of a motor to stop there. Read my suggestions in this slideshow and voice your opinions. Let's start the show. Next slide.
This is one glaring area where the Cardinals can improve. He was a talented slugger, but Mark McGwire batted about .260 during his major league career.
His first year was unremarkable as the batting coach. The Cardinals overall batting average was about the same as it was under Hal McCrae—a .300 career hitter.
Maybe McGwire can be the slugging coach—teach how to slug it out with members of congressional investigations.
I understand with the roster now, playing "Whiteyball" is probably not possible. But going forward, the Redbirds need to steal more bases to get runners in scoring position for the hitters after Pujols who lack his power.
They don't require a base burglar like Lou Brock or Vince Coleman, but one or two like Ozzie Smith will help boost the offense.
With Big Adam Wainwright on the shelf, the Cardinals are probably clutching their Adam's apples when they think about life without him this season.
Wainwright's arm went wrong this spring training and the Cards are scrambling for a replacement. With the Phillies bringing in Cliff Lee, it could get ugly in the National League for the Redbirds.
The Reds have flamethrowers up and down their rotation, and they, um, dislike the Cardinals. They'll have more incentive to beat the bird crap out of St. Louis.
Wainwright was the ace last season. Now on the eve, the Redbirds look lost without Adam.
Is Ryne Sandberg available? No. How about, say, um, Brandon Phillips? Heck no—you say? I know Cardinals Nation loathes Phillips, but the man can hit and steal bases.
The Cardinals' second basemen, I'd say, struggle in both areas.
Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Chasey Utley, Freddy Sanchez and Ian Kinsler were the second basemen for the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Giants and Rangers—all playoff teams and one World Series championship squad.
Ozzie is probably still laughing at La Russa's statement made about former SS Brendan Ryan. La Russa had the nerve to say he'd never coached a shortstop with more range than Ryan—the light-hitting Ryan.
This may be true, but most sportswriters and people close to the situation know it was a slap at Ozzie. They've been feuding for the past 15 years.
Smith ain't welcome around the club—per La Russa. It's up to the Cardinals' brass to squash this beef and bring the Wizard back. His presence could provide inspiration—much needed inspiration from the looks of last season's collapse.
Hitting off the bench is an art, and the Cardinals lately haven't been Picasso-like in this area. They've been more like Andy Warhol—quirky and more glitz than glamor.
Amaury Cazana, left, has excelled as a pinch hitter in AAA ball.
Buster Posey, left, busted out and into the spotlight in his rookie season last year. With him, the Giants solidified their offense and won it all by defeating Cliff Lee and the Rangers.
Since the designated hitter option is strictly for the American League, the Cardinals should focus on resting Yadier Molina with a catcher with offense on his mind.
The Yankees and others have long employed this formula and have enjoyed some success. The last two World Series champions had catchers who think offense first.
Having fun is the name of the game. Some might say winning is the name of the game. The game has more than one name. Hustle and attitude are two more of them.
I understand that La Russa is intense, but the Cardinals have a reputation of being arrogant and standoffish. I rarely see a Redbird smile—even when they're winning.
This must change.
The Cardinals' World Series teams usually have leadoff hitters who hit for high averages and provide speed in running the bases. Under La Russa they've sorely lacked one in the last few seasons.
In Jupiter, Fla., this spring, Jon Jay has batted leadoff and he did all right in the average department last season—his rookie year—batting .300.
He only stole two bases, however, and was caught four times. Yikes!
Taylor Douthit (1926), Pepper Martin (1931, '34), Lou Brock (1964, '67), Ozzie Smith (1982), Vince Coleman 1985, 1987). Those guys led off for the Cardinals in World Series play, and three of them are in the Hall of Fame.
How far the running game in St. Louis has fallen.