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St. Louis Cardinals: Is this 2017 team “tough?”

Baseball is a tough man’s game. Faint-hearted, weak-willed boys need not apply.

In the annual Major League Baseball draft, less than 35% of those drafted in the first ten rounds actually make it to the big show.

A player not only has to have talent, but a little bit of grit and testicular fortitude to make it.

I see a lack of both on the 2017 roster.

As I was keeping up with the Winter Warm-Up coverage for this year’s edition of the St. Louis Cardinals, I found myself annoyed.

Not by the theatrics and dog-and-pony show the WWU has become (if you have never been, it’s a Cardinals circus), but by the demeanor of the men who wear the bird and bat across their chest.

From Kolten Wong, to Randal Grichuk, I heard a lot of excuses, pity, and nonsense.

My favorite, from Grichuk (paraphrased) – “I don’t have to step into a leadership role, I will just be myself,”

Cool Randy.

I’m not sure why his answer bothered me, but honestly, his lack of gumption in response to being asked about the departure of Matt Holliday and his role now, but it did.

Maybe my frustration is just that I want Randal to succeed too much. Maybe I want him to be more like Mr. Holliday.

Randy’s demeanor doesn’t tell me he’s ready to go this season mentally.

Be yourself? How about grabbing someone by the throat and letting the world know you are f*#&ing ready?

This is your year Randal, act like you want it. You are one signing or Harrison Bader call up from being benched.

He then went on to talk about his knee, and how he was dealing with pain all season. My take – there is a time to push through pain, and a time to realize it is affecting your game.

If you were that hurt Grichuk, go get it fixed, and come back stronger. Don’t make an excuse for a situation you put yourself in.

FTR – Grichuk did have off-season surgery to address the issue. He’s apparently moving well and in great shape.

Grichuk and Wong were drinking the same punch this past weekend, as Kolten wasn’t really convincing (some in attendance may disagree with me) to me in his quest to convince Cardinal Nation he is worth that big contract of his.

“I’m coming into this season ready to earn my spot,” Wong said.

Well thank god for that Kolten. It’s no wonder you are such a human mood swing.

You know what would have been a more convincing answer?

“I’m taking that spot, everyone else get out of the way.”

THAT is what we are wanting from you Kolten Wong, not these tip toe answers and lack of confidence.

St. Louis, and I, want tough. We want spark, we want scrappy.

I want guys like Chris Carpenter cursing Mike Napoli out again.

I want John Lackey tough, you know the guy that got thrown out of a game while he was on the mound for arguing the strike zone.

Tough Mr. Lackey, tough.
John Lackey doesn’t care about your strike zone Mr. Umpire.

I look at this 2017 roster, and I see nobody that scares me. We already are without a serious home run threat in the line-up, but don’t let your lack of toughness show either.

If you are going to be a more scrappy, athletic team, SHOW IT.

Guys like Chris Carpenter, John Lackey, Matt Holliday – they had something our Baby Birds don’t have right now – fight.

You don’t have to be a complete idiot to have a sense of urgency or purpose, but if you are going to be one of the very few guys that make it onto an MLB roster, you better be able to fight. Not literally, just mentally.

The Cardinals are going into this season with more questions than I can remember the last couple of years.

My advice to them?

Don’t let anyone question whether you are tough enough to win.



Thanks for reading.

Follow @TonOfClayton for more RedBird Daily, nonsense, and anger. 


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