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StlCardsCards 2017 Cardinals Season Preview

It’s January now, which means we are ever so achingly close to that time of year when all of the experts give us their predictions for what’s going to happen in the upcoming baseball season.

They are all crap.

You know this. You’ve seen it happen. You’ve lived through phrases like “Tigers in 3.”

Experts are idiots. Their predictions never come true.

Except mine.

I call these predictions, but that’s me being generous. These aren’t predictions. These are promises. Each of these things will absolutely, 100% happen, as was proven last year when I told you everything from Marco Gonzales getting hurt, right up to the Cardinals missing the playoffs, and the Cubs being in a thrilling game 7 of the World Series.

You need proof? Here’s last year’s article.

Had you just believed me then, you’d have saved yourself a lot of heartbreak. Do yourself a favor, and believe me now. This is the gospel. This is a time portal forward to tell you exactly what will happen this year. It’s really not that hard; this stuff is pretty much self-evident. You don’t believe me? Read on. See if there is a single item you think is unlikely to occur. Hint: you won’t find one.

January 5th, Tommy Pham flies to Jupiter to begin working out for the season. Unfortunately the winter blues get to him, and it’s announced he’ll miss all of spring training with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

January 9th, a 14-year-old starts a blog saying he thinks the Cardinals will sign Jose Bautista. The blog becomes all the rage and gets far more clicks or discussion than any article Redbird Daily will ever have in its entire 18 month existence before Nagel decides to start at all new blog about the Cardinals that will have the exact same stated goal as his last 7 sites.

February 14th, Pitchers and Catchers report. This marks the first occasion in history that Valentine’s Day isn’t a complete and total blight upon all of mankind.

February 15th, Joe Maddon, in an effort to keep his team on edge, hires Jared Fogle as an inspirational speaker. The media fawns over the move, talking about how great it is Maddon is giving him a 2nd chance.

February 18th, The full team reports to Spring Training, including Brayan Pena who had not yet heard he had been released.

February 25th, The Cardinals open spring training with a loss to the Marlins. Fans declare the season to be over. Over 10 people take their own lives.

February 26th, in an awkward beginning to playing together, both Randal Grichuk and Dexter Fowler stand in center field, each refusing to move to left.

February 28th, After a slow start to spring batting out of the 2-hole, Matt Carpenter declares he needs to lead off to feel comfortable. He greets the media wearing a “No Sloppy Seconds” t-shirt, offending Matt Adams who felt it was a commentary on his eating habits at the post-game spread.

February 29th, Mike Matheny reads twitter and a light bulb goes off in his head. He realizes his many errors. “Of course!” Mike says, “Talent SHOULD win out over loyalty! And switching out your best hitter in a close game is pretty risky! And just maybe a team win DOES mean more than a pitching win!” Mike tweets out apologies, and Twitter is all abuzz, thinking that maybe this really could be the year Mike develops into a decent manager. Everyone is as happy and excited for the season as they could possibly be until it is discovered that, this year, February 29th doesn’t exist.

March 4th, It’s revealed that during his time away last season, Lance Lynn starred in a porno called “Fast Balls”

March 15th, Mike Matheny institutes a season long ban on children attending Carlos Martinez starts from “fear they might hear his walkup music”

March 18th, A little known clause in the contract of Dexter Fowler, allows him to opt out of his contract at any time. Dexter then takes a job with the Trump administration. He explains, “It’s just nice working for people smarter than Mike Matheny.”

March 28th, Brett Cecil undergoes Thoracic Outlet, Tommy John, and Thumb surgery. He’s expected to fully recover about 4 hours after his contract with the Cardinals expires.

April 2nd, Opening Day at home against the Cubs. The game is tied 3-3 in the 9th with 2 outs, Yadier Molina at 1B, and Randal Grichuk batting. Due to an unfortunate series of double switches, the pitcher’s spot in on deck. The Cubs decide to walk Grichuk and face the pitcher to extend the game. After 3 consecutive intentional balls, Grichuk swings at the 4th one, somehow lining a hit into right-center field. Defensive replacement Jon Jay scoops up the ball, which should easily hold Yadi to second base. Instead, Yadi keeps running! And so Jay, knowing it’s the Cubs best shot, inexplicably tosses the ball underhand to Jason Heyward. By the time he’s able to throw home, Yadi just beats the tag and the Cardinals walk off the opener 4-3.

Chicago scribes are flummoxed. What was wrong with Jay? Was he hurt?

“No,” a tearful Heyward tells reporters, “That’s just as far as Jon Jay can throw.”

“REALLY? His arm is THAT BAD? Have you ever seen anything like that before?”

“Yes,” says Heyward, audibly shaken and looking off into the distance, “I have seen that in baseball before. It was long ago. I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just say it was a situation I knew I had to get out of. And now…and now I have to put up with it every day.”

It’s later announced that Jay signed a one year extension after the game, in the words of Epstein, “to assure that Heyward opts out of his contract.”

April 4th, Kolten Wong is benched. When asked why, manager Mike Matheny says he “didn’t really do much for us yesterday” When it’s pointed out that the day before was a day off, Matheny responds that he is “sick and tired of answering questions about the lineup” and ends the interview.

April 7th, Aledmys Diaz hits a pinch hit double. Matheny says this is proof that Diaz needs to bat 9th every game.

April 8th, Tommy Pham heads back to the DL with Postpartum Depression.

April 11th, Still slumping, the Cardinals decide to blindfold Matt Carpenter until his first at bat to make him think he’s leading off. It works, as Matt Carpenter goes on to have an amazing season. Furthering the experiment, Grichuk wears a blindfold during his at bats. His batting average goes up 10 points.

April 14th, The Cardinals lose to the Yankees 5-4 on Matt Holliday’s record breaking 5th home run of the game. The game ends with Holliday making a diving catch and quietly jogging towards the dugout. Before he can humbly escape the field, a microphone is thrust into his hand. He’s asked if today was a message to the Cardinals. Holliday responds by walking into the stands, up to the Mozeliak family, and passionately kissing Mo’s wife. “There’s my message,” says Matt as he drops the microphone and walks off.

April 16th, After blowing a save against the Cardinals, Aroldys Chapman has what Major League Baseball refers to as a “Domestic Oopsie.” MLB refuses to suspend Chapman saying first they need to do a full investigation and get both sides of the story, which can’t happen until his girlfriend comes out of her coma.

April 19th, Cody Stanley receives a 5 life sentence ban for his latest positive steroid test. When reached for comment he says “I don’t understand. They didn’t even test me again,” adding, “What am I even doing in this thing? No one remembers who I am anymore. It’s like I’m here because Bruno saw an old, neglected tweet in his drafts and didn’t want it to go to waste.”

April 29th, Jedd Gyorko is in an 0-57 slump. He’s seen at his locker every day holding a picture of Brandon Moss and sobbing uncontrollably. “We’ve got to keep him in there,” says Mike Matheny, “We’ve got to get him right.”

May 5th, The Cardinals are losing to Atlanta 5-3 in the 9th, when the load the bases with no one out. The Braves, having gone to their closer 5 consecutive nights, feel no choice but to try again. Out of the bullpen walks Jordan Walden.  The fans at the new SunTrust Park go crazy rattling their jewelry as fireworks blast into the night. One of the fireworks goes astray and embeds itself into Walden’s shoulder. The explosion nearly tears his arm entirely off. Walden rips off his sleeve and uses it as a tourniquet. The Braves medical personnel rush to the mound.

“Jordan! We have to get you to the hospital!”

“Not now boys. I have a job to do, and no little flesh wound is going to stop me from letting down those fans out there. You think this would stop me? Please. This is Jordan Walden you’re talking about.”

Walden throws 9 consecutive strikes. The last one causes his arm to fall completely off. He picks it up and begins high fiving his teammates with it after the victory. He then walks up to manager Brian Snitker and says “Don’t worry skip. Give me a plastic bag and 3 paperclips, and I’ll be ready to take the mound for you tomorrow.”

May 9th, After barely surviving a car crash with a drunk driver, Kristina Carter is served with divorce papers from her husband, John Lackey, who explained his fingers were crossed during that whole “in sickness and in health” part of the ceremony.

May 11th, MLB announces the Cardinals will not lose a draft pick after the Houston hacking scandal, stating “Getting Jose De Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) from Houston was punishment enough. The Cardinals will, however, be limited to only picking players from Trump University.

May 14th, Mike Matheny spits on a small boy asking for an autograph. When some Twitter folks find this unnecessary, a pro-Matheny mob starts saying “An autograph? He gave the boy FAR more than an autograph. He gave that kid his DNA. Sheesh, some people won’t be happy no matter WHAT Matheny does.

May 25th, Yadier Molina discovers the reason he’s been slow all of these years is because the lead in his tattoos have been weighing him down. After a painful tattoo removal process, he steals 2 bases and Billy Hamilton’s girlfriend, Selina Samano. “I couldn’t help it,” she said, “Yadi’s hands just moved so…fast”

June 3rd, The Cardinals are playing in Wrigley Field when more typical Chicago gang violence breaks out. A bullet flies through the stadium and strikes Stephen Piscotty, killing him instantly. “Great,” the Chicago media laments, “You just know they are going to hit a Cub with a pitch for this.”

June 5th, Carlos Martinez lands on the DL after contracting crabs that are themselves infected with herpes.

June 12th, The Cardinals take Donny Drumpf from Trump University with their 1st pick. He’s known to have blazing speed, even writing the book “The Art of the Steal”

June 19th, Eric Fryer, who is hitting .545 on the season and is considered the front-running MVP candidate, is randomly Designated for Assignment.

June 23rd, Kolten Wong, who has sat out 43 consecutive games, takes a vacation to the Galapagos Islands. Mike Matheny doesn’t notice.

July 11th, Seung-hwan Oh turns down an All-Star bid to travel back to South Korea and visit with family. While there, a local TV station interviews him asking him what he misses most about playing in South Korean. “관리자는 더 똑똑하다.,” He replies.

July 22nd, Tommy Pham, on rehab assignment, heads back to the DL with phantom pains from Lou Brock’s amputated leg.

July 28th, Just as Mo is about to complete a Mike Trout for Carson Kelly straight up deal, he is kidnapped and held hostage by a raging horde of tweeters who know that you CAN’T give up Carson Kelly for ONLY MIKE TROUT. Mo is unable to get the Angels to meet Twitter’s demands of throwing in Andrelton Simmons, and a 5 day pass to Disneyland.

July 29th, After Chapman’s girlfriend comes out of her coma, MLB is finally able to finish their investigation into the matter. Manfred comes down hard with a suspension, and says this is unacceptable, especially for one of the game’s most celebrated players. In an effort to ensure this never happens again, MLB suspends the girlfriend for the remainder of the season.

July 30th, Christian Day at the ballpark goes horribly wrong when Alex Reyes is suspended after being caught getting high off the Lord.

July 31st, Chapman’s issue being resolved, he becomes one of the hottest trade targets on the market. He winds up going back to the Cubs after they traded away their integrity and soul, with a moral compass to be named later. Chicago fans rejoice by firing bullets randomly through the streets.

August 1st, After failing to make a big trade at the deadline, Al Hrabosky explains to viewers that Tommy Pham sent a selfie from the hospital, which is LIKE a big trade.

August 12th, The Astros systems are hacked again. Everyone believes it’s the Cardinals, but after some investigation it’s rumored to be the Russians. The nation, scared of another series of cyber-attacks, waits for the words of its Commander in Chief, who speaks from the oval office to calm a weary nation by saying “Бред какой то. Мать Россия не будет делать ничего подобного.”

August 24th, Brayan Pena enlists in the Salvation Army.

August 27th, Jedd Gyorko, exhausted after playing every inning for most of the entire season, twists his ankle and needs a few days off. “Kolten,” says Mike, “Now is the time we need your help. Your speed can be a major asset for us. Now quickly run over to Red Shoendiest house and tell him we need him to start at 2nd base for us”

August 31st, A touching ceremony marks the 3rd anniversary of Daniel Descalso starting at 1B as the Cardinals officially retire his #33

September 1st, September call up Harrison Bader has his MLB debut against Madison Bumgarner, where he hits 2 home runs and a double. Even better, he shares his hitting tips with the rest of the team as the Cardinals destroy the Giants 21-2. “It was amazing,” Greg Garcia tells reporters, “He’s like a hitting master.” Soon, Harrison’s new nickname takes hold and he is known as “Master Bader”

September 3rd, Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) makes his 20,000th reference to “Kanye,” the new musical about the life of Kanye West as performed by the Daughters of the American Revolution on Fife and Drum.

September 4th-7th, Jedd Gyorko, in a season long slump, launches 11 home runs in 4 games against the San Diego Padres. “We’ve got to keep him in there,” says Mike Matheny, “We’ve got to keep him hot.”

September 8th, After the city agrees to have tax payers foot 75% of the construction bill, the plans for Ballpark Village phase 3 are announced. It is a giant hole that fans can pay $50 for a ticket to stand around and throw money in. Bill DeWitt proudly proclaims “This will help us fund the research needed to come up with millions of more excuses for why we can’t ever sign a top free agent”

September 12, Adam Wainwright, wanting to pursue his real passion, retires from the Cardinals to join “Dancing With the Stars”

September 15, It’s announced Tommy Pham will miss the rest of the season from an overdose of placebos.

September 26th, Kevin Siegrist sets the all-time record for most innings thrown by a reliever with 302. He then pays a kid with a pocket knife $12 thousand dollars to cut off his left arm so that Matheny can never abuse it again.

September 27th, Kevin Siegrist borrows Jim Abbott’s old glove as he’s called on to pitch right-handed.

October 1st, The final game of the season. With a win over the Brewers at home, the Cardinals are headed to the playoffs. They’ve loaded the bases with 2 outs, and up steps their last chance in the form of Jedd Gyorko, whose slump only deepened after leaving San Diego.

Strike One is right down the middle. Jedd doesn’t swing.

Strike Two is a pickoff throw to 3rd base that Jedd takes a whack at.

Then Jedd looks over to the stands, and sees there, in the front row, is Brandon Moss. Brandon mouths “I love you” and blows him a kiss.

The next pitch is driven into Big Mac land. The crows goes crazy. Tears, streaming down his face, Jedd circles the bases and runs over to Brandon, jumping into his arms.

“I thought I’d never see you again!” cries Jedd.

“Oh Jedd, you know I could never leave you” says Brandon, handing him a locket with their picture inside. “Keep this close to your heart, and I’ll always be with you.” The two embrace. The Cardinals are headed to the playoffs.

October 2nd, The Cardinals set their postseason roster, excluding Kolten Wong from it, instead going with 24 players. When informed he can actually have one more, Mike Matheny says, “Nah, I’m good.”

October 18th, the Cardinals complete a 4 game sweep of the Cubs in the NLCS. MLB immediately steps in and declared the series is now a “best of 9” and warns it may go on until the Cubs come back.

October 21st, After the Cardinals take a 7 games to none lead over the Cubs, Joe Maddon announces that they will go ahead and let the Cardinals play in the World Series, since they got to last year. The media talks about how gracious and kind Joe is to let this moment pass.

November 1st, Game 7 of the World Series, Cardinals at Angels. It’s the bottom of the 9th inning. The Angels have 19 hits, while the Cardinals have only 2, yet they lead 2 – 1. But the Angels are threatening. Tying run Albert Pujols is only 90 feet away with nobody out. The infield must play in. Pitcher, Jonathan Broxton throws an 88 mile an hour fastball to the Angels hitter. It’s a routine ground ball to the left side! Albert Pujols, breaks slowly for home! The third baseman only has to move one step to make the play!

But alas, that 3rd baseman is…Jhonny Peralta! He hasn’t fielded a ball a step to his right all year! Peralta lunges as Pujols painfully takes each step towards home. Jhonny’s glove misses entirely as he flails and begins his fall to Earth. Suddenly, they catch a break! For the ball could not get by the barrier that is Jhonny Peralta’s stomach. The ball is knocked to the ground where it is found by Jhonny’s hand.

There is going to be a run down.

Peralta throws home to Yadi, whose knees crack with each rickety step toward Albert, who turns back towards 3rd screaming from his own foot pain.

Jonathan Broxton, seeing the play develop, knows he must step in. He picks up the rosin bag and starts eating it. Wait, that’s not Rosin at all! Broxton has replaced the rosin with powdered sugar!

Broxton uses the sugar rush to beat Pujols to the bag. With his last bit of energy, Yadi falls to the ground while throwing the ball to Broxton, who catches it in his mouth, growling at Albert. Albert turns around to discover that…

NOBODY IS COVERING HOME!

Albert Pujols breaks for home.
Jonathan Broxton follows, one step behind.
Matt Adams comes off of first base desperately trying to reach the plate before both of them.

Each player moves, step by step towards home plate, closer and closer.

Matt Adams is the first to arrive, for his 0-4, 4K performance left him well rested for this run. He shouts to Broxton for the ball, but Broxton throws wildly. Albert is just one step away from tying game 7 of the World Series.

Which is precisely when the home plate umpire blows the whistle and declares the game to be over. Mike Scioscia runs screaming from the dugout demanding an explanation. The umpire gives it to him straight. Rob Manfred, seeking to improve the terrible problem of having too much baseball, installed a new rule that no inning could last longer than ten minutes. The great Pujols-Peralta-Broxton-Adams run down had taken all of the available time. The game was over. The Cardinals won.

The crowd in Anaheim was silent. No one could have predicted this. What had happened? Suddenly one fan says “But wait, we had more hits!”

“Yes! Yes!” say fans to one another. “We had more hits!”

“True,” say the umpires, “But the Cardinals scored more runs.”

“But that doesn’t matter!” scream the fans, “Why should their 2 hits count as 2 runs while our 19 hits count as 1 run! This isn’t fair!”

Riots break out across the stadium and all over California. Buildings are burned as chants of “Not Our World Series Champs” echo across the nation. Memes and conspiracies flood my timeline.  #EveryHitCounts begins trending worldwide.

I meanwhile, am screaming for joy in my living room while the country begins going crazy. I read a few tweets, shake my head, and exit the program. My finger drags the twitter icon over to the trash can.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

The Cardinals are World Series Champs and I am done with Twitter forever. 2017 is the perfect year.

John
Father, husband, teacher who currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Grew up in St. Louis and has been a huge Cards fan as long as I can remember.
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