Cubs only dream of success of Cardinals' Way
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Catcher Yadier Molina is just one of the many reasons why the Cardinals just keep getting the job done year after year.
As the Cubs chase respectability and the Cardinals chase another championship, one tiny bit of information should depress all of Wrigleyville.
During the past half-century the Cardinals won five World Series, and they did so with four different managers and five different general managers. Here's the lineup with slashes required when history books indicate that the GM position was passed from one man to another in midstream:
1964 — manager Johnny Keane, general manager Bing Devine/Bob Howsam; 1967 — manager Red Schoendienst, GM Howsam/Stan Musial; 1982 — manager Whitey Herzog, GM Herzog/Joe McDonald; 2006 — manager Tony La Russa, GM Walt Jocketty; 2011 — manager La Russa, GM John Mozeliak.
If the Cardinals proceed to win this year's World Series, the list would be updated with manager Mike Matheny and GM Mozeliak again.
The Cardinals' Culture — or Cardinals' Way, if you will — is embedded in the franchise regardless of the names and faces.
Cardinals ownership has changed, too, from Gussie Busch to Bill DeWitt Jr., during which time the Cubs have had three owners and still are trying to figure out how to win.
While the Cards have had a hard time not succeeding, the Cubs have had a hard time not failing.
At least now the Cubs are trying something different, though it really isn't anything that hasn't been tried before. Meanwhile, the Cardinals keep rolling along with the same formula of drafting and developing.
Cubs fans can dislike St. Louis all they want for that silly arch, that thuggish hockey team and even that beer if they prefer another brand.
But it's difficult to keep from envying that freaking town's freaking baseball team.
The Cardinals are in the National League championship series for the third straight year. Then there's the bigger picture in which the Cards have won 18 NL pennants and 11 World Series. Then there's that the Cardinals have played in nine World Series since the Cubs last played in one and have won all their championships since the Cubs last won one.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has begun a rebuilding program by signing foreign free agents and drafting domestics high in the first round.
The question is whether when the Cubs improve in the standings will they be able to draft as well lower in the first round as St. Louis does and develop players taken in the lower rounds as well?
The Cardinals haven't picked higher than 13th overall since 1998, yet they have won two World Series since then.
This season first baseman Allen Craig, an eighth-round draft pick in 2006, hit .315 with 97 runs batted in. When an injury sidelined Craig, Matt Adams (23rd-round pick in 2009) filled in by hitting .284 with power.
Other current contributors include catcher Yadier Molina (fourth round in 2000), second baseman Matt Carpenter (13th round in 2009) and closer Trevor Rosenthal (21st round in 2009).
Perhaps you noticed that the '09 draft alone yielded Rosenthal, Carpenter and Adams, plus Shelby Miller (No. 19 overall).
The Cardinals surround draftees with an occasional free agent like outfielder Carlos Beltran and the occasional trade acquisition like outfielder Matt Holliday.
(Remember, when the Cubs needed an outfielder they signed Milton Bradley.)
Over the past century the Cubs would have preferred being anyone but themselves, but they especially would have liked being the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even if it might be hard to like St. Louis, it's certainly easy to have Cardinals Envy.
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