Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Cardinals Want To Win

Well folks, here we are again. Another World Series and, just like clockwork, the St. Louis Cardinals are back in it. They're the Yankees without all the hoop-la, the Red Sox but with heart. And despite so much roster turnover year after year, the redbirds keep bouncing back, like one of those boxing dummies that only exist for the sake of sports metaphors.

What's their secret? It's simple. The Cardinals have developed a culture of success. What's that mean? They want to win really bad.

See, the Cardinals' winning ways don't stem from a secretly massive payroll or smart management decisions, relative health from their major players, or even playing in a shitty division year after year. They win because they really want to win, like a whole lot.

"What about other teams?" you ask. Simple. They don't like winning as much as the Cardinals do. You can tell because they don't win as many games. If they liked winning as much as the Cardinals do, they would win a whole lot of games too, because you do things you like to do.

This isn't to say the Cardinals are a perfect team. Far from it. In fact, just last year they only made it to the NLCS. Some attribute this to the Cardinals not wanting to win as much as usual, while others say the Giants exceeded expectations for how bad they wanted to win. You can tell a team has a culture of winning when they are disappointed with a finish like that!

It'd be silly to predict this year's Series before the first pitch. We know the Cardinals are hungry and want to win really bad, but the Red Sox also have a look about them that says "we want to win also. We know you want to win but also we do too. We are trying to win the World Series."

Regardless of what happens this year, you can't argue with the Cardinals' results. The only thing you can do is retroactively attribute them to a bullshit ideology for the sake of creating a soundbite narrative rather than insightful journalism.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Quarterback

The skill of quarterbacking is a science mixed with art
Reading defenses like Chaucer, to avoid a false start.
The gridiron was my pallet, the football was my brush
I called up plays from history and checked out of a rush.
Eleven men all synchronized, a dance of muscled wrath
To put a pass on target would take physics, angles, math.
My audibles, my hand signals, may have seemed to you like antics
But communicating cryptically takes a knowledge of semantics.
The ball was snapped, on came the blitz like "wolves upon the fold"
A moment to be photographed and recalled when we're old.

The moment slowed down, crystallized, the audience grew dim.
Philosophy took center stage: "why should I pass to him?
Is he open? What's that mean? Who can truly say?
Is open just a retroactive rationalization for throwing the ball his way?
And wherefore competition when mortality's assured?
Is football really a moral ill of which society must be cured?
Do we encourage violence with our play upon the field?
Or do we stand for courage, telling kids to never yield?"

The implications myriad, I froze, my head ablaze
what passed were only seconds but to me they seemed like days.
And though I feel it all loomed large, apparently what sticks
in the mind of my coach was the strip-sack returned for six.
I still believe that football is a complicated wench
but the skill of back-up quarterbacking is mostly holding a clipboard on the bench.