Are you ready for a beautiful weekend of disappointing Midwest baseball? Of course you are! And if you’re not, it’s goddamn well past time to get ready, since the St. Louis Cardinals are heading north to take on the White Sox. You could call it the Battle of I-55, if you were the type of person inclined to give grandiose geography-based names to bad teams playing meaningless baseball before the break. Don’t be that person.
And if you were, call it the Battle of the Basins. Great Lakes vs. Mississippi. That’s way cooler. I love talking about basins.
But talk about baseball we must. So let’s get into it. The Sox are 15-20 all-time against the Cardinals, but I guarantee you that after this weekend those numbers will be different. Or one of them, I guess. Book it.
So How Are They Doing, Anyway?
If you do not like the Cardinals — and only Cardinals fans like the Cardinals — then this has been a season to remember. The Cards are finally struggling, pretty much White Sox-level bad. Indeed, we sport essentially identical records. If you’ve been waiting for years for the wheels to finally fall off, it has happened. For one year, at least. They are currently fifth in the NL Central, a full four behind the Pirates and Cubs and 12 1⁄2 back of the first-place (!) Reds.
You could say there’s been some bad luck. They’re four games worse than their X-W/L, but that would still make them bad. They’ve lost more one-run games than anyone except Cleveland, but maybe don’t lose those games, you bozos? So even if there is some bad luck, this is not a good team.
Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?
They’ve got a few guys who can mash some taters, for sure. We’re talking about Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbar, and of course Nolan Gorman, who is putting together the beginnings of a pretty nifty career. Those are also all excellent baseball names.
As a team they are 12th in runs scored, and seventh in total home runs. They’re Top 10 in all the major slashes. So why are they so bad, if runs they can score? I’ll give you a clue: It’s the other stuff. Pitching and defense. The fielding is absolutely atrocious. And probably managing, I don’t really know.
And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?
The Cards starters have been OK. The bullpen has a combined 2.0 WAR. What is letting down the Cards has been defense and bullpen, largely. Sound at all familiar?
Friday, July 7
Sox: Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.10) probably won’t be traded, but there is one thing I know: his record will stay at 3-3 forever.
Cards: Jordan Montgomery (6-7, 3.28) is a victim of some bad luck. He leads the staff, and is second on the team, in total WAR.
Saturday, July 8
Sox: TBD. Always a good sign.
Cards: Miles Mikolas (4-5, 3.80) has been fine, with a 1.8 WAR. He’s what you expect from a mid-rotation guy on a bad team. He seems affable enough. Doesn’t really strike out a lot of guys, though. Until Saturday, that is!
Sunday, July 9
Sox: TBD. How exciting!
Cards: Steven Matz (0-7, 5.02) isn’t exactly walking a ton of guys (25 in 66 1⁄3 innings), but he’s walking more than he usually does, and it shows. Wins aren’t a great stat, but when you’re 0-7 you’re not good.
Why Do We Hate St. Louis?
For a pretty short but important period, St. Louis was one of the nation’s leading cities. It was in fact the Gateway to the West, and its proximity to the confluence of America’s great rivers gave it prominence and power. Indeed, the city hosted a World’s Fair AND the Olympics in 1904. That’s crazy. People from all over the world went to St. Louis!
And while the Fair was a success, inspiring Meet Me in St. Louis, the finest of all movie musicals, the Olympics were a disaster and the entire world realized, at once, that we no longer had need for this backwater. Chicago, with its ability to connect the Great Lakes with the Mississippi basin, in addition to being the nation’s railroad hub, quickly surpassed St. Louis, which has retreated into bitter Ozarkian backwardness ever since.
Indeed, the entire idea of St. Louis as a connection point for the country has curdled, bringing together only some of the worst ideas the nation has ever had. The city has been emptied by venal politicians at both the local and the state level, given entirely away to distant multinationals with no investment in the people.
Also, I never got the Arch. It’s a big arch. You didn’t actually have to go under an arch when wagoning westward. It’s a lie!
Why Do We Hate the Cardinals?
Look, the tweets from Sox fans do more than encompass all the loathing one could have for this team. They’re smug, they are self-righteous, they are always irritatingly good and attribute it to a kind of moral righteousness. They game the system and claim absolute ethical superiority and are filled with sputtering outrage when you question their moral rectitude. They’re like if Notre Dame was a baseball team, or if Newt Gingrich played sports. It’s annoying.
I don’t have to get more into it, but here’s a headline from Cardinals.com today:
How Schumaker brought ‘The Cardinal Way’ to South Beach
God, that’s so annoying.
Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!
ST. LOUIS NONSENSE!
i was offered meth at metrolink station 5 min after arriving in st. louis a week ago— ⚾️maryjblond⚾️ (@maryJblond) July 7, 2023
That they have the audacity to call the cracker and tomato sauce abomination that they make pizza— The Soxside Boys (@Soxsideboys_) July 7, 2023
No one tells you how fucking terrifying the trip to the top of the arch is. You're in a thing half the size of the Titanic submersible. The Ol' St. Louis OceanGate.— jacki (@zombie_jacki) July 7, 2023
Provel cheese, man.— Rate Limit Exceeded (@hockeenight) July 7, 2023
MISSOURI IS BAD!
They are located in Missouri— Liddle Tina (@liddle_ktina) July 7, 2023
The Venn Diagram of Cardinals fans in St. Louis and the audience of NewsMax is just a circle.— Millennial Sox Fan (@MillennialSox) July 7, 2023
THE CARDINAL WAY!
As a Sox fan, my biggest enemy is the Chicago white Sox.— Kyle (@kayydubbzz) July 7, 2023
I’m also salty the cardinals basically got Arenado for nothing and Colorado sent over 50mil
Missouri sounds like misery. Also the Cardinals have been too good for too long I'm glad they suck ass this year— whitest sox u'know ️ ️⚧️ (@flannelGoddess) July 7, 2023
CHICAGO DOES FUNNY RIVERINE STUFF
I went on the Chicago architectural boat tour and they explained that people used to get sick from the water here until they reversed the flow of the Chicago River in 1900, which sent all our sewage down the Mississippi and pissed off St. Louis.— Patrick Nolan (@SoxMach_pnoles) July 7, 2023
Common Chicago W.
JUST, LIKE, THE WHOLE DEAL
1.Tony La Russa— Anand Dipak Shukla (@adshukla) July 7, 2023
2.The powder blue jerseys
3.The St. Louis style slice
A) The whole state of Missouri in all its regressive glory can get fucked. It is neck & neck with Texas for worst most backwards state in the Union.— Ryiin (@rfoto) July 7, 2023
B) St Louis decimated blocks of homes and displaced countless families to create its mediocre riverfront. All for a fucking arch.
C) Their fans.— Ryiin (@rfoto) July 7, 2023
D) The Cards have the draft/develop cheat code, and MLB aids them with extra picks & pool dollars. It’s an unfair advantage. While I appreciate that they are always a foil for the Northsiders, their team is annoying AF.
E) Have I mentioned their fans? Smug assholes the lot of them.— Ryiin (@rfoto) July 7, 2023