Saturday, October 29, 2011

5 Reasons Why the Cardinals Winning the World Series Helps the Reds' Future

If you haven't already heard, the St. Louis Cardinals capped off an improbable postseason run by claiming their 11th World Championship in franchise history Friday night. While that may not be music to the ears of Cincinnati Reds fans, there are some positives to take away from the rival Redbirds winning it all.

5 Reasons Why the Cardinals Winning the World Series Helps the Reds' Future:

1)  The natural cycle of sports
-With the exception of just a handful of teams, success and failure in Major League Baseball tends to be very cyclical. Sixty percent (18/30) of teams have made at least one postseason appearance in the last four seasons, and that figure shoots up to 83% (25/30) when you go back to 2001. This means that only five franchises out of thirty have failed to reach the playoffs in the last decade (PIT, TOR, BAL, WSH, & KC). What does this statistic teach us? If you wait your turn eventually the ball will bounce your way every now and then.

2) Karma, good luck, equity
-Building from my previous point, if it's true that karma, good luck, or built-up equity truly plays a role in sports, the Cardinals may have just drained their proverbial bank account this past season. In fact, one may even question if the whole roster didn't just sell their souls to the devil in order to win (I'm kidding about this one of course). But in all honesty, St. Louis pulled off some of the most shocking and ridiculous feats in 2011. They stormed from 10.5 games back in the Wild Card in just over a month -- sneaking into the last playoff spot on the final day of the season. They upset the unbeatable trio of Hamels, Halladay and Lee in the NLDS, they steamrolled the division-rival Brewers in six, and when twice down to their final strike of elimination, they escaped the jaws of defeat to grab victory. Although clearly a team of destiny in '11, it's likely the baseball gods will tab another city for 2012 (may I suggest the Redlegs?).

3) Inflated player values
Freese's performance in the WS alone may earn
him a nice boost in salary
-You know the motto, "sell high and buy low". Well, for a team coming off a World Series title...that is going to be pretty difficult to do. The Cards have a plethora of players eligible for free agency or arbitration this offseason, and they're going to want fair compensation for their recent herculean efforts. Major contributors such as Jaime Garcia, Jason Motte, Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumacher and Kyle McClellan WILL be receiving a bump in pay in 2012, while possible contract extensions for WS MVP David Freese, Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Edwin Jackson and Adam Wainright may also be looming. Oh, and let's not forget about the priciest asset of all, Albert Pujols, who's rumored to be vying for the richest contract ever in MLB. There is a chance their front office can keep this roster together, but they're going to have to overpay to do so.

4) Contentedness
-We are all guilty of this, it's just human nature. Our drive to succeed is fueled by a desire to reach a certain plateau -- once we get there it is natural for us to become content. I'm not saying the Cardinals won't come out like gangbusters  next season, but I will say there are 29 other teams in the league who are more hungry to win then they are right now. The euphoria of victory will linger with these players long before the thought of preparing for 2012 sets in.

5) The tiring effect of a bullseye    
-Ask the 2010 World Series Champion Giants how it feels to have a target on their back a year removed from winning it all. If teams haven't done it already, you can guarantee that players and coaches are scanning over their 2012 schedules and circling their dates with St. Louis. Like it or not, the Cards will receive every team's best shot next season -- and for any club that can get tiring. So tiring in fact, that 6 of the 11 World Champions since 2000 failed to return to the playoffs the following season -- this includes the 2007 Cardinals who were shutout from postseason play a year removed from their '06 title.

In conclusion, there is a price to be paid for winning a championship. The costs goes well beyond the expense incurred during the season itself -- sometimes years into the future. This burden, coupled with the five reasons listed above, are why Reds fans should take delight in the Cardinals recent success.

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