It is mid-August, the heart of the dog days of summer and here in Saint Louis, what with our summer weather that’s a mangy dog-day. There is one mitigating aspect to these summer doldrums though and that is baseball. True, some teams enjoy more mitigation than others, but as the only major professional team sport actually playing in the United States at this time of the year, baseball gets to enjoy America’s un-conflicted love. This time of year, it is once again our nation’s beloved summertime pastime. Let’s get the humble-brag out-of-the-way now, two-thirds through this season, the Saint Louis Cardinals continue to enjoy the best record in baseball. As a long time Saint Louis resident and Cardinal fan, this is no more mysterious to me than it is hot outside in August. I have simply become accustomed to the bird’s way of winning, Thursday night’s outing against the Pirates aside. As a more casual fan than some of my in-laws, it is no mystery that the Redbirds are able to do what they do. As an adherent of the Church of Baseball, I simply take it on faith.
Baseball is a game of statistics and this week has been ripe with those. The big one being the fluke 15 home team wins. At one in 32K+, this is one of those statistics that may never be broken again, at least not in my lifetime. This is all preamble to baseball’s intelligentsia discussion of why the Cardinals are the best team in baseball. My interpretation of their analysis is that the Cards play can best be described as Goldilocks. Our, pitching and hitting is neither too hot nor too cold, but is just right, when it needs to be. In two rather nuanced and too hard to follow for me articles, in Grantland and Sports Illustrated that both smacked of Money Ball, the common explanation seemed to be that the Cards are clutch. Their play is average until runs are on the line and then statistically they seem to be able to step up their game. This is all well and good in the regular season, but whether it is just ‘Clusterluck’ or the Cardinals are really a ‘Superteam’, this could lead to an even better post season, I hope.
Carl and Jay, congratulations on the Mariner’s no-hitter! Did you get to see it?