We’re taking one last ride on our monthly train across the NL Central to take the pulse on the division.
This time: it’s playoff related.
We’re skipping over a few of the teams in our division who have unfortunately sailed off into the lands of elimination (it’s OK kids, there’s a big farm there where they play baseball all winter long with other eliminated teams). We are also not covering the Reds in this edition because, well, there’s just nothing exciting about a team and fan base that’s successful.
We’re striving for gritty realism here. We’re looking for desperation. We’re looking for panic. We’re looking for false hope, delusion, and the final strands of mercy clung to by legions of season-weary fans.
That’s why we’re talking Wild Card contenders. Three teams in the NL Central are contending for a Wild Card spot with various degrees of seriousness. Here they are.
St. Louis Cardinals ( 75-66, — )
The St. Louis Cardinals are still in sole possession of the toughest road through the playoffs, and the key to a successful defense of their World Series title.
That grip is weakening, however, after a late-night pummeling by none other than the San Diego Padres. With that defeat, the Cardinals have lost nine of their last 15 games, and are sheltered in the standings mainly from a Dodger off-day in the schedule. But this lack-luster record, and lagging injuries (including the news that Lance Berkman will sit for the remainder of the season) puts the Red Birds fan base squarely in the “cautiously optimistic” camp.
Redbird Rants has this to say on the matter:
This weekend sucked.
But look who’s coming back! (And coming up!)
Man up, professional ballplayers.
Chill out, we still totally got this.
Pittsburgh Pirates (72-68, 2.5 WCGB)
Oh Pittsburgh – what are we going to do with you? A few months ago, you guys were sitting pretty on top of the division, your GM was actually working towards your success, and all the mid-season meltdown memories had almost faded into the ether.
Than you faded into August and now September, but luck should find you with only two and a half games of stealing the Cardinal’s thunder and making Pittsburgh a possible home for playoff baseball for the first time since the Clinton Administration.
If I had to put the state of mind of Pirates fans into one sentence, it would be this: Steelers season. That’s the way it goes – and believe me we know.
What does Rum Bunter have to say about all this?
We can still have fun with it, though.
We just wanna break stuff.
Maybe these guys can help.
Milwaukee Brewers (70-71, 5.0 WCGB)
Well, look a 15-5 record over your last 20 games can get you.
What seemed like a lost season has suddenly become one of the stories in baseball – with the Brewers
piling on a record in the last months of play that is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. Wonderful, of course, because we can actually watch the Brewers with contentment (and, dare I say, sober) – but frustrating in the fact that this team waited until September to play like this.
That strange mix of emotion aside, all seems well in Brew Crew Nation for the time being, and here’s how the Nation’s scribes are coming along with the good news:
Also I did want to mention – I got the chance to meet Kyle Lobner of Brew Crew Ball while I was working the Timber Rattlers game and he’s an awesome guy. Read his stuff. Read it now.
Keep reading, keep watching the Brewers, and most of all – keep the faith, Brewers fans.