The Chicago Cubs are beginning to show their grit

mniederman
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Let’s just sit back a moment and enjoy what has happened over the last few days. Yes, the Chicago Cubs split a four-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals, but the atmosphere was different. There was an energy in the crowd and for the first time since 2008, the greatest rivalry in baseball lived up to the hype it deserved.

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Even better than games themselves was the enjoyment I had watching the Cardinals lose in ways that are foreign to them. We learned that the Mizzou-Machine was in fact human. Missed opportunities, untimely throwing errors, and a lack of clutch hitting at times cost them. The Cubs, who usually found themselves on the other end, found ways to take advantage.

I know that ultimately the teams went their separate ways having split the affair, but it just felt so good. The Cardinals, who might whine more than any other team, fell victim to two borderline calls.

(Note: I have no scientific proof the Cardinals whine a lot, I just enjoy making my Cardinal friends fume sometimes.)

When Addison Russell sent a cue shot down the first base line, it was difficult to figure out if the ball was fair or foul. Consequently, the ball was called fair and the Cubs scored. Limited replay doesn’t allow for the umpires to review it. Thus, the Cardinal’s anger level was at a 6.

On Wednesday night, Miguel Montero batted with the bases loaded and a 2-2 count. The Cardinal players felt that Montero looked at strike three. On the very next pitch, Montero laced a base-clearing double that gave the Cubs the lead at the time.

What I found interesting was the uncharacteristic behavior during the play.

As the ball rolled to the right-field wall, Yadier Molina immediately started shouting at the home plate umpire. Distracted by his own frustration, Molina wasn’t manning home plate allowing the third Cub run to score. Anger Level=9.

This brings me to the focus of this piece. Every team has calls go for them and against them. The Russell grounder appeared to go over the bag, but I guess we will never know.

Thankfully, the science behind ‘pitch-trax’ proved that the pitch called a ball was, in fact, wait for it…..a ball. The honest truth in all this is for all the success the Cardinals have enjoyed so far, things are too close for comfort.

A few weeks ago I was on a bachelor party with a couple of Cardinal fans. I said some things that I regret. The brown liquor of Irish origin was involved and I have made peace with my actions. What separates me from them, however, is that my frustrations are born from jealousy. I want what they have because what they have is the best franchise in sports.

I get angry, but I do it with respect for what they do year after year.

What we are seeing from Cardinal players and fans is a lack of respect. Like the Pirates, the Cubs are coming, and they’re coming fast. If the good people of St. Louis don’t acknowledge it soon, their frustration will only get worse.

Next: Bryant can make history in the derby

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