ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 1: Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 1, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 1: Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning at Busch Stadium on September 1, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
(KMOV.com) - You think it’s an accident the Cardinals have found a way to sneak into 1st place for the first time this season? You think it’s a coincidence they’ve done it now that the calendar has turned to September?
Please. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Since 2011, there isn’t a single franchise in baseball with a better record than the St. Louis Cardinals in September. Not a single one. The Cards are 53-28 during this month. And anyone who has watched them play the last few years shouldn’t be surprised one bit.
Baseball is a grind. A lot of crazy things can happen over a six month span. Even the best of teams lose games. But the best of teams also find a way when things matter most. That’s why now that the calendar has hit the final month of the regular season it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone to see the Cardinals back in 1st place.
It rarely looks pretty. Sure, they put up some poor at-bats at times, hit into untimely double plays, and give up home runs when it’s late…but when the dust settles at the end of the day…they usually are finding a way to get it done.
They did it under Tony La Russa and they’re doing it now under Mike Matheny. That tells me it’s not necessarily about who’s in charge. It’s not necessarily a leadership thing – although that certainly helps – but it’s more about the culture of the organization and how players are brought up in the minors.
They’re taught the little things. They’re taught that winning is not only expected but losing just flat out is intolerable. And when you come to St. Louis, if you don’t win, you’ll hear about it from fans.
With winning comes responsibility and even higher expectations, sometimes unreasonable expectations. That’s the kind of culture the Cardinals have built for themselves – fair or not.
And it’s borderline comical that now in 2014, the Redbirds appear to be doing it again.