Interesting timing with the St. Louis Cardinals about to play three at Dodger Stadium this weekend, and the team’s starting rotation appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week as a symbol of how “The Cardinal Way” is about a solid a blueprint as one could have in long-term success.
Writer Ben Reiter makes the case that the Cardinals “are the most consistent franchise in baseball due to an organizational philosophy dedicated to measured and constant evolution.”
Let’s point out: The Cardinals have the best record in the MLB with only nine players left from their 2012 championship team. And without their manager.
“When we think of the Cardinals, we think of a distinct organizational culture: Anodyne, diligent, supportive, resolute. Mostly, we think of consistency. Their 11 championships have been well distributed. No son or daughter of St Louis born since 1902 has reached the age of 25 without having lived through at least one victory parade.”
If you’re 25 years old in L.A., you probably don’t remember the last Dodgers’ World Series title was 25 years ago.
Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Jamie Garcia, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook are on the SI cover, inspired by the Oct. 7, 1968 SI cover where “The Cardinal Way” was explored in a feature that had Roger Maris, Tim McCarver, Bob Gibson, Mike Shannon and Lou Brock on the cover.
Lynn (6-1, 3.27) is scheduled to start the opener of the three-game series Friday. Rookie John Gast (2-0, 4.76), replacing the injured Wainwright (inflamed elbow), starts Saturday. Miller (5-3, 1.74) goes Sunday against Clayton Kershaw.
Cards GM John Mozeliak, promoted in 2007, is quoted on why the team eventually let Albert Pujols go to the Angels after the 2012 season.
“Losing an iconic player was not easy — it was jolting,” says Mozeliak. “From a very simplistic standpoint, [once we let him go] we knew we had resources to deploy elsewhere.”
That was, contract extensions for Wainwright and Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina.
“While an overriding ethos—the Cardinal way—has developed over the years, it is flexible enough to allow the team to capitalize on the game’s changing realities better than any other,” says Reiter.
Stan Kasten’s SI copy is in the mail, we presume.