This past weekend I was at a bachelor party in Denver.
It was fun, thank you for asking.
Several members of the group were from St. Louis, so inevitably conversations turned towards the Cardinals and how brutal their 2017 season has been. These were spurned on by the MLB At Bat app ‘scoring alerts’, which, if we’re being honest here, are about to be turned off.
It’s hard to keep the party going when you’re getting 23 push notifications of just how bad things have gotten. Made even more stark being in a city falling in love with their baseball team.
Don’t ask me to connect all the dots here, but one of the topics of discussion that came up was the ‘dark ages’ of Cardinals baseball – AKA the early 90’s. (I’m sure parts of the 1950’s and 1970’s come to mind for other generations.)
It started off as a ‘do you remember (Felix Jose, Ozzie Canseco, Bryn Smith, etc), but quickly devolved into ‘man, the Cardinals are really sliding back into those terrible 90’s times’.
A funny thing happened on the way to 15 years of sustained success, though…
Those early 90’s teams we collectively remember as being ‘bad’ or ‘really bad’ or even ‘the worst’?
Turns out they were a bit better than the dudes at this bachelor party recollected:
- 1991: 81-81
- 1992: 83-79
- 1993: 87-75
There was a work stoppage in 1994 (where the last section of the season, including the postseason was cancelled) that spilled over into the beginning of 1995, where Joe Torre was fired after dipping to 7 games under .500 (20-27).
Maybe everyone else here has better memories, but if I’d had told you that the 1993 Cardinals were 12 games over .500, would you have believed me? What if I had told you that Geronimo Pena had 289 plate appearances that year? Would that have changed your mind?
The ’17 Cardinals are 31-37 and have lost 5 of their past 6 games.
Against teams that aren’t the Phillies (AKA the worst team in baseball) the Cardinals are 3-12 in June.
Maybe suddenly this team finds a groove and rips off a bunch of series wins and crawls back into contention for the NL Central.
More likely though, this is the 2nd year of what a future generation of Cardinals fans will be referencing at their bachelor parties as the fallow period they had to endure as kids. Their ‘dark ages’, so to speak.
‘I remember when Jedd Gyorko was the most consistent 3 hole hitter the team had!’
It is what it is.
The Cardinals will be good again someday. For now fans will deal with the hangover of a decade and a half of success.