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The Sports Daily > Cards Diaspora
The Golden Age Of The Cardinals Has Come And Gone

I’m not sure why the memory of this Sporting News cover popped into my head this week.

But it did.

The Cardinals just finished a 3rd place season, missing the playoffs. Again.

The Chris Pronger era came and went without even a Stanley Cup Finals appearance (coming up on 40 years since the Blues last played for a NHL championship).

The entire Rams organization abandoned St. Louis and moved to Los Angeles.

So, yeah, that image above? Daaaaaated.

Hell, The Sporting News printed their last issue in 2012 after 126 years of publication… EVERYTHING about this cover makes you sad.

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Even though the Cardinals were pretty much what we expected them to be in 2017 (a mid-80’s win team and possible fringe playoff contender) the finality of playing that last game, of knowing that a season is truly over?

Feels bad.

Real bad.

And if that feeling sticks with you longer than it did in 2016, it’s probably because you’re coming to a realization you didn’t want to come to…

The golden age of Cardinals baseball is over.

From the years 2000-2015 the Cardinals made the playoffs 11 times; missed 4 times (2003, 2007, 2008, 2010).

It’s hard to compare playoff appearance stats over long period of times because of the addition of 2 Wild Card berths in each league, but 11 out of 15 seasons making the playoffs?

That’s insane. More than 73% of MLB playoff tournaments started with the Cardinals involved!

And if we’re being real honest with ourselves, not likely to be replicated again in our lifetimes.

The combination of the world becoming more connected (information on players is easy to get) and MLB liking the parity between franchises almost ensures it.

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The Cardinals current state?

Publicly clapping back at their best player in 2017:

And not renewing the contract of the pitching coach:

I wonder after such a long run of success if the Cardinals are really, honestly answering the only question that needs to be asked before making every move:

Is this getting me closer to the Cubs?

Keeping Mike Matheny on as manager for a 7th season.

Dismissing a pitching coach.

Letting Lance Lynn become a free agent.

Is this getting me closer to the Cubs?

The golden age of the Cardinals has passed. The Cubs are currently in the midst of their own.

The new question is if the 2016-17 seasons were blips that can be corrected without a major rebuild or a harbinger of fallow times ahead?

We’ve got all of October (and the off-season) to think about it.

Photo: AdAge