The St. Louis Cardinals Are Earning Their Title Of 'The Comeback Cards'

The St. Louis Cardinals Are Earning Their Title Of 'The Comeback Cards'

How about them Cardinals!??

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On July 13, the St. Louis Cardinals had a record of 47-46. As of August 22, they have a record of 70-57. This team has been through it all. Injuries, poor management, and error after error during the month of July. Now, they are the hottest team in the National League winning 16 of their last 20 games in August and winning 8 consecutive series. They are in the running for the Wildcard spot. No one saw this coming.

Being a St. Louis native, die-hard Cardinals fan since birth, I was more than disappointed in July. Seeing the Cardinals being a pretty consistent team, always finishing their season above 500, they were nowhere close to finishing that well. My favorites like Paul DeJong, Carlos Martinez and, of course, Yadier Molina, were hurt and the Cardinals were on the downhill slide. Every notification on my phone was followed by a deep sigh of despair. Cardinals being in the lead and blowing it with simple errors or lack of good players in the bullpen. Either way, it was another loss and another game farther away from first place.

The Central Division is a strong division. You have the Chicago Cubs who have their own comeback story and the Brewers, Reds, and Pirates. They all have a lot to contribute to the division and to the National League. But despite it all, the Cardinals sit at 2.5 games behind Central Division leader, Chicago Cubs. That in itself is a huge accomplishment. Against the Cubs this season, we have won 9 out of the 16 games we played. Average, but here we are so 2.5 games away from 1st place.

After the news of the Cardinals firing general manager Mike Matheny, I was shocked. I knew they weren't playing well. But the Cardinals haven't fired a GM in years. Let's be real, the administration LOVED Mike Matheny. Things must've been pretty bad for them to fire him. After the interim GM, Mike Schildt was put into place, there was more of a pep in the player's step. They started playing better and working harder.

Matt Carpenter has gone from a player who had the worst offensive career this season to hit 34 home runs as of now. During the Cubs series, he hit a home run for six consecutive games. Another game, he hit a 3 run homer and 2 doubles in a game. He is only the second person in the MLB to do that. In the words of his GM, he is "hotter than a firecracker". It may be the salsa, but whatever it is is making the Cardinals record much better. Yadier Molina has hit 16 home runs, Flaherty is a stellar rookie pitcher, Poncedeleon has beaten all odds after getting hit by a pitch and being out. They both have bright futures. Harrison Bader isn't letting one ball drop onto that field even if it means diving into the ground. And Kolten Wong needs to win a Golden Glove right now with the way he has been playing. This is only a little of what this team's roster has to offer.

We have a saying in St. Louis that when the rally caps are on and we pray to Rally Cat or Rally Squirrel, the Cardinals turn into the "Comeback Cards." They pull through at the last minute for the extra base hits in the last few innings of the game. Most of the time, it's a walk-off home run (the Cardinals have had 7 of those by the way). It's always fun to see the players reaction as the ball gets hit out of the park. They prepare the cooler and they throw it on the player at home plate. Although it's nerve-racking, it's fun. But the "Comeback Cards" are always fun to watch.

I know this may be a luck or just a really good stretch of good baseball for men wearing the birds on the bat, but I have faith in them. I always have. That's how they were playing in 2011. All I'm saying is that they are on the way of being the same "Comeback Cards" as they were that year. Keep in mind, this is also the last time they won a World Series title. Am I being too optimistic? Probably. I always have been for the St. Louis Cardinals. But like my dad said, at least they are playing better. So if they end their season not making it into post-season, at least they improved. I hope to see them keep improving throughout the rest of the season.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Bryce Harper And Manny Machado Are In A Race To The World Series

This offseason, two of the biggest free agents in recent memory of Major League Baseball (MLB), but as time went on neither Machado or Harper had signed a blockbuster deal.

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Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are two of baseball's greatest rising stars, and fans and teams were waiting for the 2018-2019 offseason where both Machado and Harper were going to be on the free-agent market. Throughout the offseason, neither superstar had signed a contract yet, and as time got closer for players to report to Florida, and Arizona for spring training. After the two were able to sign their respective contract, now people are wondering which player will be able to win their first World Series trophy with their new team.

Throughout the MLB offseason, reporters and fans have been drooling to see what contracts two of the biggest free agents in recent memory would receive this year.

As the winter months came and went, neither Machado or Harper had a job for the 2019 MLB season, and when pitchers and catchers reported to camp, the thought actually occurred that Machado or Harper would have to be bagging groceries when it came to Opening Day. As the old saying goes, once the first domino falls, the rest come crashing down, and on February 20th, 2019 the San Diego Padres signed Manny Machado to a 10 year, $300 million deal. Eight days later the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13 year $330 million deal. Both Machado and Harper had opportunities to win with their previous teams, neither was able to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy.

While the Padres are "a few years away" from contending to win, we saw this year where the Atlanta Braves were able to expedite the process by bringing farm talent to the big leagues. The Phillies, on the other hand, are in a win now scenario, with stars like Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and Jake Arrieta, they have the chance to contend for the NL East and possibly a World Series title.

So, which star will be the first to get their rings fitted?

Bryce Harper, while Machado is an incredible player, he will have to go through the Colorado Rockies, which just extend future Hall of Famer Nolan Arenado and the Los Angeles Dodgers who will always contend for World Series titles. Harper, on the other hand, is going to a team that was one piece away from taking the division home a year ago, while it looks like Harper's former team the Washington Nationals will rebound after a mediocre year in their standards, and the aforementioned Atlanta Braves are the reigning division champs.

If the Phillies can get star pitcher Jake Arrieta back to CY Young form, and with the addition of veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies are in a great scenario to win the World Series for the first time since 2008.

While by no means is the contract Harper got favorable to the Phillies, they knew that Harper was the missing piece to win the World Series. Also, I'm not saying Machado and the Padres aren't going to contend for World Series in the future, just not as soon as the Phillies are. Now, if the Padres can pick up a star pitcher to have a stranglehold on their rotation *cough, cough Dallas Keuchel* then possibly they can contend for World Series in 2-3 years. But, as everything stands right now the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Bryce Harper are on their way to win a World Series before the San Diego Padres with Manny Machado.

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