Series Preview: Cubs vs. Cards (a.k.a. 10 Questions with Will Leitch)
The Cubs' favorite whipping boys, the St. Louis Cardinals, have found their way back to Wrigley and are ready for another beating...and I'm sort of being serious. The Cardinals are actually 0 for Chicago.
I know. Blows my mind too.
This season is shaping up to resemble any of the worst Bear's seasons, even that of a couple years ago where Craig Krenzel was considered an upgrade at QB. And, much like in the dark days of Cade McNown and Rick Mirer, where all the fans had to hope for was a win over Favre and Green Bay, so the Cardinals are to Cubs fans. No amount of series sweeps over the Cards will erase the pain caused by this blight of a season, but it also can't hurt.
That's part of what makes this such a great rivalry. Even during the worst season possible (that would be this season, in case that wasn't clear), the Cubs still have a chance to give their fans something to lord over the mouth-breathers from the south. Granted, it's sort of petty and sad to brag about 10 mid-season games when your wildest dreams involve visions of fourth place but, then again, we root for laundry. It's all sort of petty and sad.
With that, let's check in with Will Leitch, editor of the most popular sports blog on the web, Deadspin, and self-confessed Cardinal fan. He was gracious enough to answer our questions, most of which were indeed petty and invoked far too many disturbing images of Jim Edmonds.
10 Questions with Will Leitch
1) Have you been to Wrigley and done the whole Wrigleyville experience? If so, do you remember all of it?
I have been to Wrigley several times, because I went to the University of Illinois, and everybody there's a Cub fan. It's a beautiful place to go watch the Cardinals win; it really is my personal favorite drunken karaoke bar. I was actually at two of the five games in that huge series over Labor Day weekend in September 2003 with my friend Mike, who I swear to God would have sex with Mark Grace if he had the chance. That series sucked. Fortunately, it all turned out well in the end.
2) How would you compare new Busch to old Busch? Are you relieved that shots from the Goodyear Blimp no longer evoke thoughts of Tidy Bowl (that is, clearly old Busch was the porcelain throne to the gods)?
Well, the old Busch only looked like a toilet bowl from up high; inside, particularly after they redid it in the early '90s, it was downright pretty. (Though still occasionally infected by The Wave.) I have seen three games at the new Busch. The first, the Cardinals lost 15-3. The second, they lost 14-5. The last one? A freaking monsoon. So maybe I'm not the best judge.
3) Are you relieved that Jim Edmonds joined the Cardinals well after Todd Zeile left so you don't have to try to block out thoughts of a Zeile-Buck-Edmonds massage-a-trois (In case Cardinals fans aren't quite as in tune to these things, Cubs fans have always known that Edmonds is baseball's answer to Kordell Stewart. Not that there's anything wrong with that)?
(Following up on that, seeing as how we have two Indiana University alumni who write for this Goat Riders, we'd like to take this time to personally apologize for Joe Buck.)
First off, Jim Edmonds? ALL MAN (ed. note: hey, we're not judging. What a man does in the privacy of his own home is between him and his broomstick). Though in light of this new "concussion" talk, who knows what he's capable of. As for Joe Buck - well, if you want proof that I drink the Cardinals Kool-Aid, I actually like Joe Buck. Commence your laughter and mockery: I absolutely deserve it.
editor's note: we don't mock here at Goat Riders. We're all about the love
4) Do you have any concerns that the Cardinals of recent years are following the model of the Giants: A legendary hitter, a terrific secondary, and a collection of aging veterans with declining skills? If you didn't before, do you now?
Yes. I have those concerns. I have a terrible fear they're going to resign Matt Morris when his contract with those Giants are done. The good news is that we don't serve sushi in our ballpark and we have enough good sense to boo Brett Myers.
5) Is it true that Albert Pujols served as batboy for the team back in the late 1960's? How old is he really?
Pujols' age has indeed been misreported. He is actually 20 years old. He is also responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of slavery and woman's suffrage. He's Albert Pujols. Question him at your own peril.
6) Do you think that Mark McGwire got a big head from all the love and support he received from fans in St. Louis? Because, you know, we couldn't help but notice that his head was kind of big and we couldn't think of anything else that would cause that kind of...growth.
That is exactly what happened - we're also responsible for the shearing of his perm mullet - and I will accept no explanations to the contrary. None. Shut up. Yeah, I'm talking to you.
7) Did you know that Tony LaRussa passed the bar exam? That man's a genius, you know. A Genius!
Not just that, but, as a vegetarian, he's endlessly empathetic to cute, cuddly but helpless foals that can't stand on their own. This is why Timo Perez batted fifth the other day.
How would you feel about Whitey Herzog taking over the Cubs, and do you believe he's so desperate to manage again that he'd be willing to subject himself to that kind of torture?
Whitey Herzog died in 1993 and was replaced by a lower level Anheuser-Busch employee with a similar haircut. So yeah, he should be an improvement on Dusty, anyway.
9) So, what happened with Sidney Ponson anyway? Did he drive his car into a tree during his last DUI? Did he eat himself, a-la Pizza the Hut? I just haven't seen his name in the news in awhile and I'm getting worried.
Sidney Ponson never played for the Cardinals. I don't know where you're getting your information.
10) Favorite Cardinals moment? If you have one, favorite Cubs vs. Cards moment?
I don't know if I have a favorite Cardinals-Cubs moment, except to say that I found Rick Sutcliffe about 1,110 times more likable playing for the Cardinals than he was for the Cubs. My favorite Cardinals moment is, of course, the "Go Crazy, Folks" moment, and anybody who says otherwise isn't really a Cardinals fan.
Can I give you my favorite Cubs moment? Oh, cool, thanks.
Warning: mention of October 2003 follows. Click here if the bile starts to rise in your throat
It's of course October 2003. I was at my apartment in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, listening to Cubs-Marlins Game 6 on the radio because I didn't have cable. Cubs were up 3-0, bottom of the seventh. My phone rings. It's my father. I know what he wants.
"Jesus, it looks like they're really going to do this."
"I don't really know what to do with myself now. I don't know if I'm ready to live in a world where the Cubs have made the World Series."
"I've been listening to the game on the radio. But you know what? I think I should go downstairs and watch the end. I mean, I've hated them for so long, I feel like their history is kind of my history. In a weird way, I feel like I owe to them. I should watch them do this. They've earned it, I think."
"You go ahead. I'm going to bed.
I put on some pants and went to the bar downstairs. The top of the eighth began. I ordered a cool, icy Budweiser, brewed in St. Louis, Missouri, and settled in, ready to begrudgingly salute the enemy.
So yeah: That's probably my favorite Cubs moment.
Many thanks for Will for giving a bit of insight into the
evil, black heart mind of a Cardinals fan and, with that, onto the preview...
Friday, August 18th, 1:20PM: Marquis vs. Marmol
Jason Marquis - Is there any possible chance that the Cubs don't pursue this guy? I mean, you've got a proven winner and a reclamation project just sitting there in the muggy south waiting to be plucked up by Rothschild et al. Once Larry can teach Marquis to walk a few more batters, we should have a winner.
Carlos Marmol - Marmol, on the other hand, has completely mastered the art of the walk. The Cardinals are a terrifically patient team which just playing directly into Marmol's hands...one more 7 walk game and he gets a free small coffee.
Saturday, August 19th, 12:20 ET: Suppan vs. Zambrano
Jeff Suppan - Finally, whatever magic juice they drained out of McGwire's cranium and injected into their mediocre, veteran pitchers that turned them into valued members of the Cardinal's rotation has worn off. Suppan has reverted the the pitcher we alway knew he could be and is tickling the 5.00 ERA mark coming into today's action. I actually really think that the Cubs will try to sign Suppan in the the offeason, which would be just perfect (I don't really think they'll sign Marquis).
Carlos Zambrano - Giver of life, healer of the sick, master of his domain...and magician. I've decided Zambrano entered into some sort of fair trade agreement with the hitters of the National League where he will agree to walk a few batters so as not to embarrass them too badly since he knows they will never hit him. I guess it's Carlos's idea of charity work.
Sunday, August 20th, 1:20 PM: Carpenter vs. Mateo
Chris Carpenter - The Cubs sent Carpenter into a bit of a tailspin for awhile there, which is how I would react if I was knocked out of a game by the Cubs' offense. But he seems to have righted the ship and is throwing pretty well. Prior/Wood fans, need hope? Look no further than Carpenter, the little shoulder that could.
Juan Mateo - Mateo has slain big, more evil giants in the past (past meaning: last week) and so Carpenter should pose no problem for Mateo. Mateo's still enjoying his one free trip around the majors before everyone realizes that he only has one and a half pitches and start to knock him around. The kid's got poise, though, and that's something that's generally been lacking in Cub pitchers not named Carlos.
The Scoop on the Cards
2006 Saint Louis Cardinals continue their collapse today at Wrigley.
We don't often get to enjoy seasons like this, so grab some popcorn and watch the Cardinal fans gnash their last few teeth together in fits of anxiety.
The Cardinals have yet to pull out a victory in Chicago, so let's sweep them out of Chicago for good.
(is that overly optimistic?)