By Craig Phelps
St. Louis, MO. “Hope for the best, but expect the worst,” said a mother to her young son. It always seemed like a negative outlook on life to me coming from my loving mother, “…expect the worst?” Why would I, “expect the worst?” I never understood the positive spin behind this statement.
“Hope for the best, but expect the worst.”
Hope for the best. Hope for a Cardinals playoff-berth, hope for a bullpen that stands up to the pressures of the Major Leagues, hope for a Rams quarterback to produce and stay healthy in his rookie year, hope that the Blues can come together and get back to their winning ways.
“Hope for the best…” my Mother says.
A year ago, the Cardinals were looked at as one of the deadliest teams in Major League Baseball.
A year ago, the Cardinals had a consistent, high end closer in Ryan Franklin.
A year ago, the Cardinals were not concerned about the Albert Pujols contract.
A year ago, the Cardinals offense looked like it could handle a shaky bullpen.
A year ago, the Rams were drafting Sam Bradford.
A year ago, the Rams grabbed Rodger Saffold in the second round of the draft.
A year ago, the Rams appeared to have solid wide receivers.
A year ago, the Rams expected football.
A year ago, the Blues looked like a strong, young team.
A year ago, the Blues had an owner.
“…but expect the worst,” says my mother.
In the past year, the Cardinals offense became inconsistent and would disappear.
In the past year, the Cardinals closer, Ryan Franklin, had another rough September.
In the past year, the Cardinals were sure Albert Pujols would remain in St. Louis for life.
In the past year, the Cardinals bullpen began falling apart at various points in games.
In the past year, the Rams young quarterback, Sam Bradford, set NFL rookie passing records.
In the past year, the Rams reinforced their offensive line, giving Sam Bradford time to make a pass.
In the past year, the Rams wide receivers became injured and exposed.
In the past year, the Rams had football, something that might change next season.
In the past year, the Blues traded their former number one overall draft pick and the core of their team.
In the past year, the Blues put their franchise up for sale.
“Hope for the best, but expect the worst,” says a mother to her son.
It has been a long year for St. Louis fans. The Cardinals, Blues, and Rams all missed the playoffs; almost every team ended up with more questions at the end of the year than they did at the start of the season.
The Cardinals do not have a proven closer or a reliable option out of the bullpen. Their offense has found a way to completely disappear at times, even with the best player in the game. Strong starting pitching saves the Cardinals and probably will most of the year.
The Ram’s took a gamble that paid off big time in drafting Sam Bradford. Bradford started his young NFL career off by throwing more passes in a game than any other rookie quarterback in NFL history; he responded with a smile, and “Awesome,” and a “I wish we would have gotten the win.” Rodger Saffold was huge steal in the second round and is a potential Pro-Bowler in the near future. James Laurinaitis and the defense vastly improved, but they certainly need some work stopping the run. Receivers had trouble staying healthy for Bradford and the offense and some obvious holes were torn open and torn apart in the Rams offensive scheme over the past year.
The Blues do not have an owner right now. That is not a good item to be missing from the grocery list when the teams biggest problem revolves around payroll. It is rough any time a team has to trade away a first overall draft pick (Erik Johnson), but the Blues received an exceptional pair of players in Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. The Blues traded away the core of their team and questions remain on what they will do with a host of draft picks over the next two years.
“Hope for the best, expect the worst,” says a mother, giving her son advice that would help him the rest of his life.
Just because things are tough right now does not mean that St. Louis will be in a drought forever. The Cardinals have a nice handful of MVP, Gold Glove, and Cy Young candidates year in and year out. Sam Bradford is a cool, calm, and collected, respectful young man who is going to lead St. Louis back to its winning ways. The Blues young players and prospects are some of the best in the league.
“Hope for the best…” says a smiling mother to her son.