The Mission In Milwaukee
The counted-out Cardinals have spent a wild and exhausting season overcoming obstacles and adversity. Adam Wainwright blew out his arm in spring training. Most of the team spent long stretches on the disabled list. They had internal squabbles that redefined their character. Their bullpen exploded and had to be completely rebuilt. They courted controversy with a daring three-team trade. They endured longer losing streaks than winning streaks for two months.
Each time they battled back, often in do-or-die situations where their only mission was to stay alive. But now, having successfully reached the final step before the World Series, they have a new mission: destroy the Milwaukee Brewers.
A fight has been festering all season between these two similar clubs. Nyjer Morgan has exchanged angry words with Chris Carpenter on two occasions, and insulted Albert Pujols‘ masculinity in another incident. Bad blood boiled when Pujols was plunked on the wrist, and the Cardinals retaliated by sending their hardest thrower – Jason Motte – to nail Ryan Braun in the back. Needless to say that the situation remains unresolved and very unfriendly.
The Brewers like to characterize the Cardinals as whiners and complainers, something I’ve certainly said myself in recent days with the renewed bellyaching about the shadows at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have looked at the Brewers as disrespectful punks who shame the game of baseball, as typified by the antics of classless clowns like Morgan and Prince Fielder.
When the Cardinals ran down the Atlanta Braves and usurped the Philadelphia Phillies, there was a measure of respect and honor shown to both teams. They are classy organizations who play the game with integrity, and the Cardinals showed graciousness to them despite beating them on the field.
But there cannot be any such honor given to a bunch of cocky, self-serving thugs like the Brewers. To the average Milwaukee fan, their untucked shirts, their gloating, and their loud-mouthed taunting is probably ”cool” and “fun”, but the rest of baseball finds it obnoxious and disrespectful of the game. The time has come for a back-alley showdown.
The mission in Milwaukee is simple: destroy without mercy. This red-hot Cardinals team needs to go into Milwaukee with the same kind of killer instinct that fueled their legendary embarrassment of the Cincinnati Reds in August of 2010. We need to tuck their shirts back in and show them that bad boys ultimately get punished.
Make no mistake – this is going to be a brutal series. Two intense ballclubs with real animosity will be pummeling each other for the right to advance to the ultimate stage in their sport. This is King Kong VS. Godzilla, a head-to-head confrontation of primal rage and pure momentum.
So no more Mister Nice Guys; the gloves are coming off. For the good of the sport, the mission for the Cardinals must be the total decimation of the Milwaukee Brewers.