Ten reasons the St. Louis Cardinals are better than the Los Angeles Dodgers

History, in one measure, will tell you that the St. Louis Cardinals are easily a better team than the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cards have won 11 World Series titles to the Dodgers’ six. Until 2011 I could have claimed the Dodgers were better than St. Louis since my boys moved to Los Angeles, but this decade the Cardinals evened up that record. Each team has won five titles since 1958.

I’m writing this on the night the Dodgers won their fifth straight game and look like they could be on the verge of turning around what has been an awful season. So bad it has been that five straight wins still leaves the team seven games under .500 and six back in the division.

More World Series titles is one reason the Cardinals are better than the Dodgers. I’ve been dared to come up with 10. Here are nine other reasons, in no particular order.

fallon1. They broke the Red Sox jinx. Cardinal fans won’t like me for this, and in some ways many of us wish the Sox fans would go back to being the lovable whiners they were instead of the insufferable blowhards success made them become. But at the time it was a wonderful moment that changed the ending of a Jimmy Fallon movie I might not otherwise have seen. None of it would have happened had the team that looked like it was going to steamroll its way to another ring not fallen limp before the history the Red Sox were making. In fact, because the Sox made it to the series by staging a miraculous comeback against the Yankees, the World Series was anticlimactic.

2. The 2011 World Series St. Louis Cardinals were probably my favorite non-Dodger single-season team ever. They earned my love in game six. Game one of the 1988 World Series had my favorite single moment ever in a World Series game, and the context behind the Dodgers’ improbable win made that moment and the game even more special. But game six in 2011 between the Cardinals and the Rangers was special from first pitch to last, capped off by a walk-off home run by hometown boy David Freese. They just wouldn’t go away.

3. Personal history. I played baseball for 10 seasons and in four of those I played for the Cardinals.

4. Dizzy and Daffy Dean, two brothers as colorful as their names suggested. “Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss?” Dizzy Dean asked a hitter. He also was quoted saying, “”It puzzles me how they know what corners are good for filling stations. Just how did they know gas and oil was under there?”

pilots5. In 1982 the Cardinals kept the Milwaukee Brewers from winning the World Series, and I don’t ever want to see the Brewers win the series before the Seattle Mariners do. Before there was a Milwaukee Brewers they were, for one year, the Seattle Pilots. The Pilots were an expansion team with possibly the worst uniforms ever, at least the hats. That the team moved doesn’t seem at all to be Milwaukee’s fault, or even the fault of Bud Selig. Seattle’s owners really had no business even getting a team, because they were fatally optimistic and were far short in the cash necessary to own a Major League Baseball team. But since when are grudges based on facts? I love my new city and it is home to my second favorite baseball team, the Mariners. Once the M’s win a World Series then the Brewers are welcome to win all they want. Until then I demand a curse.

6. The cross and 6 on the mound. This year the groundskeepers at Busch have taken to drawing a number 6 on the mound behind the rubber, as well as a cross. This isn’t an idea I necessarily want to see carried on at other parks, but to me an expression of faith in sports is preferable to some alternatives, especially on a day when a high profile NFL receiver was arrested for murder. And the 6 honors a treasured part of the team’s history, Stan Musial, who died this year.

7. In 1899 the team was known as the St. Louis Perfectos, had a manager/first basemen named Patsy, and a pitcher named Cuppy. Cuppy’s first name was a racial slur. The top player on that team, by the way, was Cy Young. You might have heard of him.

pujols8. The Cardinals let Albert Pujols go and you can argue they got better. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal the team has seen the same production at first base without him that the Los Angeles Angels have with him. The team missed the World Series by one game last year and are tied with Pittsburgh this year for the best record in baseball. Meanwhile the Dodgers loaded up on free agent talent (a move I still think was wise) and got worse. I think the Dodgers’ investment will pay off, but what the Cards did already has.

9. My saying the Cardinals are better than the Dodgers makes me humble, which makes me a better person than any Cardinal fan I’ve ever met. And I constantly strive to be a better person.

The ‘gap’ offers answers

Over the past several months as I pondered the future of the Field of Steve podcast, I decided I wanted the main “Field of Steve” page to be the podcast page. That meant I would need to take this blog and give it a new address. I knew that would be FieldofSteve.com/blog. Not a real stretch.

The stretch for a guy like me, though, is in handling the IT work necessary to make the change. One day I might have someone handle the web presence. But a successful $300 Kickstarter campaign doesn’t quite get me there. So I do this work myself.

Some of the first steps came easy. I created a subdirectory, a task not at all within my comfort zone. Then I struggled, but figured out how to load WordPress onto that directory and export all the content from one site to another. I messed up, though, when I tried to delete the content from the old site and ended up deleting all of it. And I probably wasted an hour trying in vain, struggling to think of a solution, to fix the problem.

Eventually I stepped away from the task, calling on something I remembered reading from Deepak Chopra in Creating Affluence. Here it is from the audio version:

“Perhaps you recall an instance when you were trying to remember a name, and you struggled and struggled but with no success. Finally you let go of your attachment to the outcome and then a little while later the name flashed across the screen of your consciousness.

“This is the mechanics for the fulfillment of any desire. When you were struggling to recall the name the mind was very active and turbulent. But ultimately, out of fatigue and frustration ,you let go and the mind became quiet, and slowly quieter. And perhaps so quiet that it was almost still and you slipped into the gap, where you released your desire and soon it was handed to you.”

This is called “stepping into the gap” between thoughts. You stop fixating on the task and solutions appear. You might not know how this works, but you know it does.

I went downstairs, got a snack and parked myself in front of the TV for the final three episodes of The West Wing. Sometime during all of that, and I can’t recall how, the term “uninstall” came to me. When the shows were over I went upstairs and found out how to uninstall the WordPress blogs from both places, then reinstalled it and put all the content back.

It took just a few minutes.

The second issue came with moving the podcast from TheNarrativeArts.com to FieldofSteve.com. At one point I thought I would have to essentially recreate every page, including loading the podcasts from my computer to the site. Knowing that would take way more time then I already wanted to on a night I was already up way too late, I threw up and “under construction” notice on the page and linked to the blog and the place where the old podcasts were.

Yesterday at the day job, while working on something else I began wondering if it could be as simple as dragging folders from one place to another. I went home and tried it.

It was.

By stepping away from the task I had stepped into the gap between thoughts and twice found solutions I couldn’t get through struggle.

You need instructions? Chopra provided them:

Step 1: You slip into the gap between thoughts. The gap is the window, the corridor, the transformational vortex through which the personal psyche communicates with the cosmic psyche.

Step 2: You have a clear intention of a clear goal in the gap.

Step 3: You relinquish you attachment to the outcome, because chasing the outcome or getting attached to it entails coming out of the gap.

Step 4: You let the universe handle the details.

Oh, My Father

Screen shot 2011-08-04 at 7.59.57 PMThis time a year ago I spent a few hours of Father’s Day taking a soda (And probably some other treats, but definitely a soda.) to my dad where he lived, at Forest Ridge Health & Rehabilitation in Bremerton. If I am remembering correctly it was a gloriously sunny day, like today, and we took him outside in the facility’s shaded patio to enjoy visiting.

It wasn’t always the easiest thing to do when he finally had to have full-time care in a facility like this. He had always referred to nursing homes as “mills” or “warehouses.” At times he would talk about wishing he could go home. Nothing would have thrilled us more. But by last Father’s Day he couldn’t move his arms well enough to feed himself. We would hold the straw for the soda up to his lips and he would take a swig, take a breath, then take another one.

So fitting. When Apollo was born he was so big (12 pounds) that regular nursing wasn’t giving him enough nutrition. So I got to hold him in my arms and give him sips of formula, a father feeding his son.

I don’t know if Dad ever literally fed me, but I suspect he did. And even if he didn’t, there were so many other ways that my brothers and I were fed by my father. For many years Dad fed us his love of baseball, something all three of us continue to maintain. There were other things. Dad had a pretty strict sense of right and wrong and could display a quick temper, but he also loved to laugh and had a definite fondness for anyone who could make him do it. And none of us can forget how if he were telling a joke we would never understand the punchline, because Dad would be laughing so hard that whatever words he was saying would sound foreign.

Probably one of the biggest gifts he gave us boys was his display of how much loved our mother. Mom was wonderful, too, but there were a few years that other men might have left. Dad stayed strong. I don’t think he ever considered doing anything else.

And so spending time crafting any conversation we could last year as we sat outside at the rehab facility was no sacrifice at all. He loved it. I think his whole life his favorite times were those he could spend with us. That didn’t change when his legs could no longer support him and his arms could not successfully utilize a spoon. If anything, those moments became more valuable.

I miss him.

I really miss him.

I wouldn’t wish for him to be back in that condition. I hope for an afterlife and have faith that he is so, so happy now back with our mom and helping orchestrate whatever he can down here. But I still miss him.

As I think about those moments getting Dad sips of soda, I wonder what “full circle” will mean in my life. There could come a day in my life when my limbs fail me. That’s not something I am completely comfortable mouthing, but it’s a distinct possibility for all of us.

If that day comes and I find one of my kids raising a straw to my mouth I will certainly remember those moments with my dad during the final months of his life. I will recall how sunny and warm it was on the best of those days. And I’m guessing that in a moment like that it won’t be hard at all to relate to my dad, appreciating those moments more than almost any other. Because when it’s all about to end the things that will matter to me most won’t be those that came to me as a result of my professional ambitions, it will be those that came in those moments when I literally and symbolically fed my family.

Apostastrophy

gyros

This one’s on me.

Little gets my grammar snobbery mojo going like a misplaced apostrophe. I even started a Facebook page dedicated to apostrabuse. It went nowhere, but you get my point.

On Saturday I was working and was asked if we could post video showing a guy walking into Gyros, Etc. and taking the restaurant’s tip jar. We did it, but in the process of putting the thing up I put in an apostrophe in the title in a place it should never go. The proof is above. I blame myself. As penance, I’m posting the video here, too, along with a link to the story. If you know the guy, call Bremerton Police.