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National Spotlight

by LS Murphy

Fox is currently running advertisements for the upcoming postseason. The Yankees, Phillies, and even the Cubs, who are pretty much out of the race, are all featured in the commercial. But where are the Cardinals? Where is Albert Pujols? As usual, no where to be seen.

The St. Louis Cardinals have ten world championships, second only to the Yankees (26) for total among major league ball clubs and first in the National League. Yet, the team does not get as much respect or recognition as the Yankees, Red Sox (7 championships), or even the Cubs (2 championships).

This team has the best player in baseball who is in line to win his third MVP award. This team has a starting rotation with two contenders for the Cy Young. This organization has a consistency to win, proving the desire with the acquisition of Matt Holliday, Julio Lugo, Mark DeRosa, and John Smoltz. It's time that the rest of the nation sees it. The All Star Game was a glimpse but it's time the national media gives this team the notice that it deserves.

The question is the obvious why? Maybe it's the amount of money that each team spends on payroll. According to ESPN, the Cardinals have the 13th highest payroll at $87,703,409. The Yankees are first ($208,097,414) with the Mets ($145,367,987), Cubs ($134,058,500), Red Sox ($122,435,399), and Tigers ($119,160,145) rounding out the top five. The Yankees and the Red Sox were predicted to battle it out for the AL East title. The Mets were expected to win the NL East or, at the very least, get a wild card birth. They are 16 games out in their division and 15.5 games out of the wild card.

The Cubs were supposed to all but run away in the NL Central with the Brewers coming in second. They are 11.5 games behind the Cardinals. The Brewers (16th in payroll at $80,182,502) are 15n games out. The Cubs are 8 games out in the wild card and the Brewers are 11.5.

The Tigers are leading the AL Central with a 6.5 game lead on the Twins.

So does the payroll really matter? Yes, of course it does. The Yankees are doing everything they can to buy a championship instead of cultivating younger players. But that is the Yankee way. By paying ridiculous salaries, the Yanks can get high profile players which naturally leads to higher ratings, which is all the television networks care about.

Maybe one day the TV networks will catch on to middle America and the St. Louis Cardinals. But, for now, we can be content in knowing that our team will always be the underdogs. And when they win the 2009 World Series, we can shout out a collective "Ha, should've paid attention to our team sooner!"

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Cardinals Mix blog featured writers LS Murphy,Brian F. Logush
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