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Now is Not the Time

by: Brian F. Logush

Since I was nine years old, Dave Duncan has been the pitching coach for the Cardinals. In recent years, I have seen him turn a ragtag group of "who's that's?" into free-agent goldmines (see: Weaver, Jeff; Lohse, Kyle; Suppan, Jeff). And for the majority of that time, when he acted out, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. His ability to prepare a game plan for nearly every pitcher under his command is unrivaled. The man turned Kent Bottenfield into an 18-game winner for God's sake. Kent Bottenfield!!

But when his son Chris was sent shippin' up to Boston, a very sensitive chord deep within The Deacon's soul had been struck. Chris was traded to the Red Sox, in exchange for Julio Lugo and cash. Dave did not take to kindly to the decision, and proceeded to blame the St. Louis media and fan base for why his son had been sent to the land of "chowdah" and "wicked awesomeness".

And that is why he has made public his indecision on whether or not he will return for his fifteenth year as Cardinal pitching coach. In last Sunday's St. Louis Post Dispatch, Joe Strauss reported that Duncan had not yet made up his mind for the 2010 season, citing the club's lack of protection for Chris, as well as the supposed lack of talent in the minor leagues.

Really Dave? Your club is 23 games over .500. You lead your division by ten and a half games over the preseason favorite Chicago Cubs. The same Cubs team that is well on its way to claim the title of "2009's Biggest Underachievers", barely beating out the New York Mets.

This is not the time to bring drama to a team that doesn't need it. This isn't A-Rod's New York. It isn't Mannywood. This is a team that has a chance to win their division by the largest margin in baseball, when a majority of writers picked the Birds to finish fourth in a mediocre-at-best National League Central. You even have two Cy Young candidates in your rotation, as well as the front runner for Fireman of the Year in Franklin.

Look, we all liked Chris. And yes, without his contributions, the Cardinals may not have won the World Series in '06. But for the past two and a half years, we saw wild at bats, rampant injuries, and outfielding that made Adam Dunn look like Willie Mays. His being traded was for the best, for both him and the team. Chris had to get away from St. Louis. I'm sure the criticism affected his play. It had to. But his "replacement", Lugo, is a major reason why your team is perched where they are. He might even help you clinch the top seed in the NL.

Baseball isn't a game anymore. It's a business. When an employee underperforms, he has to be let go. It sucks. But it can't get personal. Swallow your pride and gut it out. I'm sure another ring will help ease the pain you feel. Then, after the season, do whatever you wish. It's your life. God knows you've earned that right. But to say this now, in the playoff push? That's just unprofessional.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the completely unveiled sarcasm and cynicism of Brian Logush. How I have missed it.

    ReplyDelete


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