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A Time for Thanks

by LS Murphy

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it seems only appropriate to list things to be thankful for this year. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Tony LaRussa - He angers fans. He defends players that don’t always deserve it. But his brilliant mind kept this team in the hunt for the National League Central title before DeRosa and Holliday put on the uniform. LaRussa’s strategies weren’t always welcome this past season but we were certainly grateful when the Cardinals were still playing baseball in October.

2. Adam Wainwright - Sure he missed out on the Cy Young but he did come out of the season with a Gold Glove. Waino is one of the best pitchers in the League. He will continue that tradition into the 2010 season.

3. Chris Carpenter - No one deserved the Comeback Player of the Year more than Carp. After two years of battling injuries that would have ended many players’ careers, Carp fought back to make a dramatic return to the sport. Then he fought back even more when an oblique strain took him down for a period during the season. That time on the disabled list may have cost him the Cy Young. But it was great seeing him on the field once again.

4. Yadier Molina - Cardinals fans have known for a while now that Yadi is the best catcher in the National League. It was great seeing the rest of baseball recognizing that as Yadi was elected to the All-Star game. It was also nice to hear broadcasters ask during nationally televised games, “Why would you run on Yadier Molina?” Cards fans have been asking that for years.

5. Dave Duncan - Duncan’s year wasn’t great on a personal level. He watched his son, Chris Duncan, get whipped in the media then traded to the Red Sox only to get released a short time later. On top of that, disagreements with management over the handling of minor league pitchers took his frustrations to the next level. But Duncan’s a pro. He coached TWO pitchers into Cy Young contention and resurrected the career of Joel Pinero. I, for one, am glad Duncan will be back for 2010.

6. Matt Holliday - While his time here was brief, Holliday did the job that the team acquired him to do during the regular season. He made pitchers throw to Albert Pujols. And when they didn’t, he made them pay. Holliday’s future with the Cardinals is unclear. He may be back or he may chase money. We just have to sit back and wait but we can be thankful that he helped propel this team into the post season.

7. Mark DeRosa - We gave up Chris Perez, the closer of the future, for DeRosa. He shored up the hot corner but managed to get hurt shortly after getting to St. Louis. DeRosa is one of the classiest players in the game. He played well even though he was injured. He apologized to the fans for not being able to show us what he could do. But we already knew. That’s one reason we begged for him to come here. Now only if he’d stay.

8. Skip Schumacher - We knew Skip was a good athlete. This year, he proved he was a great athlete. It takes courage and incredible ability for a career outfielder to move into the infield, much less second base. Skip basically had to learn the game over, and at the highest level. Skip’s transition was one of LaRussa’s riskiest moves. It paid off in spades.

9. El Hombre - The Machine - King Albert - Whatever nickname you call him, one moniker stands out above the rest: The Best Player in Baseball. Albert Pujols is one of those guys that won’t need his stats quoted by others just to remember how good he was. When Albert’s career is over, his name will be synonymous with Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial. He’s that good. And I, along with the rest of Cardinal Nation, feel privileged to watch him play.

10. You - On a personal note, I’m grateful to everyone that reads this blog. The St. Louis Cardinals are an historic franchise. Writing about this team is a pleasure. Knowing that people are taking their time out of their busy schedules to read it, that is an honor.

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