Cubs got next…just not sure when

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St. Louis Cardinals, 2011 World Series Champions (Eric Gay, Associated Press)

As you all know, the rival Cardinals just won the World Series in one of the best set of games most of us have seen in recent years.  It wasn’t always pretty, but it was definitely exciting and will be remembered for years to come.  Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, the 2011 World Series champions.  Hopefully the looting won’t be any worse than usual…after all, it is St. Louis.

What next?  The Cardinals have to figure out if they can afford Albert Pujols, and they’ll get Adam Wainwright back from injury.  They’ll also retain Tony LaRussa as manager, and as good as TLR has been over his career, he’s done some really stupid shit through this series that I won’t bore you with (it’s all over the internet anyway).  Ryan Theriot did get his ring but played like he needed to be demoted to Double-A.  Guys like Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday got their first championships, and so did Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel.  That’s what major league players play for.  That’s what most of us as kids wish we could achieve (that and curing cancer or inventing warp drive, but you know what I mean).  It’s what we as Cubs fans hope that the Cubs can achieve sometime soon, preferably before we die.

I know a lot of Cubs fans are disappointed that the Cardinals won.  There are a lot of things to be admired about our fiercest rivals though.  They always seem to produce effective players.  They definitely know how to win, as they are perennially in the playoffs and have won 18 pennants in their history.  This championship was their 11th.  The Cardinals are doing something right, be it coaching, play on the field, player development, etc.  That’s a lot of stuff the Cubs under Theo Epstein will study and emulate and improve upon.  There’s really no point in continuing to hate on the Cardinals.  They’ve already won.  We move on.  And since they won, by default, no, they don’t suck.  Ryan Theriot does suck though, and if the Cards are any kind of smart they won’t retain him after this season.  There are a lot of things being said about Theriot being on the “right side” of the rivalry, but you can’t dispute that looking at the history of these two franchises.  Until the Cubs emulate the Cardinals and get into the playoffs nearly every year, win more pennants and get that championship, the Cardinals ARE the right side of the rivalry.  That’s hopefully going to change as Theo and crew fix our favorite team and exploit the superior resources we have in Chicago.

It will be very difficult for the Cardinals to repeat their World Series success next season.  Of course, the Pirates and Astros will still suck (at least until the Astros make their alleged move to the AL), and there’s a good chance the Cubs will continue to suck without some magic and incredible luck.  The Reds might bounce back, and as before, the Cards will still have a pretty good team with or without Pujols.  We don’t know what will happen with Milwaukee but they’re likely losing Prince Fielder.  It’s theoretically possible for the Cubs to sneak into the playoffs in 2012, and that would be a pleasant surprise.  With all the potential turnover in the National League Central, though, it’s conceivable that things will change in a hurry.

Congratulations to the Cardinals again, but beware the Cubs…Chicago is hungry and poised to strike.

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