Friday, August 13, 2010

Cubs vs. les Petites Garces

Comparisons to the Cubs always cause things to turn ugly.
Brandon Phillips is a poet. You can read his finest work . . . well, just about anywhere, but I like how it appears in this piece about why the St. Louis Post-Dispatch decided to quote Phillips verbatim. The article is more about journalism than sports, but I wish the Chicago sports columnists and beat writers would make more of an effort to explain why they report the way they do. (I suspect they don't because the method behind their madness is nothing to be proud of, but I'm just guessing.) It was refreshing to see another city's paper explain their reasoning professionally.

As for Phillips' reasons for making his public comments in the first place, most people seem to agree he was trying to pump up his teammates or intimidate the Cardinals or some combination of both. Opinion is divided as to how stupid it was of Phillips to call out the opposing team before such an important series. Marlon Byrd added some good player perspective on rivalries:

When you have competition against the same teams over and over again, you start to develop a hate. It’s not like you want to kill them, but you want to beat them. Every time you go out there, you want the 10-run rule. You want to shut them out. I just think that’s healthy competition.

But no one will classify the rant as the most brilliant competitive tactic in the history of baseball. The Cardinals swept the Reds, so there's no arguing its lousy effectiveness. There's also no arguing its pinpoint accuracy.

In all the critiques, reactions, responses, and mockeries offered up about Phillips' evaluation of the Cardinals as "little bitches," I haven't heard one shred of dissent about that comment. Hordes of people have said Phillips was stupid to say it, but I have yet to read a single sentence accusing him of being wrong.

So as the Cubs head into St. Louis for the first time all year (and it's absolutely nuts that it has taken this long), I hope the Cubs win them all. It won't redeem this season. It won't end the Cardinals' season. But it would feel good to see them do it. The Cubs would be happy. The Cardinals would be grumpy. And Brandon Phillips would rejoice in the success of his beloved Cubs. In his glorious words, "Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals."

Amen, Brandon. Amen.

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