St. Louis Cardinals: The 2016 Birds ARE Samurai Jack

I was one disappointed and marginally angry St. Louis Cardinals fan after yesterday’s pitiful showing against the Chicago Cubs.  I needed a pick-me-up and it came in the form of Samurai Jack.

If you have never watched the cartoon “Samurai Jack” you should take the time now to either jump over to YouTube and watch clips or- if you have Hulu- jump over to the kids section and start watching the episodes there.  Watching might help you understand my point but I will do my best to help you understand the connection I see to the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Samurai Jack” is a very stylized good-versus-evil, David-and-Goliath Japanese folk tale drawn out across several cartoon episodes and seasons.  I started my Saturday by introducing my children to this work that ran on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2016.  In light of the recent St. Louis Cardinal struggles, I needed a little man (Jack) to defeat a Goliath (e.g. Cubs, and other teams that defeated us handily).

In each episode of “Samurai Jack,” Jack is tasked with some insurmountable task of defeating this over-powerful wizard out to destroy him.  In each series of the 2016 season, the Cardinals have faced similar insurmountable tasks as this team has yet to really present themselves as they appear on paper.  Yesterday was a prime example further exemplified by Kolten Wong‘s face-plant in left field.

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In each episode of “Samurai Jack,” Jack must maneuver the magical underworld that he has been banished to by the evil wizard.  In each series of the 2016 season, the St. Louis Cardinals have had to maneuver a disappointing rotation that has lacked magic but had plenty of surprises.  Yesterday’s performance by Mike Leake (and many of his previous starts as well) exemplified the lack of magic and the confounding outcomes.

In each episode of “Samurai Jack,” Jack seemingly wins the day by defeating the forces against him only to have the tables turned at the last minute preventing him from actually and formally defeating the evil wizard.  The 2016 Cardinals season has been very much the same way.  Many series have been won or on the path of a sweep only to allow the opposing team a decisive win.

The Cardinals have only nine games remaining and find themselves in the thick of the wild card hunt, but not by their own efforts (if we are being honest).  The St. Louis Cardinals, before this afternoon’s contest against the Goliath that is the Cubs, currently sit 1/2 game out of the second wild card slot thanks to the slumping Giants.  The Cardinals need to start winning again so that they can take advantage of the weakened Giants.

The evil wizard facing the Cardinals currently is the Chicago Cubs who are out to demoralize the Birds and rightfully so.  The Cubs are a great team so let’s just admit that.  The Cubs should push hard especially since they just secured home field advantage in the playoffs thanks to yesterday’s win and yesterday’s loss by the Nationals.

Will the Cubs yield now?  Should the Cubs rest their players now?  I want the Cardinals to gather wins but I also want them to have to play to win, not win thanks to others losing or yielding.  To that end, I hope the Cubs do not rest and do not yield.  I hope that Mike Matheny must manage and put together a team that fights to win.

Jumping back to “Samurai Jack,” as I stated above, the series has lasted many, many years. This is important because it illustrates Jack’s resiliency.  I needed to see this resiliency to remind me to react similarly to this season’s Cardinals.  My wish is that these Cardinals show the same resiliency and fight hard for these remaining nine games.

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With nine games remaining, I wish Matheny would call closed-door team meetings before each contest as this team seems to show up after these occur.  Please, please find your winning ways, Cardinals.  Do it now.  Show us all the hidden samurai in each of you and remind us of the samurai in each of us too.

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