October is the best time of year in baseball, unless you are a proud franchise accustomed to postseason play that is sidelined for the second consecutive season.
The frustration boiled over for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017.
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jose De Jesus Ortiz wrote a column that details some of the struggles the Cardinals had this season, mostly with the famed "Cardinal Way." Anonymous fingers were pointing at new players who arrived from other organizations and how they had trouble assimilating into the culture.
Ortiz paraphrases one unnamed Cardinals player two sentences into his column.
"Look around, a Cardinal told me, and see how many of the guys making these mistakes came up through other organizations."
Actually, it's not that new players had trouble following the Cardinal Way. According to the column, new players just didn't care enough, Ortiz wrote.
"On the field, the Cardinals were prone to make poor decisions on the base paths and in the field. In the clubhouse, players were privately griping about the lackadaisical atmosphere that could be described as part chess club, part video arcade, part pingpong tournament."
We never find out who the players "privately griping" were, though it's reasonable to guess they're one of the handful of veteran Cardinals players. Ortiz did mention some other names, though.
"When teams are winning, the chess set, Brett Cecil's video games and Jedd Gyorko's pingpong prowess are embraced as great ways of relieving stress. When teams are winning, teammates hardly ever bother to notice or even care if Dexter Fowler is usually the last guy in the clubhouse and one of the first to leave."
Brett Cecil, Jedd Gyorko and Dexter Fowler were all added to the team within the past two years. Fowler and Cecil signed big-money free agent contracts after the 2016 season. Gyorko was acquired in a trade before the 2016 campaign.
So we have our theme: Cardinals veterans say that new guys who came up in other organizations weren't following "The Cardinal Way," and the team was suffering for it.
To be continued at spring training 2018.
Jemele Hill, the ESPN SportsCenter host whose tweets last month calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist caused the White House to call for her firing, was suspended by ESPN on Monday for again running afoul of the company's social-media policy.
After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would bench any players who "disrespect the flag," Hill suggested on Twitter that fans who disagreed with the former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville player's stance should boycott Cowboys advertisers.
"Change happens when advertisers are impacted," she tweeted. "If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers."
ESPN said in a statement that Hill was suspended for "a second violation of our social media guidelines." A spokesman for the company declined to say which specific guideline she violated and whether she would be paid during the suspension.
"She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet."
Jones's remarks were the most strident comments yet by an owner in the ongoing debate over the players and their right to protest during the anthem.
Sports on 10/10/2017
Print Headline: Cards' lost way blamed on new guys