The will to win.
It's inherent in some people; lacking in others. And the collective force of individuals forms a team will that can be very predictive of the future...
The Cardinals are now 10-11 in one run games in 2010.
We can sit here and ask how a team paying almost 40 million dollars, close the payroll of the Marlins team, to it's 3 and 4 hitters, can go entire games without scratching out even 1 run. But this is baseball. Over the course of 162 games, you're going to have off nights at the plate. But I think the stat above is much more telling, because it paints a broader picture of the character of this team.
What it's showing me is that, while expectations are still high, this unit of men doesn't really have the 'hammer' when the outcome of any particular game is in the balance. They lack the testicular fortitude to impose their will on other teams and win when winning is in doubt.
They're mentally weak.
And that doesn't bode well for the post-season, my friends. Not at all.
In fact, I'd submit to you, that games like last nights meek 1-0 loss to the LA Dodgers are the kinds of losses that are more effectual than we'd like to admit. You think Chris Carpenter is happy that a night's hard work is all for naught because Matt Holliday didn't work the count or Skip Shumaker couldn't get on base? Do you believe that he isn't harboring some resentment for his mates that looked like they'd rather be at Nobu than Chavez Ravine? Are you certain that these guys even give the least bit of flying fuck about each other?
I'm not so sure anymore.
Of all the Cardinal teams that had a championship pedigree, this is the one time that I can honestly say that everyone involved seems to be in it for themselves. And that's not to say these guys don't individually want to win or that they can't win. But it doesn't feel like a team that's going to necessarily be pissed at themselves for screwing Carp out of a win. Or that would even think about it for 10 seconds after the game, for that matter.
We never hear these guys talk about one another. Never snapping at reporters when they ask probing questions about teammate's struggles.
10-11 doesn't mean almost average. It's a referendum on a teams spine.
In the Cardinals case, they're going to need to decide fairly quickly if that snapshot of the first 1/3 of the season is the norm or aberration.
I'm starting to lose faith that it's the latter.
Prince? What say you?