As the calendar turns over to July every year, the baseball rumor mill starts whirling at full speed, because as of August 1, trades become increasingly more difficult to facilitate. So as we move ever closer to that looming trade deadline, I want to talk about the hope... and despair that comes with being in the hunt. As things sit right now, as I write this, the St. Louis Cardinals sit a mere 4 games back in the NL Central race. This is by no means an insurmountable task and given the teams injuries and unbelievably poor hitting this season, the Cardinals truly appear to be in the hunt for the playoff spot from the division. But that is where the problem lies. This is a dangerous place to be for Cardinals fans and players alike. We have hope that we can pull out of it, and there is increasing pressure to leverage the teams future for a push to overtake the Brewers down the stretch this season. This hope is dangerous, because one wrong move can send an organization spiraling downwards in a cycle that they cannot get out of for a number of years. Now, let's be realistic for a second. The Cardinals are very unlikely to make a single move that cripples them for a decade, but, we have seem teams that are in this situation for a few years in a row make a series of moves from which they never recover.
Being a fan of a team that constantly resides of the bubble of good and great can be one of the most agonizing parts of being a fan. I am going to go ahead and argue that it is worse that cheering for a team that perpetually loses. Because, in that continual losing, you come to expect losses and a good season is a pleasant surprise, but living on the bubble is agonizing because your team is right there... they are sooo close... you can almost taste it. That has been the case for Pacers fans the last 3 years. Each year, they looked like they might overtake the Heat and knock them off their pedestal at the top of the East. But every year they came up short. Bird and the other top management made a series of moves and offered big contracts to players they deemed necessary to beat the Heat. Yet as the season progressed, Pacers fans had to watch a slow steady decline that lead to being eliminated yet again by the Miami Heat. As we sit here this offseason, our team had no draft picks and very little financial flexibility to go out and get one more piece to take that team over the top. They made the moves last year to put themselves in position to beat the heat. They made the moves because the hope was that this was the year the Pacers could surpass them. They made moves that ended in despair again. While hope can be an inspiring thing, a thing that can push a team over the hump and give them a rallying cry to bring them together. Hope can also be a devastating thing when things don't pan out. Leave us wondering what could have been.
All that said, I am checking the MLB and NBA rumors sites daily in hopes that an amazing deal happens and the Pacers/Cardinals are one step closer to victory.
Thanks for reading,
-T.O. signing out