Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Developing Some Pleasing Family Values

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Developing Some Pleasing Family Values

Article excerpt

To this point, much of the excitement surrounding this baseball season was centered on aesthetics. The new regime calling the shots at 250 Stadium Plaza wracked up beaucoup Brownie points (excuse the reference, Mr. DeWitt) with a little passion and public relations.

The Country Day crowd also has benefited from some makeover work by the outgoing bosses. Fact is, the ballclub would have had a grass yard back in 1991 if it weren't for the misgivings of former general manager Dal Maxvill. The Maxie Taxi staunchly believed the club and its regional supporters were best-served by the rapid and rain-resilient surface artificiale. Several of the other changes in the park and its conglomeration were developed by previous administrators. The renaissance movement has simply been waiting for someone to pull the budgetary trigger.

The changes have been an artistic success. Now, we have reached the halfway point in this season, and it is becoming apparent there are substantial reasons to pay attention. As they began a four-game series in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals were 20-11 in their last 31 games. Those numbers may not impact Western Civilization, won't have people screaming "dynasty," or make us forget the 1967 "El Birdos."

But - to borrow a phrase from Peter Gammons - those numbers are the best in the major leagues over the last five weeks. And what is beneath those numbers is what makes them more enticing. Quite frankly, this team has been a hard read. You expected a pitching staff that included Andy Benes, Todd Stottlemyre, Donovan Osborne and Mike Morgan to be good from the starting line. You had every reason to expect Alan Benes, touted by publications as a potential Rookie of the Year, to thrive among these veterans. For two months, it didn't happen.

You expected a lineup with Ron Gant, Gary Gaetti, Brian Jordan and Ray Lankford in it to be bombastic. You had every reason to believe youngbloods Royce Clayton and John Mabry would prosper in this volatile environment. But Gant got hurt, Jordan slumped, and for two months, the offense was no better than Virvus Jones' word.

It didn't make sense and yet it's starting to all make sense. …

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