St. Louis Cardinals And The Right Way To Play?

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Updated: October 18, 2013
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As the St. Louis Cardinals stand at the doorstep of another World Series trip, the ever-apparent hypocrisy of professional sport is on full display, yet again.

It’s fun to see a team like the Cardinals draft and cultivate talent, especially in baseball, where the gestation period for players can often take six-plus years. But for the Cardinals and its fans to look down on other organizations for “not playing the game the right way,” is asinine and conceited.

There is no better community in American sports at doing this than the St. Louis Cardinals. Just look at the organization’s tweet to the lowly Pirates, who actually gave the Cardinals a run for their money in the Pirates’ first postseason appearance in 20+ seasons. It’s nauseating. “Hey, thanks for participating! Boy are we glad we got to play a classy bunch like the Buccos!”

To say that there is a “right” way to play a game is absurd. The right way to these baseball purists is to spite technology and stand behind old codgers that enjoy the “human element,” i.e., the screw-ups that occur in every baseball game.

As well as celebrating a hit in the playoffs the way Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez did against the Cardinals, apparently per the Cardinals, this was not how baseball players are supposed to conduct themselves. Evidently excitement in the playoffs is off-limits.

There are far too many unwritten rules in baseball. Maybe someone should write these rules down for the rest of the league to see, so that EVERYONE can play the game the “right” way.

If the “right way” is best exemplified by the St. Louis Cardinals, then how is the “right way” played in different, popular American sports?

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Courtesy of

Is there a right way to play college basketball? Well, if there is, look no further than the Wisconsin Badgers in college basketball. Head coach Bo Ryan is 291-113 in his 12 seasons in Madison -that’s a .720 win percentage and what’s more, he’s 143-60 in conference.

The key to success in Madison is the polar opposite of what it is for the Kentucky Wildcats or the Louisville Cardinals. The Badgers adhere to a strict defensive-minded basketball style of play, and features almost no flash (except for awesome names like Bohannon and Bruesewitz -perhaps the best fit of a name and a university of all time), which from time to time, is actually enjoyable to watch…in weeklong stretches.

Yet you never hear Bo Ryan or any of the Badgers players complain about the one-and-done players at Kentucky, or how coach John Calipari at Kentucky or coach Rick Pitino at Louisville recruit the top players year in and year out. Wisconsin just plays the game, their way, not a “right” way.

Courtesy of Josh Levin
Courtesy of Josh Levin

What about the NFL - what’s the right way in their league? The NFL is a copycat league, and that concept has been taken to another level within the last few seasons. There is nothing wrong with innovation - it is the key to progression and success - but would the Wildcat offense or the spread offense be considered the correct traditional way of doing things in football? Most likely not, because before the NFL changed the rules that minimized what a defender could do, the game was based on two premises: power football and defense.

Remember the old adage, “defense wins championships?” Well, that was never more correct than in the football of old. NFL championships could have been won with great defense and a mediocre quarterback. Those days are over - now it’s based on great quarterbacks and innovative offensive play schemes, not defense; the days of the defense being vital are over.

The new way is not the traditional way, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Luckily, the NFL is progressive and not trapped in some sense of right and wrong; rather they rely on the betterment of the sport as opposed to stale tradition. 

Simply put, for a professional athlete to tell a colleague there is a right way to play a game is akin to a musician telling another artist how to record. The hypocrisy of it all reeks of professionals getting paid far too much to play a game.  There’s nothing right about that - someone should tell that to the Cardinals.

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  1. Pingback: TRH RECAP 3: The Relegation Game | The Royal Half

  2. Trent

    February 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Totally agree. Great points you made there.

  3. Matty

    October 21, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Well said. Excitement in the playoffs should not be looked down upon. And you had a lot of interesting points too.

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