That's where MLB-a-Culpa comes in. After all, for the sake of transparency, honesty and credibility, when an egregious error is made, amends must be made.
Dear Tony La Russa & Co.:
Yeah, uh, well, this is just a bit awkward.
I mean, here we are. It's the first week in September and your St. Louis Cardinals have a 79-56 record and a 10.5 game-lead on your next closest "competitors." The only drama that's left in your season is whether you can earn homefield advantage for the NLCS and whether Dave Duncan will stick around. You've been kicking butt and taking names, etc. No one wants to see you in the postseason.
And yet in our not-so-infinite wisdom, both Dave Brown and I each picked you to finish fourth in the division when we did our NL Central preview at the beginning of the season.
For that pair of giant oversights, we can only offering the following: Whoops! MLB-a-Culpa!
Honestly, I don't have any idea what we were thinking. Everyone and their podiatrist was picking the two-time defending division champ Cubs, but to build a limb that had both the lowly Brewers and Reds — currently a combined 16 games below .500 — finishing ahead?
In our defense, we had no way of knowing that you'd be able to trade for Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa(notes) would be available in a Cleveland fire sale, Joel Pineiro(notes) would put together a career year, Julio Lugo(notes) would save face after switching leagues or that your bullpen would resurrect itself under the direction of a first-time All-Star with a bush on his chin.
Still, we have no excuse for underestimating what Chris Carpenter(notes) and Adam Wainwright(notes) were capable of, forgetting that the world's best baseball player calls Busch Stadium his home or not respecting the fact that La Russa and Duncan are still calling the shots.
Combine that core with an opportunistic front office that went for the kill once they saw the deficient Cubs being handicapped by their never-ending sale and you obviously had a great plan for success, St. Louis. It's no wonder you're doing what you're doing.
Earlier this morning, Roto Arcade's Scott Pianowski wrote that the Cardinals have become one of the most fun to watch teams and even being from Chicago's North Side, I can't say that I disagree. You had a great plan, executed it well and now are enjoying the results.
We just wish we could have said we saw it coming. Again, our bad.
Best wishes in the postseason,
PS — If you would, please share this sentiment with the Detroit Tigers. We gave them no shot in the AL Central, either.
PPS — Under no circumstances will we apologize for that previous shot at Imo's.