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JACOBER: Goodbye Albert And 2011

Ron Jacober
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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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It’s New Years Day and it’s always kind of amusing to look back at the year and remember what we thought would happen. In this case, sports, but it’s also true in politics and life in general, I guess.

But I’m in the sports reporting/commentary business and have been for some 41 years. I doubt that there’s ever been a year when what I thought would happen–did happen with any accuracy. But we all still do it.

One year ago, the Rams barely missed going to the playoffs by losing in Seattle but there was some optimism that 2011 would be a pretty good year for Sam and the Rams. Prognosticators,and I was among them, figured 2011might be a breakout year. The Rams would win the NFC West and be in the playoffs. Could we have been more wrong?

We smart alecs were pretty pleased with the way the Blues season was going and predicted this would be the year they would not only return to the playoffs, but might go a couple rounds. Could we have been more wrong?

There was optimism about the upcoming Cardinal season but the Albert Pujols contract/free agency situation did temper that optimism somewhat. Most of us who did the predicting felt that in the end, Pujols would sign a big deal, become the modern version of Stan the Man and be a Cardinal forever. Those geniuses among us, figured that Milwaukee would be the Central Division. Well, that was fairly accurate. Milwaukee was very good, but we were so wrong about Albert.

Smart and intelligent and arrogant as we all are, who could have even had a fleeting thought that the Cardinals would wind up pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history and then winning it all in the most improbable way. And, that David Freese would become an instant legend and forever part of Cardinal lore. Or that Tony LaRussa would tip his cap and leave St. Louis with his finger prints on the World Series trophy.

Not even the smartest of the smart alecs could have foreseen the upheaval in the collegiate conferences and that the University of Missouri, one of the rock of the Big 8/Big 12 Conference would pull up stakes for the Southeastern Conference.

So, we are rarely right, rarely accurate. That’s why I going to do it again.

In 2012, the Rams invisible owner, Stan Kroenke will clean house at Rams park and hire another batch of coaches and front office type who will try to draft some players who can play and maybe win a few games. It will be better for Rams nation. They will win 6 games in 2012.

The Blues look like a lock, or close to it, to make the playoffs for a change. This will be the best Blues team in years and they will get to the third round of the NHL playoffs. Ken Hitchcock will be named Coach of the Year.

The Cardinals already have a head start on the new year. Ownership has opened the safe and spent almost as much next year on Rafael Frucal and Carlos Beltran and they would have on Sir Albert. And, with the return of Adam Wainwright, they will win the Central Division and, at the least, get to the NLCS. Winning back to back World Championship almost never happens any more and it won’t with the Redbirds. But, it will be a very good year.

As for Mizzou, the SEC will be a huge challenge. No more cupcakes to eat on the schedule. But they will survive and be bowl eligible…

So, in 365 days, we will look back again. And, see how wrong we were.

Happy New Year!

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