ACKERMAN: Cubs’ Success Not A Bad Thing

Tom Ackerman (@Ackerman1120)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – I know… I couldn’t watch it, either. The celebration, I mean.

The game? It was ridiculously entertaining. The Cubs’ 9-8 win over the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS was an emotional roller coaster, a mix of elation and frustration. From the insanity of the fifth inning (with a passed ball and a bat hitting a helmet, a bat hitting a glove, a HBP scoring a run, etc.) to a decision to get seven outs from Wade Davis (it worked, as long as his arm still works), the Cubs-Nats game was pretty wild.

I do feel bad for Max Scherzer, the St. Louisan who was on the mound for the Cubs’ fifth-inning turnaround. But mostly I feel for Washington fans, who haven’t seen a pennant or conference title from one of their teams since 1998. They haven’t PLAYED in a championship round since 1998! That was accomplished by the Washington Capitals. (Bryce Harper was five years old.)

But back to that celebration: Davis struck out Harper for the final out and the call on my TV went something like this…

Ernie Johnson: “He struck him out! And the Chicago – ”

*click*

Anyone connected to the Cardinals will tell you it’s no fun to see the Cubs having success. Heck, one of my listeners was recently upset that I spent too much time discussing the game Friday morning. He didn’t want to hear about the Cubs.

And while I absolutely admire that man’s fandom, the reality is that the Cubs ARE better, and seeing their success only means an increase in the Cardinals’ urgency to get back to that dance.

The Cardinals have owned the NL Central, winning it 10 times since the division was created 23 years ago. But with the 2017 title, the Cubs have now done it five times and are threatening sit at the top for years to come. This is no time to sit back and develop players. It’s time to get aggressive.

Cardinals ownership has the resources to make deals happen to significantly improve the club; it’s just a matter of getting the right fit. Acquiring an MVP-caliber hitter (like Giancarlo Stanton) will require a package of quality prospects and a lot of money. Acquiring another MVP-caliber position player (like Eric Hosmer) likely requires a drastic amount of roster turnover and significant bankroll.

And seeing Wade Davis close out a game from the seventh inning on? We can banter about Joe Maddon’s decision… but do the Cardinals have any relievers on their current staff who could pull that off? Not the way the rotation and bullpen are currently constructed. They’ll have to add a veteran starter and a “brand name” closer to make that happen.

No one is saying it’s easy to watch the Cubs suddenly boast a championship pedigree that we used to know in St. Louis. That fire burns inside of you just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

Here’s the big question: Does it ignite Bill DeWitt Jr. and his front office?

I believe it does.

QUICK HITS: Mizzou and Kansas announced Friday they will play an exhibition basketball game on Oct. 22 at Sprint Center in Kansas City to benefit hurricane relief efforts in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is a wonderful thing. Hats off to Bill Self and Cuonzo Martin for putting something together that raises money and awareness for these victims. Don’t worry about the future of this longtime rivalry; the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will make sure to line these teams up in March… An under-the-radar game in the NFL this weekend with some spice: Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who tried to buy the St. Louis Rams, will host Stan Kroenke’s team on Sunday in Jacksonville.

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