Life in 2023 feels like it is a constant flood of anger and problems, doesn’t it? What a refreshing break last night to simply celebrate Cardinals great Adam Wainwright winning his 199th game.
No, you don’t understand. I love him. Results don’t matter to me, at this point. OK, they do, but the point is that he’s my favorite pitcher, no matter what. He’s absolutely earned the right to pitch poorly in his final season, and the only thing any halfway decent Cardinals fan should say is, “Oh, well, I guess Waino didn’t have it today.”
We’ve gotten weird as each successive round of the Culture Wars seems further proof. In this week’s edition, we learn that mocking someone else’s religion is apparently inclusive while defending other people’s beliefs is far-right. Got that?
I’m from St. Louis, so I have thoughts on baseball. It’s the duty of every St. Louisian. Some of those opinions have been on the rollercoaster of a St. Louis Cardinals team we have this year, which has been historically depressing until suddenly it became exciting a couple of weeks ago. Today, though, my thoughts are on the game itself.
February 28, 2001. A lovely Sunday, and a great day for a Daytona 500. That is, until we lost Dale Earnhardt (Sr). The racing legend began his dominance at the precise time that television and advertising was beginning to make NASCAR—-the pre-eminent stock car racing series here in the US—-visible to a mainstream audience. Earnhardt won 7 season championships in NASCAR’s top series, between 1980 and 1994, and was most likely its most beloved driver by fans. (His son, Dale, Jr., was far and away NASCAR’s most popular driver his entire career.)
Rafael Nadal has now won the French Open—-one of tennis’s major championships—-a mind-boggling 14 times. No other man has won an individual major more than 9 times. In this era of the “Big Three” —- Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic —- the trio have captured an absurd 62 major championships. Recall that there are 4 major championship tournaments in a calendar year. Nadal is now two majors clear of both rivals for the most career majors among men.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a defensive dynamo at third base, the perennial Gold Glove winner, who also provides middle of the order punch to the offense, and makes them a yearly threat to be world champions. His name is Scott Rolen.
At the end of August, the U.S. Open tennis tournament will begin in Flushing, New York. Novak Djokovic has recently won Wimbledon, bringing his total of major titles to 20, equaling him with Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. Someone is likely to be the all-time leader in men’s major titles alone at the end of this tournament.
She’s already the greatest gymnast of all time. She could have not come to the Tokyo Olympics at all, and this would be true. The United States was projected to win the team competition by a full point and a half, with Biles at full strength. In a competition normally decided by tenths of a point, this is comically absurd.
Wimbledon began on June 28. After not being contested in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, tennis’s premier tournament is back. This era of tennis has been utterly dominated by three men: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. If Djokovic were to win the tournament, he would join Federer and Nadal at the very top of the all-time list, in terms of major victories, with 20. Most observers believe that since Djokovic remains at the top of the rankings at this very moment, and is five years younger than Roger Federer, while being more dominant on all surfaces than Nadal, he will be the most decorated major champion in tennis history before long. Roger Federer, the great Swiss legend, still has something to say about that, at age 39.