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St. Louis Cardinals Feel Philadelphia Pain Over Adam Wainwright Injury and Failed Signing of Albert Pujols


The St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 season is starting off in horrific fashion. First, the organization failed to reach an agreement with Albert Pujols on a new contract, which all but ensures he'll test the free agent market and leave St. Louis after the season.

Then this morning news broke of Adam Wainwright's "significant" elbow injury, which all but means Tommy John surgery for one of the top five pitchers in baseball. And, when a pitcher undergoes elbow ligament replacement surgery it doesn't just mean they'll miss an entire season, but rather they won't be the same pitcher again for two seasons. It's a 12-to-18 month rehabilitation process, but really the Cardinals can't count on Wainwright being the Adam Wainwright of 2009 or 2010 until 2013.

As a Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers fan I can emphathize with the Cardinals' disastrous preseason. In fact, the majority of us in Philly can relate. If any fanbase understands the horrifying side of sports, it's us. We endured the Sixers' lost decade of the 90's. We endured 17 mostly dreadful years of Phillies baseball, with the exception of 1993. We have experienced a frustrating, yet exciting era of Philadelphia Eagles football (under Andy Reid) where they have come up short countless times in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. Ultimately, we have encountered heartbreak after heartbreak during a 25-year championship drought in which all four of our teams failed in the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, and Stanley Cup Finals.

It's hard for Cardinals fans to be positive and rightfully so at this point. Sure, the Cardinals can make a move and get another starter in there, but Wainwright is about as good as they get. Only four pitchers in the past four seasons have thrown over 400 strikeouts and had an ERA below 3.00. And, Wainwright is one of them. The other three are Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Tim Lincecum. And, they each won Cy Young Awards. Wainwright was in the running for the Cy Young Award two years in a row and got robbed of it in 2009.

As far as Albert Pujols is concerned, it would be foolish to sign him for a 10-year $300 million contract. The Cardinals aren't the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers or even the Phillies. They just don't generate the revenue to justify that type of spending. Not to mention it just gives Scott Boras more ammunition to seek outlandish money for his clients. But, at the same time it would behoove the Cardinals to consider tanking it this season and getting everything they can for Pujols by trading him to a contender, much like the Indians did when they shipped C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers in 2008.

Some team will be willing to take on Pujols for half a season and give up prospects in return. At this point, that's about all Cardinals fans can hope for in 2011.

In Philadelphia, we feel your pain. Our beloved Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 2004 and all hell broke loose in training camp during 2005, which became known as a "lost season" thanks to one Terrell Owens. The Eagles finished 5-11 that season, which was the Eagles' worst season since 1999.

Cardinals fans are among the most diehard and loyal fans in professional sports. Hopefully for their sake, better days will be ahead. Today will go down as a dark day in St. Louis Cardinals history.

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Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com