Q: In the early 2000’s the Cardinals were one of the best teams. The Cardinals ownership realized their model wouldn’t keep working though. The influx of money meant that small market teams could keep their stars, and players were getting more expensive in general. The early 2010’s were a repeat or the early 2000’s, but the game has changed again. We found out that tank and rebuild can work, and the Dodgers started spending like the super power they are. The Cardinals model is great for making the playoffs, because you can get by on the bad teams, but it’s terrible for winning the World Series. There is a key difference now and when the team replaced Jocketty. Changing the model won’t make Dewitt any more money. In fact it would cost him. Just spending doesn’t guarantee success. The Cardinals could spend on a true in their prime star, and teams like the Dodgers can still beat them because they have multiple players like that themselves. Spending would only give the Cardinals a real fighting chance instead of hoping for a miracle. I sincerely understand/appreciate why Dewitt doesn’t want to change the model, but do you think there is ever a point where a large portion of the fan base isn’t content with just getting in?
A: I think the difference comes down to how success is defined, and the Cardinals have made their definition pretty clear. It's being annually competitive, fielding yearly a team that they feel can win the division, because a team that can win the division can make a run. Last season's outcome shows the difference of opinion. DeWitt can say, hey, we reached the NLCs and lost to the team that won the World Series. Proof. And his critics can say, well, your team did not have much of a chance against that Nationals team, and it showed. Proof. There's the difference. The column I wrote about Cardinals fans not stomaching a rebuild didn't say the team should not or cannot change its thinking on the kind of big-splash additions they have found reasons to shy away from in the past. It was about them knowing what is being proven true once again this season -- that any hint of a Cardinals season that does not field a team aimed at competing this season is not going to please a fanbase that is hungry for a relevant season, year in and year out. I don't think St. Louis would handle a wipe-the-slate-clean rehab, period. I think a decision like that would be looked back on as a mistake, by all.