Going into last weekend’s series with the Cincinnati Reds, all of our attention was turned to Johnny Cueto. He was, and still remains “Public Enemy No. 1” in Cardinals Nation for what he did to Chris Carpenter and Jason La Rue last August.
When a personal emergency denied Cardinals fans their chance to voice their disapproval over his “slap on the wrist” from the league office, we waited patiently for the first Reds trip into St. Louis in 2011. Cueto started the season on the disabled list, which prompted many Cardinals fans to question his courage.
We may have a new “Public Enemy No. 1”
That’s right. In the ninth inning of a blow-out, the Cardinals started a most improbable rally. Francisco Cordero found himself in the game, relieving an ineffective Nick Masset and Aroldis Chapman. With Albert Pujols representing the tying run, Cordero throws a pitch inside and hits Pujols on the hands.
There are two schools of thought, and neither of them really applies to this situation.
One says that the pitcher has every right to throw inside. That’s true, and we often lament the lack of throwing inside by today’s brand of pitcher. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so.
The other says that Cordero was intentionally throwing at Pujols. That is unlikely, especially with Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman coming up to bat, and with only one out. No major league pitcher would be that stupid. None.
What actually happened was that Cordero threw the ball inside carelessly. With his lack of control, he had no business throwing a pitch that far inside against one of the game’s best hitters. It is no more or less complicated than that.
It was a careless play. It was also a dangerous play, because of Cordero’s carelessness. Unlike with Johnny Cueto, there is little opportunity for any of the Cardinals to show their displeasure. Any retaliation will be directed at another player, and when that happens, it will be unfortunate.
Just when we thought the angst had finally played itself out in the rivalry, something new comes along to start it all up again.
It will be a very interesting summer.