The Cardinals are off to an abysmal 1-5 start to Spring Training. The sky is falling, people are running in the streets…locusts are decending!!!
Well, not quite that bad, but there is something to be gleaned from Tony LaRussa’s club’s spring performance. For example, the Cardinals have made the playoffs eight times in TLR’s 14 seasons as manager. And in each of those post-season years, they’ve had at least a .500 record on the Grapefruit League. In LaRussa’s first Cardinal spring, they went 15-15. In each of the other seven post-season years, they had winning spring records.
In the two years LaRussa has compiled a losing spring record, 1998 and 2003, the club has responded with disappointing third place finishes in the regular season.
So we can glean that winning begets winning, and losing in the spring begets disappointment.
Then you have to dig deeper. LaRussa’s best Cardinal spring? 1997, when they went 21-11. That spring preceded one of LaRussa’s losing regular seasons with the Cards, as they went 83-79. And in 2006, the Cards went 15-14 (.517) in the spring, and went 83-78 (.516) during the regular season. Then they went 11-4 (.733) in the post-season.
So, as with most of baseball, as Joaquin Andujar so correctly said, youneverknow.