Houston Writer says “Don’t Count out the Cards” in 2009

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, writing for the Sporting News, has some very complimentary words for the St. Louis Cardinals coming into the 2009 season.

Here are two excerpts:

“The St. Louis Cardinals also will be competitive. Write it down. Hold me to it. Almost every year, people like me count them out. Almost every year, they prove us wrong.”

“The Cardinals have an impressive organizational confidence. Let the Cubs continue to build a huge payroll. Money guarantees them of nothing. Don’t bet against La Russa.”

Justice also proclaims the Milwaukee Brewers can survive the loss of C.C. Sabathia and most likely Ben Sheets. He doesn’t spill any ink on the Cincinnati Reds or Pittsburgh Pirates between the intro and a 2009 obituary at the very end.

He does slam his hometown Houston Astros, calling ownership “shortsighted” for limiting payroll to $100 million when he estimates it would take $120 million to keep the current team together.

Do the cries sound familiar?

“Instead of getting better, the Astros seem to be getting worse. (GM Ed) Wade didn’t have the minor league talent necessary to pull off a Jake Peavy deal, and if Hampton gets hurt again, the Astros could hit bottom.”

“IF” Hampton gets hurt again? If he is the key to the 2009 Astros, they may as well stop taking season ticket orders now.

No one asked me, but keeping that Houston team together may not be the best thing, anyway.

Apparently, Justice isn’t as cute as the St. Louis columnists or he would come up with a clever name to slam the owner, Drayton McLane. Since “McWallet” wouldn’t be very original, what about “McScrooge”?

I don’t know about you, but I am still amazed the pitching-less Astros found a way to finish ahead of the Cardinals in 2008 and I am pleased that one of their local writers doesn’t see it happening again.