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What Mr. DeWitt might have been thinking

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2009 - It’s nice when the chairman and principal owner of a Major League Baseball team sends you a personal note of thanks following a successful season. I got one this week from William O. DeWitt III of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Well, I’m among the hundreds of thousands of fans who received it, but hey, it was still a nice gesture.

But, of course, I have to sink to a low level and mock the poor guy, right?

This is all in good fun. I put myself in Mr. DeWitt’s mind for a bit and you get to “read between the lines” as to what I would have been thinking if I were him as I penned this later.

Those thoughts are italicized.

To Our Great Fans,
Who are often called sheep.

Thank you for another great season!
I made a lot of money.

Although a disappointing early exit from the playoffs is still fresh in our minds, I think it is appropriate to reflect on some of the great things that happened during the 2009 season.
I still can’t believe we crashed and burned like that against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The team won the National League Central Division for the seventh time this decade.
We’re lucky to be in the NL Central.

Albert Pujols had another MVP-caliber season, and pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are both candidates to win the National League Cy Young award.
While I’m willing to pay Albert what he wants to stay with the Cardinals, I too am getting a bit tired of his act. I didn’t like his abrupt exit following the Game Three NLDS loss to the Dodgers, didn’t like reading of his concerns about a future contract in an AP story based on a Dominican radio interview and didn’t like reading in the newspaper about his elbow surgery. He needs to remember I’m his boss.
Adam Wainwright proved to me he is the staff ace with his Game Two start in the NLDS.
Chris Carpenter might win a second Cy Young, but he didn’t win a game in the NLDS and was awful in his start. I’m genuinely concerned about his future and the investment made to him.

Our young players and newer additions all made significant contributions to the team on the field.
We had to threaten Tony La Russa with his job to get him to play some of these young guys and Khalil Greene’s woes actually worked in the team’s favor because Brendan Ryan got a chance at shortstop. That was luck, not managerial strategy.

St. Louis was the center of the baseball world in July as we hosted the 2009 All-Star Game which featured three Cardinals on the NL roster and a first pitch from the President.
I purposely didn’t include the President’s last name because I know many of you embarrassed the city and yourselves by booing him. His last name is Obama, by the way.

All-Star week included dozens of activities and events that brought excitement and significant economic activity to downtown St. Louis.
I made a lot of money.

Despite challenging economic conditions, you continued to support the Cardinals at the ballpark.
I made a lot of money, even as those around me were losing jobs and income.

We drew 3.3 million fans to Busch Stadium, surpassing the 3 million mark for the 9th time this decade and the 13th time in franchise history.
A lucky 13. When the season began, we thought we would be lucky to reach 2.8 million. But I did OK acquiring Mark DeRosa, Matt Holliday, Julio Lugo and John Smoltz and that helped us win and increase attendance. Better yet, we only paid Holliday for a few months and the Red Sox were paying Lugo and Smoltz. As a result, I made a lot of money.

As the decade draws to a close, it's worth noting that it will go down as one of the most successful periods in Cardinals history.
What are the chances of me owning this team in 2020? Slim and none and Slim just left town.

We led the National League with 913 victories, won two N.L. pennants and a World Championship, and drew a remarkable 34 million fans.
I don’t care who you are or how you feel about La Russa, Dave Duncan or me, this really is impressive.

As we look to 2010 and the decade in front of us, we are hopeful that your support will continue to lay the foundation for our success.
I’m sure 3 million of you will show up next year, even if we win 70 games all year.

Our commitment to excellence in all aspects of the organization is as strong as ever.
I’m going to pay Pujols a king’s ransom, but Holliday and his money-mad agent Scott Boras are talking $160 million-$180 million. It ain’t happening.

On behalf of ownership, management, and the players, thank you again for your incredible support of the St. Louis Cardinals.

See you next April.
Bring your wallets and purses.

Sincerely,

William O. DeWitt III

Alvin A. Reid is editor of the St. Louis Argus and a weekend host on the new ESPN 101.1 FM. His weekly Major League Baseball - St. Louis Cardinals column, which is now published on The Beacon website, was honored by the Missouri Press Association as Best Sports Column in 2004 and 1999. He is co-author of the book, "Whitey's Boys: A Celebration of the 1982 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals" and was a member of the inaugural staff of USA TODAY Baseball Weekly. 

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