By Matt Snyder
ST. LOUIS -- Prior to joining the Cardinals, shortstop/second baseman Ryan Theriot had been to the playoffs twice, but his ballclub was swept both times. So before the Cardinals started the NLDS this October against the Phillies, Theriot was 0-6 in career playoff games. Of course, that was with the Cubs, who haven't won the World Series since the Teddy Roosevelt administration.
Upon being traded to the Cardinals this past offseason, Theriot drew the ire of Cubs fans when he remarked that he was finally "on the right side of the rivalry."
The funny thing is, the 2008 Cubs were awesome. Seriously. If you don't remember, they were 97-64 and the top seed in the NL. Their offense led the NL in runs and OPS. Their pitchers led the NL in strikeouts and ranked third in ERA. But they just gagged in the playoffs, getting swept by the Dodgers and generally playing terrible baseball -- errors, no control from the pitchers, etc.
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Having experienced this and now experienced winning two playoff series for a ballclub that last won it all in 2006, Theriot's a good person to ask about the locker room feel for both clubs.
"It's just ... different," he said. "Over there (Chicago in '08) it was a given that we were going to be (in the playoffs). Here, we had to win almost every game down the stretch and didn't really have time to think about pressure."
Were the Cubs pressing, or feeling the weight of the world in 2008?
"I don't know about all that," he said. "It's just ... again, different here."
Does it feel easier to play in a city that's enjoyed so much more success?
"It's just a completely different atmosphere," he said again.
He wouldn't say anything more, likely out of respect for that 2008 Cubs team, but his continued emphasis on the word "different" spoke volumes.
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