Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, the champions of the National League Central Divsion. The division is certainly not the strongest in baseball, but the Cardinals are contending for the best record in the league, so their accomplishment shouldn’t be taken lightly. What’s especially impressive, is how they managed to overcome major injuries to Mark McGwire, and Fernando Tatis, who each missed about half the season. I thought when the Cards acquired Darryl Kile, Pat Hentgen, and Andy Benes, that at least one of them would be a bust. Benes got injured late in the year, but none of them has been a bust. In fact, the Cards’ rotation has been baseball’s best in the second half. That is partly how they overcame the absence of McGwire. Will Clark was also a huge boost, but so was the second-half re-emergence of Ray Lankford and Fernando Tatis, who were invisible in the first half. Next on my wish list: a first round matchup with Atlanta, and not the Mets. I don’t like how the Cards lefty-heavy lineup, (Vina, Drew, Edmonds, Clark, Lankford) matches up with New York lefties Al Leiter, Mike Hampton, Dennis Cook and John Franco.