ST. LOUIS – A disappointing St. Louis Cardinals season has come to close. The 2023 campaign ends with a record 20 games below .500 (71-91), the Cardinals’ first postseason miss in five years and their first-ever last place finish in the NL Central.

Sunday’s season finale came with plenty of mixed emotions. Longtime ace Adam Wainwright wrapped up an action-packed farewell tour that proved special for just about anyone at Busch Stadium. On the other hand, the Cardinals head home with the reality of a season far below expectation.

Manager Oli Marmol, speaking to Cardinals beat writers ahead of Sunday’s season finale, expressed that this shouldn’t become the norm.

“They are furious and embarrassed as to what happened this year,” said Marmol to St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Goold. “And in no way ever want to repeat it. That goes for me. That goes for every player who is returning.” He echoed a similar sentiment in an article from The Athletic’s Katie Woo with the mindset that preparation for the 2024 season starts now.

Following Sunday’s season finale, FOX 2 joined postgame chats with many St. Louis Cardinals that expressed one common message: This year was not enough.

These were among the postgame comments…

Lars Nootbaar

“It’s disappointing. That kind of goes without saying. I don’t think anybody’s really satisfied with the season we had as a team. Personally, I know I’m very disappointed in myself.”

“We’re going to go into spring ready. We’ve talked as a team. We’ve got high expectations for next year. Take the lumps that came with this year, roll in the next spring and be ready to attack them.”

“The expectations here in St. Louis aren’t anything shy of the World Series. As a unit, we’ve got to be thinking the same thing. I know for a lot of guys and myself, there’s a lot more motivation to come back next year and have a much more successful season.”

“It better light a fire under us.”

Paul Goldschmidt

“There’s high expectations here. They’re talked about at the beginning, the middle and the end of the year. … The results weren’t there this year. The expectations are championships here, we came up short this year. We’ll try our best to make adjustments and be better next year.

“We had some good things happen this year, but it wasn’t good enough. Whether it’s the same group of guys, or a different group of guys, we’re going to have to make those adjustments and play better.”

Willson Contreras

“There are a lot of things to be fixed. This team is known for winning, and this was bad. We know we need some fixing in the team.”

“Everybody here should be leaving sad. There’s nothing to be happy about. It was a sad season, it was a bad season. I’m not happy about it. But having the feeling of going home to another losing season is not here. We came here trying to win, but didn’t win. We just need to get some rest and start looking to 2024.”

“There’s always motivation to come next year and be better. That’s the way I see it. We already have to turn the page. I’m looking forward to being back from the guys in 2024. Win games, learn from each other, help each other and have ownership in what we do.”

Ryan Helsley

“For everybody to self-reflect, being able to just be honest with themselves, ask what we need to get better at. We have a lot of smart and talented guys here. I think they’re going to have good offseasons and be ready to go in spring.”

Tommy Edman

“We can improve in just about every facet of the game. Our hitting, we went through ups and downs throughout the year, We had times when we showed flashes of being one of the best offenses in the league, and we had little slumps otherwise.”

“We can always work on consistency and bouncing ideas off each other. I think that’s something, we’ll stay in touch with this offseason. How each other’s hitting programs are going and that sort of thing. Then obviously there’s some sloppy stuff on the fundamentals side, baserunning and defense.”

“Hopefully we can lock those things in during spring training next year. Hopefully we get back to what Cardinal baseball should be like.”

Jordan Walker

“I’m going to hit [Brendan Donovan] and [Paul Goldschmidt] up and do some work with them. I think that’s the way I should go. Learning from those to guys is the way to go.”

“We’re always motivated. I don’t think our attitude is going to change. Every one of these guys I talked to, their attitude was always to win the game. If we carry that same winning mentality attitude into next year, the guys I talked to, I think we’re going to be just fine.”

Oli Marmol

“You’ll reflect and figure out things you want to make adjustments to, more so the young guys listening to the crowd and reminding them this is what it sounds like every night here. This is what it should feel like every night here when we do our jobs. You can feel it, and you miss that.”

Postgame comments after his pregame comments Sunday.

John Mozeliak

“We just never really got on track. And then I think the pressure started to mount on this team because expectations were real. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We know that. We’re not going to beat ourselves up over it in the sense of we know we have to do some things differently and over the next two to three weeks. We’ll spend a lot of time trying to understand what that strategy should look like. And definitely by the time we get to November, hopefully be able to hit the ground running and start trying to improve this team.”

Pregame comments via Bally Sports Midwest