Thursday, October 29, 2009

give me all you've got... I won't break your heart

Right. Okay. Well, then....

So I've been mulling over this latest development at Camp Cardinals, and trying desperately to put into words all that I'm thinking, but (as you might imagine) it's pretty difficult.

I love Big Mac.

No, not the sandwich. (I actually don't like Big Macs.)

I don't really care what you think of me regarding that love, and I completely understand that I'm in the minority with my feelings.

But still, I love him.

I've written about this before, and I don't particularly want to revisit it right now, especially considering that the 2010 pre-season promises to be chock full of MacGoodness until we're all vomiting blood and cursing the national sports media with our dying breaths. So there's no need to burn it all out this early. Best to save some bile for later.

Don't get me wrong, I like Hal McRae. I like recognizing him when his infamous "Royal Rant" is played on the "Top Most Outrageous Sports Meltdowns". I like seeing his hat perched precariously on the peak of his head, ready to fall at any moment. I like his enormous and slightly mischievous smile. Unfortunately, when you're the hitting coach and your team gets swept out of the playoffs due largely to a complete lack of hitting, you probably shouldn't make any plans for redecorating your office.

Mark McGwire may not be the answer, but the better half of the Bash Brothers belongs in a Cardinals uniform for the rest of time, as far as I'm concerned, and if he has to actually wear the uniform for the rest of time to make that a reality (rather than the immortalization I'm hoping for), well, then, so be it.

If nothing else, I guess this effectively settles the question of who will next wear number 25. It will be none other than number 25 himself.

Welcome back, Mac.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

fizzle... pop... dead

We played hard and lost. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

Good season, everyone. Now go home and rest up, because Spring Training is only about five months away.

I guess it wasn't meant to be.

(pause for dramatic effect)

Oh, well. There's always next year. (Egads, did I just say that? Deep breath, I will not turn into a Cubs fan.)

I like a good underdog, so I'll be rooting for the Rockies and Twins.

Where do the other playoff teams stand? Glad you asked? (And yes, I realize you didn't actually ask.)

  • I heard on ESPN yesterday(?) that it might be "a while before they can play competitive baseball in Colorado again."
  • Minnesota, with ankles in hands, are on the verge of a fate similar to the Cards.
  • The BoSox were swept out of their series as well.
  • No promises, but if it comes down to the Yankees and the Dodgers, I might just put in a DVD and forget about baseball altogether.

The offseason should be interesting, if nothing else.

  • TLR and Dave Duncan may or may not be back. I would love for them to return, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • Matt Holliday will probably end up with the Yankees (unless you believe in karma).
  • Mark DeRosa will probably end up back with the Cubs (or possibly the Padres).
  • Troy Glaus won't sign anywhere this offseason, but I expect him to get ST invites.
  • Rick Ankiel will NOT get everything Scott Boras thinks he's worth, but he won't do too badly. He'll stay in the NL, because as we all saw this year, his defense is much better than his offense.
  • Joel Pineiro will get a 1-year deal to stay with the Cardinals.
  • Jason Motte has seen the last of big league action for a while.
  • Todd Wellemeyer... well, it's hard to say if he'll get any interest this winter, but he's a very likable guy, and I hope he gets another chance. Somewhere else. Cause, well, likable is nice and all, but I want to win next year.
  • John Smoltz will definitely get interest, but I'm not entirely sure he wants to come back, regardless of what he says. I'd love to see him back in a Cardinals uniform, but that's a hard one to pick.

I guess that's the upside of a long season--you don't have to wait too long for another chance.

(forced smile)



I'm just going to bury my face in a pillow and cry for a few weeks.

One more season over, one more opportunity missed.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

the games that play us

All of this means nothing if you can't knock down that shot.

Does a 162-game season really come down to this? One game? Can you win 91 games and the division and still go home with nothing to show?

Yes. And no.

We will slump our shoulders and shuffle off the field, knowing that for now, for this moment in time, we are losers.

We played hard.... We have nothing to be ashamed of.

But there was a lot to be proud of during the regular season this year. Lots of drama. Lots of hard work. Lots of excitement. Lots of unforgettable moments (and a few we'd maybe rather forget). All in all, it was a blast. Sure, the last few weeks were pretty rough, but with a 162-game season, you can't really expect every day to be peaches.

Less than what we wanted? Yes.

But nothing to show? No way.

Minutes away from the start of this playoff game.

Will it be the last? Or the first?

I told you if you missed that shot it was all for nothing, but I was wrong.

It matters.

No regrets.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

can we play a meaningful game, already?

I have started this post over and over, looking for the right words to tell you how I'm feeling, but in all honesty, I don't know how I'm feeling (unless you count sick as a dog with something flu-like). Truly, it's hard to know what to say or how to feel about a team that played so hard and clinched the division and then just decided to bag the rest of the season. Am I supposed to be excited? Disappointed? Outraged? Yes and no, I guess.

The post-celebration season was a drag. Nothing interesting happened, and while it was really no fun to watch, we can at least take solace in the fact that nothing disastrous happened, either. Maybe that was the point. Maybe it was all pre-arranged to prevent serious injury. It would have been nice, however, if they could have managed one or two more wins. You know, just to get the enthusiasm up a little headed into the playoffs. But, whatever.

Like I said, I had a lot of trouble conjuring up any emotion (one way or the other) about the situation, but then I thought, "wait, what about some emotionless writing to convey my emotionless thoughts?" And if you've ever read or written nurse's notes, you know that it doesn't get much more emotionless than that.

So, here's my best attempt at NN (nurse's notes) to describe what has been a less than impressive season finale...
  • 9/26/09 2230 Team in playoffs p clinching against Col. Celebrating c alcohol in clubhouse. Media present. A&O x2, unable to identify time of day/date or purpose possibly r/t ETOH consumption. Team pleasant, smiling, cooperative. VS 120/80 72 20 98.6o. Skin warm, dry. LCTA. Respirations even. BSx4. No c/o pain or discomfort. No distress noted.
  • 10/1/09 1600 Team c one win of three in Cin series. A&O x4. Mood labile. Denies SI/HI. Catcher c/o pain in L knee p incident c foul ball. Reports pain as "8" on 1-10 scale. Unable to bear weight L leg. Swelling & bruising noted to area. Pedal pulses present B. Prn pain meds given as requested. Ice pack applied. Player replaced. VS 114/66 98 24 98.0o. Skin warm, dry. Respirations even. BSx4.
  • 10/4/09 1830 Team swept by division foes. Regular season over. Three series losses to end season. VS 102/60 110 28 96.7o. Skin cool, clammy. Respirations labored. Lung sounds diminished B @ bases. Oral mucosa pink, moist. Cap refill 2 seconds. No cyanosis noted. Sa02 90%. 02 applied per NC @2L/min. HOB elevated. A&O x4. Mood anxious.
Hopefully, the post-season adrenaline will kick in and we'll stop the bleeding and survive the NLDS.



Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yikes. I'll write more later, but for now suffice it say that after much too much waiting and worrying and wondering, we have finally clinched the National League Central.


Fate = Yadi coming out and LaRue breaking up the 3-3 tie.

If we end up playing the Rox in the playoffs, it will most likely be a bloodbath.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"We're saving all the runs for the Cubs"

So said a Busch Stadium usher as we were leaving yesterday. I can only assume he has some inside information to which the rest of us are not privy. I guess we'll find out this weekend.

The game yesterday was the first I'd been to since Chris Duncan was traded. I gotta say, I caught myself (more than once) glancing down at the dugout, looking for number 16. It was kind of haunting, because I could still see him there stretching before the game. Running in from left field. Taking swings in the on-deck circle. But he wasn't there. And it was sad.

Actually, the whole game was sad. There wasn't much to cheer about, and it didn't end the way every other game I've ever been to (and yes, I may be exaggerating) has ended. Even my lucky jersey couldn't get it done.

Josh Johnson would be great in the Cards rotation. Just saying.

If you'd told me at the beginning of the season that on September 17, with 15 games left to play, that we'd have an 8.5 game lead in the division and a magic number of 9, I'd have been a happy camper. Ecstatic. So why am I frustrated? Because the Cards have lost 5 of their last 6 and have let a 12.5 game lead get whittled down. This series with the Cubs, while not make-or-break, is certainly important. Too important to let Kyle Lohse pitch, as a matter of fact.

The UCB is finalizing its latest project, so head over and check out The Top 7 Prospects and find out whom the participating bloggers are predicting to be big parts of the organization's future. One more thing. I've decided that since my pledge of canned goods for Cardinals wins hasn't really gone very well so far, I'll change things up. (I was going to abandon the plan entirely, but I'm not sure that would be the most charitable thing to do.) So from now on, I'll donate canned goods, but it won't be based on anything the Cardinals do. So win. Lose. Whatever. I'm on my way to the food pantry.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

back to your regularly scheduled programming

Sorry about the earlier craziness. My PTBD (Post-Traumatic Bullpen Disorder) got the better of me.

Looking for a silver lining in today's loss, I guess you could focus on the fact that it wasn't the bullpen, as Carp was touched for a whole basket-full before the 'pen ever had a chance to lose it. Oh, and Thompson didn't look half bad. If you can call that a silver lining.

So the magic number remains at 11. The lead over Chicago drops to 9.5 (with the Cubs win over Cincinnati). The losing streak climbs to 3. It's going to be okay, though. It's hard to say that I'm not nervous, but contrary to what my earlier posts may have suggested, I'm not really panicking. Just thinking. Hard. About what this team needs. And there's only one thing I can come up with.

We need a closer.

If Franklin can get his stuff figured out and be effective once again, fine. If we need to put Smoltzie in that role for the remainder of the regular season, fine. If one of the other relievers can step up and take over, fine. And if we need to look outside the organization for back-end help, and I'm looking right at you, John Mozeliak, F I N E. After all, you can't do all the "remodeling" we've done this year, just to have it all fall apart at the end of the season because you can't close out games.

Anyway, I'm taking my daughter to the game on Wednesday. It's a day game, so no late-night navigating through downtown. Seats in my favorite section. 4 tickets for 2 bodies, so plenty of room to maneuver and hold the copious amounts of stuff necessary to keep her entertained so I can concentrate on the game. Scheduled to see Joel take on Josh Johnson, so it promises to be a good game. As long as the weather holds out, I'm looking forward to a fun afternoon. Plus, shopping afterwards. See you there!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Thoughts I had while watching the travesty of a game we were subjected to this afternoon:
  • I blame big Fox. Mark Grace may be the biggest suck-up in the history of announcing, and Chris Rose makes me want to chew on glass just to drown him out.
  • So the Braves temporarily forgot how to play baseball, and it all began with Chipper Jones doing his best third base coach impression while running from third to home on a play that should have easily scored him. No one, including Chipper, knew exactly what he was doing.
  • Ahead by one in the eighth, three "errors" in a row for the Braves led to two runs and the (temporary) lead for the Cardinals. Is this real? Did they really just boot three easy grounders? Wow.
  • Ryan Franklin obviously cut his beard, a move that sapped all his power and left him impotent and unreliable. Yeah, I said it. What?
  • Maybe it wouldn't hurt the team to lose a few. Bring them back down to earth. Give them just enough of a scare to kick their butts back into gear.
  • I hate playing the bottom of the ninth at home, but I love walk-offs. This game, unfortunately, did not end with one.
  • This team, the one that lost today even with the gift that was the eighth inning, will not make it far in the playoffs. After today, I wouldn't even hold my breath for them to make it to the playoffs. I'm not trying to be an alarmist, but PANIC PANIC PANIC....

ahh, disappointment

How long had it been since the Cards had dropped a series opener? 11 series? 12? Well, no matter. We can still win the set, right? All is not lost.

The Cubs did manage to gain a game on St Louis, a feat they haven't accomplished for well over a month, but at still 10.5 games back, we probably don't need to worry yet.

Magic number remains at 12. Unfortunately this means at least one more day until I can put up my "11" (or better yet "10") picture in the sidebar.

The worst part of last night's game? Not the quiet bats or the ridiculously bad umpiring or even the TWO errors by The Best Player in Baseball. No, the worst part was that after a seven-inning, one-run outing by Piñeiro, he gets the L. Talk about a tough loss.

My first instinct? Chalk this game up to a malalignment of the planets and move on. Everyone has a bad day now and again.

My second instinct? How can we get Jair Jurrjens? Seriously. Like, now. I mean, Atlanta isn't really using him for anything. Sheesh.

And finally (might I add), this team, with the way they're playing this year, has given me reason to stay up. Until the final out of the ninth inning last night, I was just sure they would pull one out. I knew that they would come back and win it, just like they've done for so many other games this season. That, in itself, is probably the biggest victory they could get. They've turned into the team you don't give up on. And how awesome is that?

Friday, September 11, 2009

more important things

I was teaching. High school Spanish in my basement classroom. Although I don't remember the particulars of the subject matter for that day, I remember exactly where I was standing, as well as the looks on the faces of my mostly freshmen students. The principal's voice came through the loudspeaker: "Teachers, please turn on your televisions." The tv was mounted to the wall behind me, and I clicked the power button. Everyone was silent as we waited for the picture to warm up, then tried to comprehend the images we were seeing. Buildings. Smoke. It didn't seem to make sense. Had there been a fire? A bombing? Slowly, bit by bit, it sank in. A plane collided with another building, and we all gasped. We were too shocked to cry. Too stunned to look away.

Later--maybe minutes, maybe hours, maybe days--I read an essay written by one of my favorite authors to my class. I still have a copy of that essay stored away somewhere.

Rest in peace, all the lives lost that tragic day.

In less depressing news, I hereby plegde to be a better person (and possibly help the team's chances) by donating canned goods to my local food pantry for every win by the Cardinals for the rest of the season--regular and post. A fellow baseball blogger (k-bro), has challenged Twins fans and bloggers to follow her lead and provide a little charitable motivation to the club. Obviously, my loyalties lie elsewhere than Minnesota, but I think the idea is great, and I encourage everyone to jump on board.

Also, in keeping with her plan, I'll also donate an item for every Dodgers loss (seeing how involving the Cubs in this would only be insulting, and we're in a much stiffer competition with LA over the best NL record).

Whadaya say, sports fans?




Tuesday, September 8, 2009

of fans and faith

I was thinking about winning today. Not winning a game or a series or even the World Series, but just winning in general. Having a team you can be proud of. A team you can have fun with. A team you can have faith in, even in the midst of a losing streak.

Cardinals fans like to call ourselves "the best fans in baseball". Sure, I've said it. I mostly even believe it. Of course, a blanket description like that leaves a lot of room for contradiction and argument, and for the most part, I've never really dissected the statement.

Well, today I was reading a blog post from a Reds fan, and suddenly I realized who the "best fans in baseball" really are. 

It's not us, even as much as I'd like to say it is. It's not Yankees' fans or Angels' fans or Royals' fans or Rockies' fans. It's not Reds' fans. In fact, it's not any one team's fans at all. 

It's the fans who don't give up, and they come from every corner of the baseball universe. 

It's the fans like the blogger whose story I was reading today, whose team is flagging and flailing, and who still get up in the morning excited about watching or listening to or attending the game just because it's their team

It's the fans whose teams haven't won anything for longer than anyone hasn't won anything, and yet they wear their team colors with pride. 

It's the fans who watch every game, not because their team is in first place, or because they came so close last year, or because the GM just signed a big-name player to save the day. 

They watch for pure love of the game and unconditional love of their teams. 

They watch to see their favorite hitters steal second. 

They watch to see their favorite pitchers drop a nasty curve. 

They watch to see their favorite managers get ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

Obviously this can apply to Cards fans, and often does. It applies to fans of every club, from the reigning World Series champions to the last place team. Sure it's hard to believe anyone living in Florida is a "best fan" (at least if you've ever seen the attendance at their stadiums), but they're out there. They're watching while they work in the garage or wash dishes, and they're listening in the car on their way to the store. They check box scores when the boss isn't looking, and they catch the replays on Sportscenter while they're getting ready for work.

I was really moved by the post written by this fan, and it made me take a good look at how good a fan I really am. Cardinals fans haven't always had it easy, but with more World Series rings than any franchise other than the Yankees, we haven't exactly been the worst off, either. In the last decade, we've been to the playoffs 6 times and had only one losing season. 

The Pirates have 5 World Championships in their history, but only two of them have come since the 1925 season, while the Cardinals have won all ten of theirs in that time span, with four coming since the 60s. Therefore, watching every game, buying all the merchandise, and supporting all the players isn't exactly a challenge. Sure, we face our rough patches. We've had losing seasons and losing streaks and bad games, but think about the Pirates for a second. 

Yesterday marked a milestone for that club, and although the team was quick to point out that it is most definitely not the same group of guys throughout that streak, it is the same group of fans (more or less). The same fans have seen this club lose again and again, and yet when you watch the broadcasts, you see them there at the park, dressed up like pirates or in their best home jerseys, cheering for their team as though the last 17 years hadn't even happened.

I've sometimes wondered how Pirates' fans and Nats' fans and Royals' fans and Reds' fans (et al) can keep going in the face of so much disappointment, and reading this article gave me a slightly better idea. Being a fan is not always easy. Sometimes you just have to turn the game off and take a little break. Heck, even players get discouraged. 

The really inspiring thing, though, is that I know at the end of the day, true fans will still peek to see how it turned out. 

They'll come back to the game and to their team. 

True fans will still care.


It feels pretty good to be in the position we're in. Magic number down to 14, 11.5 game lead in the division, even with the Dodgers for the best record in the NL.

Other things making me very happy include the Phillies getting swept for 4 by the Astros, Buster Olney calling the Cardinals "the team to beat", and this.

Of course, no matter what's going on in your life, a performance like last night's by Chris Carpenter has to make you smile. No laboring on labor day for this ace. 99 pitches were all he needed to finish a complete game with 10K, 1 hit, and 0 runs. Round about the end of the sixth inning, Dan and Al were discussing whether Carp should try and finish out the game, or if Tony should take it easy on him since this is as much as he's pitched in a season for a while. In the end, the right decision was made--Carp went the distance, saved the 'pen, and brought his ERA down even further.

That's 11 straight wins for the woodsmith, if you're counting.

I've only made it one game this year, and I keep thinking I need to get back to Busch before too much longer. When does Carp go again?

I wonder if Izzy's watching, wherever he is...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

dum, da da dum!

Speaking of the otherworldly amazingness of the indispensible Chris Carpenter ("Carp" to his admirers), guess who is the NL Pitcher of the Month for August!

Drumroll, please!....

The pitcher of the mo--

No, it's not Dave Bush.

The p--

No, I don't mean Barry Zito, either.

It's Chr--

No, not Ted Lilly--okay, just stop guessing, because I didn't really mean for you to guess anyway. I'll just tell you. It's Car--

Not Joe Blanton.


Well, now I'm not sure I want to tell you after all.


No, not Wandy Rodriguez.


Bronson Arroyo? Really? No! It's Chri--


Are you done?



It's Chris Carpenter.

Leave me alone.

bring it on

September 2. We're comfortably in first place in the Central, 10.5 games ahead of the Cubs, and tied for the best NL record with the Dodgers. Magic number: 20. And yes, it is now officially acceptable to start talking about the magic number. Magic number = the number of Cardinals wins plus Cubs losses that will guarantee us a spot in the playoffs. It is also the number that will eliminate the Cubs from the NL Central race. (Isn't it fun how that works out?) Twenty. Veinte. Venti. Vingt. A score. An icosahedron. Calcium. An actual magic number. Here's what I'm thinking about today:
  • Our mid-season acquisitions have all lived up to/exceeded expectations, and everyone on the team is contributing (and by everyone, I of course mean everyone except Joe Thurston who is nearly worthless).
  • TLR will will let you know when it's finally safe to talk about the post-season, probably about 10 minutes before the first pitch of the NLDS. Until then, you will live in the moment and YOU WILL LIKE IT.
  • No comment on the Duncan situation. Do you suppose it would be too weird for the Cards to pick the Dunc-inator back up?
  • September call-ups? Um.... Can I get back to you on that?
  • Chris Carpenter has a place deep inside where he goes when he doesn't have his best stuff. A place, apparently, where he can find the strength to muscle out a quality start and give his team a chance to win even when his command isn't there and his best pitches aren't quite right. That's what makes him one of the best in the business. Where would we be without him?
  • Brad Penny is a jerk. I know he was on my wish list, and I know he pitched magnificently for the Giants in his first start back in the NL, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and sometimes that line is right around "he is a jerk". I know talent is important, but you don't want to sacrifice clubhouse chemistry. And no, this is not sour grapes.
  • Jason Motte pitches much better with no pressure (can you believe 5 K?), while John Smoltz likes a little fire under his butt. Mm-hm. San Fran can have Penny.
  • Troy Glaus is back, sort of. He's as tall as ever, and the uniform still fits, it seems. Therefore, I hereby predict that he will be one of the highest paid pinch hitters in the majors this post-season*, but he won't really do much. I love Troy and I wish him the best (and yes, I was giving him a mini standing ovation of my own in the living room last night), but Mr DeRosa has won my heart and I'm desperately hoping we can bring him back in 2010.
There's probably more, but I'll save that for later. Later. *Knock on wood.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

putting the "crazy" back in "crazy fan"


This scared me just a little bit.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

winning's fun 'n stuff

Oh yeah. Every ESPN reporter worth his salt was calling this series against LA an "NLCS preview", and now that we've won it, I feel comfortable agreeing with that assessment. After all, you're talking about two of the best teams in the NL, and I can't begin to express how warm and fuzzy it makes me feel to be able to type that. 


You'll agree that we possess The Best Player in Baseball. There is absolutely no valid argument against this. (In fact, from this point forward, I'll only refer to him as such, and yes, it will be capitalized.) Our second best hitter could go to any other MLB team and be number one, but we'll keep him in the cleanup spot, thank you very much. 

Then there's Luddy and Ank and Raz.... DeRosa and Schu and B-Ryan and Lugo.... And let's not forget the relentless and timely hitting by our All-Star backstop. The most amazing thing about our offense this year, as I am reminded by TLR in the post-game interview, is that there is life after the sixth inning. 

Last year, if we were behind going into the seventh (or even the sixth or fifth), there was little or no hope of pulling one out. Oh sure, it happened now and then, but admittedly, it was rare (and very surprising when it did happen), and you certainly didn't count on it. The team showed less confidence with each passing inning, as though they knew their opportunities were dwindling. 

This year, though, there's hope. There's a twinkle in the eyes of the batters in late innings, and even when the Cards are down to their last out, you can't help but expect great things to happen. 


Adam Wainwright was phenomenal. A no-hitter into the sixth, and now with 11 straight games giving up 2 or fewer ER. Too bad he couldn't get his 15th win, but a team win is what truly counts, and I have no doubt that Adam is perfectly happy with the outcome. 

Ryan Franklin bore the majority of my scorn last year, but I wiped his slate clean during the offseason, and am proud to consider myself among the Frankie supporters. He has been a spark and an anchor for the bullpen, and while last year I would cringe at the thought of relievers coming into a game, this year I have no fear. 

In other news, we signed the amazing John Smoltz today after he cleared waivers from the BoSox (meaning he'll still make a boat-load of money this year, but we won't be responsible for paying most of it), and no matter what happens, you can't see this as anything but a smart move. The possibilities (as I see them) are such: 

(1) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches well and wins a few games for us in the rotation; 

(2) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches terribly and loses one or two games before Tony decides to move him to the 'pen, where he imparts immeasurable wisdom upon the young pitching staff, thereby increasing their individual values; 

(3) We pay him a few dollars, he has a terrible accident with a can-opener and never throws a single pitch as a Cardinal, then spends his free time studying medicine until he eventually finds a cure for cancer; or 

(4) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches a few good games and a few lousy ones, makes virtually no difference in the Cardinals' season, and then disappears into a wardrobe one day, forcing Chipper Jones to speak at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in his absence. 

What do we have to lose? 

Milwaukee got swept by Pittsburg today, but the Cubs were able to salvage one game in their set against the Padres. 

Cards remain 6 games up and move to 16 over .500.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

number update

1 - RET
2 - RET
3 - K. Greene
4 - Molina
5 - Pujols
6 - RET
7 - DeRosa
8 - Glaus
9 - RET
10 - (TLR)
11 - (Oquendo)
12 - Lugo
13 - Ryan
14 - RET
15 - Holliday
16 - (McRae)
17 - RET
18 - (D. Duncan)
19 - Stavinoha
20 - RET
21 - LaRue
22 - Thurston
23 - Barden
24 - Ankiel
25 - OOC
26 - Lohse
27 - T. Greene
28 - Rasmus
29 - Carpenter
30 - Smoltz
31 - Franklin
32 - OOC
33 - Robinson
34 - Hoffpauir
35 - Piñeiro
36 - Reyes
37 - Wellemeyer
38 - (Mason)
39 - (McKay)
41 - Boggs
42 - RET
43 - Miller
44º OOC
45 - RET
46 - McClellan
47 - Ludwick
48 - Thompson
49 - (Pettini)
50 - Wainwright
51 - OOC
52 - Kinney
53 - Hawksworth
55 - Schumaker
57 - OOC
60 - Motte
62 - Walters/Mather
64 - García
78 - Scherer
85 - RET

nothing in particular

Brett Favre has come out of retirement to sign a 2-year deal with the Vikings. 


You're probably wondering what that has to do with baseball, so I'll tell you. 

 As you may or may not be aware, this is big news on Sportscenter. In fact, I think if they could get away with it, they would never cover anything else ever again. So I've been subjected to a lot of analysis and clips and snippets of interviews, and one in particular made me actually look away from my computer and refocus on the tv. 

Brett Favre's coach said (presumably upon being asked why now after all that's happened), "You can't get a hit if you don't swing the bat." 

Uh huh. Well, that's fine and all, and if Brett wants to be a weasel and an attention-monger, he is more than welcome to retire and return over and over until his head explodes (fingers crossed), and people can love him or hate him or question him or admonish him or crown him or whatever, but please (please, please, please) don't drag my game into this huge pile of mess. 

Seriously. Leave baseball out of it. We have enough of our own problems to deal with. Gaa. 

Anyway, last night was not disappointing. No, really. We had to lose that game. That was the plan, after all, right? I mean, Mitch Boggs pitched last night because we were conceding the game and Tony didn't want to waste one of our better pitchers against the Dodgers' ace, right? Right? That's what I thought. The Cubs lost, again, to the Padres. The Brewers lost, again, to the Pirates. Life goes on.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

changes (or, as bad as Rick Horton is, he is a thousand times better than Frank Cusumano)

Rain delay at Busch as we speak (figuratively speaking, of course), and so I started reminiscing about the beginnings of the blog. (Blame PHE, because he was doing it earlier and I picked up the idea and ran with it.) 

Here's a little quiz for you, to see whether you've been paying attention. 

Last year at this time, I was: 

(a) complaining about an unfair suspension handed down to one of our pitchers, 

(b) griping about Brewers' fans grammar, 

(c) talking to myself about an aggressive (and well-intended) throw by Yadi that cost us a game, 

(d) grieving for a lost closer, 

(e) pushing for a gold glove for a very deserving third baseman, or 

(f) examining the magical effects of some very terrible-looking facial hair sported by Ryan Franklin. 

Some things change, while others never do. The Cards, for the most part, are on a pretty hot tear these days (the game in the middle of which we currently dwell notwithstanding), and sit at a very comfortable 4.5 game lead in the NL Central. (And 14 games above .500 ain't nothin' to sneeze at either.) 

Last year was a different story. Last year at this time I was clinging to threadbare hope that we could sneak in for a wild card slot. 

This year the "experts" are wildly impressed with our well-rounded team and our better than average chance at "running away" with the division. 

Last year, the Cubs were unstoppable. Last year, the Phillies were cruising to their second World Championship. Last year, the Cards were looking to the future (which, as we all know, is code for "giving up on this year"). 

This year, the Cubs are all injured. This year, the Phillies, well, they're still pretty ferocious. This year, the Cards have become the "aggressive" team. John Mozeliak came out swinging and landed one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball to bat cleanup, and has made it clear that when it comes to making a run at the postseason, his team is "all in."

For the record, the answer lies in the archives. (Oh, what? Did you think I was going to tell you?) Also, for the record, winning is fun. (Just in case there was any doubt.) However, I would be watching anyway. 

For the record.
John Mozeliak aggressively pursues players and negotiates with agents.

Yadier Molina aggressively throws behind runners at first and catches would-be base stealers at second.

Albert Pujols aggressively swings at 0-2 pitches that stray across the plate and stretches singles into doubles.

Tony LaRussa aggressively (and brilliantly) tweaks his lineup on a daily (if not hourly) basis in order to give his team the best possible chance at winning, and sends runners from third when the pitcher blinks a fraction of a second too long.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

three things that irked me today

Number one, Skip Bayless is on my list. I know he does it on purpose, and I try to avoid watching him, but every so often I get tricked back in and find myself actually arguing with an inanimate electronic box in my living room. Grrr... Can the man not hear what his own head is saying? Is he so preoccupied with the sound of his own voice that the actual words become meaningless and unimportant to him? It's almost like he knows what to say to push my personal buttons, and he saves it for when he knows I'm watching. I don't care for the implications of this at all.

Number two, Brad Thompson gets a 3-game suspension and Guillermo Mota gets fined? Brad Thompson could not hit his spot all night, and was pretty convincingly upset with himself when David Wright narrowly avoided a head shot. Alternately, the look on Mota's face after plunking Fielder was one of utter intention. His thoughts were coming through loud and clear, and they were saying 'Oh yeah? What are you gonna do about it?'

Number three, I went to every single place within about 20 miles that I though might carry magazines, and had no luck finding the latest issue of ESPN. Figures.

Otherwise, today was a fine day. Got some mint Oreos and an estimate on getting my car fixed, and bought a new, very cute scrub top.

Now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

no hay que preocuparse

When I heard that Ryan Ludwick was the July NL Player of the Month, my first reaction was, well, what?

He was described as having quietly earned the honor, but considering the noise being made by Matt Holliday since his arrival with the club, Luddy could've been screaming at the top of his lungs and still gone unheard. In fact, he kind of did. ESPN shows his July line as pretty "quietly" spectacular.

(R)18 (H)34 (2B)5 (3B)0 (HR)6 (RBI)28 (BB)10 (SO)21 (SB)1 (CS)0 (OBP).396 (SLG).570 (OPS).966 (AVG).340

Of course, if you were able to pay attention to anything other than Holliday's .600+ average or DeRosa's 7 home runs, then you already knew how successful Ryan was in July. The point is, it's nice to see him get recognized for something that might easily have gone unnoticed by the rest of the NL.

What didn't go unnoticed for the last few games was Pujols' "slump". (And yes, I use quotation marks when referring to Albert's temporary return to planet earth.) Honestly, if he didn't hit a slow patch every now and again, we'd have nothing to remind us of just how truly extraordinary he is and how lucky we are to see history being made in our own backyard. As for me, I've learned not to worry about the big guy. No matter what it is, he'll figure it out. It's nice to have a man like that in my life. (smile)

Other notables:

Joel Piñeiro, while not stellar last night, has been very good most of the year. I'd almost like to see the front office bring him back next year.

I've meant to say something about Yadi's latest hairstyle for a while now. Every time I see him on the screen, I wonder if he knows what that mohawk/faux-hawk really looks like. Not that it's that bad (certainly better than the blonde), but it's just not him. Si lees esto Yadi, creo que ya es hora de probarte algo diferente.

Friday, July 31, 2009

nothing doing

Well, the Redbirds didn't make any last minute trades on this, the trade deadline, but other teams were busy beavers right up until the 3pm CST finish line.

The one that impressed me the most was Jake Peavy. Yes, the infamous Padres pitcher with the infamous no-trade clause (the one that has inspired night sweats in a few GMs) is headed to Chicago, although Cubs fans shouldn't wait for him to get off the 152 eastbound, because he's going to the southside.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I had a lovely dream about Kyle Lohse last night, the details of which I won't press upon you, but which leads me to believe that Kyle has seen the last of his hard-luck (and less than stellar) starts and will soon reclaim his role as "Mr. Reliable". 

I know it's Wednesday, but I was so sure that last night's game was going to be a wash (ie, rained out) that I gave up and went to bed and completely missed pitching Tuesday. 

Anyway, nothing really needs to be said about Wainwright, much less Carpenter, and Pineiro is fast winning my heart, and so I thought I'd give you my feelings about the guy we all desperately want to count on once again. 

First, I'm really glad he's ours for the next millenium or so. I like the feeling of security that comes with a long-term contract, especially with good players. Second, I think he's destined for great things before his career is over. Nothing specific, just a general sense of expectancy. And third, it truly was a lovely dream....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a little "pop" in the lineup

The Cards' first big trade of the year came in the form of a utility player with more than a little experience in the NL Central.

One Cubs blogger waxed somewhat resentful about the Cardinals/Indians trade that brought the versatile Mark DeRosa to St Louis and sent Chris Perez and (eventually) Jess Todd to Cleveland:

That’s right, Mark DeRosa is now a Cardinal. The Cubs worst offseason trade of the year is now coming back to bite the Cubs in the ass. The Cubs most hated rivals just got better and it’s all because of Mark DeRosa.

Never mind his iffy start with the Cards (ending up on the DL before registering a single hit), DeRosa has been a huge addition to the club. And I'm not just saying that because Cubs fans are unhappy.


Next, as you may have heard, the Cards dispensed with Chris Duncan in the form of a film noir-type "meet on a train in the middle of the night and arrange a mutually beneficial assassination plot in which neither of us will be suspected for the murders we're about to commit" thing. The only apparent motive for either team is that of addition by subtraction. *Wink, wink*

I was not at all pleased with this trade, and I don't see any change in my feelings forthcoming. Lugo is at best a mediocre defender and an adequate hitter. His main asset is his ability to hit lefties for a little better than average. Any other team wouldn't sneeze at an offer to get him, but the Cards are so weak on the left side that we're pretty much willing to give any idiot a shot.

I don't have anything personal against Julio Lugo. I just don't like him.


Our most recent acquisition was Matt Holliday. Last year, when offseason trade rumor-mongers were eagerly sending Holliday to St Louis, I didn't get my panties in a twist over the whole thing. For one, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of shipping off two of our best outfielders (Skip and Ludwick) in exchange for one outfielder, mainly because the math just didn't work for me.

The other thing that bothered me about the possible trade (back in November) was that Matt would have to pick a new jersey number, seeing as #5 is taken (and hopefully will never be worn by another Cardinal for the rest of all time). In the end, he went to Oakland, where even his magical powers weren't enough to keep the A's out of the basement of their division, and the whole idea of Matt in red & white was put to bed... for the time being.

Then, suddenly, John Mozeliak surprised everyone, including himself, and brought the square-jawed hit-man to our fair city (or rather, to Philadelphia, for a road series), and a true threat behind Albert was finally a reality. We gave up Brett "the walrus" Wallace, a third baseman with a big bat, less than spectacular defense, and a quite large bottom. Um, I mean, powerful thighs. Er, I mean a solid foundation. Yes, that's it. The man is very solidly founded.

Fine print: Of course, those of us paying attention realize that Ryan Ludwick, while a remarkable power hitter and above-average defender, will never get the respect he deserves from pitchers, thus nullifying any actual threat he might pose in the batter's box. We therefore reserve the right to consider him a top quality clean-up hitter, while at the same time conceding our need for someone more publicly recognized as such.

All in all, I am somewhat impressed with our GM's go-get'em-ness (???), but I still feel that now that we've started down this road, we must complete the journey. Get us a starting pitcher (Halladay or Lee will do), Moze, because if there's one thing you don't want, it's for all this farm system looting to have been for naught.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I deal with a lot of death in my line of work. Some deaths leave you with a sense of closure and peace while some tear your heart right out of your chest, leaving a gaping, bloody, stinking hole where your hopes and dreams used to be, then punch you squarely in the face and laugh as you crumple to the floor in a pathetic heap.


Well, three things crossed my mind upon hearing about the trade.

(1) I'll be under the covers crying softly for the next two or three weeks if anyone needs me.

(2) John Mozeliak has some balls. And no heart. I think he must be made of plastic or something. Oh, I understand the motive. He wants to win. He wants to keep Albert Pujols happy, and his plan to accomplish this apparently involves filling up the roster with strangers and mercenaries who will (hopefully) get us into October and then quietly slip out the back door while no one's looking. However, as open-minded as I claim to be, I'm not sure I approve of the means.

The thing is, now that he's made this move, he really needs to bring the hammer down on the whole Roy Halladay situation. If he is truly committed to "the plan" as one would have to assume considering the weight of this decision, then he'd better stick to his guns and finish what he started.

And (3) Wait, don't we already have a shortstop? Or two?

Here's what Moze had to say about the trade:

Chris Duncan was drafted and developed by this organization, and in addition to being a talented player we all recognize him as a high-quality individual. He was an important part of our World Championship club in 2006. I know I speak for our entire organization when I say that we are grateful to Chris for what he has given to the Cardinals and our fans.

Chris Duncan. Some defensive blunders mixed in with some clutch hitting, and, well, it's like a roller coaster ride that you love and hate all at the same time.

Be good to my ba-Dunc-a-dunc, BoSox fans. I know where you live.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

imagining a memory

Okay, so eaaaaasing my way back into this thing, I thought I'd tell you about the game last night. First of all, I didn't actually see the game. I know, I know. Chastise me if you must, but it was unavoidable. (They will re-air it today at noon, so it's not the end of the world, people.) My kids, however, did see the game, in person. (in persons?)

My son, a member of the local high school marching band, performed with the marching band on the warning track before the game and got to stay and watch the game for free. My parents decided to go and watch as well (mostly the performance, but also the game), and they took my daughter along for her first ball game. Yes, it was disappointing that I had to miss the whole thing--the band performance, the memories, and the Cardinals win--but I guess it's bound to happen now and then.

When I asked how it went, I got two different responses.


Me: So, how did it go?

Dad: Good game. Cards won. Beautiful weather.


Me: So, how did it go?

Mom: Oh, the band played very well, and Claire had a great time, but there weren't as many people from the school there as there were last year. The weather was beautiful.


The most amusing/wonderful/gratifying part was that my 4-year old daughter spent the entire game cheering for Molina. "Yay Yadi!" she would yell (or so I'm told) every time his name was announced (or even merely mentioned in passing). "To the point of being quite annoying," my father added. She clapped and screamed and sang his praises, and to be honest, I've never been more proud.

Overall, I'd say it was a success. Next year I'll be there.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Well, it's my blog and I can say good-bye and then follow it up with 2 brief and utterly meaningless posts if I want to. Actually, it feels good to post sans pressure. Work is enough pressure. More later.

Why no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...

Silly billy. We all know which is the best team in Missouri. The fact that the Reales stomp all over us every now and then is not incontrovertible proof that they are the kings of Show-Me baseball or anything. Just reapers of misplaced luck.

it's only May


Who, me?

Yeah, I know what you mean.

Well, it's not really all my fault.

No, I didn't say that.

Okay, so it's been a while.

Forever? No, not forever.

Just for now.

You don't really need me, after all.

You have lots of other blogs to keep you warm.

Well sure, I'll miss you, too.

No tears. It's not good-bye.

Just hasta luego.

See you later.

Nos vemos. Te prometo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good grief, they're already talking about the 2010 NFL draft. This must be what hell is like.


Well, I'm still trying to adjust to sleeping all day and working all night, and my internal clock is slightly discombobulated. Don't get me wrong, I like my new job, it's just a little stressful and... well, I'm tired.

The Mets series was beautiful, with plenty of offense, and the Cubs series, while it didn't have a happy ending, was still good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

happy days

(sweep sweep sweep)

Give me a second, I'm just straightening up a little.

(sweep sweep sweep)

Those Mets leave such a mess.

(sweep sweep sweep)

Okay, that's better....

First of all, I'm really not abandoning the blog, but I started working nights recently and it may take me a while to get used to the schedule. Plus, my computer completely crapped out and I need to get a new one. The combination of obstacles has me a little, well, unfocused.

Also, just so you know, I released Ankiel from my fantasy team. I didn't want to, but my management style and his playing style just were not meshing and I figured some time apart couldn't hurt. I was glad to see another team picked him up, and judging by his performance today, I'd say he's much happier with his new manager. Hopefully he'll keep it up.

Yadi's hair is growing out, thank you, and I'll sleep much better now.

Tim McClelland is an ass. Pardon my language, but there's just no other way to say it. He's a big, stupid, 150-year old ass. Seriously, there's nothing like an umpire who will do anything to make sure he's the center of attention for every game he calls. The fact that I know who he is and what he looks like should say it all. Ass.

Ryan Franklin has very pretty eyes.

I promise to catch up here in the near future.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

is it too early to PANIC?!?!?!

Tell me Troy Glaus has given up baseball to start a religious cult and is asking that everyone call him Ishmael and I'll chuckle and shake my head.

Tell me Chris Carpenter was the victim of a tragic surgical "goof-up" when he had both arms amputated instead of the tattoo removal he had been admitted for and I'll yawn indifferently.

Tell me the bullpen is giving up late-inning leads and losing winnable games and I'll choke you with my bare* hands, then hyperventilate and pass out in my own vomit.

Call it Post-Traumatic Bullpen Disorder, or PTBD.

It happens when people who have lived through painful and stressful late-innings pitching collapses are confronted with the threat of an equally painful year ahead of them.

Victims are forced to re-live the two-out walks and hit batsmen, and are consumed by memories of falling behind in the count and 0-2 mistakes.

These memories can trigger serious emotional reactions such as depression, anger, or drunkenness.

Even early in the season, watching relievers allow inherited runners to score, give up tying or go-ahead runs late in games, put runners on base in front of power hitters, and give up game-ending runs can be just as terrifying for the victim as the original trauma.

The victim may feel trapped in time, unable to escape the frustrating and never-ending cycle of decent starter + competitive offense + unreliable bullpen = losing the game.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to): mood swings related to the outcome of the game, inability to focus on anything but the television, frequent outbursts such as "Jeez, ____! Where'd you learn to pitch?" and "Get this guy outta here!", feelings of hopelessness followed by periods of silence, profuse sweating, and binge drinking.

Unfortunately for those suffering from PTBD, there is no cure. (At least not one that the Cardinals can afford.) The best we victims can do is keep our their backs to the corner (so that no one can sneak up on us them) and try to start every ninth inning with a 10-run (or greater) lead.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

missing you


Well, my rough week is almost over, but things promise to stay hectic for a while. I'm sure you really care.

Anyway, I have indeed been watching the games this week, and I even took the time to jot down a few notes here and there when I saw something noteworthy.

Here's a recap:


  • We don't call him "phat". But thank you very much anyway, girl on FSN's the Final Score whose name I don't know. Idiot.
  • If Tony LaRussa put Brian Barden in the lineup because he felt that the guy could do some damage against the team that let him go, you could say the same thing about the D'backs manager and Felipe López. If he wasn't on my fantasy team, I wouldn't have been nearly as happy about it.
  • I love Aaron Miles and was happy to see his leaping grab make ESPN's top 10 plays, but how did Ryan's diving stop up the right side not make that list? Damn Cubbies.
  • Wellemeyer is my hero, but Barden has to be my novio.


  • First of all, I have no comment about Carp. He's hurt, he'll probably never pitch again on this plane of existence, and the Cards are going to be just fine. Now stop it.
  • The art of the bunt: run deceptively slow so that the pitcher or catcher will feel obligated to throw to first.
  • Thompson pitched, well, adequately, but the pressure brought him down. Then Tony sent him down the river. (And brought up Pérez and Boggs.)
  • Novio? Oh ho ho, it's Yadi, yellow hair and all. A 2RBI double, a stolen base, and a superb play at the plate to get the runner. Yes, that's right, a stolen base. Deceptive, indeed.
  • You know what I love about my fantasy team? No one in my league can root against me because the same guys that are winning for me are also winning for the Cards.


  • Told you.
  • My novio is ba-Dunc-a-dunc. What?


  • Thank goodness Duncan can hit.
  • Thank goodness Ankiel can field/throw.
  • Thank goodness Wainwright can pitch around anything.
  • Thank goodness Khalil finally broke out.
  • Thank goodness for Yadi's arm.
  • Wainwright is my novio, and if it wasn't weird, I'd kiss the tv. Oh, what the heck....

I'll update lineups later.


Monday, April 13, 2009


Just to keep up-to-date (for posterity's sake), here are the lineups I missed:


Schumaker 2B
Greene SS
Pujols 1B
Ludwick RF
Duncan LF
Molina C
Ankiel CF
Freese 3B
Piñeiro P


Schumaker 2B
Rasmus RF
Pujols 1B
Duncan LF
Ankiel CF
Molina C
Thurston 3B
Ryan SS
Wainwright P


Schumaker 2B
Greene SS
Pujols 1B
Ludwick RF
Duncan LF
Molina C
Freese 3B
Rasmus CF
Lohse P


Barden 2B
Greene SS
Pujols 1B
Ludwick RF
Duncan LF
Freese 3B
Ankiel CF
LaRue C
Wellemeyer P

slap happy

Okay, this is going to be a rough week, so I'll blog when I have time, but don't expect any regularity (she said to no one in particular).

This is a copy and paste from Yahoo!, and I know it's only April 13, but isn't this the most wonderful thing since, well, two weeks ago?

NL Central Standings
W L Pct GB
St. Louis 5 2 .714 --
Chi Cubs 4 2 .667 0.5
Pittsburgh 3 3 .500 1.5
Cincinnati 2 3 .400 2.0
Milwaukee 2 4 .333 2.5
Houston 1 5 .167 3.5


Well, since I probably just ruined it, go ahead and throw your tomatoes, but don't expect me to stop smiling. It's just too pretty.

What's the lineup look like tonight? Who knows? Can you believe Tony's only batted his pitcher eighth once in the first seven games? Once. And no, I don't mean eleven.

great moments

Hi again! Miss me? Hope everyone had a long weekend for the holiday, and that it was a good one. I don't particularly enjoy holidays, and this was no exception, but for the most part, it wasn't that bad. It's over, anyway, and I'm happy about that. 

Of course, I missed most (i.e., all but about 3 outs) of Lohse's complete game, but Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight were nice enough to provide some lovely little snippets of the high points, including Schumaker's remarkable jump-and-catch. Somehow it didn't make the top 10 plays (and not even the top 10 baseball plays and I can't quite figure out why not, um... hello?), but for a guy who's learning the position, he sure makes it looks good. 

I'm not sure how well I'm doing keeping up with my N.D.D. stuff, but I figure as long as I go back and update things every so often, it'll work itself out. Don't check the board until at least tomorrow for updated points, but here are the novios for the last few games (not in order, by the way): 

First, you can't have a guy like Albert Pujols on the team and ignore him for the whole season, even if you are completely used to his particularly phenomenal style of play. So when he's hitting above .700 to start the season and still doesn't make the N.D.D. list, you know that it's only a matter of time before he does something that can put even that amazing stat to shame. I think two home runs and 7 RBI in one game is that thing. Albert gets novio del día points for doing what he does. 

Next up, Joel Piñeiro and Kyle McClellan split the points for the game one started and the other finished. I was rooting for Motte (more or less) to really break out in the closer's role and prove to everyone that he was the obvious choice, but he's having some growing pains as he learns the job. Fortunately, Tony took my advice and didn't just leave him out there (for any reason). That's when Mac came in, picked up the ball, and said, "Easy there, rookie, let me show you how it's done," with a twinkle in his eye. That was fun to watch. I'll jump on the bandwagon, thank you. McClellan for closer. 

 Of course, Kyle Lohse decided to reward the bullpen with a day off yesterday, and even though I didn't see it first-hand, every report gave me faith that Kyle is to going to prove to be an asset to the team (knock on wood). I believe one astute reporter called his contribution "quiet" because while he may not be freezing hitters at the plate with his curveball, he gets the most out of the defense behind him (and retires 24 in a row, wow). Kyle gets N.D.D. points and big smile for his 3-hitter shut-out. 

Carpenter is still in the lead on the N.D.D. board, mostly because after his amazing one-hitter through seven the other day, I decided that the 10 points I've been allotting (so that it's easier to split them up if the occasion arises) just weren't enough for that start. After all, a game like that means a lot more to the team than just one win. (knock on wood) 

Speaking of complete games (and no, I'm not going to mention Harang), how great is Josh Johnson? He's still on my wish list, if anybody cares. Oh, and he is on my fantasy team, which makes me feel pretty darn happy. 

My favorite Mike quote of the game (from the few minutes I got to hear yesterday): "Great play. Here, watch this play...," on the RADIO. To his credit, he did then describe the play (using actual words) instead of just the silence I was expecting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

welcome back, cutter

Warning: I wrote most of this before the game today, then updated it periodically throughout the game, so it probably makes little sense and follows no particular order. 

First, the bad news. Angels rookie starter Nick Adenhart died in a car accident after their game last night. 

Before the news broke, I had planned on talking about what a bad start Wellemeyer had, or how our offense was nowhere to be found, or how we lost 2 of 3 to start the season, but hearing about the tragic death of a young, up-and-coming member of the baseball world kind of makes all that stuff seem insignificant. Cardinals fans can certainly sympathize with that. 

Yeah, he was a rookie. Sure, he had a good Spring and got his chance to take the mound in LA. And it's true that his ERA was, well, whatever it was. But he was somebody's son, somebody's friend. I think we should remember that he was a kid who was living his dream, but he was also just a kid. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and teammates, and the Angels' organization and its fans. 

Here's something positive. Wish I could give you more. Wish there was more to give. 

Last night was a little disappointing. Wellemeyer was disappointing. And where was our offense? I guess Miller looked better. Franklin was right on top of things. Thompson wasn't getting his ground balls, but the 2-run home run wasn't what did us in. 

Okay, deep breath. I can't control what happens, all I can do is hope for a better start, good weather, and that everyone gets home safely. 

Now, the good news. Carpenter is back. No, I mean really back. As in, Cy Young? Oh, I hear that-back. 

How did we ever win a game without him? Okay, maybe that's exaggerating just a tad, but you have to admit, it's a different team with him healthy and effective. He was working the cutter and the breaking ball and looked like the old Chris Carpenter. 

Of course, the rest of the team decided not to participate until the bottom of the seventh, but that's okay, because as it turns out, 2 runs was enough and the 'pen kept us alive. 

His line: 7IP / 1H / 1R / 0ER / 7K / 2BB / 92Pitches / 1,000,000 (or so) happy fans (knock on wood) I don't think there's any other realistic choice for my novio today. 25 points for the woodsmith

Forgot about the lineup yesterday (#003) 1. Rasmus LF 2. Greene SS 3. Pujols 1B 4. Ludwick RF 5. Molina C 6. Ankiel CF 7. Freese 3B 8. Wellemeyer P 9. Ryan 2B 

And here's today's (#004) 1. Schumaker 2B 2. Rasmus CF 3. Pujols 1B 4. Duncan LF 5. Ludwick RF 6. Greene SS 7. Molina C 8. Thurston 3B 9. Carpenter P 

My favorite Al quote from the broadcast: "Knowing Brendan, he said, 'No, Barry, it's all right. It hit the bat.'" 

My least favorite line ever: "And now it's up to the bullpen." Although I have no doubt it'll get easier to hear as the season progresses.

I'll leave you with some of the searches that have lead people to my blog over the last 2 or 3 days. See if you can pick out a recurring theme. 

Why did Yadier Molina dye his hair? 

yadier molina blond hair 

why is Yadier Molina's hair blonde? 

did yadier molina dye his hair? 

Yadier Molina Blonde Hair 

Yadier Molina's blond hair 

So, if you find this post while desperately looking for some explanation for the yellow mess on top of Yadi's head, I apologize. I have no idea why he did it, only that it wasn't blonde at the WBC, but was blonde for Opening Day. My best guess is that it was a lesson of some sort from one (or both) of his brothers for being a little braggadocious about the gold golve. It had to have been, right? He can't have done that on purpose

I promise I'll let it go as soon as it grows out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

bad news bullpen

Two things that I'm thinking about: (1) Jason Motte does not interview well. Good thing he has that fastball. (2) I hope Yadi's teammates are making fun of his hair. That may sound mean, but por el amor de Dios, Yadi! Ay.

Anyway, you want to talk about a bad bullpen? Atlanta was on top of the Phillies 10-3 going into the Phillies' half of the 7th, then FOUR bases-loaded walks and a bunch of other nonsense later the Phils take an 11-10 lead IN ONE INNING. (clears throat) IN ONE INNING.

Here's Yahoo!'s play-by-play of the bottom of the seventh in Philly:

- E. O'Flaherty relieved G. Norton
- S. Victorino grounded out to third
- C. Utley singled to center
- R. Howard hit by pitch, C. Utley to second
- P. Moylan relieved E. O'Flaherty
- J. Werth walked, C. Utley to third, R. Howard to second
- R. Ibanez singled to left, C. Utley scored, R. Howard to third, J. Werth to second
- P. Feliz singled to center, R. Howard scored, J. Werth to third, R. Ibanez to second
- M. Stairs hit for C. Ruiz
- M. Stairs walked, J. Werth scored, R. Ibanez to third, P. Feliz to second
- B. Boyer relieved P. Moylan
- C. Coste hit for C. Condrey
- C. Coste walked, R. Ibanez scored, P. Feliz to third, M. Stairs to second
- J. Rollins walked, P. Feliz scored, M. Stairs to third, C. Coste to second
- J. Campillo relieved J. Campillo
- S. Victorino singled to right, M. Stairs scored, C. Coste to third, J. Rollins to second
- C. Utley walked, C. Coste scored, J. Rollins to third, S. Victorino to second
- R. Howard grounded out to first, J. Rollins scored, S. Victorino to third, C. Utley to second
- J. Werth flied out to right

That's... sad.

Loooooooouuu . . .

That's right, they weren't booing Motte, the fans were simply acknowledging the legendary Lou Brock, who, for some reason, was suddenly at the front of their minds. Glad we got that all cleared up. 

Yesterday renewed my enthusiasm for the season. Albert homered, ba-Dunc-a-dunc homered, and Yadi homered and tripled. The Cardinals put Ian Dávila-Snell through the ringer (and yes, I'll accept your gratitude) to the tune of 12 hits and 9 runs. It was really my favorite kind of game (ie, the kind where the Cards win). 

Deciding on the novio del día was tough. I admire C70's choice of Yadier for his hero. I considered Yadi along with Lohse and Duncan and, of course, Albert (who is hitting something like .740 to start the season, uh huh). There were home runs, triples (I still can't stop smiling), and a lot of good pitching (from start to finish) to sort through. Ultimately, though, I went with my gut. 

Colby Rasmus made his major league debut last night. He has been the talk of all Cardinal Nation for quite a while, and people have been chomping at the bit to get him to the show. I've always been a little leery. I guess I figured that with all the excitement and hype, there was no way any mere mortal could live up to the expectations, and the pressure might actually kill him. I'm not saying that all my fears have been allayed, but he sure took a big step towards making me eat my words. He played good defense, and he went 2/4 at the plate, but the thing that really impressed me was the way he ran out his grounder in the fourth and extended the inning for the big bats. No half-slack jog, no slamming down the bat in frustration, no lazy look back to see where the ball was. He just put his head down and ran, and it was the last thing I expected. Looks like I may have to reconsider my opinion of the Raz-master (huh? no?), and I'm glad to do it. Because if he's half the player he's been marketed as, he'll be a welcome addition to the team. 10 Points for the Big Cheddar (hmm?). 

Wellemeyer starts tonight against some guy I've never heard of (Ohlendorf? should I know this person?), and fair warning: Motte is rested. I suggest a nicely padded lead going into the ninth. He could still pitch, but there's no need to throw him back into the deep end all at once.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

[HIRFA...] The Kansas City Royals

I'm starting a new series. You didn't know I had other series? Well, sure I do. There's pitching tuesday (very infrequently updated), the Mozeliak shoe-shopping series (remember how much fun that was? no?), and the IBRS (which is probably not as "I" for you as it is for me). And now there will be the "How I really feel about..." series. It won't be hard-hitting revelations or cutting-edge research about the other 29 teams in MLB, but it will be my slightly-adulterated and oft-abridged opinions about the rest of the baseball universe.


Now here's How I really feel about... The Kansas City Royals.

I thought it was appropriate to start with the team that shares a state with the Cardinals, even though they are all the way on the other side of said state.

The Royals (or Reales) are a pretty unassuming group of guys. There's no one whose name jumps out at you, and there's certainly no one who undertakes the "face of a franchise" role. That's not to say they don't have any talent. I even put a few Royals on my fantasy team. Mike Aviles, for one, brought his A-game to the WBC and caught my attention. They've got some decent outfielders, too, like Coco Crisp and José Guillén. Mark Teahen made some noise with his bat this Spring, and will probably get a lot of starts this year.

They finished 75-87 last year, in 4th place in the AL Central.

it's pitching tuesday again

And what an appropriate topic after a game like last night's. I'm going to start by looking at the pitching we saw, then finish up with the pitching we're going to see.

Adam Wainwright 5.1IP / 4H / 2R / 2ER / 5BB / 7K / 0HR

Adam didn't look comfortable, especially in the first inning when he got himself into a bases-loaded jam. He seemed to find a bit of a groove later on, but it certainly wasn't what we were hoping for on Opening Day against the Pirates. When he left, with 2 runners on and the 'Birds holding on to a 2-run lead, there still looked to be hope for his chances.
Josh Kinney 0.1IP / 0H / 0R / 0ER / 1BB / 0K / 0HR
Josh got one out, but then walked the second batter to load the bases, and that was enough of Josh.
Trever Miller 1.0IP / 2H / 0R / 0ER / 0BB / 2K / 0HR
Yuck. Trever struck-out 2 but allowed Wainwright's 2 runners to score and the Pirates to tie the game. It was a big job, and he didn't get it done. Blown save #1 for Miller and the Cards.
Kyle McClellan 1.1IP / 1H / 0R / 0ER / 0BB / 1K / 0HR
Kyle, the guy who was almost left off the 25-man roster (if you believe everything you read on the internet) because of a sloppy Spring, was the only reliever who didn't make me cover my eyes and hold my breath. He also made me glad I picked him for my fantasy team.
Jason Motte 1.0IP / 4H / 4R / 4ER / 0BB / 1K / 0HR

And then there was Jason. If you have a weak stomach, you probably don't want to hear about it, and you probably left the room shortly after the start of his seemingly-never-ending inning of work. It was torture from the first pitch on. Jason got lit up for 4 hits and 4 runs, but the really depressing part is that at one point he was one strike away from getting the save and the win. Unfortunately, Jack Wilson saw that strike coming and drove it deep into center, well beyond the reach of Skip Schumaker (who was playing in the outfield for those of you keeping track). The Buccos took a 2-run lead and the Cardinals couldn't answer. Motte gets the loss and blown save #2 for the 'Birds. (Not that I'm counting.)

I'm trying to be positive about the implications of this game, such as how it's only one game, but I agree that it's tough not to let this loss haunt us. After all, how many times last year did we console ourselves by thinking "it's only one game" only to be devastated again and again by the same outcome?

I'm hoping that we can learn from this loss. All of us, Tony. All of us, Dave. All of us, John and Marty and Hal and Joe and everyone else whose names I've forgotten. Instead of making the same mistakes we made last year (like sending pitchers out to the mound when they obviously didn't need to be there), it's time to make choices based on what's best for the immediate situation (eg runners on and nobody out, or bases empty and two down, or what have you) rather than trying to prove a point or giving certain pitchers a chance to right themselves. Does this sound strange coming from me? I guess I'm just ready to acknowledge that sometimes you have to work towards the greater good, and win the game at hand.

The pitching tonight will start with Kyle Lohse. Where it will end is anybody's guess at this point, but I think it's safe to say (and I think others have already said) that we probably won't see Motte, not because of his performance (really) but because of his high pitch count. Dave will want to rest him, and so if there's a save situation, we could see Franklin come in.

Ian Snell (Davila? I can't remember now) goes for the Pirates, and he'll probably pitch very well, if for no other reason than I recently dropped him from my fantasy team in favor of Matt Lindstrom. So if it's bad again, you can blame me. Of course, if it goes well, I'll expect full credit.

UPDATE: La alineación para esta noche, gracias a 101 ESPN y twitter:

Schumaker 2B
Rasmus RF
Pujols 1B
Duncan LF
Greene SS
Ankiel CF
Molina C
Thurston 3B
Lohse P

Notable observations: (1) The pitcher will hit ninth for the second consecutive game. That has to be the first time that's happened in a while. (2) Rasmus makes his major league debut and will play right instead of center. (3) Again tonight, someone other than Freese will start at third. (4) Duncan will hit cleanup and Greene slides to the five-hole.

Monday, April 6, 2009

and so it begins

I was so ready to award Ryan Ludwick the first official N.D.D. points of the 2009 season, even after Motte had me pulling my hair out in the ninth, but then he went and swung through that last pitch. Luddy had a good game overall (going 2 for 5), and so did Albert (3 for 4), but it was a bitter loss and I'm having a hard time finding anything positive to say about it. 

Joe Thurston made his major league debut and looked happy enough to giggle when he came in to run for Duncan and then came around to score on Schumaker's single. 

The parade was nice, but it looked cold. The Clydesdales looked cold. The hall-of-famers looked cold. Mike Shannon looked perfectly warm. 

I'm really starting to question whether Yadi's hair is cursed. I speculated when I first saw it that it might be bad luck, but after the way he's been playing lately, I think it's highly likely something hinky is going on. Besides his 0 for 4 at the plate, he didn't look super comfortable behind the plate. Hopefully he just needs to warm up. Hopefully the whole team just needs to warm up. 

You know what? It's no use. Blah, blah, blah. Neil Patrick Harris is a cutie. (That was the sound of me changing the channel in my head.)

ready? I am. . .

This is my last "we haven't played a game yet in 2009" post, so be prepared. Even if they get snowed out for a week, I've had enough pre-season and I'm ready for some real baseball. It's my way of putting the weather on notice. We'll see how well it works out.

The Phillies did nothing to help my fantasy team last night. I have four Phils on my roster and all four of them played, and half of them (and unfortunately it was the half that played the most innings) stunk the place up. Really, Brett Myers? Three home runs in the first two innings? I understand that you're excited to pitch the season opener (especially after Cole Hamels was crowned King of Philadelphia), but haven't you done this before? Three years running now? Yeah. That's what I thought. I'll expect much better of you in five days.

They said it about the Cardinals in 2007. Many more games like last night and they'll be saying it about the Phillies, too. Hung-over.

I am very excited about the game today (knock on wood), though. It'll be fun to see how the rookies respond to the pressure and excitement. It'll also be fun to see how the seasoned players respond to it. So here's to a great year for everyone, and lots of memorable, well-played baseball. If I haven't said it before, I love this game.

Oh, and I'll leave you with an excerpt from my new book entitled "Remember that Cardinals Opening Day in 2009? Man, that was the best game ever."

Chapter One

Stacked with youth and optimism, the 2009 St Louis Cardinals went into the season ready to prove that they were competitors. The new season held endless possibilites and hope, and the team was ready to take advantage of every opportunity given them.

Opening Day was celebrated with the usual pomp and circumstance, ceremonies, and excitement. On this particular April day, though, there was a different feeling in the air. Maybe it was the snow that had been falling all morning. Maybe it was the All-Star Game looming on the horizon. Or maybe it was a sign of things to come.

Everyone at the stadium that day, from spectators to players, remembers the feeling.

"It was electric. Yeah, like the air was electrified," said Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals starting pitcher that day. "When I first walked onto the field, well, I could just tell that good things were going to happen."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the countdown is on

Thanks to ML for the opening day novena. Remember my resolutions? I'm breathing deeply, counting to ten, and trying to remember that I have no control over the lineup.


1. Brendan Ryan, 2B
2. Rick Ankiel, CF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Khalil Greene, SS
5. Ryan Ludwick, RF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Chris Duncan, LF
8. Brian Barden, 3B
9. Adam Wainwright, P

Oh, Tony. You do like to keep everyone guessing, don't you?

We'll call this lineup number 001.

here we come a-wassailing

On the eve of this most sacred of baseball holidays, I think it's a good time to make some baseball resolutions.

I talked about my first resolution earlier. Looking back over the last few years (and especially last year), it occurs to me that I may have been a little hard on Ryan Franklin. Therefore, this year, I resolve to give him a clean slate to start the year, and also to give him the benefit of the doubt when things are going badly for him (and I'm not even going to make a snide remark about how things are bound to go badly for him sooner or later). In fact, I'll go ahead and apply this one to the whole bullpen. There's nothing like a fresh start.

My second resolution has to do with my baseball-watching habits. I'm not a fair-weather fan by any means, and I don't abandon the team during the hard times, but I gotta tell you, sometimes it's just too painful to watch them lose and I might turn off the tv and go to bed (and cry myself to sleep) if it's really, really bad. This year, I resolve to stay up even if it's a massacre. Even if it's a bloodbath. Even if I have to bury my face in a pillow and scream. (Barring real life conflicts, that is.)

Finally, in an attempt to reduce my own blood pressure and become more zen (or something), I resolve to accept that I have no control over the lineup or pitching changes or who starts in left field or whether the batter sacrifices or how deep the outfielders play or when the shift is used or how big the lead from first is or intentional walks or errors or wild pitches or.... whatever. I will take a deep breath and count to ten and everything will be okay.

Much like New Year's resolutions, these are probably not going to last long (especially that last one). But it's the thought that counts, right?

In unrelated news, I was watching ESPN this morning (shhhh) and wanted to share some highlights from the segment reviewing the parity in baseball over the last decade. Some guy I didn't recognize made the following notable observations (after reminding us that even though the BoSox and Yanks might feel like dynasties, they are, in fact, not).

"You could make a watery argument for the Cardinals with their 6 post-season appearances...."
Watery. Well, at least he was kind enough to mention us.

"Worst team this decade: the Kansas City Royals, unless you're actually counting the Pirates as a major league team."

Wow, have I missed baseball coverage. I never even considered turning this off.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Predictions 2009: Post-season & Awards

Oooh, the fun part. I mean, sure, the regular season is great, but October's what it's all about, right? And even more so if your team gets to go to the party. Of course, these are also the tougher picks. 162 games gives you a pretty good idea what a team is made of because it doesn't allow for a lot of "luck" or "flukes". A team might have a 10 or 15-game run where they get "hot", but things will pretty much even themselves out over the course of the season. A five-game or seven-game series is a much smaller sample size and doesn't protect as well against streaks and momentum. That means that while you can look at statistics and player quality (and so forth) to guage the possibilties of a team having a good season, extraneous factors are much more likely to figure into the equation when you're talking about the playoffs. That being said, it's still fun to try and guess who will be able to make all those factors work in their favor. I presume we should base our post-season predictions on the division winners we named in previous posts, so I'll start by reminding you of whom I like. (Which begins with me reminding myself.) American League.
Division Winners:
East- BOS Red Sox Central- CLE Indians West- LA Angels of Anaheim* Wild Card: NY Yankees. I really like the Twins (I know, I know), but the East looks to be a stronger division than the Central. And when it comes to the wild card, there is definitely a bubble.
ALDS. BOS vs NYY > BOS LAA vs CLE > CLE ALCS. BOS vs CLE > BOS I wish I could give you more, but until we really know how these teams are going to shape up over the season, it's hard to say who's really better. Based on last year, and going by some of the moves the Angels made in the off-season, I'd say they aren't going far into the post-season. Based on my hatred for the Yankees, I'd say the same thing about them. And when push comes to shove, even if the Indians are "this year's Rays", much like last year's Rays, they just don't have the experience to propel them through October. National League.
Division Winners:
East- FLA Marlins Central- STL Cardinals West- ARI Diamondbacks Wild Card: NY Mets. Sorry. Call me what you want, but I'm not giving it to the Cubs. Maybe that makes my predictions "stupid", but maybe they were "stupid" anyway. Ever think of that? Besides which, the Mets went out and got themselves some serious pitching help, and I think it'll make the difference they were looking for. At least enough to get them this far.
NLDS. STL vs FLA > STL ARI vs NYM > ARI NLCS. STL vs ARI > STL Again, it's hard to know how teams are going to react to the pressure and the situation of being in the playoffs, and how all those other factors are going to affect the games, but knowing what we know, Florida won't beat the Cardinals, and the Mets will crumble early. World Series. STL vs BOS > STL Is this an eerie rematch or what? Well, guess what. I'm siding with vengeance and picking the Cardinals. Don't act so surprised. Well, I guess that about does it. Something else? What? Oooh, that pesky MVP. Okay, but first, don't blame me for making this personal, the BBWAA did that looong ago. AL Most Valuable Player ... Evan Longoria. NL Most Valuable Player ... Albert Pujols. Honestly, he could be out half the season with an injury and still be the MVP. More? How about these? AL Cy Young ... Anthony Reyes. NL Cy Young ... Chris Carpenter. AL Rookie of the Year ... I can't pick because as unfamiliar as I am with the Cardinals' prospects, I'm even more unfamiliar with other NL teams' prospects, nevermind knowing what's going on in the AL farm systems. So if you readers have any suggestions, I'll gladly accept them. Otherwise, we'll just leave it up to the rest of the UCB to predict this award. NL Rookie of the Year ... Colby Rasmus. I'm afraid I'd be tarred and feathered if I picked anyone else. Other awards? Who cares? Well, sports fans, Monday is the big day. Are you ready? Got your tickets/seat on the couch? Opening day is too much hoopla for me to attend personally, but I'll be watching every reasonable minute of it on tv. Of course, I heard rumblings of rain in the forecast for Monday, so keep your fingers crossed and knock on wood and don't change your underwear all weekend, and let's all hope they get a game in. *As strange as the whole "fighting over the Angels" name thing is, I still respect their right to call themselves whatever they want. Sure, it takes me an extra 2.7 seconds to say it, but if that's what makes them happy, then I'll do it.