Saturday, February 28, 2009

25 random things

I participated in the "25 Things About Me" experiment on facebook and quickly discovered that there are not 25 actually interesting things about me. Chances are, it's even less likely that there are 25 actually interesting things about me related to baseball. But following the lead of some other bloggers (and in the spirit of fun projects to keep me entertained and out of trouble), I've decided to make a list for my bog. I'm going to change it up a little, though. This will be an all-encompassing list, containing some of the things I most like about baseball, some of the things I most like about the Cardinals, what I'm most looking forward to this year, maybe a few nuggets about me, and of course, my favorite players and personnel.

After much consideration (and a lot of procrastination), I've decided to draw this out a little. I'm not going to give you all 25 items at once, but rather, one or two (or three) at a time. This accomplishes two goals: (1) it keeps all you readers intrigued and coming back for more, and (2) it means I can be lazy and write as little as possible. It's a win-win.

Ready? I'll start things off with...
Things I most like about baseball (did I mention these are in no particular order?)

1. The rule of THREEs. I find it absolutely fascinating how baseball's rules and measurements are mostly all divisible by 3.
3 bases, 9 players, 9 innings, 3 outs per inning, 3 strikes is an out, 90 feet to first base, 60 feet 6 inches between the mound and home plate, et cetera,
which leads me to...
Things that most bother me about baseball

2. The fact that a base on balls requires FOUR pitches.

3. The recent decision to allow umpires to review home run rulings with instant replay.

More later.

Friday, February 27, 2009

getting ready for the season

Spring sure feels good. It would feel a lot better if I could see the games, but barring my winning the lottery in the next few days (which is unlikely seeing as I don't buy tickets or ever win anything), I guess I'll just have to settle for some radio coverage from the big 550. I don't love 550, but they'll do. They're actually covering quite a few games this spring, so I guess I can give them that.

I briefly considered subscribing to (and am in fact still weakly considering it). I heard from several sources that it's better than it was last year (not that that means anything to me), and they've got Wellemeyer's start today against the Mets (which I would love to see), but $14.95 a month? For exhibition games? Being there in person would be one thing (and probably worth the cost), but watching on my crappy computer with no sound (because no, I still have not figured out what I did to my speakers or how to get the sound back, thank you) is not worth much to me. (Actually, I think I somehow uninstalled the sound device driver--don't think for a minute that I know what that means--and do not appear to have any CD in my current possession that contains the re-installation stuff I need.)

Someday I will get to Jupiter for some live ST action, but not this year. (Someday I will buy a computer that doesn't need its sleep and then sound like it's revving up every time I turn it on.)

Sounds like I'm going to have to start on my next lost cause project. Say what you want about Izzy (on second thought, strike that), he will forever remain one of my favorite Cardinals. He was easy to love for a while, but when things went south, people turned on him. (That whole issue is still pretty sore for me, but I admit I can understand the sentiment on an intellectual level. On an emotional level, it's a different story.)

At any rate, Izzy's gone now (sniff), and as luck would have it, there's someone else on my list of favorite Cardinals who is taking a lot of criticism. Not to give anything away, but he's the subject of the latest round in the UCB Roundtable, and based on the responses I've read so far, whatever small amount of compassion there was for him is fading fast. So, in the spirit of rooting for the underdog (and maybe just a little leftover oppositional defiant disorder from my childhood), I'm lending my full support to... well, you'll just have to wait and read the transcript of the discussion over at Redbirds Row.

Along those same lines, I've been thinking about the 2009 blogging season. I was trying to come up with a merit and/or demerit system for the players this year (kind of like C70's goats and heroes), but after dismissing several less-than-spectacular original ideas (not the minority of which involved pie), I decided to just steal an idea. (And you thought I had principles!) There's a defunct (or maybe retired is a better term) blog (BatGirl--a Twins blog) whose author awarded the titles of "boyfriend" and "boyfriend of the day" to players she felt were worthy. (There are probably other female bloggers out there using variations of the system as well.)

From the B.O.D. and Boyfriends FAQ:

What is a boyfriend? A "boyfriend" is that special Twins player that makes your heart go pitter pat. It has nothing to do with physical attraction; straight men can have Twins boyfriends as can gay women as can neutered Batkitties! Everyone can have a Twins boyfriend!

What is the Boyfriend of the Day, or B.O.D? With every Twins victory the B.O.D. Supreme High Commandress will select that... boyfriend who has most contributed to said victory.

Just replace "Twins" with "Cardinals", and it's almost like I came up with this all by myself! (In all seriousness, she was an amazing blogger and I miss her terribly. However, that will not stop me from hijacking her idea.)

I will, of course, make some minor adjustments. The first one will be to change several words into Spanish. Boyfriend will henceforth be Novio, and B.O.D. will be known as N.D.D. (novio del día). Presto! A semi-original-ish idea!

Also, for logistical reasons, the N.D.D. will not be chosen merely from the list of current novios (or singular novio), but rather from a pre-determined list of players. More details will be available later.

I will undertake the duties of the B.O.D. Supreme High Commandress, but I will not be assuming the title. You can continue to think of me as la beisbolista or Sarah-bug. Additionally, since I do not have a "team" as it were, all final decisions will be mine. If anyone is actually reading this (and not too embarrassed to contribute), I'll gladly accept suggestions in the comments section of any post.

The complete list of rules and regulations will be published shortly (before the beginning of the regular season, at least), so keep on the lookout as I know you're anxious to see how this turns out.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

and they're off

Baseball is officially underway, sports fans! (cheers and applause) The first ST game ended in a tie (5-5) with the Marlins yesterday, and the boys make the trip to Fort Lauderdale today to see the Orioles. I'd give anything to be down there. Palm trees and warm breezes. I guess I'll have to settle for my imagination to take me to the ballpark. 

Blake Hawksworth did well, as I understand, and so did Royce Ring. The young guys who came in from the 'pen left a little to be desired, but there weren't any serious plans to bring them to the show anyway. No big deal. The part that did bother me a little was the stranded runners. It was a huge issue last year, and doesn't seem like it's been resolved yet. 

I know, I know, it's early. I'll save my rile for April when it still isn't resolved. The funny thing about LOB is that it can feel very frustrating at the time, but if you strand 14 runners, that means you had 14 runners. Somehow or other, you got 14 guys on base to be stranded, and if that's not a silver lining, I don't know what is. Too optimistic? 

This week has been a little stressful for me (and not because of baseball), but the clouds have lifted (just in time for some actual clouds to move in) and I'm ready to re-focus on baseball. I haven't listened to the UCB broadcast from last night yet, but I plan to do so just as soon as I figure out what I did to my speakers and how to fix it.... I could swear there was something else I was going to mention, but it's gone now.


Monday, February 23, 2009


I wasn't planning on posting today (because I have a lot of studying to do), but when this popped up, I reconsidered.

Todd Wellemeyer insisted he isn’t sure what he did to annoy a crab off the Jupiter coast yesterday. But when that little bugger was done with him, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher had been snipped between his ring and pinky finger on his pitching hand and was bleeding a good bit, he said.

Wellemeyer, meanwhile, is plotting revenge.

He said he might grab a pair of scissors, head back to the beach and clip the crab where the crab snipped him.

Oh, no, I don't have anything to say. (I've never trusted crabs.)

Carry on.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

can you feel it?

I admit I may have reached a little too far into the jar of depression over Izzy, but it was what I was feeling and I've found that it's better to acknowledge your emotions and work through them rather than try to ignore them or cover them up. At any rate, it doesn't really matter how I feel or what I want, because St Louis was not Izzy's home any longer. In reality, it was probably best for everyone involved that he did move on to another team. I hope he can get his stuff back together and earn a spot in the Rays' bullpen, and I wish him all the luck in the world. (I can say that without prejudice because we don't see Tampa at all during the regular season. No qualifiers necessary. Besides which, even if he were pitching at Busch for the road team, I'd set aside my Cardinals loyalties long enough to see him sit down three straight, just because I think there are some "fans" out there who need to see what he can do. Obviously I'd still want the Cards to win, just not on Izzy's back. Wow, that sounded a lot more vindictive than I'd planned. Oh well.) I hope I didn't offend anyone with my ranting. :)

Now on to other things.

Every time I start to write something about Carp, I get this ominous feeling, like I'm pushing the limits or tempting fate, and I certainly don't want to do that. But the news coming out of camp about his progress is just so ridiculously encouraging (I mean, seriously, "tickled pink"? Who knew Dave even had that in his vocabulary?) that it seems equally wrong to neglect the subject entirely.

I really do feel good about this season. Maybe it's the "kool-aid" as everyone says, or maybe it's the sunny, happy pictures full of batting practice and infield drills and players working on writing their upper-case alphabet with baseballs. Or maybe it's the months of baseball-less-ness that has eaten away at the important parts of my brain.

Have you ever played that game where you stand in a doorway, arms out (as far as they'll go) and push out and up on the door frame for about 30 seconds (as hard as you can without actually doing structural damage)? Then you walk away and relax your arms and they just kind of float toward the ceiling? You should try it.

That's what it feels like (after months of no baseball) when we finally get baseball back. It's like floating. I can't wait.

Friday, February 20, 2009

no, I don't want to talk about it

and so it begins . . .

I'm working on my 25 random baseball things list, I promise, but as it develops, I thought I'd spend just a second promoting the latest UCB project--the Roundtable--which got started over at PHE this morning. The idea is for everyone (or at least most everyone) to share their opinions and maybe a little discussion about Cardinals-related topics. The question we got to start things off was this:

In light of the way the free agent market has progressed, do you think the Cards jumped the gun extending Kyle Lohse’s contract? Lohse’s deal now stands as one of the largest for a pitcher this off-season…huge gaffe or merely bad timing?

Click on over and have a gander at the responses, then count the seconds and pace nervously as you await the second installment tomorrow over at The Rundown at RFT. Nope, no hints. Sorry.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

jovian notes

First, I'm such a girl. I shouldn't tell you this, but when I was reading the latest entry over at Cardinal Beat and got to the end where I found this

Of how he will be greeted in St. Louis, Miles looked in the direction of a new Cubs teammate in the clubhouse here and said, “I hope it’s somewhat close to the way So (Taguchi) was treated. Nothing but applause.”

I started getting a little misty-eyed. Well, whether I'm at the park or on my couch for that first game, I'll be applauding. (sniff)


Spring Training updates are coming in pretty regularly thanks to the valiant efforts of our dedicated Cardinals reporters and photographers. If you aren't already paying a daily (if not more frequent) visit to the photo section at, you're missing out. The sun. The grass. The uniforms. The sombreros.

Real quickly: Sounds like (knock on wood) Carp is coming along beautifully. The Dunc-inator finally earned a decent nickname. (Yes, I consider that decent.) Schu took a line drive ball in the gut. (Is it me, or is that a pretty rare occurence for second basemen, just generally speaking?) And Piñeiro is still the fifth starter (despite his ungracious withdrawal from the PR team).

Speaking of Piñeiro, I can't help but wonder about the t-shirt he was wearing during the press conference yesterday. Really, Joel? I suspect that wouldn't be allowed if it were in English.

Finally, a note about the latest UCB project: the Roundtable. Pitchers Hit Eighth has the first round, and he'll be posting his question and all the bloggers' responses tomorrow on his site. C70 will carry a complete schedule, and I highly recommend that you check it out. It will be a month of non-stop entertainment, to be sure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

speaking of disappointment

Well, the news just keeps rolling in, doesn't it?

AK signed a minor league deal with the AL champions. He'll work on earning a spot as a back-up second baseman, but I challenge you to find anyone who believes that he'll have an everyday job in Tampa. I guess I've already moved on from caring about the Kennedy issue, because, well... I don't care. I wish Adam the best of luck in his pursuits, and I hope he finds a situation that makes him happy. Saved us $400,000 now, didn't it?

The news that did get my attention was that Joel Piñeiro, the guy who last season (and the one before that) showed as little emotion (pre-game, mid-game, or post-game) as I have ever seen from a latino ball player, is lashing out at José Oquendo (the PR manager) for relegating him to bullpen duties for the upcoming Classic. (Maybe 'lashing out' is too subjective a term, but then, I'm a blogger, not a journalist.)

However you see it (and whatever terms you use to describe it), I can understand his feelings. Joel was eager to represent his country as a starting pitcher (as he did in 2006), and actually made statements earlier on that if he wasn't going to be in the rotation, he probably wouldn't participate. Then the Cardinals made it known that they would prefer he didn't participate in the WBC because of the Spring Training time he would miss.

Of course, LaRussa denies any direct involvement in Oquendo's decision (and I believe him), but that doesn't mean the issue wasn't in the back of Cheíto's mind when he picked his starting three and Piñeiro wasn't one of them.

Joel opted to skip the World Baseball Classic, but I choose not to see it as a spoiled player throwing a hissy-fit. I think that Joel probably knows the importance of being present for all of ST, and would have skipped out only for a really good reason (ie, taking the mound as a starter for Puerto Rico). Now that that isn't an option any more, he has decided to remain in Jupiter for camp.

Personally, I'm glad to see him finally show some corazón about something. And he has really sexy eyes.

Albert suspended?

First, let me apologize for the title. It was unfair to scare you like that.


The content is not original (to my blog, anyway) this morning, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. (Now that you've recovered from the shock.)

There's this website called el Ñame (it's kind of like the Onion in that they publish fake news loosely based on the real news) out of Puerto Rico (so it's obviously in Spanish), and when I checked the headline this morning, I decided I simply must share their latest article with you. (ps--Google has a very nifty translation tool if you want to see the whole article en inglés. It's not perfect, but it's quick. Just copy and paste the address and presto!)

MLB Suspends Albert Pujols for Testing Negative for Steroid Use

...Allan "Bud" Selig, last night announced the indefinite suspension of the Cardinals' star first baseman, Albert Pujols, after a series of tests revealed that the slugger is the only player in the Majors not using anabolic steroids to improve his performance on the field.

"It's unbelievable!" exclaimed Selig, referencing his office's traditional policy on steroids, consisting of making fools of themselves and ignoring the problem until a whistleblower decides to embarrass the League by revealing violations of the law about which they should have known.

"For years we have listened to Albert claim that he always gives 100% on the field. Well I have news: our analysts have obtained information showing that althletes that use steroids yield 145% compared to those who don't use! If Pujols doesn't agree to give that 145%, he is definitely not interested in the well-being of his team."

"Albert tried to defend himself, and even though he admitted that he had been using a type of drug called 'Mangú', this wasn't included on our list of preferred drugs and steroids. Also, our scientists couldn't decipher its chemical composition, although curiously enough, they have learned to dance merengue very well," explained the Commissioner.

"He should follow A-Rod's example, who finally admitted that his erectile dysfuntion problems are not due to natural causes," said the Commissioner.

"What does it matter if one ball doesn't work? Isn't that why you have two?" Selig asked with inquestionable logic.

"We hope that Mr. Pujols puts an end to all this egotistical and self-destructive behavior and that he starts injecting himself with [human growth] hormones until his head becomes even bigger than that of Barry Bonds," concluded Selig.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

is it pitching tuesday? well, yes

I'll have you know, I wrote most of this last night (on infield Monday, ha ha!) but decided to save it for (and finish it) today. (There isn't really an infield Monday, but maybe there should be....)

First on my list, St. Charles native (and lefty starter) Mark Buehrle is considering "retiring" from the White Sox after his contract expires in 2011.

He said

I miss my family too much when I'm away [from St. Charles].


Maybe I'll just want a one-year deal [after 2011].

Know what my first (well, second, right after boy, does this guy plan ahead or what?!) thought was? Great. Another name I can't spell right the first time. Yep, that's where I am in my life right now.

The truth is, even if he were interested in joining the Cardinals, it wouldn't be for another three years. Lots can happen in three years. Including Mark Buehrle aging three years. I suggest no one get too excited about this deal just yet. In fact, forget I even mentioned it.

The latest reports from Jupiter concern the bullpen and the numerous questions surrounding the various roles to be filled. The projected needs include six or seven relievers, including one (or possibly two) LOOGY(s), an 8th inning set-up guy, and a closer. Dave Duncan basically summed up the entire process when he said

A lot of things fall into place if we answer the closer question.

Well said, sir. Closer by committee only complicates everyone's lives, and as we saw last season, the game-to-game uncertainty can add further pressure to an already high-stress situation. My one (big) hope for camp this year is that they get that settled once and for all (or at least for the season). I agree with Dave that if you can get those edge pieces, the puzzle is much easier to put together.

The three (well, four) lefties we have at camp right now (Miller, Ring, Manning, and Ostlund) will compete for the one (or possibly two) opening(s). Miller, according to the article, is the favorite to win the job. He's also the one, if you'll recall, who nearly wasn't signed because of an injury issue that came up during his physical. He then agreed to a rather extreme pay cut (supposedly because of some sentimental interest in signing with the Cardinals) with lots of incentives, and now sits there like some kind of ticking time-bomb as we all hold our breath to see if anything "pops". But don't let me get ahead of myself.

The righties include McClellan and Thompson (each considered to be the "sixth Beatle" in line to pick up starting duties if the need should arise), Perez and Motte (competing for the closer role), Franklin (the likeliest candidate for the set-up job), Kinney (who didn't pitch last year at all as he recovered from TJ surgery), and Todd (a reportedly promising righty looking to prove himself straight out of AA).

My votes for who goes where? Well, aside from waking up in a cold sweat at the thought of Franklin closing out games, I'm pretty content at this point to let the chips fall where they may. After all, that's what ST is about, right? Giving everyone an opportunity to earn playing time for the big club. So I won't start making my case for certain players to get certain jobs, I'll just wait to see who performs when called upon, and we can go from there.


Monday, February 16, 2009

the elephant in the room

Don't think for a second that I haven't been keeping my eye on the rumors revolving around a certain free agent (and thus un-signed) oser-clay. However, the more I follow baseball, the more ridiculously superstitious I become. (It's weird, really. I think Tony's rubbing off on me.) Therefore, I will abstain from commenting lest I jinx anybody or anything.

Spring Training sounds like it's off to a roaring start with the only no-show so far being Troy Glaus (who is currently recovering from alleged shoulder surgery and wouldn't be much use to anyone, anyway). Ludwick even showed up early, hoping to avoid an arbitration hearing in Phoenix tomorrow, a prospect which sounds more and more likely with each passing minute. Done. Honestly, after paying Adam Kennedy $4 million to am-scray (no, I don't know what's up with all the pig latin), I find it passingly amusing that the Cardinals' front office is being so stingy with two guys who will actually contribute to the team this year.

Of course, the big Cardinals news swirling all over the wide world of baseball involves (of course) Albert. Actually, there are two pieces of news about el hombre: (1) he won't be representing RD in the upcoming WBC (and depending on how you look at it, this could be good or bad news), and (2) he recently made some cryptic remarks to reporters at camp concerning his future as a ballplayer.

First, I guess it's okay that Sir Albert (not my favorite of his nicknames) won't risk injury by playing games that don't matter to the Cards (although if you wanted to argue you could say that ST games don't really matter either) at least as far as the standings. The counter-point here is that in 2006, he seemed to get a boost from playing for RD and started the season like a bat outta hell. Either way, with his elbow being the concern it is, it's probably best not to tempt fate.

Second, when Albert says that he'll sign with the team that shows that most commitment to winning, you have to admire his motivation. He's not after the biggest paycheck or the most glory, he just wants to be on a team that competes. Therefore, in 2011, when he becomes a (deep breath) free agent, if the Cardinals aren't that team, then I'll gladly bid him "God speed" because he's right. For as long as he's been on the team, the Cardinals have been (more or less) serious competitors. Even when they haven't made it to the post-season, they have put a good product on the field, and they have done what it takes to win. This year promises to show us more of the same. If this (somehow) changes dramatically over the next three seasons (leaving St Louis in the basement of the division and fans calling for Mozeliak's head), then Albert probably would be better off playing somewhere else. On the other hand, if we continue to be one of the biggest spenders with one of the largest fan bases, winningest records, and most impressive attendence figures, then I can't imagine AP finding a better home in baseball, assuming, that is, he's honest about his motives. (That last part was just to see if you were still awake....) So you see, I'm not worried. And I don't think you should be, either.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm in love and I don't care who knows it

It's official! Spring Training began today when pitchers and catchers showed up for their first work-out (and probably some physicals, too). I'm eating chocolates (and not feeling a bit guilty about it) and looking through the PD's online album of straight-from-the-heart-of-the-action ST photos. 

Sounds like there are some Cardinals sporting new facial hair this spring, and while I'm not a huge fan of the look, I can't help but remember how Ryan Franklin's chin squirrel may have helped out his pitching a bit last year just when he needed it. Well, whatever works. 

Since I'm sans MLB network (thhhhbbbbt), I have to take what I can get, and today that means the 1993 World Series between the Phils and the Jays. Spoiler alert(!) The Jays won. Coming up next: The Cubs suck, but don't blame Steve Bartman. Sounds promising. 

I'm also enjoying today's two installments of C70's Playing Pepper series featuring the Cubs and White Sox. It's fun to get a look at what's going on in the rest of baseball as we wait for the season to start. If you haven't been keeping up with the interviews, you should check out the index and catch up. It's good reading.

Friday, February 13, 2009

take a deep breath

Now that we have no second baseman, either someone will step up and prove himself capable during Spring Training, or they'll start shopping for a fit outside the organization. Reasonable, right? (That's my new dogma, by the way. Reason over lunacy. I'm trying it out. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Ohmmmm... everything will be fine. Ohmmmm... there's no sense dwelling in the past. Ohmmmm... true peace must come from within.)

Something about this feels unnatural and uncomfortable. I'm sure Skip will make a great segunda base, but it may take a while for me to adjust to seeing him in the infield. (Just so you know, I totally stole this pic from STLtoday and their photographer.) I'm glad the club and "the arm" were able to overcome their differences and settle on a figure. I'm curious who blinked first, but I don't suppose it really matters. It does give me little more hope that they'll be able to settle with Ludwick, though, too. 

I'm going to take a pass on making anymore comments about the A-Rod/steroids situation for two reasons: (1) the whole thing outrages me for a variety of reasons, and (2) I do believe it has been covered. I know you're disappointed. 

Moving on.... Pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow, although it sounds like a lot of players (obviously including Skip) are already in Jupiter and starting to work. It's nice to hear all the reports coming out of Florida, it makes me feel warm. Hopefully February and March will fly by, and April will be here before we know it! (Not that I don't enjoy ST or anything....) Stay positive!

Monday, February 9, 2009

hope springs eternal

Okay, no more talk of he-who-shall-not-be-named, no more controversy, no more bologna. We're in the final days before the new season takes flight, and the world is just much too wonderful a place right now to stay bogged down with ugliness and idle gossip any longer. 

The weather is a-warming, the birds are a-singing, and the players are a-heading south. 

I've never been to a Spring Training game before, and I'd really like to see one someday. Maybe next year. (If for nothing more than a little Florida sunshine.) 

Can't you just feel the warmth on your face? Smell the field? Hear the crowd? Well, thanks to C70, I can, and I'm ready to spread the joy. Imagine yourself at the park. It's dusk, and the last traces of sunset are disappearing behind the stands. The heat from the day is slowly replaced by a cool evening breeze. The stadium lights shine down on the field below, and the players take their positions. The announcer calls out names over the loudspeaker, and the crowd responds with wild applause and loud stomps as the players wave in acknowledgement. Taste your cold beer. Smell the hot dogs grilling. Hear the chatter and laughter as fans file into their seats. Ahhh, baseball. 

Here are some of my favorite baseball onomatopoeias/ideophones (AKA words that are fun to say): 

The slap of his hand in the glove; 

The rustle of feet in the dirt; 

The tap of the bat on the ground; 

The thud of the ball into the catcher's mitt; 

The bark of the umpire; 

The flash of the cameras; 

The crack of the bat; 

The roar of the crowd; 

The boom of the fireworks; 

The flap of the flags; 

The pulse of Cardinal Nation. 

For what it's worth, I think it's going to be a good season. I'm done complaining. It's officially time to turn the roster and playbook over to Tony. Let's play some ball. (Or rather, let's watch people far more talented play some ball while we live and die by every pitch.)

which planet am I on again?





When did...????

The Cardinals released Adam Kennedy????

Sorry. I'm gonna need a minute to, um... do some stuff... in my head. You know.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Okay, I've almost fully recovered. I can't say I have the foggiest idea where this came from (cough, Tony), or why now of all times, but there you go. If I were AK I'd be sorely ticked. Not that he didn't ask for it, but still. A week before ST. Not only did he not get the off-season to look for work or plan his retirement or whatever, but he also doesn't even get an opportunity to earn the job after all this.

To clarify, I wish they'd have traded him earlier. I was under the impression that we didn't go after an intermedista this off-season because of the $4 million we are going to be paying AK anyway. As though to say, "The job is Kennedy's to lose." Well, I've learned my lesson. I'll never presume to know what Mozeliak is thinking ever again. Promise.

A week before ST and we don't have a second baseman.

A week before ST and we don't have a second baseman.

A week before ST and... you get the picture.

Somebody tell me this was a good idea. (Cue the minor league experts and their lists of prospects...)

And what the fudge about Aaron Miles????

(Did I say I was done complaining?)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

talk it through

Well, I can't stop thinking about steroids now....

I actually wrote a paper about AAS (Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids) a year or so ago, but I didn't get into HGH. (Of course, I mean that I didn't write about HGH or research it, although I didn't use it either.) Some of the adverse effects are pretty scary.

It's such a complicated subject--performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports--that I can't imagine it being neatly or agreeably resolved anytime in the foreseeable future.

ME: Poor A-Rod. (heh heh)

Someone Who Is Not Me: Okay, so we've established that you don't like Alex Rodriguez.

ME: It's just that he's so plastic. So shallow, at least on the surface. (cough) Way too metro-sexual for the likes of decent American get-your-uniform-dirty-or-it's-not-really-a-sport sports. And then there's the fact that he and his distracting personal life have tarnished what I am proud to consider one of the defining characteristics of baseball--that for whatever reason beisboleros aren't subject to the same intense scrutiny by the celebrity-stalking gossip-mongering media as other factions of the rich and famous--and just generally nauseated me....

SWINM: Right, right. We get it. No A-Rod fans here. But beyond how you feel about the man personally, you have to admit that the whole business stinks. I mean, in 2003, when the tests were done, players were promised anonymity. They were assured that the results would be confidential. Coming back 6 years later and revealing those results is a complete violation of his rights.

ME: True, but if he hadn't been using the steroids in the first place, it wouldn't even be an issue.

SWINM: But there are apparently 103 other names on the list for whom it isn't an issue. Their names weren't released. This is obviously an attempt to tarnish one player's reputation in particular.

ME: Yet. Their names haven't been released yet. But are you suggesting they should release all the names?

SWINM: No, of course not. I'm suggesting that no names should have been released. It was deceitful and wrong.

ME: You can't unspill milk.

SWINM: Well, no.

ME: So what's the solution?

SWINM: There is no solution. You said it yourself, you can't unspill the milk. The damage is done. However, if you look back at the situation in 2003 (and before), the players who were using were using, and maybe it gave some of them an advantage, but it's over. The records are set. History has been written. You can't unspill milk. What I suggest is that we let it all go.

ME: Those players were breaking the rules and the law. You can't seriously want to let them off the hook, can you?

SWINM: That's exactly what I want. Drop the charges against Barry, forget about Jose's book, let McGwire get on with his life, and lock Clemens in a small room with something angry and hungry. Putting any of these guys in jail isn't going to change a thing. Baseball doesn't need asterisks and whispers and question marks about the past. Baseball needs clearly defined restrictions. Players and their representatives need to know exactly what is acceptable and appropriate and what is not. The league needs to implement strict testing and unequivocal punishments. That's the only way we'll get beyond this. We have to move on and there has to be a plan.

ME: If there's a product out there that can enhance performance--be it steroids or some new designer drug--there are and will always be players who would risk their reputation and the consequences in order to have that advantage.

SWINM: It's human nature, I know. And I'm no scientist, but I'm aware that the testing is always one step behind the science. If you want to protect the integrity of the game, though, you either have to establish a blanket definition of performance-enhancers and prohibit anything and everything likely to fall under it, or you have to be able to trust players.

ME: There's also been talk lately of the increasing instance of players taking drugs for Attention Deficit Disorder (and doubt as to whether the majority of those players actually suffer from the disorder). If a player has a medical diagnosis and is being treated with prescription drugs, where is the line that separates "unacceptable and inappropriate" from medically necessary? And what if those categories overlap? Would you deny a player reasonable medical treatment if that treatment happened to enhance performance? Would you require him to leave the profession in order to get medical treatment?

SWINM: That's a tough question. In setting the rules, MLB would definitely have to take such concerns into consideration. I don't have the answer.

ME: Me either.

SWINM: So what have we decided, as far as A-Rod, that is?

ME: Well, despite my great dislike for him, I have to say I feel bad for the man.

SWINM: Me too. He's obviously going to have to deal with this for a while.

ME: Poor A-Rod. (snicker)

SWINM: Oh, just stop it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

no comment

Yes, I know this picture has nothing to do with steroids or PEDs or doping or baseball, but it's my favorite picture of the guy. I don't think it's fair that the test results were made public after players were assured it was anonymous, but I don't like A-Rod enough (or at all, for that matter) to really get upset about it. I'll save my views on performance-enhancing drugs for another time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

el mejor de esta maldita baina

Just because I have nothing better to talk about, here are five random things that I'm thinking about this morning (baseball-related, anyway). 

1. Well, who does have any money these days? (Although I thought Dustin made an excellent point last night about agents and car salesmen.) 

2. Edinson Vólquez has Reds fans and the front office a little worried. For what it's worth, my take on the situation: They were shooting a music video and having a little fun. No one was threatened. The gun may very well have been a prop. The car as well. Maceo spends the whole video talking about what good friends he and "Vol" are, that Vol is the best pitcher and he is the best mambo singer, and that the gun is for those who are "talking s***." (When he holds it up to his mouth, he's making a "shhhh" gesture.) It looked to me like it was just a couple of guys goofing off. The slang is pretty heavy, but overall they just seem to be playing around. Guns are not toys, but I think maybe the whole issue has been blown just the slightest bit out of proportion. You know!? (Oh, and I learned some fun new dominican slang! Yay!) 

3. Manny, Manny, Manny. $25 million for a one-year deal? I hope for his sake there's some realistic possibility of someone offering better than that, but my common sense won't believe it 'til we see it. Seriously, though, why not take the one-year deal and then fish around for another deal next year? Is there some fairy godmother waiting to turn him back into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 2010? Sheesh. 

4. Ankiel's arb hearing is set for February 12, and Ludwick's is the 17th. Super-duper. I still haven't decided how I want this to go. Guess it's a good thing they aren't waiting for my input, eh? 

5. Finally, Pitchers Hit Eighth spent what must have been waaaay too much time working on his how-the-Cardinals-stack-up-against-the-run-game project, and it is awesome. He breaks down everything from stolen base percentages to how the catchers influence attempts. It is definitely worth a read. If you haven't already, be sure to head over and have a look. 

Well, that's about it. We're in the single-digits until pitchers and catchers report! Bring on the exhibition baseball, mang

Sunday, February 1, 2009

all over the outfield

So I'm sitting here on this very melty first of febrero, sipping my coffee-hot chocolate blend (you should try it--it's really the only way to drink coffee), ignoring the pre-Superbowl festivities, and trying to decide which direction to take the John Mozeliak/shoe shopping story, and it occurred to me that there hasn't been much news regarding Ankiel and Ludwick and their arbitration issues. I sincerely hope that it doesn't come to a hearing for either of them, but in the event that it does, I'm wondering which side we as Cardinals fans should be on. 

Actually, maybe we should take it back even further than that. If the team lets this go to hearings, will the players feel unappreciated? Disrespected? Would that affect their willingness to give a "hometown discount" to the Cards when (especially in the case of Ankiel) and if they become free agents? I know all players spout the "I understand that it's a business..." line when in the middle of negotiations, but nothing is ever that simple. (Which is why the line is usually followed by "but....") 

But if the unfortunate does happen, what's the official stance of Cardinal Nation? 

Maybe as a blogger I should automatically have a strong opinion, but I can't decide. I keep going back and forth between the good of the team (at least financially, seeing as every dollar saved could theoretically go back into the pot and possibly show return in the form of, say, a starting pitcher) and the importance of showing players that they are valued and respected (which could also show return in the form of the previously mentioned "discount" or building general goodwill with the players). 

The other thing on my mind is the Manny Ramirez speculation. If you've been under a rock (or a snow bank), then maybe you missed the news of Albert lobbying for his dominican compatriota and teammate to play in St Louis. You'd think that Moze's unambiguous and definitive "no" would have closed the case and put the issue to bed, but as is so often the case on the internet (and especially with nothing else remarkable to talk about), it didn't. In fact, it's like he never said anything. 

This got me thinking. 

Primero, I love Man-Ram. All other things equal, I would love to have him. I love his bat and I love his energy. (And no, neither of those is a euphemism.) 

Segundo, I do not think it's a good idea for Ramirez to play here (or for that matter, for any NL club, but that's beside the point, I suppose). No matter what kind of bargain he might give the team, he's just not a good enough outfielder for this to make any sense. 

Now I know there's some question that Ludwick or Ankiel will put up the kind of numbers (minus injury time) that they did last year, that Schu will ever figure out left-handed pitchers, that Duncan will be able to play again, or that the minor leaguers will live up to their hype (and yes, that last one may be all me). But with the possibility that they could, how can we seriously consider letting go of two or more (in all likelihood) of these guys in favor of a player who will bring a lot of baggage along with his offense, and would only eat up any money (even with the "discount") that might be used for a more pressing need. (Five O'Clock Blogger said it a lot better.) 

But back to my original point. The latest post over at C70 at the bat made me think. He basically says that if the Cards were to sign Ramirez, it would only further limit their ability to trade from the glut of outfielders on the roster because it would put a big flashing sign on our foreheads, announcing to every other team out there that we're desperate to get rid of overstock. It would effectively drive down the price for guys like Ankiel, and tie our hands as far as bringing up prospects. 

What I was thinking was that if Moze was seriously considering bringing him in (which, again, I protest), he would need to make the trade first, without the big flashing sign. He would need other clubs to believe that there's no way we're making that deal. 

So maybe all the chatter out there in cyberspace has a point. Maybe we shouldn't just take the "no" at face value. Maybe we should wait until all the cards are on the table. Again, I'm not encouraging this deal. I'm just thinking out loud.