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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

random and unrelated

While looking for something completely unrelated, I ran across an infrequently updated blog with a post about making prison hooch. Unfortunately, he never wrote how it turned out, but I'm seriously considering trying this. I don't really want to drink it, I just want to see what it's like. If I do, I'll let you know.

Predictions 2009: NL West

Well, we've done the AL, NL East, and NL Central. That means it's time for the (drumroll, please) NL West. And that means it's time to ask the ever-important question... um, who's left? Not that I don't love the NL West. Really. Let's see, there's the Dodgers, the Rockies, the... Oh, the Pads. ??? No, don't tell me. Ummm... The Giants! And... One more, right? Okay, just one hint. Are they in California? Utah? Iowa? No. I really am at a loss here. Oh, wait... The Diamondbacks!!! Ha! Knew I'd get it eventually. Yes, I watch baseball. What's your point?
And now, my extremely expert and thoroughly researched opinion on how these fine teams will finish the season.
1. ARI Diamondbacks. You have to win the division in this division if you want to make the playoffs, because you can't count on the Wild Card. Good pitching will get them there. 2. LA Dodgers. We're all anxious to see how Manny's 2-year contract works out for the Streetcar Dodgers, and unfortunately for Joe Torre, I don't think it's going to be well. I love Man-Ram, but he can be a bit of a distraction. And occasionally distracted. 3. COL Rockies. They are going to surprise everyone this year (even themselves) because by all accounts, they should be in last place, not competing with LA for second place. 4. SF Giants. Ehh. Tim Lincecum is going to have a great year. Unfortunately, he can't pitch every game. 5. SD Padres. It's not going to be pretty, although I'm hoping (as are all their fans) that it's at least a little less embarrassing than last year. Poor Mark Worrell. (snicker)
Come back tomorrow for the post-season and individual awards. And be sure to check out the rest of the UCB's predictions (which are sure to make up for mine).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Well, what a [expletive] wonderful day. Yeah, that's right. [expletive].

Okay, I'm not the [expletive] girl, but I'm in a [expletive] mood. So here's what I'm gonna do. Instead of using the actual [expletive] words, and in order to spare you the [expletive] business, we're going to do this post Mad LibsTM style. Have fun!

Troy [snack food] Glaus is probably done for [length of time], and if you think I'm being a(n) [adjective] alarmist, take [number] second(s) to get your [part of body] out of your [different part of body] and think about all the [processed lunch meat] we've been force-fed over the last few years about [adjective] injuries from the [adjective] [farm animal] [noun ending with -ers].

Oh, and Carp [past tense verb] his [adjective] [part of body] while he was [adverb] jogging. So, [exclamation]. Who the [warm place] was letting him jog?!

The only thing that kept this [adjective] day from being a total [bodily fluid] wash (what with all the [adjective] news and not being able to [verb] any [adjective] [team sport], and the [dessert ending with -ie] Cardinals [verb ending with -ing] anyway), was hearing about Duncan's [superhero] homerun against [fictional villain] and the [plural item of clothing].

Got all that?

Don't forget to post your humorous results in the comments section so we can all enjoy them.

Predictions 2009: NL Central

All right, before we get started, I have to tell you how much I hate April Fool's Day. I hate it. A lot. I don't like surprises, period, and I don't care for pranks even a little bit. Practical jokes are my nightmares. I don't like being tricked or "fooled" and I really don't like when it happens over and over again in a 24-hour period. I know some people think it's "funny" but it's not. It's the unfunniest thing ever. Ever. I have a good sense of humor. I enjoy dry wit and slapstick comedy as much as the next person. I do not enjoy trickery. Therefore, you will find no hint of foolishness or silliness in the following post. I will not, repeat NOT tell you I think the Cubbies are finally going to go all the way this year, and then jump out from behind the couch yelling "April Fools!" at the top of my lungs to announce that, well, I got you. Some of my fellow bloggers may very well do just that, and more power to them, but I'll be avoiding the entire internet today, as well as anyone in my real life whom I know to be a perpetrator of such "hilarity." Now, with no further delay, here are my completely serious and somber predictions for the NL Central.
(Note: These predictions are based on absolutely nothing substantial or scientific. At best, they represent how I hope the races will turn out. At worst, they are my attempt at shaking things up. If you want more accurate guesstimates, visit some of the other UCB soothsayers.)
1. STL Cardinals. Okay, I'm a Cardinals fan. Did you really expect me to put the Cubs here? Sorry. Besides which, I think the Cards have a real shot at winning this year. I'm not going to list the reasons for fear of jinxing them, but I'll be happy to discuss it once the season is over and everyone is giving me credit for having called it. 2. CHI Cubs. What can I say, they're a pretty good team. During the regular season, at least, they were dominant last year. From what I can tell, they've made moves that will either improve them or, at worst, keep them pretty even. Too bad about that post-season stuff. 3. CIN Reds. They have some good pitching and a little bit of offense. They're better than the Pirates, at any rate. 4. MIL Brewers. Ehh. Last year was their shot and they blew it. I don't see them competing for much of anything this year. 5. PIT Pirates. To be fair, I think they are better than this. 6. HOU Astros. To be fair, I wish they were better than this.
Tomorrow we wrap up the regular season rankings with the NL West. Friday, we'll have post-season and individual awards predictions.