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.