Saturday, December 18, 2010

a brief break from nothing

Well, the winter meetings are over. Pitchers and catchers report in approximately two months. Opening Day is still 15 weeks away (not that I'm counting). There's really no reason for me to pick back up with the blogging at this point, but still, here I sit, thinking, typing, and longing for baseball.

A few interesting things have happened thus far in the off-season. It certainly hasn't been uneventful.

I heard about the Lance Berkman deal while I had the stomach flu. I still haven't determined if there is any correlation.

Aside from a handful of imaginative nicknames and a vicious knowledge of NL Central opponents, I'm finding it hard to pin down exactly what this guy (don't get me wrong, I like him) brings to the team that's worth $8 million. I'm sure it will become apparent once the season begins, right?

My dad broke the news to me about Brendan Ryan.

"They traded Booger to Seattle," he said.

"Ryan?" I asked. "Who'd we get? Ichiro?"

Brendan Ryan has always been one of my favorite players. Yes, his offense was abysmal last year (and I do mean that), but he's just so much fun to watch. He is a ray of sunshine. A breath of fresh air. The court jester for a profession that generally takes itself far too seriously.

I'll miss him. I hope you will, too.

"The Cardinals traded for Ryan Theriot," my dad chuckled. He had also been the one to clue me in on this, shall we say, less-than-savory acquisition. 

 "Ugh," I replied. Nothing more needed to be said.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything personal against "the Riot" (unless you count the fact that his face makes me want to vomit). Nor was I ever Hawksworth's biggest fan (although I like his name). I just can't stand the thought of any long-time Cubs joining the Cards. It feels, well... wrong.

Additionally, we were able to retain Jake Westbrook, which is definitely a plus. Gerald Laird joins the team and will most likely see a lot of action warming up pitchers between innings. On reviewing the official roster, I was overwhelmed by the number of names I don't recognize, a fact which leads me to believe I need to spend a little more time paying attention to what's going on.

Monday, April 5, 2010

baseball is back

First, a question. What in the hell is in Yadi's mouth?

Okay, I know. You don't know. You're probably even thinking, "Huh?" Or, "What?" Seriously, though. It was not your run-of-the-mill mouth guard. Is he wearing a retainer?

What a beautiful day for baseball. Be sure to sit outside and soak up some vitamin D, sports fans.

Now, on to the game. (How exciting is it that we finally have real baseball to talk about?)

Good things about the 2010 Opening Day in Cincinnati:
  • Yadi in the lineup (and, maybe more importantly, behind the plate).
  • A-Rey, Jr. rocking the stirrups.
  • The Best Player In Baseball. AB: 1. HR:1.
  • The Wood-smith on the mound. "Screaming at Votto down the line." 
  • Scott Rolen on deck. 
  • End of the first, Cards up 1-0.
  • Scott Rolen flying out to left field.
  • Raspberry Tart going deep in the fourth.
  • Lug-nut's base hit to left.
  • The Penguin's RBI single.
  • Rolen bobbling the ball, allowing Yadi to go to third.
  • The Wood-smith's bunting stance.
  • Carp powering through the fourth and keeping the lead intact.
  • End of the fourth, Cards up 3-2.
  • TBPIB now 2 for 3 with a single in the fifth.
  • The Captain sliding cleats-first into the 2Bman.
  • "The ball gets away and Pujols will score!" 
  • End of the fifth, Cards up 4-2.
  • Molina beating Rolen's throw to first.
  • Raspberry Tart climbing the wall and taking a homerun away from Rolen.
  • Realizing (during the interview) that my respect for Moze has grown exponentially since his start.
  • TBPIB adding on 2 more with his second HR of the season/game following a Boog single.
  • The Captain collecting his first hit with a single in the seventh.
  • Carp leaving with a decent line. 6IP, 5H, 2ER, 3K, 0BB.
  • End of the seventh, Cards up 6-3.
  • End of the eighth, Cards up 6-4.
  • "The Redbirds have pulled out the power sack." -Mike Shannon
  • Cards win the first game of 2010 by a score of 11-6.

Not-so-good things:
  • On 3-0, Matt Holliday lining out to Aaron Harang.
  • Yadi hit by a pitch in the fourth. Holliday in the fifth.
  • Stranding 2 in the fourth.
  • Votto's solo shot in the fourth.
  • Rolen's solo shot in the fourth.
  • Batman booting an easy grounder.
  • The Reds' circus act in the sixth to get Carp at first.
  • Jason Motte.
  • The ball through the legs of The Penguin.
  • "That was stolen off McClellan."
  • Ryan Franklin

Well, at any rate, there is one thing we can all agree on: the Cardinals are back.

Oh, and the Cubs are losing lost. *smile*

Ahhh, baseball. It's going to be a great year.

10 NDD points for Yadi. For his FIRST GRAND SLAM EVER.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

planting seeds for Spring

I know I've been a little remiss in my blogging this offseason, and for that I apologize. Some things can't be helped, though, and I figure it's better to just move on and see what the 2010 season has in store for baseball, the Cardinals, and fans. After all, it's a new year, with new possibilities, and some new faces. What could be be better? (Other than actually getting to go to Jupiter and watch Spring baseball in person, that is.)

We're still waiting for a few of the transcripts to go up, but if you've missed out entirely, you can check out the Roundtable discussions, all archived over at the UCB site.

Excited about the season? About the '10 Cardinals? You should be. There's a lot to be excited for!

Sounds like Jaime García, barring any major natural disasters, will be the fifth starter in a pretty sound rotation. I like that. I like him. I'll tell you why (don't even bother asking, it just slows me down). (1) He's young. (2) He's a lefty. (3) What little we have seen from him in the past was very promising. (4) You can tell he wants it.

Fingers crossed that he turns out to be our just-what-we-needed-but-didn't-know-it-at-the-time player. It's nice to have one of those each year, and it's definitely pitching's turn to contribute.

Speaking of the rotation...

What really needs to be said of Wainwright and Carpenter? They're doing what they do.

Penny, if you judge by the excitement in Mike Shannon's voice (which I do), was absolutely owning the Marlins batters he faced yesterday. He was working fast, too, which is always a good sign. Whatever weird injury he may have sustained this Spring doesn't seem to be affecting him much at all. (Hopes that Yadi recovers equally well.)

Lohse goes today (on 550, if you live close enough to pick it up) against the Mets. I heard somewhere he's predicted to be roughly as good as he was in '08, and nothing would make me happier. (Actually, I'd even take '09 Lohse, for what it's worth.)

Also, yesterday...

Brendan Ryan made some very nice, not so run-of-the-mill plays at short, and again, Mike was jumping out of his chair (metaphorically speaking) with each call. Maybe they were as spectacular as all that, or maybe Mike was just in a "jumping out of his chair" mood. Either way, I can't wait to get this season started.

Felipe López has 5 stolen bases this Spring? Huh. Maybe I'd put him in the leadoff spot and save B-Ryan for the niner.

That leaves Rasmus for the 2-hole, captains obvious for 3 and 4, Freese for the fifth spot, Skip in #6, Yadi (or LaRue *sob*) batting seventh, and the pitcher eighth. Of course, unless I'm playing Flip in right field, I'll need to thin out the infielders a little. Luddy would bat fifth, in that case, with Freese sixth, and move Skip to the first spot. If Lugo is playing, I'd bat him ninth, so not much rearranging needed.

Whew. No wonder TLR never smiles. I smell a new record for number of unique lineups in a season. (Previously held by TLR.)

8 days until Opening Day! 15 Until the Cardinals Home Opener! See you in Saint Louis!

Friday, March 26, 2010

um... duh.

Yadi is hurt. I'm sure I'm only the latest person to mention this, but it bears repeating. He strained his oblique on the basepaths and may very well miss opening day.


Do I sound calmer than you would've thought I'd be? Worry not. I'm currently chewing on the keyboardcxzCVSCz FSXCDC SXWsxzcdcvSXZDSXAzXZ SCX CS X




Oh, sure, Jason LaRue is a great back-up, but he's no Yadi! No one is Yadi! He's, he's... YADI!!!

TLR said this about his catcher:
I don't think there's anybody on our team more important than Yadier. There's others that are as important, but Yadi is right there tied for first.

Good gods, what will we do?

Friday, February 26, 2010

now that's what I'm talking about

It's good news, Cardinals fans!

The Cardinals are bringing back the amazing Flip.

F-Lo. Fe-Lo. Lo-deck.


No, that's all.

Just the news I've been waiting for all off-season.

Ready for some baseball? Me, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UCB Roundtable: Salary Cap

My turn at posing a question to the UCB began with buying myself a new purse. Well, it's Spring Training, right? New season, new opportunities, new jerseys. Why not a new handbag to announce my fandom to the world? (And some pretty cool new earrings to boot!)

Spring makes me feel like shopping, and shopping makes me wish I had a lot more money. Money got me thinking about salaries and bonuses and team spending, and that made me wonder about payroll discrepancies across baseball.

Sure, some teams can get by spending less, and some teams feel the need to write blank checks to bring in the talent, but amazingly, there seems to be very little correlation between the number of zeroes and the number of trophies. Maybe this is because of the farm system. Maybe players feel more connected to the team that brought them up, and this loyalty shows itself in the form of "hometown discounts". Maybe arbitration and options and years of service have a positive impact on team development. Maybe a salary cap would only give players more incentive to "test the market".

At any rate, I was curious what the rest of the bloggers thought about the notion. Is a salary cap necessary? Would it work? And how would it affect the Cardinals specifically?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

it's spriiiii-iiiing

The awesomely talented photog over at is back in Spring action, and the boys in red are back at work. Pitchers and catchers reported today for the St Louis Cardinals (although evidence suggests a variety of position players showed up), and Jupiter is once again the best place on earth. (And believe me, as I stare out the window at another sunny yet snow-covered day in the Midwest, I'd much rather be in Florida.)

Of course, nothing is as important as the arrival of hitting coach Mark McGwire to camp (at least if you judge importance by the amount of ESPN coverage dedicated to something). Derrick Goold even got to speak on SportsCenter about the colossal and world-altering event. He described it as "mooted".

The most fitting definition I could find goes something like this: Of no practical importance; irrelevant.

Never mind me, I'll just be enjoying the pictures.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

non sequitur

Two (completely unrelated) things from MLB Trade Rumors (not that I believe everything I read there)...


Brady Gardiner of Sirius XM Radio tweets that Ryan Franklin's agent said that in 2007, his client turned down a more lucrative offer from Toronto to sign with the Cardinals in order to play for Dave Duncan.  Franklin signed a one-year, $1MM deal with St. Louis in January of '07.

This makes me kind of proud. I mean, those of us in Cardinal Nation know what an asset Papa Duncan is, but it's always heartwarming to hear that it's not just us (or that it's not just in our minds).

Bring on the Rich Hill project.

And second:

Last we heard, St. Louis has $6MM-$7MM to spend, and they've got question marks in the infield that make Lopez a logical fit.

I'm not saying anything; just saying.

Okay, I don't really know how valuable Lo-deck would be at third base, and since that's the biggest "question mark" I can think of, maybe it's not as ideal a fit as one might presume. On the other hand, versatility is as important as anything (quite possibly the most important thing) if you want to make TLR's lineup (with any regularity), and F-Lo is about as versatile as they come. Personally, I think he would be a perfect fit. But nobody ever asks me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

planet Schumaker

Yay! Skip "the second baseman" Schumaker is ours for the next TWO years. Arbitration avoided. Negotiations done. Trato hecho. And for quite a reasonable price, as well.

Ooh, buddy. I gotta tell you, there are a lot of our guys whom I would hate to see playing somewhere else--Albert, Yadi, Wainwright, and Carp come to mind--but none any more so than Skippy, er, Jared. (Whatever.) He has quickly become one of my most favorite Cardinals.

Last off-season, after some confusion regarding the second base position, Schu stepped up and made us all question our concerns. "Were we concerned?" we questioned ourselves, some of us aloud. And after waiting an acceptable period of time for a response, we gave up (and just as well since we knew the answer all along anyway). The answer was, well, yes, but that's not the point, actually. The point is that we needn't have been concerned at all. We needn't have worried. We needn't have run out into the street, stopping traffic, concern showing plainly on our faces as we wondered, some of us aloud, "It's a week before Spring Training and we don't have a second baseman?"

But, as I may have mentioned, Skip rescued us. He came through when we needed him the most (a week before Spring Training without a second baseman), and gave us not only a replacement, but a pretty darn decent second baseman. 

So darn decent, in fact, that I named him my intermedista of the 00s. What? Me worry?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

be the light

So the players are showing up in Jupiter, ready to begin workouts and practices. The sun shines down on them as they run around in shorts and shirt-sleeves, gulping water out of plastic bottles. Sunglasses and baseball caps protect their eyes from the glare. Laughter and friendly shouts across the field announce each new arrival. They toss balls back and forth. They take light-hearted swings. They race to the clubhouse. They play, like the boys of summer they are, and prepare for the real "work" to begin.

Thinking about sunshine and batting practice and warm air makes me, well, really really depressed.

See, here in the Midwest, snow is piled up on every surface. Winter wind keeps us holed up in our houses, and our only respite is the brief glimpses of Spring Training we get by reading the reports out of camp. We shovel off the sidewalk and the driveway, and (unless we're lucky enough to have a garage) dig our cars out from under a snow bank. We trudge off to work. We shiver and pull our hoods down closer to our faces. We stare out the window at the blanket of white covering everything in sight, and we daydream about the return of green grass. We think about baseball and wrap our hands around hot mugs of coffee. We reminisce about summer nights at the ballpark and hot dogs and cold beer and fireworks and Fredbird. 

They say you need some darkness in order to really appreciate the light, and maybe we wouldn't appreciate baseball as much without the winter break. Then again, I'm willing to find out. How about you? 

Friday, February 5, 2010

it's a barbie world

With the loss of Johnny Damon, the Yankees organization will fail.

Much like Sampson had his hair, the Yanks have had Damon. There, quietly, steadfastly, classing up the organization, keeping the barbie dolls like A-Rod from bringing the club to its knees. Balancing the immaturity and selfishness that certain players were so well known for, and keeping a calm hand while others were throwing hissy fits like little baby girls.


I don't have much use for twitter, ie, I don't feel that I add anything useful and I have yet to take anything useful away. However, I won't delete myself completely for fear that as soon as I do, its true purpose will become evident, and then I'll just have to go back and re-lete myself. Anyone else have the same problem? No? Oh well.

I (kind of) do like facebook. Not as a daily, constant thing, but rather as a once-in-a-while, when-I'm-bored-and-can't-write-a-post kind of way. It's fun catching up with people I haven't seen in years and connecting with new friends, but it also has its limits. Want to stalk someone? Facebook can help you out. Want to show others how cool you are? Facebook can help you with that, too. Interested in having a real life? You might want to re-think your options.

The concept behind LinkdIn evades me still.

randomness revisited

Waaaaaay back last year, after inspiration from some fellow bloggers, I decided to compose my list of 25 random things: the baseball version. If you follow the blog, you already know that this list stopped at 9 and never picked back up. Granted, this isn't entirely the list's fault. I take some of the blame for not encouraging it like I should have.

At any rate, given the slowness of the off-season and my boredom from having two extra days off work this weekend (and no trip to take, thank you very much, Slayer), I figured I might just take a shot at finishing the list.

Let me just refresh your memory first. Here's how it starts...

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, 3 games per series (mostly), 9 innings, 3 outs per inning, 3 strikes per 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.

And now some...

Random things about me related to baseball

4. My foray into blogging began with Microsoft Word and a very colorful chart in which I recorded game scores, wrote important notes, and tabulated averages, saves, and various other stats. After the disappointment that was the 2004 post-season, I decided that the next time the Cardinals played in October, I wanted my own personal record of the season, and the idea for the chart was born. After the 2007 season, I decided to take it up a notch and keep track of things more emotional in nature, and since I'd recently joined facebook, I integrated the two and started writing "notes" about the games. Eventually this lead to an ongoing s*** list in which I kept track of the players who were really aggravating me (and whether they ever redeemed themselves). From there it was a short jump into the world of true blogging, and I've never looked back.

5. I don't just talk to the television when the game's on, I carry on entire, very involved conversations with Dan and Al. Sometimes these conversations get a little heated, but we always make good by the next first pitch. I often wonder how their wives put up with them.

6. I think there's always something new to learn about the game, and I love learning. For example, I used to graciously accept the various announcers' explanations of what makes a balk a balk whenever the subject would come up, but last year I decided I wanted to know the facts. Now that I have a better idea of what to look for, I have one more thing to yell at the tv about.

And then there are these...

Generally random things

7. Baseball makes sense. It is logical and reasonable and understandable. Life should be more like baseball.

8. I used to insist on sitting in the left field bleachers when we would go to games because I had a crush on Ray Lankford. I've never told anyone that before.

9. The only time I ever watched American Idol was the season Nikko Smith was a contestant. No, I don't suppose that one is really about baseball, but it's related. (Ha! Get it? Related? *wink*) He was the only reason I watched and I quit after he got the boot.

United Cardinal Bloggers to interview Kyle McClellan

The United Cardinal Bloggers will be interviewing St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan on Saturday, February 6, at 4:30 pm Central for a special edition of the UCB Radio Hour.

McClellan, a Missouri native who has spent two years with the Cardinals, was 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA coming out of the pen last year. He has been a solid part of the bullpen since his debut in 2008 and has been conditioning himself to challenge for the fifth spot in the St. Louis rotation this spring.

The United Cardinal Bloggers was formed in 2007 to foster communication and collaboration among those that blog about St. Louis. The UCB Radio Hour began late in 2008 and now is a weekly staple, airing Wednesdays at 9:30 pm Central at Blog Talk Radio and available for download as a podcast from that site and from iTunes.

No callers will be taken for the McClellan interview, though callers are encouraged on the regular Wednesday show.

The McClellan interview can be heard here, and the show page at Blog Talk Radio can be found here.

[ps ~ I gave K-Mac 10 NDD points for being an awesome enough guy to make an appearance on the show. Yes, I am trying to resurrect novios and NDD; we'll see how it goes.]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

up, up, and away... again

So, in case you hadn't heard, SuperMiles will be back in red soon. No, not Cardinals red. Reds red.

To be honest, I'd kind of lost touch with his comings and goings; I wasn't even aware that he had been traded to Oakland by the Cubs. I guess Chicago just couldn't recreate the magic St Louis had with the Super (utility) Man. Either that or the Chicago river is actually full of kryptonite.

Aaron had some nice memories to share at a recent baseball academy opening in California:

The happiest place you have ever seen is the inside of a clubhouse after a World Series. Some guys play their whole career without playing in one. I lucked out being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis is an amazing baseball town. They pack the stadium – every game is sold out. The fans are great. They cheer you if you work hard and play hard. If you have a bad game they will boo you every now and then. But that comes with the territory.

It will be nice to see him across the field again this year. Maybe we'll even get to see him pitch a few against the Cards, depending, of course, on how Dusty decides to use him.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

is Julio Lugo really still on the team?


All right. If you say so.

Speaking of middle infielders, I want Felipe López back.

In 43 games (169 plate appearances) with the Cards in '08, he hit pretty darn well.
BA .385, OBP .426, SLG .538, OPS .964

He defended pretty well, too, not to mention the fact that he can play almost anywhere you put him.

He's currently looking for a home, and some people seem to think we're in the mix to sign him.

I promise this has nothing to do with his ethnicity (even though it doesn't hurt que es boricua).

Also, I'm not above begging.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Yadi

... Mets fans have suffered as much as any fan base in sports over the past 23 years: the Scioscia homer, the fall of Doc and Darryl, the Bobby Bo era, the Kenny Rogers Game, the 2000 Subway Series, Yadier Molina's homer and the Collapse of 2007.

my picks.... team of the 00s

Okay, back to blogging with the big boys, and I've decided to jump back in with this project.

UCB proudly presents The Cardinals TEAM of the DECADE.

Of course, there aren't too many options, considering the amount of talent we've had the last 10 years, but I intend to make it as interesting as possible.

Now, where to begin....

Ah, yes, how about with the player of the decade. Albert Pujols at first base. The Best Player in Baseball. (I really believe that he could play any position with as much success as anyone who's ever played it, and if you doubt that, just challenge him and see what happens.)
The. Best. Player. in. Baseball.

Jim Edmonds in center field. Again, there's no argument that he's the best Cardinals CF of the decade because there's no argument that he's the best Major League CF of the decade. (On a side note, this is just despicable.)

Scott Rolen at third. He may not be my favorite of all-time, but I still must give him a lot of credit for playing as well as he does. And who can argue with all those gold gloves? (Does it make me a bad person that I laughed when this happened? After I found out he was okay, of course.)

Here's where it gets harder.

Catcher: I'm going with Yadier Molina. If you told me Matheny was "technically" better, I might shrug and admit that he probably taught Molina everything he knows, but you could never convince me that anyone outplays or outworks our Yadi. He exemplifies what catching ought to be. Take note, all you catchers.

Left field: If you've read here before, you know whose name I want to put in this spot, but I'll resist because deep down I know that there are better fielders at that position. Screw it, Chris Duncan. Outfield blunders aside, this guy contributed a lot with his bat. Maybe he was easy for some to make fun of, and maybe he had a lot to learn, but he wasn't a slacker and he loved the team. Oh, and he has a titanium disc, people.

Right field: Ryan Ludwick. The man is a force to be reckoned with, both at the plate and in the field, and it makes me shake my head every year the front office doesn't offer him the moon. His problem is that he just does his job. He's not flashy or spoiled or loud. He comes to the park, takes practice, plays the game, and lets everyone else soak up the attention. But you can always count on him.

Second base: Skip Schumaker. The point is to pick a team, using players from the entire decade, that you would like to see on the field and could stand up against anybody, right? Schu is the guy I want at second. Maybe it's an emotional choice, but there's nothing wrong with sentimental value.

Shortstop: Edgar Rentería. His resume with the Cardinals reads pretty nicely: AS, GG, SS, and MVP votes. Of course, given the revolving door of middle infielders we've had lately, you have to like the fact that he was around long enough to earn some tenure, even as funny looking as he is.
(Brendan Ryan is a close second, just because he is so much fun to watch. I think I'll make him my bench player.)

Starter: Chris Carpenter. Not only is he one of the best pitchers in the game, but he's one of the best pitchers in the game who had TJ surgery, came back, and contended for the Cy Young. He is the decade.

Reliever: Jason Isringhausen. My feelings about Izzy are no secret. He gave every ounce of himself for this team, even when things were bad and "Cardinals fans" were booing him in his own house. Plus, he holds the team all-time saves record, or something like that. I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Manager: I would pick Tony LaRussa even if he weren't the only choice.

Well, that wasn't too hard, or probably too interesting. Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers' choices for team of the decade at the UCB site.

19 days!

I can smell Spring Training!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the return of pitching tuesday

23 days until pitchers and catchers report. (Yes, that's counting today. Just work with me, please.)

23 reminds me of A-Rey, and A-Rey reminds me of pitching. The 5-man rotation has a pretty solid foundation going into 2010, but questions linger, primarily concerning the fifth spot.

We've got Carp and Wainwright (I still refuse to call him Waino), two of the best pitchers in the NL who should've shared the Cy Young in '09 but ended up with only each other to hold. Then there's Lohse, who wasn't stellar the year after signing a huge and very well-timed contract with the club, but who has the talent and experience to contribute quite a bit this season. Brad Penny rounds out the main four as the latest addition to the team, and it should be very interesting to see not if, but how Duncan is able to build on his strengths and help him pitch his way into our hearts.

The last spot in the rotation is where the question lies. Jaime Garcia? Kyle McClellan? Mitch Boggs? Or maybe someone else will step up during ST and give us another name to chew on. None of these options is ideal, Garcia because of missing all of '09 and with not much major league experience to begin with, Mac because he is so valuable in the 'pen, and Boggs because, well, he tends to go downhill very quickly when he goes. Brad Thompson is gone, but I wouldn't have been too excited about him in the rotation, anyway. There's still an outside chance of bringing Smoltz back, but I'm not holding my breath. Besides which, it's hard to imagine him lasting all year without any issues.

Truth be told, it might make sense for the Cards to sign a fifth man at this point, but I don't look for that to happen. At least not until Tony and Dave get a better feel for what we have to work with.

The bullpen is evidently going to look very similar to last year. Ryan Franklin will hold down the 9th innings, Dennys Reyes and Trever Miller will primarily come in against lefties, and Kinney and Motte will cover the gaps. Some newer additions could include Walters, Jukich, Samuel*, and Ottavino, but again, it's hard to know which of the hopefuls will have their dreams come true until we actually see them take the ball in ST.

*Youngest pitcher on the roster.... He just turned 23.

Once upon a time I heard talk of Russ Springer rejoining the team. That was probably just a fairy tale.

Know who I'd really like to have? Max Scherzer. He's a Missouri native, so I feel kind of possessive of him. I just know someday he and Mark Buehrle will wear the birds on the bat.

Think the Mariners really have a chance now that they've got Cliff Lee? Think the Phils could've made it as far as they did without him?

Monday, January 25, 2010

exclamation of delight

Picture me smiling.

No, on second thought, picture me lounging on a sunny Puerto Rican beach, daiquiri in hand, well-tanned towel boy massaging my feet, Cards versus Nats on my laptop, watching ba-Dunc-a-dunc hit one deep into the right field stands as his father and former teammates smile inwardly.

On third thought, picture me in the right field bleachers at Busch Stadium, cold Bud light in hand, on my feet as Duncan steps into the batter's box, holding my breath as the ball explodes off his bat and lands in my outstretched bare hand, as his father and former teammates celebrate silently.

As is the fantasy, the Cards triumph over the 'Natinals' by a fairly lop-sided score, but not before Chris has his way with a couple of fastballs and makes a couple of Sportscenter-worthy plays in the outfield (or possibly at first base, depending on how Washington decides to use him).

You know you want to come along.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I'm not quite certain why, but I don't love Colby Rasmus. I'm sure he's a fine, upstanding young man with a bright future ahead of him and many admirable qualities, but I just don't love him. I don't hate him, or even dislike him. I tolerate him. I accept him. But if he were to be traded tomorrow to, say, the Royals, I wouldn't bat an eyelash. Why? Heaven knows. Maybe he is destined for greatness in this crazy game of baseball, and I wish him all the luck in the world (especially as long as he's playing for St Louis), but I just can't get excited about him, and I apologize to anyone who is at all offended by this.

To recap, I'm not a fan of the current center field option for my team.

So, as you might imagine, I'm reeling a little with all the CF noise circulating these parts. To start with, Rick Ankiel makes news by going and getting himself signed by Kansas City. First of all, good for the Royals. Rick is a story no matter where he goes or what else is going on there, and playing for the Reales certainly will only add to the interest. Second of all, good for Rick. I never expected him to end up back with the Cards after free agency, but I can assure you that KC was the last place I would have bet on him landing. I think it will be a good fit. He's a good guy and they are certainly in need of something... good.

Then there's Jimmy Baseball's sudden decision to put himself back out there, hoping to play somewhere, and publicly challenging TLR to give peace a chance. As you may or may not be aware, Jim Edmonds is the best center-fielder of this generation and occupies 10 or 12 spots on the "Most Unbelievable Catches" without even trying. (Imagine if he were trying.) There's a facebook group entitled "2/3 of the world is covered by water and the other 1/3..." yeah, you know the rest.

Here are my questions.

1) I understand why he still wants to play, but does he still have anything left to contribute? Maybe just veteran leadership and a lot of experience. That's worth quite a bit, actually.

2) Why would the club bring him back? He and Tony had some very unfriendly words (if you believe everything you hear on tv), but I don't think it was quite as antagonistic as the Tony-Rolen feud. A big part of me believes they could patch things up, and maybe already have. Besides which, he claims to be willing to work for peanuts (although the league minimum is currently exponentially more money than I make, so maybe 'peanuts' isn't an appropriate term), which only makes him that much more appealing.

and 3) What if he ends up playing against us again? I don't think I can handle much more of that.

In other CF news, did I completely miss the fact that Curtis Granderson is now a Yankee? And, then, how? (Insert irate rant about the free-spending New York Yankers and their quest to own us all, here.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

peekers and ballyhoo and reason #14,998

I have a startling and tragic confession to make, fellow baseball and Cardinals fans. I won't draw it out or string you along, I'll just blurt it right out, and hope upon hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.

Here goes.

Until two days ago, I had not yet read 3 Nights in August.

Go ahead, berate me if you must. I can take it.

I undoubtedly deserve it.

And I only hurt myself with my procrastination. For as interesting and informative as I knew it would be, I could not have guessed how GOOD this book is.

It is magnificently well-written and extremely complimentary to the St Louis club and fans. It is chock-full of the inside jokes and stories we outsiders long for. It is interspersed with touching and heart-breaking descriptions of the loss of Darryl Kile, the meltdown of Rick Ankiel, and the emotional withdrawal of JD Drew. And throughout it all, Buzz captures the excitement and passion of those 3 games so well that I felt like I was right there in the dugout with Tony.

It helps if you're a Cardinals fan, but any baseball fan (with the possible exception of Cubs fans) would enjoy this book. If you're like me and are taking your time with your list of "to-reads", skip ahead. In fact, drop whatever you are currently doing and read this book. Now. No exceptions. And if you've already read it, read it again. My copy is now a permanent fixture in my purse.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

without a jot of blood

Well, with exactly one month and one day until pitchers and catchers report (Yippee!!!), I figured now was as good a time as any to jump back into this whole blogging thing.

Actually, I've started countless posts over the last couple of months, but just couldn't finish one, at least not satisfactorily.

Not that there hasn't been anything going on.

Heavens, no. It's been busy. And a little loco.

Of course, you don't need to hear from me that the Cards signed Matt Holliday for $119-120 over the next seven years, or that he inexplicably changed his number to #7 (and no, the, "Jim Edmonds wore #15 and I want to set myself apart, blah, blah," nonsense is not an acceptable explanation), or that no matter how hard he tries (and he will try), he will never usurp Albert's throne, or that there was absolutely no factor in his decision more motivating than all those zeroes (no matter how the idiots on KSDK try to spin it). So I won't tell you.

I also won't tell you that somehow, someway, we let Mark DeRosa get away to the Giants, and no one in the front office even hiccupped. That was disappointing for me. I mean, I had a feeling he wouldn't be back, but I didn't expect him to get the Aaron Miles treatment, for goodness sake.

And, finally, I most definitely will not tell you about the long overdue confession/explanation/apology we all heard from Mark McGwire. I believe I've made my feelings about Big Mac pretty clear, so there's little reason to continue beating that horse. It's dead.

Want to know the truth? I didn't even watch it. Why should I? I know the plot. I know the characters. I know the outcome. His words, no matter how well-rehearsed, were predictable and pointless.

Heck, yes, he took steroids. Heck, yes, he would have taken anything to improve his performance. Why? Because baseball is hard. Because it's all about appearance. Because he was getting old. Because everyone else was doing it. And mostly because there was no risk of getting caught.

See. What else is there to say?

No one is going to stand in front of a nation of baseball lovers and say, "I did it because I have no respect for the game." Or in front of a nation of people struggling with unemployment and debt and say, "I did it because the millions of dollars I already had weren't enough."

Don't get me wrong, though. I love the man. His pedestal is almost as high as Albert's for me.

Sure, he should have said it long ago. 

I have heard all the arguments, and I understand people's outrage and disappointment. But in the end, how do you justify cheating? You don't. You come clean and move on. You can't make it right. You can't give back the home runs. You can't undo the damage. So what exactly do we want from him? A pound of flesh?

It's time for us to move on, too. Move on from this, and from the whole steroids scandal of the 90s in general. We need strict rules, strict testing, and strict punishment, and that way, 10 or 15 years down the road, we won't be subjected to another generation of apologies.

Did I mention that pitchers and catchers report in 32 days? Does anything else really matter?