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.