Cardinal baseball, from the girls
Monthly Archives: November 2010
November 24, 2010Posted by on
When Erika came to me during spring training this year with the idea of starting a blog, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Every new opportunity that has presented itself to us over this season was new and exciting, and constantly reminded us why we had jumped into this crazy writing world. We’ve enjoyed everything, from our work with Baseball Digest and i70 Baseball to all of the fun projects that Daniel and the guys over at United Cardinal Bloggers throw our way.
November 21, 2010Posted by on
I have no idea how old I was. Old enough to have vivid memories enhanced over the years by photographs and family stories. We were in St. Louis for a business meeting of my fathers. We were going to dinner at Stan and Biggies. Stan had long ago retired from playing, but still showed up at his restaurant to meet and greet the patrons and his fans.
Stan was always a product of his small town PA upbringing. He was quiet, humble, but unfailingly polite and genuine.“I was a poor boy who struck it rich in many ways through the wonders of baseball,” he said in his autobiography. He never forgot how lucky he was to play the game we all love.
My grandmother told me to make sure and be very polite if Stan the Man came round to our table. She might have told me this more than once. Of course my grandmother and my father had told me many times about the greatest Cardinal ever, so I knew a lot about The Man.
Stan and Biggies was a coat and tie restaurant. The gentleman in front of us did not have a jacket, so one was provided for him from some special closet close by. That really impressed me.
When we were seated I remember scanning the room trying to figure out which of the men was Stan. My mom told me not to worry because he usually walked around and greeted people at their table.
I was also taken care of by the very nice waiter. He brought me a “Kiddie Cocktail”. That was the most magnificent drink I had ever had. That really really impressed me.
It wasn’t long before I saw a very distinguished looking man walking around from table to table. I knew from the moment I saw him it was Stan the Man. He was stopping and greeting people and handing out cards that had his picture and signature on them. He had at least 5000 tables to go before he got to us. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I wouldn’t go to the bathroom for fear I would miss him. I might have had a couple of those Kiddie Cocktails.
The table next to us seated a large party. I did not think he would ever get away from those people. Did I mention the Kiddie Cocktails? I might have really had to go to the bathroom by this time.
|Only one “Stan the Man” (photo MLBLOGS)|
Finally he made it to our table. He greeted my parents.
He turned to me and said “Hello, I’m Stan Musial.” I remember that so clearly. He actually didn’t think I would know who he was. Well I would rectify that real quick. I jumped out of my chair, grabbed him to hug him, which happened to be around his legs, and said something like, I know who you are Mr. Musial. You’re the greatest Cardinal ever. I had to go to the bathroom so badly and was so excited that I was jumping up and down. There I was in the middle of Stan and Biggies in my pink dress and black patent shoes jumping up and down and hugging Stan Musial. Around his legs. Thank the good lord my bladder withstood the excitement.
Color my parents mortified. He was a true gentleman and so nice. He bent down and said something about how nice it was that a little girl like me knew about baseball. I don’t recall anything else of that conversation. I was just totally entranced that Stan Musial had talked to me. He handed me his photo card and laughed with my parents. He then went on to the next table.That experience impressed me more than I can ever put into words.
I finally went to the bathroom. I don’t think I walked, I floated. My mother might have mentioned something about being “surprised” I grabbed Mr. Musial.
|My photo looks like this one. (PhotoFile)|
When I got back to the table there was an 8×10 picture at my place setting. It was a picture of Stan Musial in his Cardinal uniform standing in that famous batting stance of his. It said, “To a sweet girl. Best wishes, Stan Musial.” I was over the moon. By this time he was no longer in the room for me to thank him. Can’t imagine why.
That photo, along with my grandmother’s Wrigley and Busch programs and some other memorabilia are tucked away safely in storage. I am thankful for them.
But what is really important is one small memory of “baseball’s perfect knight” that I treasure, will never forget, and for which I am forever truly grateful.
Thank you, Mr. Musial.
November 17, 2010Posted by on
Each year the United Cardinal Bloggers put out postseason awards. Since there were four of us voting, of course we had to make it into a little roundtable back and forth between the four of us, if for no other reason than because it gave us an excuse to chatter about the boys together for a couple days over email!
So without further ado, here is our ballot for this year…
Cardinal Bloggers Awards
1. Player of the Year
–Matt Holliday – Erika surprised no one with this vote, saying, “
–Albert Pujols – Erika was outvoted. Jacqueline said it best, “Best player in the game from Opening Day to Oct. We are blessed to watch him play. Doesn’t take him half a season to ‘warm up’.”
2. Pitcher of the Year
–Adam Wainwright – Did you even have to ask? Now that he has officially taken home 2nd place in the Cy Young voting, it’s a no brainer who the best pitcher was for the Cards this year… and no, I’m not saying that just because he’s my favorite. This one was unanimous! The announcement yesterday also tripped a clause in his contract that will most likely (provided he does not end 2011 on the DL – please no!!) keep Adam in the birds on the bat through 2013. Consider this our CDD happy dance of the day!
3. Game of the Year
–April 5 at Cincinnati–Opening Day, 2 HR from Pujols, slam from Molina
–May 30 at Chicago–Pujols three home runs
–July 18 vs. Los Angeles–Five runs in eight and ninth to win
–July 19 vs. Philadelphia–Four home runs
–August 10 at Cincinnati–Brawl, home run from Molina – Well now you know what gets our blood boiling! Erika chimed in with, “Finally we played with real passion and it finally looked like it would propel us into first and keep us there…..Not exactly.” I think all of us in Cardinal Nation had our blood boiling during that series, and to fall flat and not ride that adrenaline high or whatever you want to call it right through to October was a definite letdown after the smackdown the Cards laid on Cincy that weekend.
4. Surprise Player of the Year – One of the bummers with having 4 votes is that we completely split. While I tried to be the deciding vote in most of these, I couldn’t make it happen here. So here’s our tie!
–David Freese – Erika and Jacqueline sat firmly in this camp, with Jacqueline saying, “Complete player. Hot bat, good glove, bad ankles.”
–Jaime Garcia – Cadence echoed my thoughts with this one, “A
5. Disappointing Player of the Year
–Kyle Lohse – Jacqueline
–Write-in: Brad Penny – Cadence says, “
Erika did not vote in this one, hysterically (predictably?) saying, “
6. Rookie of the Year
–Jaime Garcia – Another unanimous vote for us. I was pulling for Jaime in spring training to snag that fifth spot in the rotation. I wasn’t exactly expecting him to hold down the third spot for most of the year! It would have been unfair to have such lofty expectations for the 24 year old who was rolling out of Tommy John surgery rehab, so we’ve chalked him up as a “pleasant surprise”… one that we hope to see again in 2011!
7. Acquisition of the Year
–Jake Westbrook – Jacqueline took the words right out of my mouth when she responded with, “Is this question for real? Brad Penny won four games and spent the rest of the season Dancin with a Star. Miles really didn’t do too badly, just wasn’t a huge game changer. Westbrook could be a good acquisition if he stays a Card.” Guess what? We win!
8. Biggest Off-Field Story
–Jaime Garcia’s shutdown without him knowing – I’m pretty sure that I knew Garcia had been shut down before he did. That’s pretty impressive. Erika’s got a point here, “
–Mark McGwire’s return to baseball
–Colby Rasmus’s trade request
9. Most Anticipated Cardinal – Shoot, another split vote. Daniel’s going to be maaaaaad…
–Zack Cox – Cadence and Jacqueline went for this year’s number one draft pick, saying, “Supposed to have a major league ready bat. 3rd baseman who might be moved to 2nd. Bring it on!”
–Shelby Miller – Last year’s number 1 draft pick spent the year at high A Quad Cities, and Erika and I are waiting to see if he lives up to the hype, but I know we both realllllly want him to.
10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: C70 – The first blog that comes to mind, and Jacqueline was just kidding when she added, “Very informative-great writing. I could be sucking up.”
11. Best Team Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: PH8 – Each one of the guys over at Pitcher’s Hit Eighth gives a different point of view. Sounds kind of like us!
12. Best Media Blog
–Bird Land – Derrick Goold is probably our collective favorite scribe for the Cardinals, and his depth of research makes every piece worth the read.
–Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer
13. Best UCB Project
–Cardinal All-Decade Team
–Progressive Game Blog
–Roundtables – Far and away the winner here. Cadence said it best, “W
14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: C70 – We were basically unanimous here, although Jacqueline chipped in with, “We’re Card fans. Even when we’re discouraged or angry, we know it’ll get better. We ain’t the Mets or God help us…the Cubbies.” In that case, we all win this award!
15. Funniest Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: Joe Sports Fan – Is there something amusing going on in the sporting world? Do you need amusing photoshop pictures to brighten a strange situation (the Colby/Tony spat comes to mind)? Are you entertained by people obsessed with mustaches? Matt and Josh have you covered. Trust us – you’ll laugh daily!
16. Rookie Cardinal Blog of the Year
–Cardinal Diamond Diaries
–i70baseball – We’ve obviously got a lot of respect for all the hard work that goes into i70 on a daily basis, from the writers to the editors to the *cough* photo gal *cough*. Those of you that read us but not i70… umm… where have you been???
–Welcome To Baseball Heaven
November 12, 2010Posted by on
Pardon me for a minute as I wipe away the cobwebs that I’ve unintentionally allowed to pile up around my little section of this site lately. Real life and such, you know.
Gold Gloves came out two days ago and Silver Sluggers yesterday, and I was borderline giddy to see so many Cardinal boys rolling through the lists. I mean, do you realize that it’s already been over a month since we last saw the boys of Busch? I’m sad just thinking about it! Suddenly though some of the favorites are in the news, and people have more to talk about besides the non-news of Pujols’ contract negotiations or which players might or might not get traded in all the Hot Stove chatter (Erika can’t take any more talk like this!!!).
First up, the Gold Gloves (Derrick Goold has all the numbers-y stuff here):
For Albert, he takes home his second GG, after picking up his first four years ago in that distant memory known as the 2006 championship year. Watching Albert play first is like watching a coiled spring that is about to *boing* and fly across the room (I teach middle school – this is a daily occurrence). He literally snaps at the ball sometimes, diving to get a ball that he had no business getting to, making crazy picks out of the dirt when the defense is just hurling junk at him (No offense boys, but did you look at what happened at third after Freese went down? I saw a lot of ‘YIKES’ throws this year). My absolute favorite play though is when he and Yadi have that crazy ESP thing going that allows them to pick guys off of first with no real signal that I’ve been able to discern.
Speaking of our GG catcher, Yadi never fails to impress. His cannon of an arm gunned down half the runners that even attempted to go off of him, but most teams are too smart to even try. His numbers don’t even look that gaudy when compared to the league leaders in terms of number of runners gunned down, but that’s also because those catchers had probably twice the chances and allowed three times as many runners to advance safely. Not quite fair to match up the counting numbers then. The fact is that you could rotate most of the lineup (minus Albert and Holliday) in and out and not notice just too terribly much when you combine defense and offense. No Yadi? Yikes. People noticed that. To be fair, Jason LaRue, Matt Pagnozzi and Bryan Anderson didn’t get a chance to log a lot of innings, but when they were out there, people took note.
The question that was posed to me (beyond the one I thought myself that had something to do with Brendan of course) was this: “What did your boy (Adam Wainwright) do to not be deserving of the award this year that he picked up for the first time last year?”
*shrug* I dunno. Guess I hadn’t really thought about it. The Gold Glove awards are kind of a ‘win one and keep winning until you retire or spend the year on the DL’ type thing. Non-New York loving AL fans are probably still seeing smoke come out of their ears trying to comprehend how Derek Jeter picked up the GG this year. He’s not the top defensive shortstop in the league anymore. He is the star power, and he is the incumbent. Case closed. But in Adam’s defense (get it? defense? never mind), if there was one award he was going to pick up this offseason, that would not be the one I would have chosen. Still waiting on the Cy to be announced of course, but I’m not going to be surprised at all if/when he loses to Roy Halladay. Dude’s a beast.
Nope. Not talking about Brendan. This isn’t the same day and age where you can hit for peanuts and glove like Ozzie and win stuff, especially when you don’t play on a coast. If he was going to lose, I’ve made peace with losing to Tulo. It’s a defense award, but you just can’t win it when you hit that badly.
On to the Silver Slugger. You know, I’ve never been one to get riled up about Silver Sluggers. I don’t even get how these awards are chosen. Some are voted on by peers, some by writers, some by managers and coaches. What a mess. The BCS doesn’t make any sense, but at least it uses a common algorithm every week.
*ahem* I digress.
King Albert picked up his sixth (third in a row) Silver Slugger, and people almost sound surprised about it. I mean, yes, obviously Joey Votto had a really really great year this year. People are still talking about him winning the MVP award. I’m not entirely sure myself if I could have written down Albert’s name over Votto’s for MVP this year, and that’s saying something. The word ‘impartial’ is not in my vocabulary when it comes to having to not pick sides and one side is my favorite team. I want my boy to win. I’m glad Albert won. It means he has the offense and defensive awards, now wouldn’t it be a trip if he loses the MVP?
Holliday picked up his fourth Silver Slugger. In all honesty, talks of his ‘clutch’ performance are beyond old. The Cardinals opened up their wallets and brought in a great player. The great player played like he was supposed to. Some people howled every time he couldn’t bring Albert home after an IBB, but there were a lot of them! You can’t expect anyone to be able to get a hit every time the guy on front of you gets on base. It just does not work that way. Matt Holliday earned this one.
These three guys aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just writing about them again I’m ready to see them all out there every day playing.
Winter is going to be cruel. Even all this silver and gold, while making me smile more than a little, cannot help the days tick off fast enough! Maybe I’ll post again soon… or at least make sure a month doesn’t zip on by again!
November 9, 2010Posted by on
Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter? Yes, please! 😉
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return? Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead? Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies. Joe Mather, gone. Matt Pagnozzi, gone. Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove? Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest? I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball. (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1. Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable. The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy. Brendan’s got the D. Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball. Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year. I promise. Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up. With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this. Brendan stays. Got it? Good.
2. Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag? Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment. It’s glorious.
You can see it too, right? Yeah, I thought so. 😉
3. As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please. Power outfield bat? Restored. Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat? Priceless.
4. Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot. Sentimental? Yes. Loyal? Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club. Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already. So, I’ll stop here.
Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short. I wouldn’t want to be too greedy. The Hot Stove may not like that. 😉
November 5, 2010Posted by on
I missed game 5 of the World Series, the Giants clinching and becoming world champs. I can’t say that I am all that disappointed I missed it, but I didn’t do it on purpose. As a baseball fan, I wouldn’t do that. I was in class on Monday night until approximately 8 PM, and then I went to dinner with friends. It was by complete momentary brain-dysfunction that I forgot I needed to go home and check it out. (I even had people saying to me “YOU missed the game?!?”). By the time I did get home the game was over, and all I had to do was pull up the twitter homepage to see that the World Series was in fact over as “World Champions” and “Edgar Renteria MVP” trending topics scroll across my screen. Surprising that I heard no reaction in the bar/restaurant that I was in indicating that the game was over; I guess most people in Edwardsville, Illinois felt the same way I did – they either didn’t really care who won or they didn’t want the Giants to win. My other guess as to why there was no reaction from the crowd in the bar; there was a Monday Night Football game on, and they weren’t watching baseball.
As much as it breaks my heart every time I see stats that a Sunday Night or Monday Night football game ratings beat LDS, LCS or World Series TV ratings, it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. Baseball is lasting too long; people begin to move on to other sports – heck, we are halfway through the NFL season at this point. This year, the World Series wrapped up and the NFL, NHL and even the NBA are all underway. So, is it surprising that America’s Pastime is taking a backseat in late October-early November? No, not really. I don’t have to go explaining to you all how much I love baseball, but I have gotten myself fully lodged into the football and hockey seasons. And even though the postseason games were still being at least partly watched on my TV, I lost interest. Baseball is having to compete with the other 3 major sports after a 7 month long season…going into that eighth month (while it was only one day, and could have only potentially been 4 days) is where a lot of casual baseball fans get lost. (Side Note: this year’s WS ratings equaled the lowest ever…see here).
Let’s face it, there is a lot going on around here (St. Louis and otherwise) other than baseball. If you are like me, you are very interested in what the St. Louis Rams are doing; 4 wins at home, a first-round draft pick quarterback, and Stephen Jackson breaking the all-time rushing record for the organization. Not to mention, the St. Louis Blues are undefeated at home and have been recently ranked number one in the ESPN power rankings poll (even if it doesn’t mean much now). On top of that, Mizzou beat Oklahoma! WOW. Yeah, they got roughed up by Nebraska, but if you are a Missouri fan, you can’t deny that it was exciting. I know not everyone that is a Cardinals fan is a Rams, Blues and Mizzou fan as well – most are not or don’t even like/pay attention to other sports besides baseball. Even if you don’t like all St. Louis sports, you might have other teams to root for. But, I am an avid sports enthusiast, and I love watching all sports whenever I can. Because the last few winters in St. Louis have been pretty painful because of under-achieving or competitive teams besides the Cardinals, this comes as quite the warm welcome. Not to mention, since the Cardinals had a dismal season, it has been exciting to look forward to and enjoy other St. Louis sports again! And because of that, I, like many others, might have lost an interest in baseball.
This is my beg and plea to Bud Selig; we have got to end the baseball season earlier. I hate the offseason; it is a long 4-5 months without my boys of summer, but the MLB is taking a backseat to the other major sports in late October-early November, and it just devastates me. I want the World Series to be the most watched sporting event, not a middle-of-the-season Monday Night Football game. I understand that the ratings may have had something to do with the teams playing (God forbid there are other teams besides the Yankees in the World Series), but the World Series – the Championship for Major League Baseball for goodness sakes – should be getting more attention. I mean, on Monday, the last game of the series, EVERY SINGLE intro for EVERY SINGLE sports program was about Randy Moss being waived from the Vikings, not about Lincecum vs. Lee – probably one of the greatest pitching matchups to end a World Series in a long time. As much as I don’t like him, Lincecum (before the night began) had a chance to be a back-to-back-to-back Cy Young, Cy Young, World Series Champ. How incredible? But yet everything was about Randy Moss.
This is unacceptable for baseball. They have to figure out a way to get back into the spotlight during their designated time. All eyes are on Football during the Super Bowl – no hockey game or basketball game out-rates that championship game. I know that every season is like this; football starts in early September, Hockey starts in early October, Basketball starts in late October, but why is it that all of a sudden, baseball seems to be losing its steam? I don’t think it would have even mattered if the Yankees were in the WS this year – I mean, I wouldn’t have watched, but that’s just me. I hope that with an earlier start to the baseball season in 2011, there will be an earlier end to the season and the World Series will get all the attention it deserves. Thankfully, with Hot Stove season now in full swing, there will be more baseball stories. However, I have a gut feeling it might all be about the Yankees again. Egh.
End Rant. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. As a sport management grad student, I pay a lot of attention to these details, less about players and games, more about the behind the scenes stuff and what drives discussion topics amongst TV programs and even fans of the game. Do you see it that way too? Are you angry that the World Series had low ratings? When will baseball be able to get back to having its time in the spotlight – or has the long season turned into too long of a season for that to ever happen again? I might be a tad dramatic, but I am curious to hear what others think.
November 3, 2010Posted by on
Joe Mather was claimed off waivers today.
Joey Bombs is going to Atlanta.
The sad news hit my Twitter feed around 1:30 pm.
Joey Bombs is going to Atlanta.
The sad news hit my Twitter feed around 1:30 pm.
First reaction: Claimed off waivers???? Who put Joe on waivers?? Why didn’t we know this? Oh yeah….
Ok, who ELSE is on waivers?????
*Call Hubby to break the news and get some sympathy*
*Check Twitter to make sure nothing else horrible happened*
(irrational fear setting in)
Then, after a little time to think it through and read reactions from those less emotionally attached…
Sure Joe Mather was probably never going to get the playing time in St. Louis. And yes, while we loved him in AAA Memphis, it is probably better for him to get a shot with the Braves. Maybe he will get a better chance over there. Maybe they will love him and appreciate him. Joe deserves that.
But it still sucks. THIS is the one thing I hate about baseball! No loyalty – players move around and the team changes. I get attached to the players. I don’t want to see them go. And being claimed off waivers?? Well, that just shows we gave up. Not even traded. Blech.
The way this offseason is starting off…. well, I don’t like it. I am putting the Cardinals on notice now. Do something to make me *happy* for a change – because this giving away of ‘my boys’ is not going to cut it.
Yes, I will feel better tomorrow. And yes, this is “for the best.” But right now I don’t have to like it.
Good luck Joey Bombs!
*Adds another stepteam to the list*
November 2, 2010Posted by on
First, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions for 2010!
While I personally would have preferred to watch the Rangers win it all (or at the very least drag it out a little longer), the Giants did indeed play (and pitch) some absolutely spectacular baseball. I was pulling for Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, Elvis Andrus and Yadi’s big brother Bengie to beat out the Giants, but I gotta admit that Buster Posey, Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria and Aubrey Huff were a ton of fun to watch! 😉
And now the dreaded offseason begins… hopefully the Hot Stove heats up and the baseball chatter keeps us busy all winter. We have a few months until our Cardinal pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter Florida.
So….Let the countdown begin!
Countdown Clock by Zoodu.com
Countdown Clock by Zoodu.com