Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Brett Wallace

Catching Up With Bombs, Pags and the Walrus

Mather and Wallace meet up at 1st base

Okay, first things first:  I know Brett Wallace doesn’t like that nickname, so I am not going to repeat it (again)….but it made for a catchy title this morning while I was adequately caffeinated.

My local AAA ballpark was hopping this weekend, full of former Cardinals.  The Colorado Springs Sky Sox were in town for a series against the OKC Redhawks and one glimpse at the Sky Sox roster had me grabbing the kids for the Friday night festivities.

My kids love Joe Mather — I admit, they probably caught that bug from me – and Joe is now with the Colorado Rockies organization playing with the AAA Sky Sox.  As usual, Joe was not an eager autograph hander-outer, and he burst from the dugout pregame without so much as a look towards the stands to his right where a small minion of mostly older men were waiting with baseball card catalogues.

Joe and the kiddos

The kiddos are accustomed to this as getting Joe to venture towards the stands has challenged them before, but they’re persistent – and having me prodding them on with confidence that Joe would LOVE to sign for them seems to boost their persistence.

This time we had a special memento for Joe to sign – a photo that he took with us the last time he was in town (as a Memphis Redbird, still part of the Cardinals family.)  With a little help from Mom, my kids did finally coax Joe over and as hoped, we got a smile out of him when he saw their 8×10.  I snapped another quick photo of the three off them before Joe had to get his game face back on, and we had ourselves another Mather story to add to their baseball memories.

We alone cheered on the Sky Sox that evening, three lonely voices in the crowd, but the kids were having a blast with it.  The Sox lost. And no, they don’t wear high socks.  (I know, I know… someone needs to nudge the Sky Sox and tell them that high socks should be mandatory with a name like Colorado Springs SKY SOX.)

Sunday offered another chance to head back to OKC’s Bricktown Ballpark and test out some new camera equipment on one of my favorite subjects: ballplayers.  Former Cardinals?  Even better!

Pagnozzi catching

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Colorado Sky Sox roster (and why would you?) you’ll be surprised to know that Joe is playing among friends.  Matt Pagnozzi is catching and Clayton Mortensen is a pitcher.  As an added bonus, former Redbird Brett Wallace (now with the Houston Astros) was manning 1st base for the OKC Redhawks after being sent down to AAA earlier in the month.

Ah, the Astros… but that’s a different subject. 😉  (My local OKC Redhawks, former Texas Rangers AAA ballclub, became the AAA affiliate of the Astros this season.)

This weekend’s fun gave me a good reason to dig up a little information on these former Redbirds and share some photos of the boys.

So, here ya go!

Joe Mather

First, of course, we start with Joe Mather (“Joey Bombs”):

Joe Mather (buddy of Brendan Ryan, remember?) played with St. Louis in 2008 and 2010.  His 2009 season was hampered by recovery from surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, injured September 2008.

Joe played with AAA Memphis from 2007 through 2010.

In November of 2010, Joe was selected off waivers by the Atlanta Braves and played in 55 games with the club before being granted Free Agency June 23rd.

On July 7th, Joe signed as a Free Agent with the Colorado Rockies.  Since joining the Rockies, Joe has batted .346 with 5 home runs and .928 OPS in 36 games.

Matt didn't like the called 3rd strike over the weekend

Matt Pagnozzi (“Pags”)

Matt was drafted by the Cardinals in 2003 and made his first appearance with AAA, catching for Memphis in 2007.  In 2010 Matt hit .242 in AAA and during his service with the big club in 2010 (15 games) he batted .359 with his first Major League homerun.

Matt became a Free Agent in November 2010 and signed with the Colorado Rockies.

This season Matt is batting .262 with 3 homeruns while catching for the Sky Sox (44 games).

Wallace holds Mather on 1st

Brett Wallace (if he has a new nickname, I’d love to know what it is. For now, I’ll just say he is NOT the “Walrus”.)

Brett was drafted in 2008 by the Cardinals and was playing in AAA Memphis in 2009.  On July 24th, 2009 Wallace was part of the trade with the Oakland Athletics that brought us one of my personal favorites, Matt Holliday.

In December 2009, Brett was traded again, to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Then, in July 2010, Wallace was traded to Houston where he made his Major League debut July 31, 2010.  In 2011, he played 101 games with the Astros before his recent move back to AAA (OKC Redhawks).  His 2011 MLB batting average is .268 with 4 homeruns.

It was a great weekend of baseball.  And great to see Joe. 😉

Trade Time Trepidation

This is the first year that I have known enough about the mid season trade period to be interested in the process.  Well, interested may be too mild of a word.  Anxiety-ridden may be closer to the truth. Hearing rumors that one of my favorite players is about to be traded makes me a tad nervous. 
(Brendan Ryan did survive the Roy Oswalt trade circus, so I am breathing easier again.)
Yesterday the trade gates opened and players started shuffling. The Cardinals did not grab pitcher Roy Oswalt even though reports made it seem that Roy would have preferred St. Louis.  No, he ended up in Philadelphia, moving young Phillies pitcher J.A.Happ (and two other minor league prospects) to Houston.  The Astros then turned right around and traded one of those prospects to Toronto in exchange for…. Brett Wallace. 
That trade would have passed by quietly for me except that I recognized Brett Wallace from 2009 when I watched him play as a then-Cardinals prospect with the AAA Memphis Redbirds.  Last year Wallace left the nest in the trade for one of my new favorite Cardinals, Matt Holliday. So, I did not hold a grudge very long.
In the grand scheme of things, this shuffling around of players has actually increased my love of baseball – much to the dismay of my husband.  (He married a gal who could not have cared less about sports and now has a DVR’d program list full of nothing but baseball.)
Thanks to trades and waivers and all the baseball musical chairs,  I have quite a few “step-teams” merely because they have my former Cardinals on the roster.  Rick Ankiel now wears a Kansas City Royals uniform.  Jimmy Edmonds is a Milwaukee Brewer.  Troy Glaus plays for the Braves. The Toronto Blue Jays ended up with our spunky shortstop David Eckstein back in 2008, took our Gold Glove third baseman Scott Rolen in 2009 and then snatched Jarrett Hoffpauir off waivers back in November.  Now Eckstein plays for the San Diego Padres, and Scotty is my only bright side of watching highlights from our current rival, the Cincinnati Reds. 

For those of us without years of baseball history under our belts, all this moving around of players can certainly be shocking and frustrating as we start to love a team. 
However now I am learning it is fun, as a new baseball fan, when I recognize an ‘old’ name from the 2006- 2009 Cardinals.  Mostly it’s the pitchers who have been traded away and pop up in random games or baseball news, names like Marquis, Weaver, Reyes, Piniero, Wellemeyer, Isringhausen, and Flores; but also former players like Adam Kennedy, Cesar Izturis, Julio Lugo, Mark DeRosa, and Ronnie Belliard. 


What this constant shuffling of players has taught me is that baseball is a small world.  The more I watch, the more I learn and the more players and teams I develop a connection to. 
So, IF the unspeakable happens and one of my dear Cardinals (or Memphis ‘BabyBirds’) is suddenly shipped off in exchange for some brand new face in the next 48 hours, I will try to remember I may be losing a Cardinal, but I will also be gaining a new step-team.

Who am I kidding, that won’t help!  😉


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