Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Rating the Cardinal Rivalries

Are you sick of the Cardinals-Reds Rivalry already? Is it the epic Cubs-Cardinals history that makes a true Rivalry?  Do the Reds deserve the title just because they happen to have the hot button hotheads right now?  What do you think?  Which team is the Cardinals’ biggest nemesis?  Cast your vote in the poll below and/or in the comments section if you have more to say.

Earlier this month, my cousin in Wisconsin asked me which team we Cardinals fans considered to be the Cards’ biggest rivalry.  My immediate response was “The Cubs” but then I considered the recent scubbub with the Reds.  The Brewers didn’t make my list, but my meager 5-6 years of baseball background might  disqualify my opinion in such matters.  So, I threw it out to my Cardinal Twitter tweeps and some Facebook pals as well.

A sampling of responses:


Last night during the game, the same question popped up on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Sunday Night Baseball Chat.  So, I thought the question might deserve another audience.

So many valid points.  Yet many different opinions.  One thing’s for certain, the Brewers aren’t even on the rivalry radar among Cardinal Nation.  (Sorry, cuz!)  😉

Oh, and speaking of the Reds…. What a weekend!  Our Cardinals took 2 of 3 games as Yadier Molina ushered the Reds out of town with a game-winning 3-run homerun in yesterday’s rainy finale.  Westbrook pitched a solid outing (*whew*) while Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez and Mitchell Boggs all had the right stuff as well.  The make-up of the Cardinal bullpen has changed considerably in just the first few weeks of the season, but it is a breath of fresh air to see the new crew picking up the slack and getting the job done right.  The pace is picking up after an unbelievably slow, injury-plagued start to the season.  In fact, the Cards have worked their way up into 1st place in the NL Central today, sitting only 0.5 games ahead of ….. the Brewers?!?

Are you sitting down for this??….  Yesterday,  Ryan Franklin the deposed closer showed up without his trademark beard/goat/chinpuff/chinzilla yesterday.  The now clean-shaven Franklin may be able to hide in plain sight, almost unrecognizable.  Franklin without his facial hair???  If it weren’t so sad, I’d be talking about how much better he looks, but now just doesn’t seem like the time for that.  (Screen capture from the televised game last night. )

Also, Albert Pujols was removed from the game last night with reported tightness in his hamstring.  That should be enough to keep us worrying on a day without Cardinals baseball!

Have a great 1st-place kind of Monday, Cardinal Nation!

Tomorrow the Redbirds take on the Astros in Houston.

Go Cards!!  =)

Compare and Contrast – Class


Waino no bueno? *tear*
h/t @MatthewHLeach

I sat, stunned, as I saw twitter explode with the news that Adam Wainwright was heading to St. Louis with elbow trouble. My fears were realized when another explosion occurred in my little corner of the internet with the sad tale that Waino was going to be shut down for the year to have Tommy John surgery. I then became horrified when I heard of Jonny Gomes’s comments about the matter.

So what I’m here to talk about today is this – class. Some people have it, others need it, and others need it defined for them before they can figure out how to get it.


What happened with Gomes frustrated me. The cover-up/spin put on it by the Reds organization/media made it seem all the more ridiculous that people allow themselves to say things like that without realizing that yes, your voice is being heard, and your words will be spread to the masses by lunchtime thanks to twitter, blogs, and the like. If you’re looking for amusing thoughts on the situation, head over to Pitcher’s Hit Eighth… Dennis did a better job injecting some amusement into the situation than I ever could.

I could handle the Gomes thing to a certain extent. At least someone was bright enough to tell him that he should probably apologize. He’s in the spotlight. I definitely hit the eject button this afternoon though when I spotted a comment awaiting moderation from a Reds fan. It was posted on Erika’s goodbye to Jason LaRue from back in September. I did not publish said comment due to the fact that it used no less than six words that I would not be allowed to speak at my grandmother’s dinner table, much less publish as representation of a website that I belong to. What sparked such heinous comments months after the fact is absolutely beyond me. All I could think to say was, “Stay classy, Reds fans.”

This morning I was directed to this post written by none other than Adam Wainwright himself. I was mesmerized while reading it. I already had a tremendous respect for Adam as a player, person, and Christian, but what I read in that post made that admiration grow exponentially. If I were him, I would have felt devastated with the news that my body had broken down on me at such a high point in my career. Instead he is looking at it as an opportunity, a way to spread God’s love to others through his actions and words off of the diamond. He won’t be gone though, as evidenced by this thought:

I absolutely hate the idea of missing this season with teammates. I think we have a real good shot to win the World Series. The group we have is really special, and I’ll have my pom pom”s out in full force. But here’s the deal. This injury, the one that makes me miss an entire year of baseball, has allowed me to stop missing what is right in front of me. I am blessed with an amazing God. A God who continues to teach me lessons in mysterious ways. 

I love that! Waino’s got class. He will be back. I hope Cardinal fans take after him, instead of spending their time firing dumb comments into the atmosphere in retaliation of what others say about our team.

And Then There Were Four

Cliff Lee (AP photo) celebrating the Rangers ALDS victory
Last night I watched as the Texas Rangers won their first (ever) postseason series in franchise history.  Cliff Lee topped off the night with a complete game gem to beat the Rays 5-1.  The Rangers expertly navigated the bases as if their lives depended on it.  It was beyond good baseball.  It was fun!   
While I do still bemoan the fact that my Cardinals are long gone for the season, I must honestly admit that our 2010 Cardinals would most certainly have been outplayed last night. 
Nolan Ryan’s Rangers were aggressive with brilliant base running, phenomenal offense, pitching magnificence, manufactured runs and stolen bases. It was brilliant, scrappy baseball magic strung together in a way that I have really only read about.  Visions of Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals – and what their version of smart small ball must have been like – were flashing before my eyes.
Maybe it was just the excitement of yesterday’s do-or-die postseason battle, but for the first time in a long time I was enjoying baseball for the pure energy of the moment – and I loved it!
If you are reading this today, I am guessing you too are one of the loyal (aka stubborn) baseball fans still fighting the good fight and savoring the last vestiges of the 2010 MLB season?   
The Reds, Rays, Twins and Braves are all out, and the party is down to four.
Rangers versus Yankees (ALCS)
Giants versus Phillies (NLCS)
Warning: wavering, indecisive, attempt at an opinion-forming train-of-thought paragraph ahead:
Personally, I find it hard to cheer for the Phillies. (See: Friday May 7th CDD post )
But after their stomping of the Reds, I have a very, very small fondness in my heart for that scruffy bunch of mugs.  And since another Yankees/Phillies World Series seems unfair and unimaginative, I guess I need to cheer for the Rangers?  But then again… I really like that Derek Jeter… and Mariano Rivera … and David Robertson (my new happy pitcher fascination). 
Hmmmm… the only team I don’t want to see in the World Series would be the Giants.  That Tim Lincecum is just so hard to watch. You know what I mean….right?  😉
But no matter… Whether the Rangers continue to impress or the big money superstar teams run away with it all over again, I’ll be watching.
Don’t look now, but there may be only 3 weeks of baseball left!
Savor the postseason, play ball!
And in case you missed it! —The UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) October Project is in full swing with a roundtable discussion that keeps the baseball talk front and center.  Each day is a new topic and today the bloggers chimed in on how they are spending October.  Who is watching postseason baseball?  Who has moved on to football?  How do you compare to the other Cardinal faithful?  Check out today’s answers here (link pending).

Delayed Reaction: LOL Reds

I know, two days later and I’m talking about the Reds losing. Welcome to my busy and random world. Anyway, I was thinking about this time last year, and how awful and pathetic I felt to be a Cardinals fan, having just watched my team flush away the season with some rather lackluster play and a quick three game sweep by the Dodgers. I even made the seven hour trek to St. Louis for game three after lucking into some tickets last minute. I was fairly convinced that I could turn things around and help the team climb back into the NLDS. That didn’t happen, obviously…

I really enjoyed that Braves/Giants series. It felt like watching the Braves games I used to catch all the time on TBS as a kid (yes, I was a kid in the 90’s… sorry). Turner Field was electrified last night, and despite the loss, the atmosphere of that game was a fitting send-off for Bobby Cox. I never had a problem with Bobby (Leo Mazzone was another story… watching him rock away in the dugout made me crazy) and actually enjoyed seeing him get tossed all the time. While I was fairly surprised to see it happen in the playoffs, it almost seemed fitting for it to happen to him.

I did a pretty horrible job picking teams so far, didn’t I? Last week I went for the Phils, Twins, Braves and Rays.
Let’s face it, the Phillies should have won that series, plain and simple.
Picking the Twins was a hopeful thing, not a ‘I actually think this could happen’ pick. Beating the Yankees in a short series is no simple task, so losing that one didn’t really surprise me.
I assumed that the Braves/Giants would be a crapshoot, and I think that was the series I wavered on the most. At times I forgot who I was rooting for and cheered for both teams.
I did not expect the Rangers to make it out alive. They have impressed me. Unfortunately, I pretty much assume that no matter which team comes out on top, they will probably lose to the Yankees in the ALCS. Part of me wants to remember that it’s a funny game (“… eh Monty?”), but the rest of me knows that they are the d*** Yankees for a reason.

Anyway, I did actually do some writing about the Cardinals for today (crazy, right?), but you have to head over to Baseball Digest to read it. I like to-do lists, so I started one for Mo and the front office to hold on to as the offseason really starts to set in. Head over there and give it a read, okay?

One last thing about last year. I might not have been able to turn the team around in the NLDS, but at least I didn’t cry like Brandon Phillips. Just sayin.

It’s Your Duty, Judy!

Okay Cardinals Fans, time to pack away the sob story and get back out there.  The postseason has begun and BASEBALL NEEDS YOU!!!

My darling Hubby knows I’ve been shuffling around here, down and dejected, as if my best friend just moved away.  I got quiet two weeks ago and have been in sort of a baseball funk ever since.  But darn if he isn’t just the most considerate guy out there?!  He sent me an email this week to kickstart my baseball joy again.  In that email were links to three classic postseason commercials from 2006.

Hubby’s plan is working…  My interest is piqued and I feel like I might be coming down with something again…  Baseball Fever. It’s contagious, be careful!  😉

If you, like me, need an injection of baseball love to kickstart October, I offer here the links that Hubby shared with me.  Nothing like a good kick in the pants…. and another chance to laugh at (with) the Cubs.

And this one…. “October is the time to root against the Yankees?!”
I am positive he meant “the Reds!”  😉

He may say “Your Indians”, but I sure heard “Your Cardinals” —- get outta the cabinets!  😉

Are you with me?
TO THE TV!!!!   It’s BASEBALL, Baby!  😉

Say it Ain’t So, Jason!?

I can be really good at holding a grudge. 

This weekend brought news we all knew was coming, but refused to accept.  Cardinal catcher Jason La Rue’s baseball career is done.  Kaput. Over. Finito. The End.
Hearing those words …that finality? Well, it just seemed so….. rude.
I still blame Johnny Cueto. This weekend renewed my anger and frustration that justice was not served in the aftermath of that basebrawl with the Reds.  In fact, I am hereby refusing to give Cueto any more name recognition.  Bad press is good press, right?  From here on out, he gets nothing, nada, zilch!  
Treated to my random rants about baseball injustices?  
Further proof that my husband must be a saint.  😉
Honestly, I believe I am working through this anger management experiment fairly well.  I have my moments, but the breakables have been brought back into the open and the cat has come out from under the bed.
In fact, I am actually smiling a little, thinking about Jason La Rue today and the memories I will have of him for years to come.
In the beginning,  Jason La Rue was just the grungy backup guy who filled in for Yadi behind the plate whenever I traveled across the country to catch a Cardinals game.  (Yes, I started out loving the Cards because of Yadier Molina, and as it seemed luck always conspired against my watching him in person.)
Nevertheless, Jason La Rue never really let me down. At both a Nationals game in D.C and a Spring Training venue in Florida, LaRue came through with clutch hits.  I remember his long hair flying as he tore past 1st and slid into second.  He has always been surprisingly fun for me to watch.  

And if I were in need of a body guard to accompany me down some dark Cincinnati alley, I would certainly pick Mr. La Rue. He is one. tough. hombre!
 In fact, this season La Rue has been a surprisingly welcome sight.  Move over Biker Dude, welcome to the Cardinal Cuties club!  All of a sudden during the summer, a new clean-cut Mr. LaRue emerged, almost unrecognizable.  We here at the CDD may have even commented approvingly on the new-and-improved Jason a few times.  (Take my word for it, Christine and I most assuredly registered thumbs up.  Angela was a hold out, perhaps too busy watching Wainwright?)
Today Baseball Digest let me pen a send-off to Jason La Rue and get all my frustrations out one more time about that Will-Not-Be-Named Reds player.
You can read it here:  “A Salute to La Rue
And because the mood hit me, I had to get in a girly post here – a fitting place to give Jason LaRue one last chick-comment tribute, a Cardinal farewell salute from the female fans.
My ultimate memory of Jason is from his pregame appearance on FSMW the day following the now infamous Cincinnai Reds basebrawl.  If you were lucky enough to catch it live (before the censors got hold of it), Jason was flexing his vocabulary muscle (oblivious to the fact that the camera was on and the show was live) to adequately express his impatience over having to sit so long in the hot sun waiting for the interview to start.  All the while, grinning his boyish grin despite the stitches in his upper lip.  That laughing, tough-as-nails, mouth-like-a-sailor-image will forever be my favorite memory of Jason La Rue, my atypical Cardinal.  And I still laugh out loud when I think of it. 
We will miss you, Jason La Rue!!!  😉 

There is a time…

I may be the daughter of a preacher, but have never been great at quoting scripture.  I can however point you to the scene from “Footloose” where you can hear Kevin Bacon mention
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:”
My mind is always drifting to baseball. So naturally, my translation would be: there is a time for every emotion during baseball season.  In 2010 we have had time to cheer; time to cry, and (lately) plenty of time to be frustrated.
A time to reflect:
I was watching a game this week – well, I watched them all – but there was this one game – when it struck me how different the August Cardinals are from the starting lineup back in April.
Remember back then?
On April 5th the Cardinals won the first game of the regular season.  They beat the Reds with a final score of 11-6. (The Reds!)  The Cardinals had 12 hits that day, with four homeruns: Albert Pujols hit TWO, Yadier Molina had his first career Grand Slam and Colby Rasmus went yard as well.

That evening Matthew Leach, writing for MLB.com, compared the Cardinals’ performance to the anticlimactic crash of the 2009 postseason effort:
The last time the Cardinals were seen playing games that mattered, they were an offensively futile team. A great deal has changed — from the stage to the ballpark to the opponent — since that NLDS. But the Redbirds have changed, too. They’re an improved offensive club, one that can be dangerous at all eight everyday lineup spots.”
That was certainly our time to hope.
A time for change:
The faces on the field are different now. Some favorite players are gone for good and some we just haven’t seen for a while. (To be honest, this topic gave me a much needed chance to post some pictures of the Cardinal faces I have been missing!  Mtime to be sentimental, I guess.)
Freese, Luddy and Joe — We miss you terribly!
But looking on the bright side (yes, I have been accused me of overusing that Pollyanna trait lately, but stick with me here!) … there are some wonderful new Cardinal faces we have come to enjoy.  Okay, just another excuse to post pictures of my favorite BabyBirds.
Glad you boys are getting a shot!
The Cardinals still have time to play, time to win and time to rally.  So until that final Cardinal out of the 2010 season, we fans have time to enjoy the game.

Time To Welcome!
Like the Cardinals, we here at Cardinal Diamond Diaries have added a new face.  Thankfully we didn’t have to trade anyone to a Padres blog group or lose anyone to the Disabled List!
Welcome Jacqueline!!!
We are thrilled to welcome Jacqueline Hadley Conrad to our gals club here at CDD.  Like Angela, Chris and myself, Jacqueline is a devoted fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, and we are looking forward to reading more of her unique charm and humor here on the blog.  In the days ahead, we will get her information added to our “About Us” section and she will be checking in again next week.
Until then… If you missed the chance to read Jacqueline’s inaugural post yesterday, do not delay one minute longer. Grab a tissue and be prepared – it is a beautiful and touching tribute, steeped in family tradition and Cardinal baseball history.  “Ma mere Tootsie’s Gift”
Today the Cardinals are taking on the Washington Nationals again. Game time: 6:05pm CT.
Hopefully it will once again be a time to win!



Well, that wasn’t what any Cardinals fan hoped to see this weekend.

J.B. Forbes/STLToday.com

Of course there are no absolutes in baseball, but there are definitely a few certainties about the 2010 Cards: Adam Wainwright will pitch extremely well. Albert will be Albert. Yadi will throw out any baserunner foolish enough to try to steal second. And the team will remain consistently inconsistent.

After the emotional sweep of the Reds and gaining a one-game lead in the NL Central, of course expectations were high for this weekend’s series against the Cubs. Friday’s game lived up to our hopes: Jake Westbrook finally received his first Cardinals win, Albert Pujols hit his 29th home run of the year in the first inning, and Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina continued hitting and driving in runs like they did in Cincinnati. Ryan Franklin even had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 21st save as the Cards won 6-3.


Going into Saturday’s game, it seemed like things should keep rolling along with Chris Carpenter starting. But then things started to look eerily familiar to all those not-so-pleasant games this season. Carp allowed three runs in the first three innings (although he did settle in after that), although it was the lack of timely hitting – and especially the inability to bunt – that cost the Cards the game in the end.


Then there was yesterday. Realistically, it was difficult to know what to expect from Kyle Lohse. Our friend Bob had a great pre-game piece on his Throatwarbler’s Blog that detailed all Kyle has been through in the last year-plus, since he was hit on the forearm by a Ron Mahay pitch in May 2009. Unfortunately, Lohse had a terrible day and allowed seven earned runs as he pitched into the fourth inning. If the bullpen had been able to keep the Cubs scoreless the rest of the game, things would have been better and the Cards could have actually won. However, both Mike MacDougal and Dennys Reyes allowed a run each. The Cardinals did stage a valiant comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth, scoring five runs, but it wasn’t quite enough.

So the team that got swept by the Reds last weekend beat the team that just swept the Reds this week, winning two out of three games. The Reds also had another sweep this weekend, beating the Marlins, and now find themselves back on top in the Central by a game. And the frustration is back among Cardinals fans again, that’s for sure. While there are definitely bright spots when you look at the team’s record since the All-Star break, it’s the ups and downs that stand out more than anything. Of course, no team is going to win every game and even great teams are going to lose around 60 games a season. But it’s the now season-long inconsistency that stands out as the hallmark of the 2010 Cardinals.

It’s difficult to know what to expect from this team during the next seven weeks. The optimist in me can easily see them winning the division. With the starting pitching of Carpenter, Wainwright and Jaime Garcia – plus Westbrook – they could do very well in the playoffs also. But then there’s the internal pessimist. I can just as easily see the Cardinals not winning the division, nor the wild card either. September has not been their most productive month in recent years. And look at what happened last year when they did win the division, with Carpenter and Wainwright as Cy Young-worthy starters.


Time will tell us what the 2010 Cardinals really are. And, unfortunately, we have an off day to dwell on what should have been instead of what was throughout the weekend.

Sunday’s Highlights

Congratulations to:

  • Albert, who hit his 30th home run of the season in the first inning yesterday. With the blast, he now has hit at least 30 homers in each of his first 10 seasons in the majors. He currently has 396 homers, the most ever by a player in his first 10 seasons.
J.B. Forbes/STLToday.com
  • Steven Hill on hitting his first major league home run to start the Cards’ rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. Steven was on what today are the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2007, when they were the Swing of the Quad Cities. He wasn’t the only former Quad Cities player getting that rally going, as Nick Stavinoha (2005) and Aaron Miles (1997/1998, when they were an Astros farm team) followed Hill by getting base hits. Jon Jay (2006) received a bases-loaded walk a bit later to score Stavinoha. (Personally, it’s nice to see some of the guys I remember seeing in the Quad Cities make contributions to the big league team. At this level, most of the guys I see year after year never make it to the majors.)

More on Rivalries

Obviously the Cardinals’ rivalry with the Reds has intensified this season. Read more in Angela’s post “A Reflection on Rivalries” at i70baseball.com here.

Basebrawl: Boys Being Boys

Wow.  First, I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve blogged here.  My last post was in July?!  A lot has happened – including our week-long blog hiatus while we Diamond Diaries gals met up in St. Louis to watch our boys plays some ball.  Fun trip.  Absolutely amazing!  I finally met Angela and Chris in person -plus a few other great Cardinals fans we knew from our Twitter baseball watch parties.  The trip was wonderful even if the Cardinals gave up two games to the Astros and the devastating news broke that our hop-a-long hotcorner David Freese would have season-ending surgery to rebuild his ankle.   But enough about that….

Yesterday we learned the penalties imposed on the players and managers for their actions during the mayhem that erupted during the 1st inning of Tuesday night’s game between the Cardinals and the Reds. (Chris disected the basebrawl details in yesterday’s Diamond Diaries post. and Viva El Birdos has broken the entire fight down into an amazing must-see video and picture sequence here.)

MLB’s disciplinary actions targeted 5 players and both team managers:

Johnny Cueto, Reds pitcher – 7 game suspension plus fines
Managers Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker – 2 game suspensions each
Cincinnati players Russ Springer and Brandon Phillips – fines
Cardinal players Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina – fines

With one glaring exception, I found the penalties acceptable.  MLB made a point with the managers, and 4 of the 5 players did not deserve anything worse. Johnny Cueto was the only player in the melee who went berserk – violently kicking Chris Carpenter in the back and Jason LaRue in the head and ribs with his spikes, leaving Jason with a mild concussion and stitches in his lip.  Cueto’s actions were reprehensible and thankfully LaRue was not more seriously injured.  In my opinion, this was where MLB dropped the ball.  Cueto’s repeated thrashing of his spikes at the heads and bodies of players posed such risk to every player in that mobbed backstop that I believe he should be jailed for assault.

Baseball fights are definitely their own creature, much as baseball has its own personality.  The fact that baseball’s unwritten rules extend to benches-clearing, emotion-driven pushing-and-shoving matches leaves me smiling at this sport I have fallen in love with.
Sure, these grown men got all riled up and acted like a bunch of gorillas, but (with the exception of Johnny Cueto) they were civilized gorillas. 
Not a fan of fights, I do not enjoy hockey. Ultimate Fighting makes me sick and boxing horrifies me.  But Tuesday’s brawl between the Cardinals and the Reds was different – mostly because baseball fights, while full of bravado, are rarely violent, but also because I understood and appreciated the underlying emotions behind the furor.  Reds 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips rudely and intentionally insulted the entire core of the Cardinal organization and catcher Yadier Molina took exception to Phillips’ attempt to gloss over his comments. 
Don’t run on Yadi and don’t insult his baseball family. 
Sure, Molina could have let it go.  He could have just ignored Phillips and excused him as the publicity-seeking big mouth that he is.  Instead, Yadi took a stand, and with that confrontation (punctuated by a heroic retaliatory homerun in the next inning) Yadi ignited what will in all likelihood be the turning point for the 2010 Cardinals.
These Cardinals have been hungering for a unifying moment to ignite the type of fire that drives a talented team forward, and this sweep of the Reds – in the midst of the Phillips’ comment controversy- did just that.

The Cardinals won much more than a sweep in this past series against the Reds.  Their bond as a team is now iron-clad.  Conversely, the Reds lost more than just these 3 games and 1st place in the NL Central.  Cincinnati may now be playing as a team divided.  With proud former Cardinals Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in Reds’ uniforms, Brandon Phillips’ comments make him an unpopular teammate, and Johnny Cueto’s conduct was a disgrace.   

Could we have just witnessed the downfall of the 2010 Reds? Time will tell. But the Reds will only have themselves to blame for sinking that ship.
Today the Cardinals take on long-time rival Chicago Cubs with the Cubs seeming much more like that pesky neighbor kid that wastes your time than a bitter adversary. Tony LaRussa serves his two-game suspension at the start of this Cardinals-Cubs series, and our Cardinals have some well-earned momentum. 
So, Let’s Play Ball!    …  and play nice.  =)

And if you happen to be looking for more baseball reading, I wrote a story for i70baseball earlier this week about Surviving August Baseball.  You can check it out here.

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