Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Royals

i70 Launch Day

There might not be a Cards game today, but we still have some exciting news for you. Today is the launch of i70baseball.com! The site focuses on both the Cardinals and Royals, will have a weekly radio show starting tonight, and is an affiliate of BaseballDigest.com.

Why are we so excited about this new project? Because Erika and I will be contributing to the site on a weekly basis! Erika will have her first piece up there tomorrow, but I have a couple links for you already:

All-Stars At The All-Star Break: A look at all five of the Cardinal All-Stars that are on their way to Anaheim right now and how they perform from the first to the second half.

Surprising Frustrations: The Cardinal Players Of The First Half: Checking on who’s been up and who’s been struggling so far this season. Don’t yell at me about which All-Stars made the ‘frustrating’ lists – read first, then argue! 🙂

The Cards finished off a series win against the Astros with a W yesterday. Blake Hawksworth had his fourth consecutive outing of 5 or more innings while allowing 3 runs or less. Matt Holliday continued his hot streak by blasting a 3 run home run, and Jon Jay is carrying an 11 game hitting streak through the break.

For those of you interested in the Futures All-Star game that was played yesterday evening, Shelby Miller (Team USA) and Eduardo Sanchez (Team World) both appeared and had flawless outings, facing a total of 5 batters, hitting 95 MPH on the gun and getting 5 groundballs. Somewhere, Dave Duncan has a huge smile on his face!

Tonight’s All-Star festivities include the Home Run Derby (Go Holliday!) and the Celebrity All-Star Game. It’s not Cardinal baseball, but at least we’ll see a few St. Louis hats out there tonight, and with any luck, Ozzie Smith will be there and playing!

Short post today, because we want you to head over to i70 Baseball and check out what is already going on over there. We’re excited about the new project and hope you enjoy it!

Keeping Score With A Rookie

Before I say anything, I have to talk about the last two games. Monday’s game looked more like the D’Backs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but a win is a win. Last night brought some fireworks with the bats, which is entertaining since there was a lot of moaning and groaning before the game about what looked like a terrible lineup! That’s one of the things I love about baseball – you absolutely never know what will happen until the last pitch is thrown.

So I have a little special something for all of you today – a guest writer! I suppose that’s unfair since she’s not a writer at all. In fact, she is my baby sister, Rachel. The two of us braved the heat on Sunday in Kansas City, and despite the horrible outcome of the game, we had some fun. She only wanted to see three things: a stolen base (she saw three!), a Cardinals win (well…), and she wanted to learn how to keep score.

Keeping score is becoming a lost art form in my mind, so I enjoyed teaching her all the crazy ins and outs of the process. Because of that, she wanted to share a few things she learned. Remember – she’s not a writer, so be nice! 🙂

On Sunday afternoon my sister Angela and I went to game three of the Cardinals/Royals series.  While I have been to many games at Kauffman Stadium, I have never kept score.  My sister therefore decided that we should keep score for Sunday’s game.  I made several mistakes on my scorecard, and because of that I came up with nine things any fan needs to know before keeping score at a baseball game. So here are my nine tips for rookie score keepers:

1.  Pay attention to the starting lineup.  It is definitely not good when you skip over Albert Pujols and your scorecard ends up with scribbles on it before the game even starts.  This also can mess you up later in the game if – like me – you end up with no room to write in another players’ name when there is a change in the lineup.

Inside jokes? Probably,
but it makes me laugh!

2.  When recording the starting lineup, feel free to use nicknames.  I chose to use my sister’s nicknames because I found them highly amusing.  They made my scorecard a lot more interesting and the game a lot more fun. (Check out her lineup on the right!)

3.  Pay attention to the inning numbers.  Several times on my scorecard I recorded a play in the wrong column because I forgot that it was a new inning.   Along with that, when players at the bottom and top of the order are batting, make sure that you record them in the same inning and do not start recording the top of the order in the next inning.

4.  Each player on the field is given a number. This starts with the pitcher, then the catcher, and then it moves around the bases and into the outfield, ending with right field.  This number is used when recording who made the out.  For instance, if the batter flies out to the left fielder, you would record a number 7 for that player’s at bat.

5.  The shortstop’s number is not 5. It is 6.  The order goes first, second, third, and then shortstop.

6.  When recording a strikeout, you use the symbol K. Sometimes you record it backwards instead of forwards.  This happens depending on whether or not the batter swings or strikes out looking.  If the batter strikes out swinging you would use a forward K, then if the batter strikes out looking you would use the backwards K.

7. I learned several shorthands that are used while keeping score.  The first one that I learned was actually in the first play of the game – a hit by pitch. It was marked as HBP.  The next one is one that I had trouble with.  I assumed that a walk would be labeled with a W, but that stands for win.  Instead a walk is marked as BB for base on balls.  Along with that, an intentional walk is labeled as IBB.

8.  Some more shorthands that I learned include FO and FC which stand for force out and fielder’s choice.  I had some trouble recognizing the difference between these two, but I learned that a force out is recorded when a batter makes it on base but then is thrown out trying to advance to the next base.   A fielder’s choice, however, happens when the fielder chooses who they are going to throw out.  If there is already one runner on base they could decide to throw that runner out instead of throwing the ball to first to get the batting runner out. I think.

9.  The final thing a rookie score keeper needs to know is what to do when a pitcher leaves the game.  The most confusing part of the totaling process is the runs and the earned runs.  If a pitcher leaves in the middle of the inning and there are runners on the bases the pitcher can have more runs added to his total even after he has left the game.  If the runners that the exiting pitcher put on base score, then their runs also count towards the first pitcher’s total runs.
A finished product. Nice job rookie!

The third game for the Cards and Diamondbacks battle starts at 1:15PM this afternoon. Here’s to Jeff Suppan finishing off the… you know what. I’m not going to be the one blamed for jinxing it!

A winning first trip to Kauffman Stadium

My trip to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City for Saturday’s Cardinals-Royals game marked Major League ballpark number 15 that I’ve visited. And other than sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley Field on my 21st birthday, this was the hottest game I’ve ever been to (temperature-wise, of course). Luckily, the Cardinals made sitting in that heat worthwhile.

The Ballpark

Kauffman Stadium has always looked beautiful on television, especially the fountains in the outfield, so I was excited about the game. (Then again, I was seeing the Cardinals. How could I not be excited?) I went to the game with my friends Michael and Tammy, who live in Omaha, so we had a three-hour drive to get to the ballpark. As we came to a complete stop before even reaching the I-70 exit for the ballpark, I discovered one problem with Kauffman: it’s difficult to park there. Once you are able to exit, and temporarily think you’ll be there soon because there’s the ballpark – no. You have to wind around and around, merge into one lane countless times and, finally, eventually, get into a real parking lot. We did get a good view of the tailgating going on (which reminded me of Miller Park in Milwaukee) as we drove toward the lots. Plus we got a great view of Arrowhead Stadium from our parking spot right in front of it.

The employees at Kauffman all seemed very friendly, from the usher who told us our seats were in the sun to start with but would be in the shade soon to the concession stand worker who apologized for having to double-check she’d charged us for the right number of hot dogs. Of course I was wearing a Cardinals shirt, and was in the majority that day wearing red. And the gift shops were ready for the red-clad fans too, with Cardinals merchandise for sale.

The concession prices seemed reasonable and there was a good selection, including Kansas City barbecue. Given that it was so hot, it was great that the concourse was cooled by overhead fans and that there were three gigantic water coolers with paper cups on a table leading toward the seats. There also was a drinking fountain right outside the bathroom, where many people were refilling water bottles.

Speaking of water, the fountains in the outfield at Kauffman have always looked beautiful on television and they are definitely the most picturesque feature of the park. The scoreboard is also very nice, with it crown on top, but almost filled with too much information. It was easy to get sidetracked reading the facts and stats and almost miss an at-bat completely.

Many Major League parks have their tradition of playing certain songs during games – “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park, “Beer Barrel Polka” at Miller Park and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” at Camden Yards. At Kauffman, it’s “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, complete with Garth introducing the song on the big-screen and lyrics so you can sing along. Seems an interesting choice for a song, given the Royals typical finish in the standings.

As Angela mentioned in her post about Friday night’s game, there was a definite sea of red when you looked around the stands and the cheers for the Cardinals on Saturday were tremendous. However, when there was something for the Royals fans to cheer about, they made themselves heard. Well, most of the time. Highlights of the 1985 World Series were shown after each inning – one game per inning. Not being a Cardinals fan in 1985, I wasn’t sure who won each of the earlier Series games (of course I know about the final two games), but it was easy to tell by the music accompanying the highlights. Sad, slow music: Cardinals won. Upbeat music: Royals won. After the sixth inning, I’m not sure what the music was. All I could hear were boos.

The Game Itself

As mentioned, I was with Michael and Tammy for this game. Tammy and I went to quite a few Quad Cities River Bandits games together years ago, back when the team was an Astros and then Twins farm team. So this was, in all likelihood, not the first time we were together watching Aaron Miles play since he was on the Bandits in 1997 and 1998.

Yes, I have to mention Aaron Miles right away. Michael is, to put it mildly, a passionate Cardinals fan. And (as is the case for many of us) he’d prefer to see any of the Baby Birds on the roster to Proven Veterans such as Miles. So, there was Miles – not just playing on Saturday, but the designated hitter. “If that isn’t an argument for abolishing the DH, I don’t know what is,” Michael said after the lineups were read. So, to be obstinate (or maybe it was the heat), Tammy and I cheered like crazy for Miles. He responded in his first at-bat by getting the Cardinals first hit. “He doubled just to piss me off,” Michael responded. He also singled his second time up, scoring on Skip Schumaker’s homer.

Yes, the homers – first the Colby jack in the fourth and then Skippy’s in the fifth. Wonderful to see, great to be part of the roaring crowd and interesting to hear the following from Tammy immediately after Colby hit his: “I just got chills.” Which always happens when it’s 95 degrees, right? But I saw proof, since it happened again after Skip’s homer: she seriously had goosebumps on her arm.

Pitching-wise, Blake Hawksworth had a very impressive five innings. The sixth inning had a couple of pitching changes, as first Trever Miller and then Jason Motte came into the game. It was while Motte was warming up that we noticed Matt Holliday, Colby and Nick Stavinoha meeting in centerfield.

Then we saw David Freese and Brendan Ryan standing together and chatting.

Which meant that Skippy and Albert were together too, right? No. Skip was all alone, and Albert was doing this.

That hands-on-his-hips death stare did the trick: Motte threw one pitch, which resulted in a double play to get out of the inning. When Motte had to leave the game in the seventh, though, it really made us wonder what Albert was doing while glaring at Motte …

All in all, it was a nice 5-3 win for the Cardinals, and especially good to see Ryan Franklin have a one-two-three ninth inning for his 15th save. And Kauffman Stadium is definitely worth the visit. Hopefully, though, the next time I’m there they’ll be done talking about the 1985 World Series. Twenty-five years seems like enough.

Cards At The K

If you’ve never been to a game at the beautiful Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, you truly are missing out. Now, I wrote about the Cardinals’ rivalry with the Royals over at Baseball Digest, so I won’t rehash it, but despite the score, it was really a fun atmosphere down at the K last night. To start – here was the scene around the third inning last night:

Yes, I sit in nosebleeds. I like it, too. Sweet views!

As you can see, there are an awful lot of red shirts in the seats, to the point where the ‘LET’S go CARDinals! *clap*clap*clapclapclap*’ chants  were much better than anything the Royals PA could put together.

Don’t forget (although you want to) – the Royals won. They were just overpowered in the stands. I heard several mentions on my way into the stadium about how cool it was to see the ‘sea of red’ taking over the parking lots. (To be fair, season ticket holders and anyone buying a ticket package park in a different lot.)

I wasn’t going to say anything, but I have to – Royals fans moan about how Cardinal fans need to get over 1985, but if they don’t quit wearing their 25 year old world championship t-shirts pretty soon, the shirts will start showing up at the park sans-owners. That leads perfectly into my list of FANS OF THE GAME!

1st Place: This gentleman (that’s a kind word) was sitting next to my family. The front of his shirt had 2 dead birds hanging off a bat. This is the back:

2nd Place: I’m amazed that I didn’t notice this man until the 7th inning stretch. Maybe it’s because I see him every year. No joke. Then again, when were Beanie Babies last cool – 2001? I also enjoy that he is wearing a KU championship shirt instead of a Royals shirt. Convenient for when the score is reversed, ehh?

3rd Place: Sadly, I don’t have this one (not for lack of trying), but this one goes to the two buddies that were wearing Royal blue Denkinger shirts. Number 85, of course.

Honorable Mention: I feel the need to notice the following good Cardinal folks that made the trek: the Scott Spiezio jersey, the 2 Chris Duncan jerseys (2? In the same section? But not together? Madness!), and the 2 year old in the Rick Ankiel jersey. Friends, wait to buy player jerseys for your kids until they fit into them. Don’t plan ahead, or if you do, go for a franchise player!

All jokes aside, I truly do enjoy going to games in Kansas City. I’ve been to enough games over the years and have enjoyed seats from the 4th row to the 4th deck. I’m telling you – there is not a bad view no matter where you sit. I like sitting way up high because you can take in everything at once, from the shift of the infield to the action in both bullpens. The Royals have done very extensive renovations in their outfield over the past few years. If you haven’t been recently – here’s the view of the outfield area:

The right field area is the place to be in my mind. On hot days the Pepsi Party Porch will give you a nice mist when the fountains are on, and the whole outfield area is now open with different attractions and places to stand and watch the games. I’d venture that about 75% (probably more) of the people wandering around out there during the game actually have seats, but never sit in them. Even compared to games that I attended here 5 years ago, this is a much more fan-friendly atmosphere now.

Friday nights are the best nights, because the Royals do a pretty spectacular fireworks show that you do not want to miss! It’s not quite to the standards of the 4th of July at the Arch, but it is worth seeing, every time!

So for any of you out there that are going to be at either of the next two games, see ya there (I’ll be one of the ones not sitting in a seat), enjoy the stadium, and help me bring home some winners!

It Worked!

Well well well… Tony’s merry-go-round lineup last night worked to the tune of a 9-3 Cardinals win. Maybe the boys were just tired of being out West playing at ungodly hours of the night, or needed some home cooking, but we’re pretty sure that the lineup had a big something to do with it.

What we would really appreciate now is if the Cards could show the same kind of run support tonight for Suppan… he might need it. However, considering his opposition on the bump tonight is Ryan Rowland-Smith, (uhh… k) who currently possesses an 0-5 record with a 6.62 ERA, the pitchers might be pretty evenly matched. Game time is 7:15.

It’s my week to take a turn over at BaseballDigest.com. Head on over there and check out what I have to say about the I-70 series coming up later this month!

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