Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: UCB Event

UCB Progressive Game Blog – 7th Inning

2011 marks the fourth annual progressive game blog for the United Cardinal Bloggers. We participated in the event last year, and apparently we did alright, since not only did Daniel allow us to come back for this year’s event, he even was nice enough to let us draw the seventh inning stretch again!

Welcome to those of you that are coming over from El Maquino, who posted the sixth inning. If you would like to see the rundown of the entire lineup for today’s progressive game blog, head over to the official UCB site. There are a lot of unique voices this year, and you will see a lot of different styles and opinions being tossed out. That would be one of the best things about the UCB in my opinion. Seriously, head over there and check them all out. Tell them I sent you! 🙂

Now, on to the seventh! Being a resident of the frozen tundra known as Wisconsin, and knowing just how bad the Brewers had been over the last seven games (Yes, 0-7), I was secretly hoping for another blowout, but in true 2010 style, the Cardinals have laid a nice game down for a struggling pitcher. Darn.

Kyle Lohse came into the seventh with 83 pitches, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 1 strikeout. Erika note: Great to see him going deeper into games. I agree! Thankfully Matthew Leach echoed my other thoughts with his tweet of, “Seems to me that Lohse is getting away with a lot today. Not getting his pitches down nearly as much as I suspect he’d like.”

Yovani Gallardo came into this game on a horrible stretch. He has not won in his last five starts, and came into the game with an ERA over 6. He honestly just sounded and looked down on himself during the pre-game interviews.

Jonathan Lucroy was up first for the Brew crew in the top of the seventh inning and struck out on a sinker up in the zone from Lohse.

Carlos Gomez, who made a fantastic catch in the bottom of the first inning, lined a shot just to the right of Tyler Greene, who snared it for out number two. Erika note: Would Theriot have caught that? I think that Ryan Theriot would have probably been able to make that play, but dang if I didn’t smile that Greene was there instead. The Brewer announcers really like Greene’s arm, describing many of his throws throughout the day as “frozen ropes.”

Gallardo then came up, and didn’t waste any time striking out. The interesting thing about constantly watching the away team’s TV broadcast is that you always get their little spin on it. I’ll be honest – the Brewers’ TV color analysts are actually fairly knowledgeable about the opposing teams. They caught Tony on camera, and made a few references about his tendencies to analyze everything, and ended the inning with, “Tony LaRussa, wondering how to solve this young Brewer pitcher.” A puzzle indeed…

Gallardo comes into the bottom of the seventh having already pitched 92 pitches, so despite the fact that he has a no-hitter, I don’t expect him to actually finish this game. He does only have 3 walks, which is good (for Brewer fans at least), but the Cardinals have at least gotten deep into the count on him.

Matt Holliday came up first, and despite his still being over .400 on the season, grounded out weakly to Rickie Weeks at second.

Lance Berkman is up. You just feel that every time the Cardinals need a big hit this year, Berkman is going to be the guy to get it. However, it wasn’t to be this time, as he worked the count full and drew his second walk of the day, which puts Gallardo’s pitch count at 101 with just one out in the seventh.

Yadier Molina is up next. Erika note: Last night on FSMW we saw Yadi’s neck tattoos (right side) really close up.  They are musical notes?!!  No kidding. 

The shadows have reached that awkward point in the afternoon where the line between sun and shadow is between the pitcher and the batter. Advantage, Gallardo. ……………….Yeah, Yadi hit into a double play. I think the biggest dagger in that one was hearing the Brewers announcers say, “And Molina hits into the double play to end the inning, barely running it out.”

*growls something about Yadi not running anything out. Ever.*

Bob Netherton might have said it best about that frustrating 1-4-3 double play when he tweeted, “In almost half a century of watching baseball, that is the first time I’ve seen a hit and run turned into a double play with a ground ball.”

So that ends the seventh inning. Gallardo still has his no-hitter intact, although he is also now at 104 pitches. Head on over to Cards ‘N Stuff for the 8th inning recap. Here’s hoping Kevin can break up the no-no for us!

More Fun at Busch Stadium

I finally had some time to sit down and write about the first-class Cardinal Bloggers Event hosted last weekend by the St. Louis Cardinals.  The experience was so much fun that I had to split it up into two posts! Yesterday I touched on our meeting with John Mozeliak and the thrill of walking into the administrative offices as well as the wonderful time we had mingling with other Cardinal bloggers/writers in Cardinal Hospitality.  Today I want to share some other stories that made the event even more memorable for me.

Visiting the Busch stadium press-box during a game has topped my list of curious places behind the scenes of Cardinal baseball. (Okay, visiting the clubhouse right after the game would be numero uno.  A gal can dream, can’t she?!)  In my mind, I’ve had a picture of what the press-box scene might look like.    So the chance to discover if the scribes bicker out loud (instead of just across twitter) or if there are piles of pizza boxes or taco trash in the corner was a whole bucket of exciting!
One of my favorite highlights from Sunday’s Blogger Event at Busch was an impromptu tour of the press-box!  As luck would have it, I caught up with Matthew “Pip” Philip, editor and principal writer for Fungoes.com, when he stopped by the party suite for some food.  When I asked where he was off to next, Pip replied that he was heading back to the press box, and I (of course) jumped at the chance to ask him for a tour (not at all shy when it comes to opportunities like that!)  Pip was awesome and happy to oblige.  So I grabbed Hubby and we wandered back through the stadium with Pip, past the guard at the door to the press box.  (Guarded to keep potentially overexcited fans like me from interrupting a broadcast by cheering “AttaBoy Hunky!!!” too loud from the booth?… I’m just guessing.)
Anyway… Hubby and I quietly behaved ourselves in the press-box corridor while Pip took care of some MLB.com datacasting.  He was training a woman on the process for entering data for MLB Game Day/ MLB At Bat.  (I’d always wondered how that happened…. now I know!)

One of the funny things about the press box was the seating chart posted on the wall as you enter the corridor.  It reminded me of elementary school.  “Everyone find your chair!”
Hubby and I wandered up to the 2nd level of chairs (with permission, of course) and sat to watch some of the game from that glorious birds-eye view.  Among the dozen or so men in the seats below us I recognized Bernie Miklasz (sorting his itunes library), Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel and BJ Rains with his dad, Rob Rains, one row behind.   They were all quietly watching the games or casually typing on their computers.  What I assumed would be a glorified man cave was actually pristinely clean and orderly.  No piles of stadium food littered the desks or corners.  And honestly the box felt like a library, very quiet with only occasional hushed talking as crowd noise drifted in through an open window.  Another curiosity was seeing Matthew Leach (MLB.com reporter) sitting alone in a darker room full of desk cubbies across the hall from the elevated press-box seats.  I had the chance to ask him about this later in the afternoon…

Pip returned to give us a fabulous quick tour of the press-box (honestly, there’s not all that much to tour, but he did it up right!) He even let me snag a few of the game notes and information pages provided for the press who use that area. Score one for random baseball souvenirs!  😉  Whether he knew it or not, Pip made a dream come true.  It was wonderful and the staff in the press box were warm and welcoming.
We managed to find our way back to the UCB suites to enjoy more of Jaime Garcia’s unbelievable complete game shutout (wow!) with the other bloggers.  Towards the end of the game, Matthew Leach made an appearance in the suites and hung out to meet everyone and talk about the Cardinals.


When the game ended and the employees politely tried to move our chattering UCB group on our way, Matthew Leach kindly hung out with several of us in the concourse.  I grabbed my chance to ask him pretty much any and every question I’d wanted to ask him over the past few years… about his job and the Cardinals.  He was great about it and I learned a lot.
For instance….
· The reason he was alone in a dark room in the press box?  Leach wasn’t reporting on the Cardinals game that day and was instead working on a different article for MLB.com….while watching a tennis match.)
· He explained his process of taking notes during a game in order to quickly put the details together into an entertaining and informative game recap.
· Matthew has been working in baseball for 10 years now, and yes, it does get tiring, especially when traveling.
· He has authored one book (I didn’t know this) titled “The Game of My Life, St. Louis Cardinals,” but it is out of print and costs anywhere from $86 to $297 online now.  So, it must be a REALLY good book!  😉
· He gets a lot of questions for his Mailbag, but current/timely questions are sometimes hard to come by. So when he sends out a request for questions, he really does need them!

I also “peppered” Mr. Leach (Dustin McClure’s words, not mine) with questions about some of my favorite Baby Birds such as Daniel Descalso including how long Matthew expects him to stick with the big club.  I verified that no, Matthew Leach is not a Cardinal fan and asked how he can spend so much time covering the Cardinals with such excitement and interest, yet not be a fan. Then I finally couldn’t help myself and brought up the topic of one of my favorites, former Cardinal shortstop Brendan Ryan.  Matthew agreed that it was hard to understand how Brendan would be surprised that his former teammates were frustrated by his antics when it was quite obvious to many around the clubhouse.  I wish I’d had a tape recorder so that I could remember everything we discussed, but it was the most fun to talk to someone with that much experience and such a close connection to our team.   Matthew Leach was great to meet and kindly stayed for all of our questions and discussions, joking about how hard he is to reach otherwise.  (He is,in fact, extremely easy to reach and is quick to respond on Twitter as well as answer reader questions in his MLB/Cardinals blog, Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer.)

Christine, Chris, Justin, Dustin, Dathan and me
After the doors were shut and the stadium was quieting down, a small group of us leftover UCBers made the hike out of the stadium, past the players’ parking lot… where we paused to try and identify some vehicles in true fan fashion.  We continued on to Paddy O’s where we soaked up some postgame excitement along with our refreshments.  Being from Oklahoma, I rarely get to celebrate a win, in St. Louis, surrounded by a crowd of Cardinal fans.  It was wonderfully fun and the perfect ending to a fabulous gathering.

Thanks again to the St. Louis Cardinals for hosting the event; Molly and Kathy for their hard work in setting it all up and their hospitality; Melody Yount, Derek Throneburg and especially John Mozeliak for giving the UCB a memorable event at Busch Stadium.  Thanks also to the staff in the suites who made us all comfortable and provided us with great food, drinks and service.  And my special thanks to the two Matthews, Philip and Leach, for adding so much to my experience.

It was especially wonderful to meet everyone that I associate with my Cardinals, from twitter and blogs to the guys behind the MLB tools I use daily.

The Cardinals begin the first of their 10 games on the road today as they face the San Francisco Giants.  Game time is early today at 3:35pm.
Go Cards!!  =)

Cardinal Hospitality

Last Sunday I was pretty hyped to be in a party suite at Busch Stadium, watching the game with 25-30 other Cardinal bloggers/writers as guests of the St. Louis Cardinals! My adventure started back in March when an email invitation to the 2011 Blogger Event arrived in my inbox, R.S.V.P. required.  Needless to say, that decision was a no-brainer.

On Sunday morning a group of us congregated outside of Busch Stadium, excited to soon be entering the stadium through the doors of the Cardinals Administrative Offices, located at 700 Clark Street.  We were greeted by Molly Radcliffe and Kathy Langenfield who gave us welcome packets full of information about ticket packages, special promotions, a “Tweet Me In St. Louis” t-shirt and our own copies of the beautiful 2011 Cardinals Media guide. Next we were escorted to a large conference room where Melody Yount (manager of media relations and new media) spoke briefly and then introduced John Mozeliak, the Cardinals General Manager.

Mr. Mozeliak gave us a quick state-of-the-team review and talked about the offseason moves and roster changes, then patiently took questions from the group for almost 30 minutes.  I must admit it was highly entertaining listening to a group of us “less experienced” new media types ask questions of the GM.  Everyone was well-behaved and respectful, but the nervous energy was palpable.  Mozeliak answered all questions.  None of it was “breaking news,” mostly statements we had heard before from him or the team.  But to give Mo some credit, he did inject some humor which lightened the mood.  For example, those in attendance now have a new frame of reference regarding our shortstop’s batting average (as it relates to the weight of Mo’s daughter).  Also, Mozeliak gave us a status report on Matt Holliday’s recovery from his appendectomy, using the word “bloated,” after which I promptly tuned out in order to clear that less-than-flattering visual from my head.  (Get well soon, Matt!)

Mo made his exit in order to attend to pressing Cardinals business, (why else wouldn’t he hang with us for lunch?) and Derek Throneburg filled us in on the new dynamic ticket pricing.  Honestly, after listening to Mr. Throneburg and perusing the glossy info sheets in our goodie bag, I am impressed by the effort of the Cardinals to provide tickets and packages at great bargains.  No more excuses….  You gotta get to a ballgame at Busch!

After all that official stuff (many thanks to Mr. Mozeliak for taking the time for the UCB Q&A!), we headed to the suites where the Cardinals provided a buffet of yummy food and drinks.  (Ask Angela about those brownies…) Jim Hayes of FoxSports Midwest stopped by to chat, but Fredbird stole the show when he flew in and posed for pictures.

Sunday’s Cardinals game was a must-see with Jaime Garcia throwing a complete game shut-out against the Padres, earning the Cardinals their first win of the season.  And even though I didn’t actually watch much of the game – my own fault: I was having too much fun chatting with other bloggers/writers that I had never actually met in person before – I will always remember that game experience.

By far, the best part of the event (for me) was the chance to finally meet all the great people of the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers.)  Take it from me, even if you absolutely love how they write, they are even better in person!

Daniel Shoptaw (UCB founder and voice of C70 At The Bat) helped me come up with a list of the fine UCB folk who were present on Sunday.  Somehow I didn’t manage to meet them all, so I’ll be looking forward to next time!  Check out links to their great sites at the UCB Website.

Part of the UCB crew in attendance on Sunday
Photo courtsey of Daniel Shoptaw
Matt and Josh–Joe Sports Fan
Nick, Josh, Dennis–Pitchers Hit Eighth
Angela (and me)–Cardinal Diamond Diaries
Christine–Aaron Miles’ Fastball
Chris–Bird Brained
Daniel–C70 At The Bat
Bob–On The Outside Corner
Dustin–Welcome to Baseball Heaven
Kevin–Cards ‘N Stuff
John–STL: Fear The Red
Aaron–Cards Diaspora
Bill–I70 Baseball
Matt–Baseball Digest
Eugene–85% Sports
Steve–Gas House Graphs
Mike and Joe–Cards Droppings
Joe–The McBrayer-Baseball Blog
Tom and Ryan–Cardinals GM
Dathan–Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Goodnight
Justin–Intangiball/InsideSTL
Pip–Fungoes

But wait… there’s more!  (Way too much for one post.)
Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on how I ended up in the Busch Stadium press-box and what happened when Matthew Leach got stuck answering some of my questions. Plus, some of us wandered over to Paddy-O’s after the game….
No Cardinal baseball today, but the Memphis Redbirds take on the OKC Redhawks in Memphis tonight for Opening Day in the minor leagues!
Go Redbirds!!  =)
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