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October 2008

Costuming the Cardinals

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 7:00 AM
I have close to 30 years of Star Wars geekiness in my system and apparently this was encoded on my DNA, because now my son of almost 4 is becoming a huge Star Wars fan as well.  (And my daughter always loves to see R2D2 on the screen.)  So when you take that and mix it with my love for the Cardinals, well, it sounds like a great Halloween post.  Imagine, if you will, that the Cardinal clubhouse decided to use a galaxy far, far away for their inspiration for tonight’s costumes…..

(Before we get there, though, there’s a former Cardinal who ties closely to Star Wars.  David Eckstein’s wife, Ashley, is the voice of Ahsoka Tano, the new padawan in the Clone Wars TV show.  Not sure who Eck would be.  A Jawa from Tatooine?  They are both short, plus scrounged around (or, perhaps, were scrappy enough) to make a living anyway they could.  Both had a moment of glory—the Jaws when they sold R2 and C3P0 to Luke, Eckstein in the 2006 World Series.   Both then dropped off suddenly, though at least Eckstein has avoided being shot by stormtroopers.  Back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

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Congrats To the Champs

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 7:51 AM
The Phillies finally finished Game 5 and did so in winning fashion.  When they quickly put up a run there in the sixth, I figured that might be the end of it.  Say this about the Rays, though, they don't give up.  Even in the ninth they had a chance.  Brad Lidge may have been perfect in save opportunities, but everytime I've seen him this postseason it seems like he's just a more successful version of Izzy.  He walks the wire but comes through at the end.

For the last few years, I've kept a running list of World Series droughts.  After last night, this is what it looks like.  (I can't figure out how to do tables so bear with the formatting.)

Last won      Years
Philadelphia 2008 0
Boston 2007 1
St. Louis 2006 2
Chicago White Sox 2005 3
Florida 2003 5
Los Angeles of Anaheim 2002 6
Arizona 2001 7
New York Yankees 2000 8
Tampa Bay 1998 10 *
Atlanta 1995 13
Colorado 1993 15 *
Toronto 1993 15
Minnesota 1991 17
Cincinnati 1990 18
Oakland 1989 19
Los Angeles 1988 20
New York Mets 1986 22
Kansas City 1985 23
Detroit 1984 24
Baltimore 1983 25
Pittsburgh 1979 29
Seattle 1977 31 *
San Diego 1969 39 *
Milwaukee 1969 39 *
Washington 1969 39 *
Houston 1962 46 *
Texas 1961 47 *
San Francisco 1954 54
Cleveland 1948 60
Chicago Cubs 1908 100

*--Never won a series

I think we've also figured out why the NL keeps losing the All-Star Game.  It's a subtle swipe at the AL, since no Series goes 7 anymore.  (Last 7-gamer was 2001, before the Great All-Star Debacle.)  With only 4 or 5 games in the Series, it either means the AL team has to win the Series on the road, away from their fans, or the NL team gets to win it at home in front of their fans.  Very, very subtle!  The Cardinals and the Phillies are the only teams to win on their home field since 2002.

Now, can someone open up the grate and stoke that Hot Stove?

Mozeliak's Live Chat

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 2:32 PM
He just wrapped it up over at the PD.  Let's go to the highlights:

Wing: Mo -

Any interest in Furcal at SS next season if the Dodgers don't resign him before he hits FA?

Are there any potential trades to look at for an upgrade at SS or 2B? Or, what is your take at ways to upgrade at that position? Should we expect to see a move made there?

John Mozeliak: Without speaking on specific players, I do believe that is one area for improvement. I think when you look at our club one place I felt we could get more offiense was from our middle infield. I do think it is about having the right compliment with offense and defense, but I do think there could be a way to improve.
Folks, let's get this out of the way right off the bat.  If you were expecting detailed discussions about the Cardinals offseason, you have come to the wrong place.  I don't blame Mozeliak for that.  He's got to walk a few fine lines.  He can't tamper, he doesn't want to drive up prices by expressing interest, he can't run down members of his own team and expect to trade them (we saw how well that worked for TLR and Reyes).  So he can't do much besides talk in generalities.

redbirdswin: Mr. Mozeliak,

Thanks for going beyond your GM duties and answering questions from the fans. It is very gracious of you and shows a lot about your character.

On to business - Is Jeremy Affeldt on your radar for a LH bullpen spot? He is durable, puts up solid numbers, and could emergency start ala Brad Thompson if need be. I'm wondering if a multi-year deal for Affeldt could be in the Cards?

John Mozeliak: Clearly we need to improve our bullpen from the left side, and if we can address that in the free agent market that would be great, if not we will consider a trade.
Again, fairly general, but in the first two questions he's pretty much laid out the priorities of the club in the offseason, left-handed relief and middle infield.  Which is not exactly news, but always nice to know that the management is seeing the same things the fans are.

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Odds and Ends

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 8:30 AM
Not much going on, but let's post anyway!

First off, there will be a chat with John Mozeliak at the Post-Dispatch site today.  No matter your opinion of Mo, at least he gets out there and interacts with the fans.  I'm not sure I could picture Jocketty doing that, though obviously there really wasn't this kind of technology in wide use until close to the end of his term.  Maybe a situation of old dogs new tricks.

Secondly, let's talk World Series.  Everyone else is!  Like most people, I have no problem with the suspended game.  Selig is right (for once) in that the Series should not be decided on a rain-shortened technicality.  That said, if he had actually told the team representatives before the game, as he said he did, that they were playing nine one way or another, he should have stopped the game somewhere before the sixth.  I didn't see all of the game, but I turned it on in the top of the sixth and saw that slop.  I knew then that they were just hoping for the Rays to tie or take the lead so they could legally stop the game and not have to worry about calling it.  Selig most likely expected a lot of grief if he stopped it with the Phillies leading but didn't award them the win.

I heard Selig refer to his "four more years" and realized that he is going to wind up being commissioner for 18 years, assuming he actually leaves the position at the end of this contract.  He'll never be considered the best commissioner, I don't believe, but he's done enough to make sure his tenure is remembered.  Not necessarily in the best of ways, but it'll be remembered.

I still want to see the Rays win this thing, but having the Phillies win doesn't bother me much either.  I'm just, in some ways, ready for the Series to be over so we can really stoke the Hot Stove and get the fire going.

Of course, since few are watching, it may be one of those things where if a team wins a title in a forest, does it count?  Though I bet the viewing for the last three innings of Game 5 is much higher than for the rest of the game!

Not sure if I'll get a post up tomorrow, but my Halloween themed one is already prepped and ready to go, so be sure to check back on Friday!

The Final Question

Posted on October 28, 2008 at 8:42 AM
The month-long United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable finishes up today.  It almost spanned the entire offseason, starting with The Cardinal Virtue back on October 6 and wrapping up with Redbirds Fun, Stan Musial's Stance and my entry.

Before we get to the question and answers, I just want to say thanks to everyone that participated.  This not only closes the roundtable but also the first year of the UCB, which has gone over much better than I expected due to the quality of individuals participating.  Looking forward to another year of projects!

Speaking of, check out the first United Cardinal Bloggers talk show!  And yes, that incredibly goofy second caller is me.

OK, today's question:

We've seen a lot of young talent come up around the league in the last year or so.  The Rays are a fine example of that, making it to the Series on the backs of a lot of younger players.  So what player with less than three years of experience would you most like to see on the Cardinals?  You can factor in whatever you like (position scarcity, giving depth for trades, etc.)

Answers after the jump!

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Just Checking In

Posted on October 26, 2008 at 10:48 PM
Not much going on in Cardinal Land, so a few links:

If you are tired of reading about the Cardinals, have someone talk to you about them!  The Redbirds of a Feather podcast is a weekly roundup of stuff in Cardinal Nation.  Give it a try!

Over at MVN Outsider, they take on the Cardinals offseason.  I don't believe it's written by a Cardinal fan, as they have omitted the Kyle Lohse signing from the plans of next year's rotation.  He also has Felipe Lopez going to Houston, something that I can only guess is speculation since I can't find anything official on that.  I can't say that I'm that excited about many of his suggestions (and Kyle Farnsworth?  No way.  He's been a hittable guy ever since he was a Cub.  That's no way to fix a bullpen), but it's Cardinals talk and maybe you'll agree more than I.

Albert Pujols got the Roberto Clemente award.  I don't think anyone will fault that selection.  The Pujols Family Foundation is a wonderful charity.

The UCB roundtable is starting to wind down.  Stan Musial's Stance should have a transcript up Monday or Tuesday, then we'll finish it off here.  The ground's been covered fairly well, so I've got to spend some time figuring up a decent wrapup question!

Speaking of the United Cardinal Bloggers, we are starting to get ready for the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  If you are a Cardinal blogger, aren't a member of the mailing list and want to be, contact me to get on.  Also, if anyone wants to nominate a "best" or "funniest" post from one of the members, I'd appreciate.


Posted on October 23, 2008 at 7:54 AM
Good start to the Series last night.  A game the Phillies had to win, because if you squander a Cole Hamels start, well, chances are you don't deserve to take home the title.  We'll see if the Rays blow up like they did last time they lost a Game 1, though!

Bernie tells us what we already know: Albert should be MVP.  Nice to see the players agreed.

Since the last UCB update, Redbird Ramblings has talked about the bullpen, BertFlex has taken up the outfield issue, Fungoes asked about changing the Busch Stadium experience, and Pitchers Hit Eighth asked when we start thinking about an Albert Pujols extension.

CardinalsGM should have a transcript up soon (for some reason the new filter in my office blocks that site, along with a ton of other things) as we start to wind down the discussions.  I still have to come up with a question that hasn't been used yet!

Small News, But News Nonetheless

Posted on October 20, 2008 at 10:29 PM
A couple of notes from the wide world of Cardinal baseball.  Is anyone else like me, hoping for a short World Series so we can get to the Hot Stove League even faster?

In news that ranks just below "the sun came up this morning" and "the Cubs lost in the playoffs", the Cardinals bought out the contract of Mark Mulder.  There was no way that the Cardinals were going to pick up an $11 million option even if Mulder had been reasonably healthy.  He's not, though, so that was a no-brainer.  I'd be surprised if they even considered signing him to an incentive-laden deal like they did with Matt Clement this year.  Sometimes, you just have to turn the page.

Bernie says the Cardinals aren't a player for Peavy.  Can't say that's a huge surprise, given what Peavy commands salary-wise and the other issues that the Cardinals have in that department.  I figure the Lohse signing also helped put a crimp into those plans.  Wonder if they'd have gone ahead with that extension if they had thought they had a chance for Peavy?

Now, it could be a smokescreen to keep the price down, but I don't think so.  For once, it's not that the Cardinals don't have the chips to trade for him, it's the other issues.  But like Bernie says, if he winds up in the NL Central and it's not with the Cardinals, there could be some irate people.

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays.  It's great to see a team develop some young players and make some October noise.  And it is also good to see a Series without the Red Sox in it.  After 2004, I've not been that much of a fan of that organization.  While the Phillies and Rays may not be the best ratings the World Series has ever had, it should be some interesting baseball.  I'd love the Rays to pull it off, but I think Philadelphia celebrates after the Obama-delayed Game 6.  (C'mon, delaying the World Series?  You'd think someone would have told him not to mess with the baseball!)

A UCB Catchup

Posted on October 16, 2008 at 8:13 AM
When the big Cardinal news of the week is Josh Phelps being let go for Charlie Manning, you know it's slow.  Manning was nothing special last year, but he's a lefty, so you know he'll keep getting work.  That said, I expect this is more of a depth move and he likely will wind up at AAA or being released in spring training, depending on how the rest of the offseason goes.

So, since things are slow, I thought I'd help you keep up with the UCB roundtables that are going on.  We've had pretty good discussions on just about every topic so far.

The Cardinal Virtue led us off by pondering Kyle Lohse's new contract.  That was followed up with Rockin' the Red's focus on the top offseason target for the 'Birds.  Third, The Redbird Blog talked about Tony LaRussa and his future in St. Louis.  We then talked about the untouchable (or not so much) status of Colby Rasmus thanks to Mike on the Cards.  CardinalNationGlobe asked us what we thought "the Cardinal Way" was.  And, most recently, The Rundown talked about who would fill out the rotation.

Redbird Ramblings should have a transcript up today on their question and you can find the rest of the schedule here.  I hope you are enjoying reading them as much as we are doing them!

And congrats to the Phillies on making it to the World Series!

Idle Speculation

Posted on October 15, 2008 at 9:34 AM
Finding blogging topics at this time of year is pretty darn hard.  You almost were spared an entry today, until I followed a link at St. Louis Sports Magazine to this article.  The relevant quotes:

Axelrod made one concrete stipulation to any trade scenarios: “Jake would only approve a trade to a team with a solid chance of winning and a winning tradition. Those teams in the National League may be in locations that are more acceptable, or would be.”

He said “the ability or opportunity to win is very important to Jake, and hopefully some sort of coincidence with his and his family's lifestyle.”

Among the cities Axelrod mentioned were Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and St. Louis.

OK, I added the bold.  But, seriously, if he's looking for a winning tradition, how in the world are the Cubs on the list?  Two years does not a tradition make.  But I digress.

What would you give up for Jake Peavy?  I would guess most of Cardinal Nation would think this is a deal that Colby Rasmus could go in.  Truthfully, I can't imagine a way it would happen without Rasmus.  I'd be pretty tempted to do it, though.  Peavy's a dominant pitcher in the prime of his career with few injury issues.  To add him to a rotation with Wainwright and Lohse would do wonders for the Cardinals' chances.

I'd honestly be very surprised if Peavy is moved in the offseason, though I'm sure we'll hear lots about it.  I would think Mozeliak's been on the phone with San Diego, so maybe he can smooth over the ramifications of the last San Diego/St. Louis trade.

EDIT: MLBTR notes Buster Olney has mentioned this as well.

The Cardinals may also be in the mix, according to Buster Olney.  Olney says that one team, "perhaps the Cardinals," is discussing the idea of adding Khalil Greene to a Peavy deal.
I'm not a huge Greene fan, but it does make sense that the Cardinals would be asking about him.  A .213 average last year?  10 home runs is nice, but I think I'd rather have Izturis with that kinda clip.  However, his 2007 season (.254, 27 HR) would be pretty nice.  If he can hit .250 with power, he'd be a huge step up.  Be nice if he learned to take a walk, though, and struck out a little less, but nobody's perfect.





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Rick Ankiel 83.9%
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