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September 2010

LiveBaseballChat.com

Posted on September 30, 2010 at 11:25 AM
With us discussing yesterday's game, well, yesterday and not much else going on in the world of the Cardinals right now, I wanted to catch up on a promise I'd made earlier in the year.  Dean is with Live Chat Concepts, which is a company with the idea of setting up dedicated chat rooms so that, if you are watching the Cardinals and Pirates, for example, you can chat with others that are also watching the game.  Their baseball offering, LiveBaseballChat.com, is a Friend of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

With only a few games left this season, there's still time to try this out for the weekend games, plus the postseason.  Also, Live Chat Concepts has started this for football as well, for those of you that inexplicably follow that sport as well.

After the jump, a Q&A with Dean about the company and how it all works.

  Continue Reading

Meaningless Baseball

Posted on September 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM
Congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds on clinching the National League Central Division last night.  Since I hold no animosity toward most of that club (unlike, say, a team from the north side of Chicago and with the exception of Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto), I'm glad that they were able to win it on the field, in their home park, and in such dramatic fashion.  Celebrations after another team has lost to let you into the playoffs aren't nearly as much fun as the excitement that comes after a win, and there is no doubt that team deserved it.

Work has kept me from blogging as much as I have wanted to lately, so let's do our recap of the last week or so and then talk about the other aspects of this team.

Hero: Albert Pujols.  Two home runs will do it
Goat: Matt Pagnozzi.  His 0-4 meant he was the only starter without a hit.
Notes: Daniel Descalso (I don't care if FSMW puts up Dan, unless I hear otherwise, I'm going Daniel.  I know what it's like to have everyone shorten the name!) had a superb game, going 4-5 and making me think that maybe I should have found room on the top 7 prospects for him.  Also, a nice outing for Jeff Suppan.  You can't expect him to go more than five, but when he only allows one run in that stretch, you take it as the gift it is and go on.

Hero: Adam Wainwright.  Finally got that 20th win and did it in style, though he didn't stick around as long as you would expect.  (More on that later.)
Goat: Colby Rasmus.  0-4 with three strikeouts.
Notes: Nice of Tony La Russa to provide a little redemption for Kyle McClellan, letting him take a crack at holding the lead when Wainwright had a chance for 20, a chance that McClellan blew last year, likely costing Wainwright the Cy Young.  Good to see Allen Craig get a big home run as well, as his bat has started to heat up here at the end of the season.

Hero: Albert Pujols.  Two hits, a run, and an RBI, plus possibly the most heads-up play I've seen in a long time, throwing home on an infield grounder when he didn't have a chance to get the guy at first.  Wasn't his fault Bryan Anderson botched the ensuing pickle.
Goat: Chris Carpenter.  I know, the defense let him down somewhat.  However, he still wound up with not only the big inning that has been his doom lately, but the Cubs scored in the next two innings as well.
Notes: This one was especially tough because they got the 3-0 lead, then gave it back against an unknown Cubs pitcher.  Usually those guys shut the team down from the very beginning, so this was one that hurt.

Hero: Matt Pagnozzi.  There were a few people to choose from, but Pags went 2-4 with three RBI, which is a pretty solid day of work.
Goat: Jake Westbrook.  Staked to a 8-0 lead, he couldn't put the Cubs away for good, letting them creep back and Trever Miller almost let them finish the job.
Notes: Good work by Mitchell Boggs and Ryan Franklin to keep this one in the win column.  Franklin got a little wild in the ninth, but he did the job and that's the important thing.  The liner that Blake Hawksworth took looked bad, especially his initial reaction of flopping off the mound, but it "only" took 20 stitches.  Though it added him to the growing list of Cardinals who broke for vacation early (we'll get to that as well).

Hero: Matt Holliday.  2-3 with a big three run home run late.
Goat: Brendan Ryan.  0-4, though he was able to score a run.
Notes: A number of hitters with two hits, including Skip Schumaker, Craig and Pujols.  Pagnozzi had three hits for back to back solid days, but his track record doesn't suggest he can keep this up.  The battle between him and Anderson this week should be worth watching.  Also, Kyle Lohse had his longest outing since coming back from the surgery.  It wasn't necessarily a stellar one, but it was what you'd like to see out of a fifth starter.  He kept the team in the game, which is more than you can say about some of his other starts.

Hero: Matt Pagnozzi.  His first career home run started the Cardinal scoring.
Goat: Mike MacDougal.  You know what you are getting when you put him into a game.  It wasn't likely the Cards were going to come back and the Reds had already eliminated them, but still, MacDougal in a semi-close game?
Notes: Suppan's only two wins this year had come against the Pirates, but being that they'd seen him less than a week ago, I'm sure they were fairly well prepared.  Wasn't all his fault, of course, and if the offense had hit Brian Burres the way they did last week, he might have pulled out a win.

Today's game just ended and who knows if I'll get a chance to write tomorrow, so let's go ahead and hit that one as well.

Hero: PJ Walters.  Walters had a tremendous game.  You might want to discount it because it was against Pittsburgh, but the Pirates have some solid hitters, as has been shown the last couple of weeks.  Seven innings of scoreless ball against this team is something to be proud of.
Goat: Jon Jay.  0-3 from the leadoff slot, though he was hit by a pitch.
Notes: Mark Hamilton got his first major league hit.  Craig hit another home run and has gotten his average within shouting distance of .250, which is pretty nice compared to how he started his career in St. Louis.  Almost completely a scrub lineup today, and Colby Rasmus, the only nominal starter, played like a scrub, going 0-4 with three strikeouts.  Rasmus seems to have those multi-strikeout games more than anyone else on the team.

As always, the recap of the last week was on Baseball Digest Monday and the last one of those Week That Was columns, at least for 2010, will appear next Monday.

So, now that we are caught up (kinda--expect to see the Hero/Goat post from that week in August when I was gone sometime this weekend), let's talk about all the off-field news.

First off, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright were added to the "shut 'em down" categories since we wrote, along with Yadier Molina.  Add these guys to Felipe Lopez, who was cut loose, and it's like those last days of school when people start skipping or going on field trips, leaving only a bare-bones class behind.

If you were a conspiracy theorist or someone that believes the worst of Tony La Russa, you might find it interesting that, after the dustup over Garcia being shut down and then lobbying to stay in the rotation, Garcia never did actually pitch again.  I'm not denying that it was a bad move--I completely agree with the notion of resting Garcia, and it may have been that, if the Cards had creeped to within 3-4 games of Cincy, Garcia would have been back out there, but the fact remains that TLR's first call is what eventually happened.

I hope that it won't affect Garcia's Rookie of the Year chances, though obviously there are more important things than that.  The Cards will need another strong year out of him next year if they are to knock off the Reds at the top of the division.  Like I said last night when I hosted BBA Baseball Talk, I'd probably give my ROY vote (or, as we call it in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, the Willie Mays Award) to Garcia, but I fully admit that there's some hometown bias in that selection.

Then you come to Waino.  There were a few conflicting stories out there, as he kinda dodged an MRI question before it came to light that he'd had one before the story broke about his stiff arm.  All that being said, and I'm sure there's a discussion there about the Cardinals (any team, really) and the players and what should and should not be released to the public, it boils down to that Wainwright won't go for 21 this year.

Again, this really isn't a big thing, I don't think.  If it turns out to be more serious, Wainwright needs surgery, something of that matter, that's a different story, but from what we know now, Wainwright could pitch if he has to, so taking the winter off should bring him to spring training rested and ready.  And really, what would an extra game do?  Save for pitching a perfect game (and I don't know if that would matter either), I don't think he could do anything to get the Cy Young away from Roy Halladay.  He'll have to be content with another top-three finish and hopefully he can break through that ceiling in 2011.

Cardinals activated Adam Ottavino today, as this story suggested they would.  Ottavino will likely get one of the starts in the upcoming Colorado series, though he probably won't go more than 3-4 innings.  It'll be good to see what he's got after resting and rehabbing.  It still seems likely that he'll need surgery somewhere down the road, though.

Also, per Bernie Miklasz's tweets, John Mozeliak was on the show today and made two points that Bernie made sure to share: that he wanted a decision from TLR by November 1 and he looked to add two bats with 15-20 home run power to next year's team.

I completely understand the TLR bit and I don't think it will take that long for Tony to decide one way or another.  He's usually figured it out in mid-October, when there's been a reason to wonder, and he isn't likely to drag it into some Brett Favre zone.  The United Cardinal Bloggers will be doing their roundtable in October (more on that coming soon) and I fully expect one of those days to be preempted by TLR's decision.

Adding the bats, though, is an interesting thing.  Where is he going to find those?  Unless he moves someone like Jay or Craig, the only place to put them is in the middle infield, unless you want to cut David Freese loose and find a new third baseman.

Guys like that aren't necessarily on the free agent market, which may mean an active trading offseason.  You wonder if there are some players already targeted and if Mo has some idea of what the cost will be.  That may be another reason you see the Memphis lineup so much this week, to pump up their trade value.

Just four more days of the season.  While the offseason always does go by faster than you expect it to, when you are staring at that long stretch of the calendar without baseball, it's a tough thing.

Don't worry about gaps here on this blog, though.  The next couple of weeks could be light as work takes me out of town, but you won't get rid of me that easily.  The UCB is, as I say, going to be doing their roundtable and is working on a postseason publication for you to download and read while the dark days of winter are upon you.

Then the free agent market will open.  Then Winter Warmup will be here.  Then, with that big spectacle in February, we can start uttering the phrase "pitchers and catchers report."

Baseball is timeless.  For that, give thanks.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces New Award Names

Posted on September 27, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces New Award Names


Changes reflect appreciation for history of the game


The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) recently announced the renaming of their annual postseason awards to comply with the wishes of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), thereby avoiding confusion between the two organizations.  This allowed the BBA an opportunity to recognize some of the legendary greats of the game, naming their highest honors after them.

"Earlier in the year, the BBA reached an agreement with former Yankee reliever Goose Gossage to name our newest award, recognizing the best relief pitcher in each league, after him," said Daniel Shoptaw, founder and president of the Alliance.  "It only seemed fitting, then, that we rename the rest of our awards after other legends of the game."

The five awards are given to a player in each league: The Connie Mack Award, given to the top manager; the Willie Mays Award, for the top rookie; the Goose Gossage award, mentioned above; the Walter Johnson Award, which would be analogous to the BBWAA's Cy Young Award; and the Stan Musial Award, awarded to the most valuable player in each league.

According to Shoptaw, "These names are synonymous with quality, achievement, and dedication.  These names have not only stood the test of time, but have been strengthened by it."

The schedule for the announcement of these awards is as follows:

Connie Mack Award: October 14
Willie Mays Award: October 18
Goose Gossage Award: October 21
Walter Johnson Award: October 25
Stan Musial Award: October 28

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was founded in 2009 and numbers 222 blogs covering all major league teams and various other aspects of baseball, as well as blogs and sites that are affiliated as Friends of the BBA.  The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.

UCB September Project: Top 7 Prospects

Posted on September 24, 2010 at 12:30 AM
For the third straight year, the United Cardinal Bloggers are spending their September project making their selections for the top 7 prospects (thus the name) in the Cardinal farm system.  As per usual, you can find links to all the posts at this index post over at our official site.

The Cardinal farm system has become more bountiful in recent years, with all but one farm team making the playoffs or winning their championship this season.  While that's not necessarily the best way to judge a system, it's surely better than having all teams in last place.  With that success, more names are up for consideration for this list, so it should be interesting to see how much the lists agree and disagree.

That said, I'm pretty sure that #1 will be the same across the spectrum.  But before we get to the list, let's take a look at what last year's list did this season.

1) Shelby Miller.  More on him in a bit.  Eligible in 2010.
2) Jaime Garcia.  In a heated race for NL Rookie of the Year.  Not eligible in 2010.
3) Wagner Mateo.  Eye problems voided his contract, finally signed with AZ.  Not eligible in 2010.
4) Daryl Jones.  Regressed somewhat.  Eligible in 2010.
5) Allen Craig.  Rode the Memphis/St. Louis shuttle quite a bit.  Not eligible in 2010.
6) Eduardo Sanchez.  Split time between Springfield and Memphis.  Eligible in 2010.
7) Robert Stock.  Struggled in A ball. Eligible in 2010.

So now, onto the 2010 list:
  Continue Reading

An Excellent Cardinal Adventure: Part IV

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 10:27 PM
For previous sections of this story, click here for Part I, here for Part II, and here for Part III.

After parting from Dan in the Fox booth, we realized that it was closing in on 6:30, which meant the majority of the Cardinals' Social Media Night was over.

Last October, we (and when I say we, it actually was Nick and Mike then as well) had team president Bill DeWitt III on a special edition of the UCB Radio Hour.  Having seen what other teams had done with their bloggers, I made it a point to ask him whether there would be some sort of "bloggers' night" in the future.  He said to send along some info to the club and they'd see what they can do.

Numerous e-mails back and forth with various people in the organization later, still nothing was finalized to my knowledge.  So when this date was finalized with FSMW, I dropped a note to my Cardinal contacts, letting them know I'd be in town if they wanted to discuss things in person.

Turns out, there had been some planning behind the scenes and a Social Media Night was planned for the exact same day that we were going to be there.  It wasn't targeted just to bloggers, but to anyone that followed the Cardinals on Facebook and Twitter.  (Really, to anyone who wanted to buy the tickets, actually.)  I've written on this before, so I don't want to elaborate, just set the stage.

Anyway, not only were there some interesting speakers that we wanted to hear, but a good number of the members of the United Cardinal Bloggers were supposed to be there as well.  As most of us had never met, there was a lot of anticipation for a first-ever "chapter meeting" of the UCB.

  Continue Reading

What's Left To Say?

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 8:16 AM
To some degree, it's almost humorous to hear Skip Schumaker and Tony La Russa spend time trying to figure out the "right word" to describe this team in the game story today.  We bloggers have been doing that for quite some time.

Another aggravating, frustrating, confounding, and yet totally expected loss to Charlie Morton, he of the 1-11 record and high-eight ERA, and the Pirates.  Colby Rasmus had two hits, scored two runs, drove one in.  Daniel Descalso got his first hit and two RBI.  We got to see both Matt Pagnozzi and Bryan Anderson.

And, yet, it was just another mark-it-off-the-calendar game.  Kyle Lohse, who sadly had the most wins by a starter this month, was beat around.  PJ Walters, who continues to look more and more like a AAAA guy, was smashed as well.  Folks, as I said last night on the show, when Mike MacDougal is the best pitcher of the night, you have issues.

The season is to the point where you just hope Albert Pujols's batting average doesn't slide under .300 and that they rest Yadier Molina, since he went back to St. Louis for an examination.  Yadi will be back with the team Friday, which I was a little surprised at.  Perhaps he enjoys playing in Wrigley, but I thought they might just keep him home until the team got back.

Afternoon game today, so you can watch the season premiere of The Office tonight without any hesitation.  Jeff Suppan vs. Brian Burres.  Suppan pitched well last time out, but is still Jeff Suppan.  Burres is a left-handed pitcher with an ERA about 5 that the Cardinals have not seen.  I think we've seen this script before.

I'll try to get the last part of last week's St. Louis trip up this evening and tomorrow, we'll have the September project from the UCB, the Cardinals' Top 7 minor league prospects.  At least it'll be something different!

Expectations Met

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 8:29 AM
Well, it was a road game against a cellar-dweller.  Was there really any doubt how last night's game was going to turn out?

Just for kicks, here's something interesting.  The last time the Cardinals won on Tuesday, they had a brawl during the game, as it was that sweep in Cincy that had everyone fired up.  That was six weeks ago.  Sadly, that doesn't bode well for this evening, either, as that series was the last time they won on a Wednesday.  Then again, when you are 13-24 in that stretch, it's not too surprising that it's hard to find a day that you have been successful.

Albert Pujols had a nice night, with two hits and two RBI, while Jake Westbrook did a 180 from his game last Thursday, allowing three runs in the first and five runs in the four innings he pitched.  It really makes it tough for the fans to sit through a game when a team like Pittsburgh scores three in the first--and you are pretty sure those three are going to hold up.

What else can you say about them?  Tony La Russa is right, they at least had some chances last night, unlike on Monday when it was like they didn't bother to show up.  However, that's been the story most of the year.  They have chances, but they don't capitalize.  They get shut down by pitchers that get blown up by the rest of the league.  

At least some of the youngsters are getting to play.  You had Tyler Greene and Allen Craig in the first two slots of the lineup and Joe Mather got into the game as well.  'Course, you had Craig go out on a double switch and eventually Aaron Miles inserted into the game, but it's a step.

What was more newsworthy than the game, though, was the fact that Felipe Lopez was unconditionally released yesterday afternoon.  The given cause was that his tardiness to the Florida game yesterday was "the straw that broke the camel's back" according to Matthew Leach on Twitter.  I can see that you have to do something if a player is repeatedly not listening to authority, but I'm a little surprised that they flat-out released him.  

For one thing, it could be a reward for him if someone like Atlanta or San Francisco picked him up for the next two weeks, trying to push to the playoffs.  I doubt that anyone will do that, but it's a possibility.  Secondly, you'd think they'd have done something more subtle, like tell him he could go home or not play him at all, subtly showing the younger players that you don't do things right, you sit.  (Then again, for some of the younger players, they may feel like even if they do things right, they sit, but that's a whole other story.)

It's also telling that they made this move, apparently with La Russa's agreement, even though he was Lopez's "biggest advocate".  That could mean TLR doesn't care, that he's not going to be back next year, but I don't think that's the case.  I don't think TLR cares as much about sending a message if he wasn't returning.  

What it may mean is that TLR is willing to be a little more flexible with the front office, not necessarily pushing for the veterans.  He's seen how it worked this year and, for the most part, those guys (Miles, Randy Winn, Jeff Suppan) haven't been difference makers.  Will he take that info and factor into his calculus next year, perhaps letting a player like Craig stay instead of reaching into the Proven Veteran bin?  We'll have to see.

Cards play Pittsburgh again tonight, of course.  You know, Pittsburgh has four wins in 10 tries against the Cards.  Without them, their winning percentage would be .343 instead of .347.  Yeah, I know, not a big deal.  Kyle Lohse, who has pitched somewhat better but you still figure Pittsburgh can get him for three or four, goes up against Charlie Morton.  Morton is a righthanded pitcher with an 8+ ERA that the Cards haven't seen this year.  You can imagine what the results will be this evening.  Then again, Pittsburgh's won four in a row, so stretching it to be five might be, well, a stretch.

Things for you to check out today.  Nick over at Pitchers Hit Eighth has his first post up about our Fox Sports Midwest trip, so head over there to read his thoughts on the TV truck.  Also, over at i70baseball, you'll find Bill's comments about Social Media Night, including the first group picture of the UCB.  You might want to, but you'll never be able to unsee it, especially with the big ugly thing right in the middle.  And for you fans of the now-defunct Fire Joe Morgan, the brains behind it will be running Deadspin today, so keep an eye over there.

Finally, it's Wednesday, which means UCB Radio Hour.  Tune in tonight or drop by our chat room as Justin from Intangiball and I talk about Lopez and the team in general, and Matt Sebek will stop by and we'll deconstruct Social Media Night.  Should be a great one, so hope to see you at 9:30 this evening!

Cardinals Confound Constantly

Posted on September 21, 2010 at 8:59 AM
I know that I still owe you Part IV of the Cardinal Adventure from last week and that will come, but we have to get back to some of our regular programming for now.  Take your Dramamine, because it's again a roller coaster of a ride.

Hero: Colby Rasmus.  2-4 with a run and an RBI.
Goat: Chris Carpenter.  Five runs in six and a third.
Notes: Just a miserable game.  The Cards load the bases in the second with nobody out, but can't score.  You knew that after that things were going to go downhill.  Carlos Zambrano has pitched so well since the All-Star Break that you can't let him get off the hook.  Even with that, though, the Cards had a 2-1 lead in the seventh before everything just fell apart.

Hero: Jake Westbrook.  He finally figured that, to get a win, he had to have a scoreless outing.  Eight innings, no runs should win for you most of the time, though it's not a guarantee with this team.
Goat: Colby Rasmus.  Not only did he go 0-4 with two strikeouts, he also had a double play and both of those strikeouts came with the bases loaded.
Notes: This was the game I attended and it was great to see them get a win and shoot off the fireworks afterwards.  Matt Holliday had a good game, Albert Pujols got a hit, and it was an all-around good night at the ballpark.

Hero: Yadier Molina.  4-4 with 5 RBI is a heck of a good night.
Goat: Ryan Franklin.  Pretty tough to find any goats in this one.  It's weak, but Franklin did give up a home run in his only inning of work.
Notes: Not only did just about everyone tear the cover off the ball against one of the top pitchers in the National League, but Kyle Lohse turned in a tolerable performance.  He's now won back to back starts, with a 4.36 ERA in that span.  It's not anything to write home about, especially with his contract, but it does inspire hope that he can be a serviceable four or five next season.

Hero: Jeff Suppan.  For a guy that was a fill-in for Jaime Garcia (and I'll try to touch on that issue in a bit), he did a fabulous job.  One run in five innings is about all you can expect out of him, and apparently it has won him another start against Pittsburgh this week.
Goat: Fernando Salas.  Sure, Kyle McClellan blew the game, but Mac did get a good inning in before letting old pal Ryan Ludwick (and then Matt Stairs) go deep to put the game out of reach.  Salas, though, was bailed out of his miserable outing and, without those three runs he allowed, maybe the game goes a little differently.
Notes: Kinda rare to see more walks than hits, especially when it's not a low-hit game.  Cards walked 8 times in this one to go along with 7 hits, but couldn't get enough runs in to put the Padres away.

Hero: Adam Wainwright.  Carried a no-hitter into the sixth and allowed only one run in eight.  That's the Waino we know and love.
Goat: Skip Schumaker.  0-4 in the leadoff slot.
Notes: Rasmus had another nice game, with two hits including his 23rd home run.

Hero: Matt Holliday.  A couple of hits, which is more than most of the team managed.
Goat: Chris Carpenter.  A mistake pitch turned into the only runs of the game.
Notes: I'm guessing no one really wanted to play this game.  One scoring inning and an 1:52 game?  Too bad they couldn't have just cancelled this game when it was apparent it wasn't going to make any difference in the playoff races.

So, in the last week, the Cardinals have lost two games to teams under .500 and won three of four against a team contending for a division crown.  That is the most frustrating part about this team.  It's not that they get beat by good pitchers and good teams.  Then, you chalk it up to not being good enough.  But they play around .600 ball against teams that are good and .400 against teams that aren't.  Even .500 against those weak teams gets them to a significant last couple of weeks instead of playing out the string.

Which, again, means that there could be a frustrating week coming up.  The Cards have been bad away from St. Louis and bad against bad teams.  Going to Pittsburgh and Chicago for their last road trip of the year just doesn't seem to bode all that well, does it?

It's a little late, due to the trip and all, but I wanted to weigh in on last Wednesday's Garcia issue.  The fact that half of Cardinal Nation knew that Garcia was being shut down before the pitcher himself knew seems to be a completely avoidable breach.  I know that Tony La Russa has taken responsibility for that, but it seems on the face of it that it'd be pretty easy to have that talk with Garcia before the press than the other way around.

Garcia's being pushed off again, so I'm guessing he'll get one more start at home and that'll be it.  I have no problem with that or with him being shut down, but I think there's some communication issues in the clubhouse and that's just one more example of it.

It's interesting to note that it looks like someone new will lead the team in batting average this season.  Remember when Pujols was just a point away from leading all the Triple Crown categories?  Now he won't even win the Triple Crown on his own team.  I'm sure two September slumps (likely both caused by injuries, but still) will factor into the negotiations in this offseason.

As noted, Cards in Pittsburgh tonight.  AP tends to like the place, but he was curtailed there last time around.  Westbrook takes on Paul Maholm, who limited St. Louis to two runs in six and two thirds the last time they were in PNC Park.  Might be another low scoring affair this evening!

An Excellent Cardinal Adventure: Part III

Posted on September 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM
For the previous sections of this story, click here for Part I and here for Part II.

After we had said our goodbyes to Jim and Pat, we followed Geoff (and, actually, the two of them as well) out the door of the media dining room.  The plan was to have the three of us go up to the Fox Sports Midwest booth to talk to on-air guys Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky.  Then, unlike the pitch he was most known for in his days as a Cardinal, the Mad Hungarian threw us a curve.

As we walked out of the media room, Hrabosky was standing in the outside corridor.  He caught Jim Hayes as he and Pat went by and talked for a minute, introducing the person he was with as Al Nipper, the former Red Sox pitcher.  Then he caught sight of Geoff and us.

Now, when we were in the truck discussing the relationships between the truck and the talent, as it were, Tom Mee told us something about Al.  He said when we met him, "he'll probably be all tough for like two minutes, then he'll be a big softy."

"What do we have here?" Al roared when he saw us.  "Bloggers?"
  Continue Reading

An Excellent Cardinal Adventure: Part II

Posted on September 18, 2010 at 11:37 AM
Something that I left out of Part I that I remembered last night as I settled in to read some of Tom Mee's book before bed was that, after we left the truck and were talking to Geoff and Kevin, Kevin pointed out that Tom had actually played baseball professionally in the minor leagues.  That kind of experience really helps in knowing what's going on in the game, what the fan wants to see, what to look for, etc.  As I say, there are other things, some that I've forgotten, some I want to leave for Nick and Mike since they were in response to questions they asked.

After leaving the truck and talking for a bit outside, we followed Geoff and Kevin back in to the stadium and headed for the media's dining room to talk to Pat Parris and Jim Hayes before they went to do the pre-game show.  I didn't know there was such a room in the stadium, but it turned out it was a familiar sight.

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For those of you in the FSMW viewing area, you probably recognize this as where Tony La Russa does his post-game press conferences.  Geoff said that the post-game presser actually came about when Edward Jones wanted to sponsor a segment.  FSMW cut a deal with the Cardinals where they'd have this permanent background made up if the Cardinals would provide TLR on a regular basis.  It gave a sponsor of the Cardinals good exposure while giving the TV guys access to La Russa.  In the old stadium, they rolled the background into the hallway, but when they moved into Busch III they made it a more permanent feature, leaving it up in the media dining room.

Most of the dining room was made up of small tables and chairs around the area.  The back wall had a buffet of food laid out with a variety of options.  Jim and Pat were both having chicken and green beans, but it looks as if there was a lunchmeat and cheese tray out as well as a couple of things on burners.  During our interview, I saw at least one of the chefs (judging by the traditional big white hat) come out and check on things as well.  Both of the guys indicated that, to be tactful, there were better places around the league to eat, but visually it looked appealing.

Instead of asking us to come back or using their meal as an excuse, they asked if they could keep eating while they talked to us and then proceeded to give us some great insight into what they do and how they do it. 

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2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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