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November 2011

Keeping You Informed: Hot Stove League

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM
If you are in the St. Louis area or your affiliate along the Cardinal Radio Network carries it, it's time again for the Hot Stove League Show.  Notably, they do this on Mondays so they don't conflict with the powerhouse that is the UCB Radio Hour.  (Apparently they scheduled this while I70 Baseball Radio was on hiatus--hope that doesn't come back to bite them.)

THE CARDINALS HOT STOVE LEAGUE SHOW PRESENTED BY U.S. CELLULAR DEBUTS 
In Depth Coverage of Offseason Moves and Other Team News 

ST. LOUIS (November 30, 2011)- Gather around the Hot Stove this winter as the "Cardinals Hot Stove League Show presented by U.S. Cellular," keeps you up-to-date on all the latest free agent signings, trades, and personnel moves made during the off-season. 

Hosted by Kevin Wheeler and Mike Claiborne, the "Cardinals Hot Stove League Show presented by U.S. Cellular" will air on 1120 KMOX and select Cardinals Radio Network affiliates from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Central Time) every Monday night beginning on December 5th and running through March 26th. 

The focus of the show will be on Cardinals baseball, with an additional emphasis on Major League Baseball as a whole. Topics will also include the Cardinals minor league system, as well as business and community issues. 

Guests will include Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, general manager John Mozeliak, broadcasters Mike Shannon and John Rooney, front office officials, and current and former Cardinals players.

Keeping In Practice

Posted on November 29, 2011 at 7:10 AM
They say that you should write often if you want to stay in the habit, even when there's nothing to write about.  Right now (no pun intended), that seems to fit the news coming out of St. Louis.

Before I get into the limited Cardinal news, I do want to say a couple of things about the recent CBA that baseball got into.  The agreement and its related issues have been broken down many places and much better than I would be able to do, so I'm not going to get into everything.  Basically, I just wanted to voice my displeasure at the whole idea of Houston moving to the American League and the daily incursion of interleague play into our lives, plus the whole idea of a second wildcard team.  

Bud Selig has been gradually chipping away at the foundation of the game, the idea that there are two leagues, ever since he came into office.  So far, he's not made the connection between his disdain for history and the fact that he is one of the least-liked commissioners ever.  His first move was to make umpires circle through both leagues during the season, rather than just one.  This was a move I could support--any time you have umpires seeing teams less, you reduce the possibilities for personal conflicts influencing the game.  In the past, it got so bad between Earl Weaver and Ron Luciano that they stopped assigning Luciano to Oriole games.  That's not a good thing to have to deal with, plus it helped standardize strike zones to have umps in both leagues.  So I'll give him that one.

He couldn't be happy with just that, though, so he eliminated the positions of American League and National League Presidents.  Granted, they were somewhat ceremonial, but they were able to be the first line on punishments and issues in their league.  They were in the way of Bud's one-league vision, though, and they had to go.

Now we have gotten to the point where every day is a mix of the two leagues, so that the lines blur even more.  A traditional NL team has to swap leagues (instead of Bud's Brewers, who just were an AL team about a decade and a half ago, returning) and there was even talk about getting rid of divisions, though it didn't happen yet.  The only thing saving us from one big pot is the NL's refusal to use the designated hitter, and even that may be doomed as well.

And the ironic thing?  Bud keeps saying how much he wants the All-Star Game to matter, how he wants players to buy into this league pride thing.  Why should they?  He has constantly attacked the leagues as a separate entity.  Give the leagues some sort of delineation, some sort of character, some sort of meaning and maybe the players would care again, at least more than they do now.

Then we get the wild card bit.  I've not been a fan of the wild card ever since it came into being.  If you want four teams per league into the playoffs, make four divisions.  Adds another pennant race (which is apparently what they want, though they keep acting against it) and it means that you actually have to win something to get in.  I know the Cards got in this year that way, but that doesn't mean I have to approve of it, just that they took advantage of the system in place.

So that was bad enough, but to add another one?  Really?  I mean, you want to have the possibility of a third-place team making it into October and then running the table?  We've seen in the past few years how a hot team can shake up everything.  I know that the idea is that the two wild cards face each other for a one-game playoff, forcing them to go all out to stay alive.  But what if it's a team like the Cards, who are really a talented team, but struggled through part of the year before getting hot.  A one-game playoff isn't necessarily going to be an issue for them.

It's flat out ridiculous is what it is.  I mean, the whole drama of this year's last night would have been destroyed long ago, because both the Cards and Braves (and the Red Sox and Rays) would have known with a week or so left that they were going.  The whole epic story of the Cards storming back to take the wild card would have been minimized because even at the beginning of their run, they'd have been in the lead for the second wild card.  September would have been more about winning enough to hold of San Francisco and that's it.

It used to be that the MLB season meant something.  You had to win your division and only four of the 28 teams made it to October, so if you were in the postseason, you had a good year.  Now, 10 of the 30 teams will be able to say they were a playoff team.  When a third of your league is in the postseason, it's hardly exclusive.  Plus, with this and some of the changes on compensation picks, the trading deadline will be basically dead.  What team will be giving up on their season in July?  With that many slots, probably 20 teams (if not more) will be where they can legitimately think that they are going to make it to October.

OK, I didn't really mean to ramble on that long about the CBA, but there really isn't much happening in Cardinal Nation.  It looks like Dan McLaughlin may get to keep his Fox Sports Midwest job, which is good.  I didn't think that'd be the case when it first happened and I'm still not sure how awkward it is going to be for the viewers (though I can imagine that he'll have a moment to talk directly to them in the first broadcast) but I really liked Dan when I met him and this hopefully will help him keep his life in order.

The Cards got their World Series bonus checks, or at least found out how much they are going to be.  I'd take $323,000 as my yearly salary, much less a nice little bonus at the end of the year.  (Can you imagine what the players like Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay, those around the MLB minimum of $414,000 are thinking?  That's like a bonus year to them!)  The players that weren't there at the end of the year got partial shares, which helps alleviate the fact that the team won without them, I expect.

Other than that, it's pretty quiet.  Albert Pujols is on vacation in Hawaii and there's a rumor that he will re-sign with the Cards when he returns.  Then again, there was a rumor he'd sign before he left, so take that for what it is worth.  It seems pretty obvious, though, that the market isn't huge for AP.  Some execs say it's a 100% likelihood that he returns to St. Louis and being that the Cards aren't currently raising their offer to him, they probably feel like it's a pretty good chance as well.  The Cubs look to be entering the fray, due to the changes in the CBA (told you it wasn't a good thing!) but I think they'd have to overwhelm Albert for him to risk that kind of backlash.

Things will likely be sparse around here for a while.  I don't expect to have any more Conversations With C70 until after Christmas, at least, since I have numerous real-life things to do in December.  The UCB is still working on their postseason publication, so I'll be sure to let you know when we get it finished.  Hopefully I'll be back talking about Albert's new contract soon and you'll hear me this Sunday on Gateway to Baseball Heaven and in two weeks on the UCB Radio Hour.  So you won't have to go cold turkey, as much as you might want to!

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Book Review: The Year of the Cardinals

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM
As the World Series gets a little further in our rear-view mirrors, more and more media related to it continues to surface and, luckily, they keep sending me free copies of the stuff and asking me to review it.  I'm always happy to oblige!

This time, it's the official World Series book, The Year of the St. Louis Cardinals.  In style, it is similar to the Wild Cards book from Rob Rains that I reviewed earlier in the month.  There are numerous pictures, a recap of the season, detailed looks at all the postseason games.

However, you can tell that the power of MLB is behind this book.  For one thing, it was put together much better.  There weren't many typos at all--perhaps just one or two--and the pictures  were superb.  There was also more detail on the games in this book, even though they still only took up a couple of pages each.

This is a high-quality keepsake of a high-quality season.  You'll find the season stats of all the players in here, along with a player-by-player recap at the back of the book.  There's also a neat month-by-month look at the season, both with what was happening with the team and what was going on in MLB at that time as well.

If you need some more Series stuff around your house, this would be a worthy addition.  And, if you go over to MLB.com today (Cyber Monday), it's buy-one-get-one-half-off day.  So buy this and pick up something else and save you some money!

Remember, there are just a couple of days left in the World Series Film DVD giveaway.  If you were watching ESPN last night, you got to see just exactly the quality production it is.  So get your entry in and maybe you can have that under your tree this year!

World Series Film Review (And Your Chance To Win!)

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM
(Today's main post is below this one, if you've not had a chance to read it today.)

If you've read this blog for a while, you may remember that back in September I had a giveaway of a DVD of the Ozzie Smith "Go Crazy" game.  I got to know the A&E representative through our back and forth and as soon as the Cards won the World Series, I made sure to get back in touch in case there were more giveaways to be had.

That's where this post comes in.

A number of blogs around the Cardinal blogosphere are giving away a copy of the World Series film, which had its world premiere in St. Louis last night.  This blog is no exception, but before we get how you can win, let's talk about the set itself.  I've posted the press release, so you know in general what you are getting.  However, I was able to sit down last night and actually watch the film and a few of the bonus features.  

MLB has done a great job on this film.  Jon Hamm's voiceover is wonderfully appropriate to the moment, the music highlights what you are seeing, and the action on the field is memorable and exciting.  It's fun to see the interviews (though a little disconcerting to see the players staring right at you while they are talking), hearing what they were thinking during some of these crucial times.  (That said, I think David Freese says the same thing almost every time, about just being able to get some hits and getting a good pitch to hit.  I think he is more natural when he was talking about the ball that bounced off his head in Game 6!)

There's a great recap of the season, starting with Adam Wainwright's injury, covering the trades and then, of course, the amazing stretch run capped off by Chris Carpenter's outing in Houston.

After that, most every postseason game (and definitely every World Series game) gets its own time in the spotlight.  It was very interesting to see opponents doing interviews as well, such as Ian Kinsler and Ron Washington.  That was really gracious of them to help enhance the whole experience.

The ending of the film, with the parade and then the focus on Tony La Russa's retirement, gives you chills and might even bring a tear to your eye.

I watched the Tony La Russa and Lance Berkman special features, taken from Prime 9 off of the MLB Network and This Week in Baseball respectively.  While there wasn't a lot of new information, it still was neat to watch and see what the MLB shows had to say.

The second disc of this set is the classic NLDS Game 5 with Chris Carpenter going up against Roy Halladay.  I've not had time to watch that, but I bet it is just as nerve-wracking when you know the outcome.  (Honestly, I was watching the DVD last night and still wondering how the Cards rallied in Game 6.  I kept saying to myself, "This just doesn't happen!")

If you can't wait, or if you want to make sure that someone else on your Christmas list has one of these under their tree, you can find it right over here.  It really is an incredible set and at a price that won't kill you when you are looking for something for a rabid Cardinal fan.

However, if you want to take your shot at getting a free one, I have five sets to give away.  Here's what you have to do.

E-mail me what you are going to remember most from 2011.  It might be Game 6, it might be a night when you and a friend were at the game.  It can be personal, it can be big.  Whichever it may be, email me (cardinal70 AT gmail DOT com) with the title "Film DVD Giveaway" and my crack staff (which will likely include my wife, my seven-year-old son and my 4 1/2-year-old daughter) will pick the ones we like the best.  Which means details matter, the more the better!

Send me your emails between now and December 1.  Please include your mailing address to save me a step if you win.  Good luck!  (And if you don't win this one, don't worry--a different giveaway will be coming in December!)

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Various Cardinal Items

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 10:49 AM
Of course, it's a slow news cycle, as people start to get ready for the holidays.  However, that doesn't mean that the papers/internet are completely barren.

One of the more distressing topics came to light yesterday.  Deadspin published a very unflattering profile on Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols's agent.  Be warned--it's not a family friendly piece, with some inappropriate (and definitely NSFW) pictures involved.  The most relevant claim in my mind (because, honestly, we aren't surprised at sleazy agents anymore) is that Lozano has been pretending to be a person of faith when he's just trying to stay close to Pujols.

Earlier this year, I made the comments that I thought Lozano would make a good deal for Pujols because they were close.  Albert had Lozano on the advisory board of the Pujols Family Foundation, for instance.  I didn't think he'd do that unless he had a close and personal relationship with the man.  I thought they would be able to work together to get Albert what and where he wanted without perhaps having to score the biggest payday.  If this story is right, I was way off target.

So that leaves us really two options.  One, Albert had no idea about these allegations and has been duped by Lozano's behavior.  Or two, Albert knows and doesn't care.

There is some of the latter in the USA Today story from earlier this year.  Albert is quoted in that as saying that he's heard rumors from other agents but he's dismissed them, saying that Danny's "been an open book".  Perhaps that's true.  Perhaps these allegations are just a smear tactic by some of the other agents that would like to get Albert into their stable.

However, rumors are one things.  To take a twist on an old Dizzy Dean quote, it ain't lying if you can back it up.  The Deadspin article, in my mind, does a great job of outlining and verifying some pretty repugnant behavior, even if you assume the pictures are photoshopped or otherwise manipulated.

I really think Albert is going to have to address this in one form or another.  The Pujols Family Foundation motto is "Faith. Family. Others."  If these charges are accurate, Lozano's done a good job of violating all three.  Perhaps they can find some evidence that vindicates Lozano.  Maybe they can show that he's changed his life.  However, just letting this sit out there is probably not a great idea.

I'm not saying that Albert has to jettison Lozano, especially this far into his free agency.  It could be time-consuming to find another agent, get him up to speed, and have him start negotiating.  That said, I think he needs to take a hard look at this relationship and realize how much it can affect his Christian witness to be represented by someone that has this kind of dirty laundry out there.

On to more pleasant things......

Baseball America has put out their top 10 Cardinal prospects, which you can find over here.  A lot of it looks like the Top 7 the United Cardinal Bloggers put out earlier in the year.   Not surprising to see Shelby Miller at the top of the list--but will he be eligible to top it next year?  We'll have to wait and see.

Apparently ticket prices have gone up, at least on some seats.  It's not necessarily a preemptive move on the Pujols front, but I'm sure the extra revenue won't hurt.  Plus, when you are coming off a year like that, you have to figure prices are going to increase as demand will likely do the same.  I imagine the five-game packs that have the David Freese bobblehead game, the ring replica game, and a WS flag game in them will be very popular.

The Cards also have to offer arbitration to their free agents today.  Obviously they will on Pujols and I figure they will on Edwin Jackson, Rafael Furcal and Octavio Dotel.  Not sure what their thinking might be on Arthur Rhodes.  Having him back wouldn't be a bad thing, but Mike Matheny might not obsess about having two lefties in the pen.

Finally, I want to bring your attention to something the St. Louis Men's Group Against Cancer is doing.  They are holding an online raffle as a fundraiser, which is pretty neat in and of itself. But take a look at the prizes!

A Rams road trip, including seats on the team jet.  A brand new Cadillac.  A trip to New York to see the "Spiderman" musical.  An iPad2.  All of those are great things and worth putting your money down to try to win.

However, this press release probably doesn't come to me if there wasn't a Cardinal tie, and surely there is.  For $1 a ticket, you enter to win the best prize of all, a trip to spring training.  You'll stay at the team hotel.  You'll get tickets to two games while you are there.  C'mon, how much fun is that?

So head over to rafflestl.com to see all the prizes (but if you want a direct link to the Cardinal package, click here).  It supports an organization that's been around for 40 years, helping out St. Louis related cancer charities.  It's the season of giving, so consider giving a little bit and, who knows, maybe you'll get something as well!

I have a couple of more posts planned, including a wonderful giveaway for some of my loyal readers.  Normally, I'd make a joke here about "all two of them" or whatever, but after bringing home hardware from the Cardinal Blogger Awards, I can't say enough about those that read this site.  To win best individual Cardinal blog and best post means a lot to me and I appreciate all those that voted for me in those categories.

Be safe if you are traveling today!
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Happy Birthday To The Man

Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:07 AM
It should be a civic holiday in St. Louis--91 years ago today, in a little town in Pennsylvania, greatness was born.

When the Baseball Bloggers Alliance determined that we wanted to name our awards after legendary players, I knew that somehow I was getting Stan Musial's name in that list.  I was able to get our MVP award named the Stan Musial Award and no one has ever had much of a problem with it.  The only thing I've ever heard is that, if pitchers are eligible (as they are), it should be named after Babe Ruth.  To which I always rejoin, "Remember, Musial started out as a pitcher."

Name a characteristic of a great player and you find it with Stan.  Amazing stats?  Check.  If Albert Pujols doesn't stay with the Cardinals, chances are on Stan's 141st birthday he'll still be leading the club in most categories.  His numbers stack up well with any Hall of Famer you can bring up.

Historic moments?  Surely.  His All-Star home run in 1955 won the best All-Star moment bracket held this past season.  He was a three-time MVP.  He even got a statue with the commissioner calling him a "perfect knight".  That's gotta rank up there as moments that not just everyone has.

Consistency?  Is there a better stat in baseball than Musial's 1815 home hits being paired with 1815 road hits?  Add in the fact that Musial didn't hit under .310 for a season until 1959, his seventeenth full season and there's no doubt he was regularly a top-notch player.  Bob Costas may have said it best when he opined "All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being."

Versatility?  Besides the fact that he did start his minor league career as a pitcher before an arm injury kept him from the mound, Musial also spent one year as the general manager of the Cardinals.  In that one year, the team won the World Series.

Class?  The reason Musial's legacy probably reverberates so much because of that "complete decency," his outstanding class and humility.  He was never ejected from a game.  He stopped smoking in public because of the young kids that would look up to him.  He would keep stacks of photos with him to give out and stay for hours signing autographs.  From all reports, he'd make you feel like the All-Star instead of looking for attention from himself.

There are a ton of stories about Musial's class and humanity.  One I like was hearing about Tony La Russa sitting in his office with Stan, then picking up the phone to call his father.  TLR would tell his dad, "Hey, guess who I'm sitting across from?" and Musial would take the phone and exclaim, "Whatta ya say!  Whatta ya say!"  The thrill it gave Tony to be able to do that and for his father to get that kind of call was probably on par with Musial's genuine thrill to make someone else happy.

Stan is now 91 years old.  Alzheimer's is his current opponent.  However, there's no doubt that anytime Stan comes out for an event, be it his receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom or being on the field for the World Series, the place lights up and everyone can go about their day with more of a spring in their step.  Hopefully there will be many more occasions where Stan Musial can know just how much he means to the red-clad fans of Cardinal Nation.

Happy birthday, Stan!
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Keeping You Informed: Freese Warning

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 6:18 PM
Give me a break, I'm like the only person that hasn't used that title yet.  I'd hate to miss out on the fun.  Anyway, David Freese (and a few other luminaries) are confirmed for the screening of the World Series DVD film on Tuesday in St. Louis.  If you've not bought your tickets, this might encourage you to do so.
---------------------------------------

World Series MVP David Freese will be in attendance next Tuesday Nov. 22 at the Peabody Opera House for the Official 2011 World Series Film Premiere presented by Budweiser.  Also confirmed to attend are Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals, and Cardinals broadcasters Mike ClaiborneRick HortonJohn Rooney and Mike Shannon

 

Tickets for Tuesday's premiere, which begins at 8:00pm, start at $15 and are still available at WorldSeries.comVIPs will be available for interviews on the red carpet beginning at 7:00pm.

 

Narrated by Jon Hamm, the Official 2011 World Series Film by MLB Productions documents the epic run by the Cardinals to their 11th World Series championship, featuring behind-the-scenes access, never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews.

 

In addition to the trailer released earlier this week, here is a new clip from the film, showcasing Freese's historic walk-off home run that won Game 6 of the World Series.

 

Prior to the premiere on Tuesday, Freese will also be making an appearance at the FYE store at 3801 Hampton St. from 5:00-6:30pm, where fans who purchase the Official 2011 World Series Film on DVD will have an opportunity to meet Freese and get an autograph on the DVD. 

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News Both Actual And Rumor

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 6:53 AM
There were a couple of big pieces of Cardinal news yesterday.  One of them came with a press conference, one of them was passed around Twitter.  Odds are the latter wasn't actually news, but it is what counts for it when the stove has been turned on and there's not much other baseball to talk about.

Let's go with the concrete first, though.  The Cards named their coaching staff and it was pretty much what I expected.  Joe Pettini and Dave McKay get different jobs in the organization, Chris Maloney moves up from Memphis to take over first base, and Mike Aldrete goes from assistant hitting coach to bench coach.  No external hires, which means there's more of a focus on the organization and the philosophies behind it.

Obviously, John Mozeliak is shaping this team the way he wants it to be.  Not that he had any problems with Tony La Russa or anything, don't get me wrong.  However, an organizational shift and a chance to remold things don't come around very often.  If Mike Matheny struggles as a manager, Mo may find things a little warm for him as well.  It's been the perfect situation for him to take advantage of some goodwill and some opportunities.  We'll see how well he does when the team takes the field next season.

The other part of Cardinal buzz yesterday had to do with the free agency of the first baseman.  Yesterday morning, it was reported that the Marlins had offered Albert Pujols a nine-year, $225 million contract.  That would be something to get Cardinal fans at least a little concerned about, as the club has said publicly that it doesn't plan on moving off of their nine-year, $200 million or so offer.  Add in the fact that Florida doesn't have any sales tax and suddenly we are talking about a significant difference.

Except that we weren't.  Reading the original post, it stated that the Marlins had offered nine years and IF they had offered a competitive annual salary, that MIGHT have gotten it up to $225 million.  Later in the day, other reports came in that said, sure, nine years but the money was less than $200 million, and not just barely under $200 either.

As many people have said, it's going to take a significant offer to get AP out of St. Louis.  This won't be like Edgar Renteria, who took an extra million per year to flee town and head to Boston (and we know how THAT worked out for him).  I like the quote I read somewhere that said "his feet are concreted there".  You can move something that is in concrete, but it takes a lot of work and effort.  I think that's what it is going to take here as well.  Of course, you already know that.

The flip side of the situation came later, when a St. Louis radio guy unequivocally stated that Pujols was going to sign with the Cardinals on Friday.  That sounds about as improbable as the Marlins' offer.  I am not familiar with the person in question, but from all accounts even though he was right about La Russa's retirement, it was a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut.  It happens, but you don't start basing your life around it.  Mozeliak came out and completely refuted it and, as always, In Mo We Trust.  If the Cards were close enough to consider when Pujols was going to sign, they'd get it done ASAP.  They wouldn't wait until Friday for a signing ceremony.

Stranger things have happened, of course, but if Pujols signs anywhere before December 15, I'd be pretty shocked.  This isn't going to be a quick resolution, though I think I'd be surprised if it drug on into January like the Matt Holliday signing.

There was some general baseball news that indirectly affected the Cardinals yesterday as well.  It seems that a condition for Jim Crane's purchase of the Houston Astros is going to be that he allow them to be moved into the American League for 2013.  This is a horrible move in general, for all the reasons that Derrick Goold laid out.  Having interleague play every night is a terrible idea (granted, I could take out "every night" of that phrase and it would still be accurate) and if it moves the game toward a DH in both leagues, it is even more destructive.  If that happens, why not just throw all 30 teams in a league and the top eight get to go to the playoffs?  Most likely, MLB would then get their precious Yankees and Red Sox always in the playoffs and the history and tradition of the game could be swept away like a insignificant issue.

I will miss the rivalry against the Astros.  I never had any animosity toward them, as they always comported themselves as a class organization.  (OK, there was that little flap about the 2001 division title/wild card bit, but nothing big.)  I think most fans appreciated guys like Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and, even before he flipped sides, Lance Berkman.  I'm sure the Cards will get them as some sort of regular interleague opponent, but it's not nearly going to be the same.  Again, baseball has no thought but for the present and for however much money it can get, and it's a sad state of affairs.

Remember, just another couple of days to get your Cardinal Blogger Award fan ballot in!  Head on over and vote!

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Keeping You Informed: World Series DVD

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM
There were so many wonderful moments in the 2011 World Series.  It seems like we'd want to relieve them again and again.  Guess what?  We can!

DVDs.jpg

There are two different ways to do it, if you are so inclined.  The official World Series film, which comes out next week (and screens in St. Louis on Tuesday--you can buy tickets here and if you are in the area, you definitely should go.  I really wish I could!) and the complete DVD set of the whole Series.  I'll be reviewing both of these in the coming weeks, but for now, here's the release about them.  Start saving your money!

"Unbelievable, amazing, incredible. It's hard to believe it actually happened."
-- Manager Tony LaRussa, after World Series Game 7

 

WITH THEIR HISTORIC 11TH CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE BOOKS, REDBIRDS FANS CAN BRING HOME A WORLD SERIES FOR THE AGES WITH TWO SPECTACULAR SOUVENIRS FROM THE 2011 FALL CLASSIC

 

OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM

In Stores November 22

 

&

 

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR'S EDITION

8-DVD Set in Stores December 6

 

Every Game-Saving Catch, Every Thrilling Pitch, Every Historic Home Run and Gripping Moment of the 2011 World Series Can be Celebrated with These Remarkable Collectibles from Major League Baseball Productions and A+E Networks Home Entertainment

 

St. Louis Native Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") Narrates The Official World Series Film

 

NEW YORK, NY (November 16, 2011) -- Three days after World Series Game 7, Tony La Russa, the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals history (1,408 wins, two World Series Championships) retired after a record 16 seasons.  As shocking as that was to many Cardinals die-hards, it was probably less stunning than one of the most dramatic, surprising and improbable runs in World Series history.  Following the Redbirds unforgettable 11th title - the most by any National League franchise - Cardinals fans everywhere will thrill to two singular and complementary collectibles which forever enshrine the story of this St. Louis Fall Classic triumph:OFFICIAL  2011 WORLD SERIES FILM and ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR'S EDITION.

They believed. They wanted it. More than 10 games out of the postseason in late August, the St. Louis Cardinals battled back into contention and claimed a playoff berth on the final day of the regular season. They then overcame the heavily-favored Philadelphia Phillies, and prevailed against the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers.  Facing off against the Texas Rangers in the 107th World Series, the Cardinals fell behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series despite the unprecedented performance of Albert Pujols.  Returning to Busch Stadium for the electrifying Game 6, the Redbirds rallied from two runs down and one strike away from elimination in both the ninth and 10th innings, when hometown hero David Freese crushed an all-time walk-off home run in the 11th inning to force a Game 7.  Then, in the deciding game -- an astounding 89% of all households in St. Louis witnessed a gutsy start by ace Chris Carpenter and a clutch two-run double from World Series MVP David Freese to deliver the franchise's 11th World Series Championship.

 

In the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM, the annual, crowning program from Major League Baseball Productions, St. Louis native and narrator Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") delivers the redoubtable Redbirds championship run, from first pitch to last in a pulse-pounding documentary format.  Providing comprehensive highlights, exclusive access and interviews, plus breath-taking footage and sounds captured by MLB cameras and microphones throughout the series, this DVD is a perfect way to relive the epic battle against the Texas Rangers.

 

The OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM will be released as a 2-disc set, featuring an exclusive bonus disc containing the complete NLDS Game 5 vs. the Phillies, a taut 1-0 pitcher's duel which propelled the Cardinals to the NLCS and, ultimately, the World Series.  Additional extras include behind-the-scenes interviews and bonus programming.  Just in time for the holidays, the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM 2-Disc DVD will be available on November 22 and will also be available in the crystal clarity of a single Blu-ray disc on December 6, bothcurrently available for pre-order on worldseries.com.

 

Bonus MaterialThis Week in Baseball - Dave Duncan n This Week in Baseball - Lance Berkman n Prime 9 - La Russa Segment n NLDS Game 5 Last Out and Celebration n NLCS Game 6 Last Out and Celebration n WS Game 3 - Pujols 3 HRs n WS Game 6 - Freese Triple to Tie n WS Game 6 - Berkman Single to Tie Again n WS Game 6 - Freese Walk-off HR n WS Game 6 Postgame - Berkman and Freese Presser n WS Game 7 - Freese Double to Tie n WS Game 7 - Last out and Celebration n WS Parade

 

With the 2011 Fall Classic, history unfolded before our eyes and Cardinals fans will be able to revel every clutch pitch, game-winning hit, and record-setting moment with the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR'S EDITION.  Featuring every game of this remarkable 7-game series -- including Game 6 which instantly became one of the greatest postseason games ever played -- this 8-DVD set celebrates the Cardinals unforgettable, exhilarating, dramatic, and uplifting comebacks and victories.

 

Displaying the fortitude of the Redbirds under Manager Tony LaRussa and the heroics of David Freese, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, and Chris Carpenter along with every glorious Cardinals moment, this 8-disc set is the most comprehensive memento of a season that won't soon be forgotten.  Each of the seven World Series games, shown complete and uncut, is wrapped with SleeveStats, offering player facts, historic notes and quotes.  The set also includes numerous features to enhance the viewing experience, including three extra audio channels allowing the home viewer to select from alternative audio tracks for each World Series game (Fox Sports, Cardinals Radio Network, Rangers Radio Network, ESPN Deportes Radio). Also included is a special bonus disc featuring regular and postseason highlights, player interviews, and never-before-seen celebratory footage. 

 

Bonus material: Walk-Off Wins n Milestones n NL Wild Card Clinch, Last Out Celebration nNLDS Highlights & Last Out Celebration n NLCS Highlights & Last Out Celebration n NLCS Trophy & MVP Trophy Presentation n World Series Final Out, Celebration & Trophy Presentation n St. Louis Victory Parade and City Hall Celebration n Rally Squirrel Highlights

 

This year's World Series broke television records. Game 6 earned a 52.7 rating in the St. Louis market, higher than any of their previous marks in the 2004 or 2006 World Series. And Game 7averaged 25.4 million viewers on FOX, making it the most watched baseball game since the Boston Red Sox won the title in 2004.  Be a part of that history and paint the town red with these two must-have official mementos of a season that will go down as one of the most thrilling of the Cardinals storied past. 

 

A+E Networks Home Entertainment, part of the Consumer Products Division of A+E Networks, is a video distributor of non-theatrical programming, featuring collectible DVD and Blu-ray editions of the high quality programming from A&E Network, HISTORY, and Lifetime, as well as acquired classic programming and sports. A+E Networks Home Entertainment brings the best of critically acclaimed entertainment presented in award-winning packaging to the special interest category.

 

Major League Baseball Productions is the Emmy® award-winning television and video production division of Major League Baseball and the official video archivists of the game. With unparalleled access to the Clubs and their players, Major League Baseball Productions produces original programming for growing audiences worldwide through its network specials, exclusive home videos, commercials and other specialty programming. For more information on Major League Baseball Productions, log on to www.MLBProductions.com.

Book Review: Wild Cards

Posted on November 15, 2011 at 9:50 PM
Someone has to be first.

As the story of the 2011 Cardinals unfolded, you knew that it was going to spawn numerous books.  I even said a few times on the various podcasts that the comeback that the Cards needed was the type books were written about.  There are going to be a number of works of literature that are going to be composed about this team, and someone has to be first.

It appears that prolific Cardinal author Rob Rains is the first out of the chute with his book Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals' Stunning 2011 Championship Season.  Rains chronicles each game of the playoffs as well as some of the themes and highlights from the season as a whole.  Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, David Freese and Jason Motte all come in for a feature article as well, talking about their seasons.

While the book is a nice stroll down memory lane, it doesn't come without its flaws.  I'm not sure if Triumph Books doesn't have a strong editing section or what, but I've noticed punctuation errors and misspelled words in some other books by Rains and my expectation was I'd find them in a book that had to be hurriedly put together.  There were some, though I will say not as many as I thought there would be.  Periods missing, no beginning quotation marks, things like that.

The biggest glitch in the book is such a glaring one that you wonder how it got out of the publisher like this.  Rains writes up a couple of pages on the last game of the season, the Chris Carpenter shutout vs. Houston.  What you see on page 72 of the book is "The Final Night" and the beginning of that story.  Page 73 has a picture of Carpenter and Yadier Molina after the final out.  Page 74 finishes the story and page 75 has a picture of Allen Craig after his home run.

Fine and good.  Then, after a two-page spread about Matt Holliday, we pick up with page 78--which has a very familiar picture of Carpenter and Molina.  Page 79 is entitled "The Final Night", which is the exact same story as is on page 72, though the format of the subtitle is different and the first paragraph is not popped out like it is the first time around.  Then, pages 80 and 81 are carbon copies of 74 and 75, save the caption for the picture is a little different.

You have to expect these things, though, on a book that lists its publication date at November 1, which was just three days after the World Series wrapped up.  The layout of the book, with the Series first, then the season, then the NLDS and NLCS, makes you think that some of the book got started after the Cards got into October, with the Series stuff hurriedly tacked on.  That is reinforced when you read the Freese feature, which talks about his spectacular NLCS without a mention of his World Series heroics.

The other thing that is disappointing about the book is that it is not in-depth, again a feature of it coming out so quickly.  For example, the writeup of Game 2 of the NLDS is six paragraphs, with room left on the page.  Game 5 of that series gets more column inches, but a majority of it focuses on the relationship and history of Carpenter and Roy Halladay, There's little to no discussion of the actual game, just the backstory and then some of the history of the moment and an extended discussion with Tim Wilken, who was responsible for drafting the two pitchers.  Not surprisingly, the quotes from Wilken were already used in a story by Rains right after the game.  When you are turning around something this quickly, you have to scavenge from game stories, packaged quotes, and your own writings.

I don't mean to harp on these points--the book does stand as a nice memento of the season and if you are one that doesn't want to wait for a more detailed book maybe a few years down the line, this well may be for you.  If nothing else, the pictures in the book, which take up a lot of the 128 pages, are outstanding.  There's an Opening Day shot of Albert Pujols hugging on Stan Musial that might be worth the price of admission right there.

If you like the idea of the book but don't want to clutter up more of your bookcase, you can also find it in all the digital bookstores (iBooks, Kindle, Nook) and read it on your iPad or your phone.  I'm not sure you can get the real impact of the pictures on a phone, though they'd probably look very nice on a tablet.

Again, there will be other books--in fact, I believe another one is on the way to me for review soon--but if you can't wait, this one's for you.




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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
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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