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November 2012

Cardinal Bloggers Awards: 2012 Ballot

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 2:12 PM
Every year about this time, the United Cardinal Bloggers make their selections on who should win the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  This is the sixth time we've handed out these awards and each year is as much fun as the last.

The awards are split into two groups.  The first half deals with the players and those that are involved with the Cardinal organization.  Basically, that covers the good (and some of the bad and ugly) from 2012.  The second half deals with the blogging community, as we take this time to recognize the best among us and give a few pats on the back for a job well done.

So come along and let's see what I'm voting this year.  Honestly, right now your guess is as good as mine.
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Keeping You Informed: Hot Stove League Returns

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 9:04 AM
Sorry for the gap in writing, but hopefully I'll rectify that shortly.  Should have my Cardinal Blogger Awards out today, so that'll be something for you!  Until then, in an obvious attempt to capitalize on the UCB Radio Hour, the Cards are going to give you something to listen to through the winter.


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

ST. LOUIS (November 29, 2012)- 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 Wednesday night beginning on December 5th and running through March 27th.

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.

Giving Thanks, Cardinal Style

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 9:35 AM
It's Thanksgiving, which, by definition, means a time of giving thanks.  We know all the basics--I'm always thankful for my family, my friends, the fact that I'm gainfully employed, etc.--but the following is a list of things that I'm thankful for in relation to being a Cardinal fan.  After all, that's a large part of life, right?

--To reiterate what I said yesterday, I'm thankful that Stan Musial is still with us, representing all that is good and pure about the game and showing us that talented people don't have to have the flaw of being egomaniacal jerks.

--I'm thankful that the Cardinals have good ownership.  Especially after the debacle that has taken place in Miami, it's good to know that those in charge in St. Louis really do have the team and the fans in mind.  Do they want to make money on their investment?  Sure they do.  However, they've gone about it in a way that doesn't insult the fanbase, that doesn't ruin the traditions that we have in the area.  Even the alternate jersey was done with tradition in mind, even as it broke from it.  Bill DeWitt and his fellow investors should be commended for the job that they do in St. Louis.

--I'm thankful that John Mozeliak has turned out to be such a good general manager.  We didn't know what we were getting at the time and I'm on record as saying I thought it was a compromise hire, but Mo has set a steady course as well as making the moves to get the Cardinals in position to win (and actually did win) a World Series.  Mo's also done a great job with the minors and keeping the talent coming.  In other words, I'm thankful that we still have players like Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, instead of seeing them in other uniforms.

--I'm thankful that, for the most part, the organization takes into account character when constructing their team.  Baseball seems to have less of this than other sports anyway, but it's rare when you hear about any Cardinal in an off-field kerfluffle.  For the most part, the team is made up of solid individuals who play the game the right way and seem to live their lives the same way.  We don't know how they really are at home, of course, but they at least give off that sort of public perception, which is better than some others.

--I'm thankful that I get to see Chris Carpenter pitcher.  We hear the legends about Bob Gibson and most of them have to do with his performance on the mound, but some of them are just about his toughness.  How he continued to pitch on a broken leg.  How he glared down batters and never gave in.  When we tell the legends about Carp, we'll talk about that toughness.  We'll talk about his glare.  We'll talk about him returning from having a rib removed.  We'll talk about NLDS Game 5.  On the UCB Radio Hour last night, we talked about the fact that, one way or another, it seems like no one else should wear 29.  He's that important to this chapter in Cardinal history.

--I'm thankful for Adam Wainwright and I sincerely hope that I can be thankful for him being a Cardinal for many years to come.  There's nothing better than seeing that curveball drop in for strike three and watching Waino throw another gem of a game.  Add into that the personality he shows in public and with his clubhouse dances and you've got someone that needs to be in Cardinal red for a long time.

--I'm thankful that Carpenter and Wainwright and all the pitchers have Yadier Molina behind the plate.  Molina is another one that could challenge the Cardinals' policy about retired numbers, because if he doesn't make the Hall of Fame (which, granted, he is on a trajectory to achieve), can you imagine the unlucky person who would have to follow him and wear 4?  That'd be some huge shoes to fill.  Molina's defense will always be what we most appreciate about him--someone needs to make a shirt that says "America runs on Dunkin.  America doesn't run on Yadi."--but his offense was underrated for a few years, though obviously that's not the case now.

--I'm thankful for the history of the Cardinals.  Eleven titles in and of itself is a pretty awesome thing to be tied to, but there's so much more in the 120+ years of Cardinal baseball.  All the Hall of Famers.  The classic moments, the larger than life personalities, the fact that the minor league system as we know it began with Branch Rickey when he was the Cardinal general manager.  So many wonderful baseball topics run through St. Louis.

--Finally (well, finally because I need to start getting ready for my family Thanksgiving, not because I'm running out of things to be thankful for!), I'm thankful for the fact that the fanbase of this organization is so awesome that it generates some incredible bloggers and wonderful people.  The United Cardinal Bloggers are like another family to me, one where we talk a lot of baseball, sympathize with each other when things go bad both on the field and in our personal lives, and rejoice when the opposite of each occurs.  Our weekends in St. Louis are always one of my personal highlights of any year and I'm honored to be a part of them.

To one and all, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and, if it is relevant, safe travels.  May God bless you this day!

Stan Musial At 92: Still The Man

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 7:35 AM
As you know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Many of us will gather around tables with family and friends, pausing to give thanks for all that we have.  If you are a Cardinal fan, when your head is bowed, likely a passing thought of thanks will go for Stan Musial.

Stan the Man turns 92 today.  We don't see him that often, as Alzheimer's has begun its deadly work on him.  That just means that those instances when we do see him, like Game 4 of the NLCS, are that much more special.  There's rarely a dry eye in the house when Stan begins his loop around the stadium.

I went to a memorial service yesterday for a long-time church member who had died suddenly.  Person after person spoke about how you couldn't say a bad word about the man.  Not that they didn't want to because he was deceased, that you really couldn't say anything bad about him.  Having known him for a long time, I know that was the case.  He had a quiet, unassuming, uncomplaining attitude and always held other people's needs above his own.

That's the picture we get of Stan Musial as well.  Save for his spat with Joe Garagiola, which seems to be a case where Musial's honor was offended, there's basically nothing in the public record except accolades and compliments.  Opposing fan bases would cheer Musial.  He even got his nickname from the Brooklyn Dodger fans who, weary of him wearing out their team, could only come up with "Here comes that man again."  Would that be the case today?  Most likely not, at least until a farewell tour a la Chipper Jones.

Stan has been a wonderful example, a star ballplayer who never felt he was bigger than the game or the fans that watched it.  A generous person who gave of his time, his knowledge, and his money.  Granted, some of his hitting advice didn't have the effect that maybe the questioner wanted.  A rookie once asked for a tip and here's what he got:

"If I want to hit a grounder, I hit the bottom third of the ball.  If I want to hit a line drive, I hit the middle third, and if I want to hit a pop fly, I hit the top third."

Simple enough for Stan, a little more difficult for a mere mortal.

Stan is a national treasure, both for the United States and for Cardinal Nation.  It's no surprise that the Stand for Stan campaign was a huge hit in St. Louis and effective enough to get the attention of the president.  Being that President Obama in some ways cut into the time for Stan to be front and center during the 2009 All Star Game, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was a nice gesture.  (I am honestly surprised the last campaign didn't see political commercials in Missouri saying, "This man hogged Stan Musial's national spotlight.  Show him what you think of that.")

This time last year, we still thought we might see another Stan Musial.  Most of us thought Albert Pujols was going to return and keep up his assault on baseball history.  He'd be one of the rare ones, to be a superstar fully formed and stay with one team his whole career.

That didn't happen and, even if Albert had stayed and put up those numbers, he had too many critics, too many people telling unflattering stories to ever be quite Stan Musial.  Would Musial have come off worse in today's 24-7 full-fledged multimedia attack?  Perhaps.  Perhaps some of the stories that don't paint Musial in the best light were lost to time because no one covered them then.

I don't think so, though.  Some people seem to revel in trying to take legends and heroes down, but nobody's been effective in denting Musial's armor.  If the old saying of "where there's smoke, there's fire" is true, then the absence of smoke must mean an absence of fire.  Musial really was the good, honest, decent man that we've heard so much about growing up and he's got the coworkers and the random encounters to prove it.  I think the quote from Mike Matheny may say it best: "Maybe he doesn't know he's Stan Musial."

We don't know how well Stan is getting along these days.  We know he seems frail when he's at the ballpark and Alzheimer's is a very difficult thing to deal with.  We know that he'll spend this birthday without the love of his life, Lil, who passed away earlier this year.  Time is an undefeated champion and eventually we all lose that bout.

For today, though, we still have Stan Musial among us.  Give a double helping of thanks for that when you sit down tomorrow.  Happy birthday, Stan!

In quick other news:

--St. Louis added four to its 40-man roster yesterday.  Eric Fornataro, Michael Blazek, Keith Butler and Kevin Siegrist were the lucky ones.  I'm not enough of a prospect maven to be real familiar with any of those names, but all are pitchers, showing that the depth of arms in the system doesn't stop with Carlos Martinez.

--What may be more surprising than the names being added were the names that didn't come off.  Barret Browning and Eduardo Sanchez had been rumored to be on the chopping block as it were, but both were spared.  I figured Sanchez would be--he's too young and got some good stuff if he can control it--but the organization's actions with Browning seemed to indicate that they weren't going to bring him back.  I'm glad to see that he might just make it after all.

--Apparently Rafael Furcal's elbow ligament is completely healed, meaning that the shortstop should be ready to go Opening Day with no problem.  There's still a portion of the fanbase--of which I'd count myself a member--who is still pretty hesitant.  It's good that there's some medical data to back up the idea that Furcal is healthy, but with the way Cardinal injuries go, until we see Furcal on the field, I don't think we are going to be fully on board with this.  Hopefully this won't stop Mozeliak from coming up with some veteran backups, at least, because there's no telling just how long that ligament may last.

--The Cardinals signed a couple of minor leaguers as well, though players unlikely to see much time in St. Louis.  Justin Christian played for the Giants briefly last year, while Jamie Romak was actually in the system after coming over from the Royals during last season.

--Not really surprising that all of the arbitration-eligible players are going to get a contract offer.  You could make the case for nontendering Marc Rzepczynski, but there is such a lack of left-handed relief in the organization.  Hopefully he can turn that around a bit and be a little more like what we saw in 2011.

--There's still a week and a half to go in the voting for the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  I'll have my personal picks up sometime next week, but you can let your voice be heard by filling out this form.

--And, finally, the Burton History Trees are starting to ship.  If you've not gotten yours, I'd suggest doing so today or tomorrow, when the 25% off pre-order price is still in effect and you can combine that with the 10% off code c70.  The code will work until the end of the year, though, so you can still get some discount even after Black Friday.  For an idea of how big the tree is and how it looks, I've attached a picture that includes some great helpers.

481668_10151091883571981_655130208_n.jpg
Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Safe travels and we'll talk again soon!

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Keeping You Informed: Alternate Jersey

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Here's the official press release about it.  As you know (hopefully), my views are in the post below.

 
Cardinals Unveil New Uniforms for the 2013 Season 
"St. Louis" Featured on Saturday Home Jersey. First Time Since 1932

ST. LOUIS, MO, November 16, 2012 - The St. Louis Cardinals today unveiled new uniforms for the 2013 season, the first update to the teams' wardrobe in more than a decade. For the first time in more than 80 years, the team will wear an alternate uniform on Saturdays that will feature "St. Louis" in place of "Cardinals" on the jersey.

"We are excited about the new uniforms," said Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III, who led the design efforts. "We think the design improvements will be popular with both players and fans -- particularly the addition of the alternate jersey on home Saturdays."

The Cardinals will be the 27th team in MLB to add an alternate jersey to their lineup and the fourth to use off-white. The home alternate jersey will be worn on home Saturdays and will feature "St. Louis" in place of "Cardinals" under the iconic birds on the bat. The jersey and matching pants feature an off-white color, red piping, and the player number on the front.

All the team's jerseys (home, road, home alternate) will feature more detail in the embroidery, consistent with the graphical logo used by the club since 1998. The richer detail is made possible by advances in the manufacturing process. In addition to being one of the most recognized logos in baseball, the iconic Cardinals Birds on Bat logo is one of the highest quality logos in MLB. It is produced using chenille stitching directly embroidered onto the jersey, a more painstaking method than the traditional twill patch application used by other teams.

It takes over an hour to stitch each individual jersey, with nearly 40,000 stitches required for the home and road jerseys. Majestic uses the latest embroidery technology and most talented sewing staff at their Pennsylvania facility to produce the uniforms. 

With the 2013 jerseys, fans will notice much more detail in the birds. Additional changes include a slight modification to the size of the numbers on the front of the jersey (dropping from 4 inches to 3 ½"). All jerseys are available in both the traditional double knit and the Cool Base, a lightweight moisture wicking performance fabric that is popular with players. In addition to the jersey changes, the team will wear red caps with their road uniforms, while the blue cap will remain a road alternate. The team will also wear a new batting practice cap this season. 

Fans may purchase the 2013 authentic jerseys at the Cardinals Official Team Store at Busch Stadium exclusively through Thanksgiving and at other local outlets thereafter. While supplies last, the Cardinals Official Team Store at Busch Stadium is offering a free set of pint glasses featuring the new St. Louis logo with the purchase of the 2013 home alternate jersey. The store is also offering, for a fee, on-site jersey customization to accommodate holiday shoppers looking for a unique personalized gift. The team store is open 10 AM - 6 PM seven days a week, except holidays. The store will have extended hours on Black Friday (8AM - 6PM) and will have a number of Black Friday Specials.

Cardinals Getting Alternate Jerseys

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 7:45 AM
If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen a conversation that I had yesterday afternoon.  One of my followers pointed out this thread about the Cardinals having an alternate jersey for 2013 and it provoked an interesting discussion.  I got a tip in my inbox last night (though I wasn't allowed to run with it) and Jenifer Langosch has now confirmed it; these jerseys are going to be a reality and will be announced today.

The jerseys, which will be normally worn during home games on Saturdays, will be a cream color with "St. Louis" across them in red along with the traditional birds on the bat.  The team will wear red hats with these jerseys.  I'm also hearing that the first time these will be broken out will be the second home game of the year, even though it's not on a Tuesday.

I'm not sure what I think about this.  On the one hand, I've always liked the Cardinals never had to stoop to the "gimmick" of another jersey.  Alternate jerseys have always seemed like nothing more than a cash grab by organizations and it's been nice that the Cards, along with the Yankees and a couple of others, have resisted this trend and kept their long-standing traditions going.  One of the great things about the Cards has been their ability to not necessarily latch onto everything that comes down baseball's stream.  The team loses a little bit of individuality wit this move.  Aaron Miles' Fastball does a great job writing about this along these lines.

On the other hand, if you are going to go the alternate jersey route, at least it looks like it'll be a classy looking one.  I'm a bit surprised that they didn't go with a red one, but I think it wouldn't have looked as "classic" and, even though this is going against tradition in a way, tradition is still a huge part of anything this team does.  Looking at the picture over at MLB.com, it does evoke a historical time rather than kowtowing to modern sensibilities.

Of course, this is about the money, money that will likely come pouring in with this coming out right before Christmas time.  However, we've seen that this organization that they don't necessarily horde any additional revenues.  This is not a Jeffrey Loria situation.  These revenue streams tend to wind up helping the team (while, of course, increasing the DeWitts' standard of living), which takes a little bit of wind out of the anti-rich guy rant.

So, while I don't think these are necessary, I'm not so sure that it won't wind up on my Christmas list anyway.  Which is what the Cardinals want, I suppose, but that doesn't bother me in the least.

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Don't Bunt, Matheny

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 1:15 PM
One of the great things about the United Cardinal Bloggers is how well we work together.  That could mean collaborating on a roundtable.  It could also mean building up an inside joke.  This is the story of the latter.

A few days ago, I sent out a Tweet promoting this week's UCB Radio Hour, tagging our hosts Dathan Brooks (@Dathan7) and Chris Mallonee (@BirdsontheBat82).  A general conversation followed between Chris, myself, and Tara Wellman (@tarawellman) that was of little consequence to this story.  

However, Dathan later Tweeted that he knew he'd seen a conversation but couldn't find it now, so I flippantly responded that it was about how this week's show was going to be a musical.  That's when Jon Doble (@JonDoble) popped in, saying he couldn't wait until he heard "Don't Bunt, Matheny" set to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing".

You know me.  You know that if you give me the idea and a song I'm at least somewhat familiar with, I'm not going to rest until the parody is written.  (Christine Coleman mentioned "The Power of Cutch" in reference to Andrew McCutchen and now can't hear Huey Lewis's "The Power of Love" any other way.) I spent a little time working it up and sent the lyrics out via email to those involved.

Normally, that's the end of it.  No one actually tries to put the stuff to music.  However, I didn't count on a fully trained multimedia specialist with a great voice and some spare time.

You see, besides Tara's work at a television station, she also has vocal talent, so much so that she sang the National Anthem before a Quad Cities game this summer.  She found the music sans vocals and took to recording this for your listening pleasure.  We debuted it on last night's UCB Radio Hour (right about 50 minutes into it, if you want to listen) and there's no doubt it'll be a huge hit in Cardinal Nation.

So here you go, lyrics by me, vocals by Tara.  I think these are accurate lyrics--Tara had to tinker a bit to get them to, you know, actually fit the music but I think I've gotten all her fixes.  You can download it over here and listen to the magic.  Enjoy!

Don't Bunt, Matheny

Just a Columbus boy, picked to be the manager
He took the leading reins of the champion
Just a city boy, born and raised to play the sport
He took the leading reins of the champion

A double smoked right past first
Gives him the chance to do his worst
The crowd's chant fills up the night
It goes on and on and on and on

CHORUS
Hitters waiting, up and down the lineup card
There's no need to concede this out
Slugging people, living just to drive the run in
Let them, swing free in the bout

Working hard to get one run,
Pretty soon the inning's done
Losin' everything when rolling dice
Blogs explode again
Some will win, some will lose
Some would bunt with Albert too
Oh, the song, it will never end
It goes on and on and on and on

CHORUS

Don't bunt, Matheny
Let go of the feeling
Slugging people

Don't bunt, Matheny
Hold on
Slugging people

Don't bunt, Matheny
Let go of the feeling
Slugging people


Keeping You Informed: 2013 Winter Warm-Up

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM
If you've been a Cardinal fan for any length of time, you know about the Winter Warm-Up.  For the benefit of Cardinals Care, it's a gathering in January where the players sign autographs, plenty of news articles are generated, and people generally have a good time.  The Cardinals were gracious enough to let a few blogs have press access last time around (you may remember Kevin Reynolds covering it for this site) and I'm hoping they'll do that again.

Barring that access, though, you'll need tickets.  I've got just the information for you.


2013 WINTER WARM-UP TICKETS ON SALE 
Proceeds from the 17th Annual Event Continue to Benefit Kids in the Cardinals Community

ST. LOUIS, MO, November 15, 2012 - Cardinals Care, the charitable foundation of the St. Louis Cardinals, announced today that tickets for the 17th annual Winter Warm-Up will be available starting Friday, November 23. One of the most popular fan events in baseball, the three-day event will take place Saturday, January 19 through Monday, January 21, 2013 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day), at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. The event times are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.

Fans can purchase admission passes for the three-day Winter Warm-Up online at cardinals.com/winterwarmup, in the official Cardinals Team Store at Busch Stadium and at Cardinals Clubhouse stores located around St. Louis.

The prices for admission passes, which are valid for all three days of the Warm-Up, will remain the same as the last few years - $40 for fans age 16 and over, $10 for children age 5 to 15. Kids under 5 are admitted free of charge. Members of the military, police and fire departments with an active ID will receive one free adult pass which must be obtained in person at the Busch Stadium administrative offices.

Past popular attractions will return for the 2013 fan-fest weekend that provides Cardinals Nation with countless unique opportunities while raising money for Cardinals Care, the team's charitable fund, in its mission to care for kids in the Cardinals community. Fans can interact with their favorite players through autograph sessions, play interactive games, share memories with Hall-of-Famers, meet Fredbird, find collectable memorabilia, bid on one-of-a-kind items at live and silent auctions, experience live presentations and ask tough questions of players, owners, scouts, broadcasters and officials at Q&A sessions.

"The Warm-Up is the perfect opportunity for fans to meet their favorite players while helping kids," said Michael Hall, Executive Director of Cardinals Care and Vice President of Community Relations.

Many players' autographs are free with the admission pass, while others require an autograph ticket available through a specific additional donation. All autograph tickets will be sold online beginning Wednesday, December 19th through Monday, January 14th. Please check the Cardinals website (cardinals.com/winterwarmup) in December for details, including player autograph dates, times and, if required, additional donation amounts. Any remaining autograph tickets not sold online will be available at the Winter Warm-Up. For complete event details, schedule and frequently asked questions, visit cardinals.com/winterwarmup.

The Winter Warm-Up is the largest of several fundraising efforts that allows Cardinals Care to help kids. Over the last 16 years, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Missouri and Illinois. For nearly a decade, Cardinals Care has run the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.

News From The Fringe

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 6:47 AM
No, not the alternate dimension where Walternate was running everything nor the Observer-laden future (though that would make for an interesting post series, this is true).  These are those bits and pieces of news that keep filtering out in this cold time of year, most of which involve players, well, on the fringe of our vision.

For example, there's the fact that the Cardinals released Kyle McClellan.  This wasn't any surprise, of course--McClellan himself knew it was a strong possibility once he had the shoulder surgery back in July.  While there was a lot to like about McClellan, including the fact that he was a hometown boy, the fact that he was going to be arbitration-eligible and the Cards really didn't know what they were going to get with him going forward meant that parting ways made a lot of sense.

However, there's something that both he and Kyle Lohse have mentioned in relation to the front office.  Neither of them heard anything from the front office leading up to the inevitable (McClellan's release, Lohse's minimum offer).  It seems a bit strange that John Mozeliak isn't calling them up and saying, "Look, this is where the team is.  With the young arms we have coming up, even though you've been great for us, we don't see where you can get the time you deserve here."  Something of that nature.  I know there's no requirement to do that, but it seems like it'd be good to keep players like this generally informed.  Maybe it's easier to run things like a business that way, I don't know.

From the extreme fringe, we have the news that Brian Fuentes is going to retire.  I don't think that's a big shock, since Fuentes left the team for personal reasons and it sounds like the pull of family was too much to overcome.  Can't really blame him for that, though I will say if that's why he left the Cards, the fact that he missed his family, I have more of an issue with that.  I was under the impression there was some sort of serious situation, but if he was just homesick because it was the first time he'd played away from his family, I'm sorry, but that doesn't reflect well on him.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge family man.  Family would factor into any job offer I had, no doubt about it.  I love being home with my kids.  That said, if I'd signed on with another team for less than half a season, I'd suck it up and do my job until the end of the season, then retire or look for a job closer to home.  Even if I think I've made a horrible mistake, I've got an obligation to that team for another couple of months, so I'd gut it out.  Again, there may have been more to it than that when Fuentes left after six appearances, but it doesn't appear to on the surface.

As the time gets closer to protect minor leaguers from the Rule 5 draft, more and more activity will happen on the 40-man roster.  BJ Rains is reporting that Brandon Dickson is about to be removed from the roster and will sign with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan.  Dickson's been basically an organizational soldier and with all the young guns coming along, his chances to spend more than minimal time in St. Louis were pretty slim.  Best of luck to him as he continues his career in Japan.

The Cardinals did add to their roster, though not the 40-man version, by signing veteran catcher Rob Johnson to a minor league deal.  With Bryan Anderson heading to the White Sox and Steven Hill a free agent, the Redbirds needed to add some catching depth to the system.  I don't think that Johnson will pose a serious threat to Tony Cruz in the spring, but it does keep him honest and focused this offseason.

The biggest news revolves around Jaime Garcia and Rafael Furcal.  Both had arm troubles last year, both decided against surgery.  Furcal used the platelet-rich blood therapy, Garcia the rest and rehab route.  Now, both apparently are OK.  That's a huge apparently, though.

Publicly, Mozeliak is saying that they are going to count on both of these players going into the spring.  However, even though he's planning on a normal offseason, the extent of Garcia's healing won't be known until he takes a mound in the spring.  That's not a huge risk for the Cardinals, though, because odds are any Garcia replacement would be coming from the internal sources (Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal) anyway.  Garcia's health or lack thereof most likely wouldn't influence anything that the front office would do this winter.

Furcal is a different story.  If Furcal goes down in the spring, suddenly shortstop is a competition between Ryan Jackson, Pete Kozma and perhaps Greg Garcia.  I'm not thinking anyone's real comfortable with that.  I'm not saying that there are wonderful options on the free agent market, but for myself I'd be more comfortable with a Stephen Drew out there, even with his recent struggles.  That may not have been an option no matter what happens with Furcal, but it seems like Mozeliak is taking an awful risk.

Or it could be public posturing to try to let other GMs know that he doesn't have to make a deal to give him some leverage.  I think I like that thought much better.  Let's hope that's what Mo is doing.

I got word that Burton History Trees will keep the pre-order price on the Cardinal version until at least Thanksgiving.  That doesn't mean that you have to wait, however!  You want this on your wall.  You need this on your wall!  Below is a taste of the final product.  Come back later today for a musical interlude!

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The Fan Ballot For The 2012 Cardinal Blogger Awards

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM
If you are a reader of this blog or of many of the other great Cardinal blogs out there, you know about the United Cardinal Bloggers.  We're a group that do various projects, work together on items, etc.  The first project that we ever did was the Cardinal Blogger Awards, way back in 2007.  That means this is the sixth annual version of the CBAs and they are always a lot of fun to vote on and discuss.

Last year, we tried something different and it worked well enough that we are doing it again this year.  We are asking you, our readers and followers, to cast your ballot as well.  All of the fan ballots will be averaged into one overall ballot and that ballot will be counted with all of the blogger ballots that will be posted on or before November 30.

That's your deadline as well.  Get your vote in before November 30 and make your voice heard!  It couldn't be easier--just fill out the form below.  Thanks!






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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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