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UCB Project: 2013 American League Predictions

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM
It's that time of year again.  When hope is new, the grass smells clean, and people foolishly put down what they think will happen in the baseball season to come.  The United Cardinal Bloggers are no different.

Every year we take a crack at these things.  Sometimes it goes pretty well--Pittsburgh's late fade last year kept me from nailing them being third and over the .500 mark.  Sometimes it goes disastrously--I had Boston winning the AL East last year.  Yeah, that was pretty much bad from the get-go.

However, terrible performances don't stop us from trying it again anyway.  (Kinda like Mike Matheny continuing to use Victor Marte last year.)  So we'll do it again on the same kinda schedule--the entire American League today, then each division in the National League gets a day before wrapping it up on Friday with postseason predictions and awards.

Since we hardly pay attention to the American League--we all know real baseball lets a pitcher hit, don't we?--let's try to make a quick pass through there today.  If you want to use these as a guide, odds are you better figure the opposite is really going to happen!
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Playing Pepper 2013: Chicago White Sox

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM
For the fifth straight year, Playing Pepper returns to C70 At The Bat.  If you aren't aware, this series helps get a feel for the other 29 teams in baseball by asking those that follow them the closest--their bloggers.  We've got spring training action going, so it's time to play a little pepper.  

Chicago White Sox
85-77, second in the AL Central

The White Sox fans must have had some mixed emotions after last season was over.  On the positive side, a team that wasn't necessarily expected to be in the mix led the division for most of the summer.  As late as September 25, they were tied for the divisional lead.  Like Baltimore, this was a tale of a team catching a lot of people by surprise.

The problem was, like Baltimore, they ran out of gas too early.  Detroit continued to make up ground on them and, like the tortoise, slipped past them right at the finish line.  Which left those on the south side to wonder, what if?

It's unlikely that anyone will be selling Chicago short in 2013, but to find out just what this team is going to be like, I've got a couple of bloggers to fill you in.  James Fegan is the head man over at Southside Showdown, part of the FanSided network.  He's on Twitter @JRFegan.  His Aerys Sports counterpart is Cheryl Norman, who writes at South Side Hit Girl and Tweets @cherann23.

Come with us as we talk about a White Sox icon and one of the game's hot young pitchers.
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Slow News Month

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 6:56 AM
There were a lot of great things about the 2011 season, but one of the more underrated ones was that, due to the World Series run, it was a short offseason chock full of things to talk about, whether it was reviews of World Series memorabilia, speculation about a new manager, or following the Albert Pujols negotiations and the fallout from his move to Anaheim.

This offseason, well, it's a little harder.  Not much has happened since my last regular post, but there were a few things that needed to be highlighted, recorded for posterity as it were.

Such as the expected fact that Kyle Lohse declined the Cardinals' token offer and is truly a free agent.  As we all know, St. Louis only made the offer because they wanted the draft pick when he signed somewhere else.  What I didn't realize is that they'll have the first of such draft picks, as every other team in that situation had a better record than the Redbirds did.  With the way the Cards have been drafting lately, that pick is likely to be very valuable.

Baseball awards are being treated a little differently this year.  Instead of waiting around the internet and finding out when they released them on the BBWAA website, they had a special last week to announce the "finalists" (which I guess were the top however many in the voting) and will announce the winners this week on MLB Network.  (Side note: I'm getting DirecTV today  in large part because it'll have MLB Network.  My winter just got a lot warmer.)  Anyway, it was good to see that Yadier Molina was one of the finalists for MVP.  Looking at who he is up against, I'd like to think he would finish at least fourth (Chase Headley had a good year with San Diego, but Molina should beat him out).  It seems a lock that Buster Posey will get the actual award, but even having Molina in the conversation is a great thing.

Molina did take home a little bit of hardware this week as he collected his second Platinum Glove.  Last year, Rawlings wanted to make the Gold Glove of Gold Gloves, giving the top defensive player this special honor.  So they've handed out two Platinums in their history to the NL.  Both of them reside at the Molina home.

While I can't seem to find a link on it now, Bryan Anderson has taken his talents to the White Sox organization.  This was not a surprise as Anderson was obviously not in the Cardinals' plans and hadn't been for some time.  He's probably missed any window he might have had, but perhaps he can get a shot in the American League.

Finally, there was an interesting article in the Post-Dispatch about the ratings on Fox Sports Midwest this season.  For the second straight year, they've had a marked decline in the percentage of homes that are watching the Cardinals.  Dan Caesar puts a lot of the blame on the three-man rotation in the booth, which could be part of it, but I don't know that people aren't going to watch the game because of those guys.  At worst, I'd think they'd mute it and listen to John Rooney and Mike Shannon on KMOX while watching.  I know often I'm watching it without sound, though that isn't necessarily an indictment on those doing the broadcasting.

FSMW points out they had serious competition with the Olympics this year and they still are third in all of baseball in local TV ratings, so it doesn't seem like a major sea change in how people consume their baseball, but it's still something that you figure the FSMW powers that be are keeping an eye on.  I've advocated in the past adding another person to that mix, if you are going to keep Dan McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky and Ricky Horton all broadcasting, and making two defined broadcast teams.  Coming up with a reliable schedule would still be an issue, maybe, but at least you'd have some stability.

I also think they should reach out to Lance Berkman if he winds up retiring.  Berkman would be a great addition to a broadcast, in my opinion.  Put him with Dan and that's the team I'm watching!

In case you missed it yesterday, the Exit Interviews are finished up.  You can find all of them linked up on this summary post.  I've gotten a good response out of this series and may try to do it at the end of every season.  Thanks to all that have read and responded!

The Burton History Trees were, as you know, the sponsor of those Exit Interviews.  I'm hearing that the Cardinal tree will go to press this week, perhaps as early as today.  So you have a very limited time to get that 25% pre-sale discount.  The code c70, which gives you 10%, will be active the rest of the year, so even if you miss out on the pre-sale savings, you can still save with that.

Come back later today for your chance to vote in the sixth annual Cardinal Blogger Awards!

Keeping You Informed: All-Star Alliance

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Sorry for no entry today, but I'll catch up tomorrow, hopefully after another Cardinal victory.  Instead of the moments you spend reading my posts, though, why not do a little voting?

I'm not sure what I think of these "alliances."  Seems a bit silly and overly manufactured.  That said, if it gets David Freese to the All-Star Game, I'm all for it!


CARDINALS & WHITE SOX ANNOUNCE ALL-STAR BALLOTING ALLIANCE RED, WHITE & YOU! 
Teams Unite #FreesePlease and #TakeJake Campaigns for '12 All-Star Firestone Final Vote

ST. LOUIS, MO. (July 2, 2012) - The St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox announced today that they are joining forces to urge fans to vote for Jake Peavy and David Freese for the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Both players are on the ballot for the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone underway through Thursday at 3PM. 

"We are proud to join forces to urge our fans to vote to send Jake Peavy and David Freese to the 83rd All-Star Game," said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman of the White Sox and William DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals in a joint statement announcing the Red, White & You '12 campaign alliance. 

As part of the Final Vote, fans can vote to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the next few days and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 5th. Now in its eight year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones. 

The alliance is the first for the two clubs who share some of the same geography, and whose fans have some common interests - - particularly as it relates to a certain baseball rival. The unusual baseball alliance captured the attention of the governors of Missouri and Illinois, who are both big baseball fans. Each offered candidate endorsements tailored to walk the diplomatic fine line. 

"Jake Peavy is one of the elite pitchers in the game," said Pat Quinn, the Governor of Illinois, "the American League needs to take Jake to Kansas City to battle a formidable National League team." 

"David Freese is a Missouri native and hometown hero who belongs at the All-Star Game in Kansas City," said Jay Nixon, the Governor of Missouri. "I urge fans to vote for David Freese Please

Fans can still vote online at either the Cardinals web site (cardinals.com), the White Sox web site (whitesox.com) or by texting N2 for David Freese and A5 for Jake Peavy to 89269 until 3:00 p.m. CST Thursday, July 5.

A Week+ Of Inconsistency

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 9:30 AM
Did I miss anything?

Before I get into starting a recap of the last almost week and a half, I want to again thank those that took the time to put up quality work here at my blog while I was vacationing.  I read through a number of them the few times I had wifi or cell service and appreciated the time and quality that those posts represented.  I am in your debt, my friends.

Now, to the games.  Unlike last year, when the Cards didn't win while I was on the wrong side of the Mississippi, this year the club was able to win a few games.  However, for the most part, they did it by dominating on the mound and squeaking by at the plate, indicating that there is something still wrong with this team.  The win one/lose one mentality doesn't help either.  Let's take a look after the jump.
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UCB Prediction Week, Part I: American League

Posted on March 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Every year about this time, the United Cardinal Bloggers take aim at their predictions for the upcoming season.  It's a great way to look at the divisions, get a feel for what is going on, and write down picks that you will be trying to scrub from any internet search engine by probably July.

I'm far from an expert, so take all of these picks with a grain of salt.  There are few gut picks that don't have a lot of basis in reality, so feel free to take that into consideration when reading them.

Since the American League doesn't really matter as much, we at the UCB just lump it all into one day.  So keep reading to see how I pick the divisions to shake out.
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Bonus Pepper: Chicago White Sox

Posted on March 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM
In 2009, I decided to get a feel for other teams around baseball by asking bloggers for those teams some questions about their squad.  Not only has this series been very popular, but it spawned the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  With camps opening up again and spring training getting into gear, it's time once again to play a little pepper.

Chicago White Sox
79-83, third in the AL Central

No, you aren't experience deja vu.  You really have read that before.

Unfortunately, due to my error, I forgot that there were actually more answers to the White Sox questions than I had put up in that earlier entry.  Matt Adams and Ross Read write for the blog Southside Showdown on the FanSided network.  They both graciously sent along answers to my questions, but then I botched it and forgot to add them in.  You can follow Ross on Twitter at RossRead and Matt at 2012WhiteSox.

So, for your weekend, a little bonus pepper as we revisit that team on the south side of Chicago.
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Playing Pepper 2012: Chicago White Sox

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM
In 2009, I decided to get a feel for other teams around baseball by asking bloggers for those teams some questions about their squad.  Not only has this series been very popular, but it spawned the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  With camps opening up again and spring training getting into gear, it's time once again to play a little pepper.

Chicago White Sox
79-83, third in the AL Central

For the last few years, it's always been a lot of fun on the south side of Chicago.  Not necessarily from the team on the field, but the odd couple pairing of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen has made for some great headlines and, a few years back, a World Series title.

However, antics tend to get old when winning doesn't accompany them, so now Guillen is plying his trade down in Miami while the Sox try to contend in a improving AL Central while rookie manager Robin Ventura takes over the reins.  The novelty of a former White Sox legend replacing another long-time Sox player in the dugout is an interesting one, especially since Ventura (like Cardinal manager Mike Matheny) has never managed a game.

To get the low down on the Pale Hose, I again tapped the Aerys network and came up with Cheryl from South Side Hit Girl.  Not only can you read about the White Sox on her blog, but you can get the latest reactions from following her Twitter feed, cherann23.

After the jump, we'll talk about this offseason and whether a certain DH type has a chance to rebound from a terrible season.
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Playing Pepper 2011: Chicago White Sox

Posted on March 4, 2011 at 9:04 AM
Two years ago, I started a series I called Playing Pepper, where I asked questions of bloggers of each major league team about the season to come.  Not only was that informative and entertaining, it led to the spawning of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  With spring training coming up, it's time to get back into shape by again playing a little pepper.

Chicago White Sox (88-74, 6 GB and second in the AL Central)

White Sox fans and Cardinal fans tend to wind up allies.  I wouldn't say they are fans of each other--with the differences in leagues, there's just not many times where the White Sox intrude upon the consciousness of Cardinal Nation.  However, as the old saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and if there's anyone that can understand the way St. Louis feels about the Cubs, it's the Sox.

My Blogs By Fans compatriot Ricky O'Donnell runs the Chicago site Tremendous Upside Potential, where he focuses on (among the other Chicago teams) the White Sox.  He's the president of the Chicago AL chapter of the BBA and can and should be followed on Twitter.

After the jump, we talk about the upcoming season, including what to expect out of Jake Peavy.

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Playing Pepper 2010: Chicago White Sox

Posted on February 24, 2010 at 2:37 PM
Last year before the season began, I posed five questions to a blogger for each team, so as to get to know the rest of baseball.  I focus so heavily on the Cardinals that sometimes the rest of MLB can pass me by.  That went very well, so much so that it spawned not only a postseason edition but was part of the impetus for the formation of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

So this year, I've brought 
Playing Pepper back, with a little bit of a twist.  Instead of five questions, I posed 10 questions, and this year every team got the same set.  Plus, tapping into those BBA connections, I sent them to every blogger representing that team in the BBA.

We'll try to do two a day in a general alphabetical order, but things may change depending on responses.


Chicago White Sox
2009 Finish: 79-83, third in the AL Central

The White Sox had an up and down year last year, making headlines with the acquisition of Jake Peavy but finishing 7 1/2 games out in a weak division.  Ricky from Tremendous Upside Potential was kind enough to give us a look at the coming season for Chicago.
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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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