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The Parting Of The Ways

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 9:00 AM
The Doctor: Rose Tyler. I was going to take you to so many places. Barcelona! Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona. You'd love it, fantastic place! They've got dogs with no noses! Imagine how many times a day you end up telling that joke and it's still funny! 
Rose: Then... why can't we go? 
The Doctor: Maybe you will. And maybe I will. But not like this. 
Rose: You're not making sense. 
The Doctor: I might never make sense again! I might have two heads, or no head. Imagine me with no head, ha! And don't say that's an improvement... But it's a bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you're going to end up with.
Almost five and a half years ago, I shut down my initial foray into blogging over at Wordpress and joined up here on the Blogs By Fans network.  I was excited to join up on a network with a number of great blogs and interesting writers and thought this might increase my exposure somewhat.  There's no doubt that it has or that the people behind BBF, especially Brian, have been incredible.  If it wasn't for a new opportunity, I'd have likely been here for a much more extended time.

However, change comes to us all, even those that aren't necessarily the biggest proponents of it.  For years, Nick from Pitchers Hit Eighth and I have kicked around the idea of getting some Cardinal blogs under the same banner.  Not to combine the blogs, per se, because everyone should keep their individuality, but to have them all in the same location so it's easier for people to read five or six different writers.  No need to hit this site, then this site, then this site to find out what a lot of Cardinal fans are thinking.

We never quite got the mechanics figured out, but we never completely dropped the idea.  Then, in February, Padres Public opened and we saw how it was supposed to be done.  One big umbrella with all the different blogs huddled under it.  You want to read just Padres Trail?  There's a URL for that.  Each blog was its own spot, but the main page gave you all the posts in the fashion of a megablog.  There was some general framework hooking them together, but each voice retained its individuality.

After seeing that, Nick and I started working on adapting that concept to the Cardinal blogosphere.  Today, we are proud to announce The Cardinal Conclave, bringing together a number of the bloggers you are already familiar with in one central location.  I'd list them all, but I'd rather you head over to the site and see.  I'm extremely proud of the people involved and excited to see what we can do in the future.

That does mean a change for me, though.  Starting today, you'll find me at the Conclave instead of this old home place.  You can find C70 At The Bat directly or read my posts in the main feed at the front page.  Likely by time you are reading this I've already written about this past weekend, assigning Heroes and Goats to the games against the Giants.  Be sure to read my introductory post, though, because it pairs well with this one.  So change your bookmarks and your RSS feeder.

Just like The Doctor, this change doesn't do anything but put a new face on what you are used to.  I've written over 1700 posts between the first two locations and that history goes with me, even if the posts are staying here.  You'll still find Playing Pepper and Exit Interviews and Heroes and Goats and UCB projects and crazy parodies.  Nothing is changing there.  The face may be different, but the history lives on.

I thank all of my readers for their support and hope that you'll follow me along with this new incarnation.  While the latter half of The Ninth Doctor's final words (and yes, given that this is going to be my third location, I really should be using the transition from David Tennant to Matt Smith, but I'm only at the beginning of Season 4 of the modern Who and I don't know how that scene goes and I'm not willing to spoil myself for this conceit) may not be all that accurate, the first part definitely is.  See you on the flip side!

Rose: Can't you do something? 
The Doctor: Yeah. I'm doing it now. Time Lords, we have this little trick. It's sort of a way of cheating death. Except... it means I'm going to change. And I'm not going to see you again... Not like this. Not with this daft old face. And before I go-- 
Rose: Don't say that! 
The Doctor: Rose... before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? [Pause] So was I!

Product Review: BiGR Headphones

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 7:39 PM
headphones.jpgI'm not really a music person.  Sure, I listen to some here and there (though very little that has come out in the last, oh, decade) but it's never been a big thing to me.  I can go weeks without listening to any.

I'm also not a huge headphones guy.  I tried some earbuds with my iPhone and those seemed to work out well, but larger headphones just always seemed to be uncomfortable or a pain to deal with.  (After my earbuds went out, I went and got some Yoda ones, but those didn't work as well as I'd like.  Something about Yoda's pointy ears didn't work so much with my ear canal.  Who knew?)

So when I got the email from BiGR to try out their Cardinal headphones, I thought I might as well give it a shot.  I mean, pretty much if they slap a Cardinal logo and offer to give it to me for free, I'm going to try it out.  I'm a sucker like that.

Yesterday, the box arrived.  Which is really what you notice first.  The case for the headphones is so impressive, with the Cardinal logo on a diamond on the top and the STL logo on the front that it makes you want to put valuable Cardinal stuff inside it, like a Stan Musial bobblehead or an autographed baseball.  It's very nice and shows right off the bat just how much of a quality product this is.

That's not to say the headphones aren't worthy of being in the box, because they definitely are.  I plugged them into my Kindle Fire yesterday and tried out a couple of my favorite songs, Adele's "I'll Be Waiting" (which long-time close readers will remember me mangling at the beginning of the season) and Marc Cohn's classic "Walking In Memphis."  I also watched a video clip through MLB At Bat and played one of my baseball apps with them in.

I've always been of the belief that headphones don't really make that much of a different.  Apparently, that's because I've never had really decent headphones.  I've listened to both of those songs numerous times but seemed to be able to pick out subtleties in the background that I hadn't noticed before.  The sound was crisp and clear and didn't leak out of the headphones at all, as far as I could tell.  (My family was around at the time and didn't say anything about hearing the music, in any case.)  There were sound effects from the baseball app that I'd never heard out of the Fire's actual speakers, which just added to the game experience.

(To tell on myself, I also tried them in my iPhone and initially was puzzled when the music sounded strange.  Most of the songs I tried, the background tracks were dominant and the lead track could barely be heard.  After fiddling around with settings and everything to no avail, I realized that apparently I hadn't gotten them plugged into the jack all the way.  Once I took care of that, the same quality of experience came through the phone as well.)

If you are an audiophile, you may have a good set of headphones but, if you don't, these should be definitely on your list.  This is now the time to buy as well, because instead of being their normal $149, they are marked down for a limited time to $49 (plus shipping).  For $50, even a guy like me would think about picking them up, if I didn't already have this set.  To get the discount, put in the code bigrcards in the box on the bottom right after you've added them to your cart.  Easy enough, right?

A quality product with your team's logo on it.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

BTW, while you are getting this for Christmas, remember to head over to Burton History Trees and preorder your Cardinal tree as well.  c70 gets you 10% off your entire order!

Good News For My Readers (Both Of You!)

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM
A regular post looking at the weekend will be up later on, but I wanted to go ahead and make a scheduling announcement.

Every year, my vacation consists of a trip to Ohio, where my wife grew up, to see her family and nowadays let the grandparents see the grandkids.  The first year of this blog (and I can't believe that I let the three year anniversary of this place get past me), Mike from Stan Musial's Stance was nice enough to write both here and his blog during that time.  Last year, I just let the blog sit quiet while I was gone.

This year, I've tapped into some of my connections in the United Cardinal Bloggers and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance to bring you what I think will be quality coverage during my time away.  Honestly, I'm pretty excited to read all the posts myself!

This Friday, July 30, Bill from i70baseball will kick it all off.  Bill's a member of the UCB as well as the BBA and you've probably heard him in his role as part of the UCB Radio Hour.  i70baseball is now starting its third week and is going strong, with the website and its own podcast.

Friday afternoon, we'll have the first of our series previews.  Brian from Raise the Jolly Roger! will be looking at the weekend tilt between the Cardinals and the Pirates.  RTJR is a quality Pirates site and Brian should be able to give us an unique perspective on that three-game matchup.

A week from today is actually my 35th birthday, so it's another day of double posting here at CATB.  First off, Joe Teterault from the BBA blog Teterault Vision will be taking the outsider's view of the NL Central race after the trading deadline has passed.  I look forward to seeing what Joe's opinion is on one of the tightest races in baseball.

Monday afternoon, our friend James from Astros County will stop by and give us the preview of the Houston/St. Louis series.  I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion about Roy Oswalt, whether a trade is made or not.

Tuesday, we'll continue with the NL Central theme as Shawn, another friend of this blog that writes regularly at Cincinnati Reds Blog, will venture into enemy territory to give his perspective on the pennant race.  I'm sure he'll discuss what has to go right for the Reds to stay alive, what worries him about the Cardinals, various things of that nature.

Wednesday, Mike Lynch from the incredibly well-respected blog Seamheads will be in charge.  Mike plans to talk about Austin McHenry, a outfielder on the Cardinal teams back in the early twenties who died during his playing career.  Always good to get a dose of Cardinal history, as rich as it is.

Thursday, Bill will get a second dose of guest blogging, most likely talking about whatever has happened that week and hopefully about a good long winning streak that the Redbirds are on.

The last day of the guest bloggers is another great one.  Friday morning will have Erik Manning, well-known throughout the Cardinal internet universe for his founding of Future Redbirds and his work at many places, including Play A Hard 9.  Whatever Erik will be discussing, it'll be good and backed up with quality stat work.

Our guests wrap up with the last of our previews.  Michael from Marlin Maniac will be breaking down the in-season matchup of the Feathers and Fins spring training rivalry.  There might even be some Josh Johnson vs. Adam Wainwright for Cy Young discussion....the pitching matchups don't go out that far, but if those two match up, it better be on Saturday or Sunday when I am home to see it.

I hope that you will enjoy the talented writers that will be filling this space during my absence.  I also hope you'll come back to this talentless hack when I return with a minimum of complaining!

Reflections On Our Military

Posted on July 2, 2010 at 3:22 AM
I have to admit, most of the time I don't give a lot of thought to the military. I don't come from a military family. My father was in ROTC in college, but that was the extent of it. I'm an accountant, which doesn't often come up in the same sentence as Armed Services. (Though I remember a part in an old Family Ties episode where the recruiter tried to get Alex into the Airborne Accountants, who were to drop behind enemy lines and foul up the enemy's books.)

While I have friends that have served, both in the active military and in the National Guard, it's not something that is part of my every day life. So when Fox Sports Midwest started advertising their "This One's For You" game, coming up tonight when the Cardinals take on the Brewers, it gave me an opportunity to really reflect on what that service really means.

Don't expect anything too deep, of course. Still, thinking through the cliches is something that needs to be done at times. 

The sacrifice that these men and women make is mind-boggling, when you think about the return. Even at the least, they spend so much time away from their family and friends, going to foreign lands, both relatively safe and highly dangerous. Even when they are in the United States, training can keep them away from the ones they love as well. I know how much looking forward to going home to see my wife and kids at the end of the day means, so to be away from them for so long would be devastating. 

Which, of course, doesn't even begin to factor in the deadly peril that they go through so often. How do they make the rounds in Iraq, knowing that just driving down the road could be the last thing that they do? Just the regular, everyday routine carries the undertone of finality to it. 

And why? Why do they do this? For people that they love, but also for people that they never will meet. 

When you think about what we do, what we complain about, why can we do that? Because so many someones are willing to sacrifice all that they have to make sure we have that freedom. I spend time on this website talking about the Cardinals, getting worked up about who bats second and what aged veteran gets picked up. And yet, when you really look at it, what does it matter? We have the freedom to get worked up on the minor details of life because we've got these men and women taking care of the big stuff. 

So, to all of those that have served and to all of those that serve now, to those at home and those abroad, we send you our respect and gratitude. Enjoy the game tonight and thank you for all that you do.

Book Review: High Heat

Posted on April 16, 2010 at 11:28 PM
As I've said before, there's little better than getting a free book.  Normally, my requests for a review of a book come through this site.  However, I received one a while back in my capacity as founder and head of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and, since we didn't have a policy on how to handle that among our 150 or so members, I exercised my prerogative and snatched it up.

This time, it was a dandy of a book called High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time.  (As a side note, does anyone remember when books just had titles, instead of colons and subtitles?  Seems like nobody nowadays is content with just a snappy title, they've got to go explain the whole thing.  Back to our story.)  Tim Wendel sets out to tell the story about the fastball and the guys that have thrown in the hardest over the course of major league history.

It's not just an academic study, though.  Wendel takes you to Cooperstown as he searches through materials there, to Alabama and Dr. James Andrews' motion study lab, and various other places, weaving the stories of the hardest flamethrowers throughout the narrative.

As Wendel notes more than once, it's difficult to get a grasp on who was the fastest pitcher ever.  For one thing, the fact that there was no accurate way to get a reading on pitchers in olden times, back when at least legend indicates there were a number of hard throwers, means it's not as simple as taking radar gun readings across the years.  By the end of the book, Wendel also seems to shift from the more empirical "fastest" to the more subjective "best," as in which pitcher got the most out of the gift they were given.

Not only the success stories are noted in this book but also those tantalizing possibilities of what might have been.  The major story in that vein is the legend, as it were, of Steve Dulkowski.  Dulkowski was one of the hardest throwers ever, according to eyewitnesses, but he never made the big leagues due to his lack of control.  I'm not talking about just missing the corners, either.  You know Bull Durham?  One of the things I learned is that some of Nuke LaLoosh was based on Dulkowski, especially the wildness.  If Dulkowski could have ever harnessed his fastball, he might have been a Hall of Famer.  His wildness (both on and off the field) kept that from him, however.

Wendel hits all the points, from the first (Amos Rusie) to the most current (Stephen Strasberg), from the fictional (Sidd Finch) to the medical (Tommy John).  He lists out his top 12 at the end of the book, but I won't spoil the fun of finding that out here.  It's not a perfect book--at times the transitions are a little jarring, as you aren't sure what the connection between John and Satchel Paige is, and as a Cardinal fan I could have used a lot more discussion and talk about Bob Gibson--but overall it is a very fun, informative, and enjoyable read, a book worthy to be added to your baseball bookshelf.

Fathead

Posted on April 16, 2010 at 5:01 PM
This isn't a post directed toward any of the bullpen members.  I've not lost my basic sense of civility and started throwing around names.

No, I'm talking about these Fatheads.  When I was in the hospital four years ago, I remember seeing a ton of commercials about these wall clings that were basically large pictures of athletes.  At the time, there was a football focus, but they've branched out into other sports, into pop culture, heck, you can even get a custom one, in case you've always wanted to see what you look like bigger than life.

As you know, sometimes being a blogger pays off.  Usually it's with free books, but this time, John from Smile.ly, who are working with the people at Fathead, swapped a Fathead Jr. (player TBA, but I'm hoping for Pujols) for a little face time on the blog.

If you've ever thought about getting one of these, now really is a great time.  Here are some codes for you:

SML15C: That will get you 15% off of selected Fathead products.  The large Fatheads are a bit pricey for those of us with limited means, so getting 15% off is a great deal.

SMLSHP: This one will get your Fathead shipped to you at no additional cost.  Free shipping is always good, right?

They are even giving away a free Fathead Jr. every day for the rest of April.  If you want in on that, click here and sign up.

Those are some pretty big odds, though, on getting one.  While I'd recommend signing up over there as well, I can also help you out if you are willing to take the luck of the draw.

John has offered to send a Fathead Jr. to one of my readers as well.  I'm guessing that yours would be taken from the same group of players that mine will be, a group that includes AP, David Wright, Derek Jeter and Chase Utley.  So my e-mail address is in the contact info above.  If you e-mail me your address, I will put your name in a drawing for the free Fathead Jr.  What do you have to lose?  If you get a guy you can't stand, I bet you can find a friend that would be willing to discuss terms with you.

I'll hold the drawing Monday night, so your e-mail needs to be in my box by 7:00 PM Central Monday.  Good luck to you!

New Digs, Same Stuff

Posted on January 28, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Welcome to the new place! 

Some of you are coming over from the Wordpress blog, having read me some the last few months.  Glad to see you.  I hope you’ll feel as at home here as you did over there and make it a daily stop.

Probably a number of you are coming from one of my fine neighbors here on the Blogs by Fans network.  Nice to meet you!  Let me tell you a little about myself.

I’m a 32-year-old CPA in Arkansas, married to a wonderfully tolerant woman (which gets tested yearly between March and October) and have two kids, a three-year-old son who is really starting to get into baseball and an eight-month-old daughter who doesn’t realize she’ll be really into baseball in a year or so.  Besides this blog, you can find me in an administrative capacity over at CardsClubhouse, either moderating the forums, organizing the fantasy baseball leagues or creating YNOT games.

I recently documented how I came to be a Cardinals fan, but the short version is I really grew up in the tradition and very glad that I did.  And, as is typical in Cardinal Nation, I’m passing that down the line as well.

What will you find here?

Well, I’m not really a sabermetrician.  I’ll do a few things with stats now and again, but you won’t see a lot of VORP or things like that.  I know there’s a lot of value to those stats, but I’m not quite hip enough to keep up.

I don’t have any inside sources.  You don’t run into too many people connected to the Cardinals down here.  (Though, interestingly, I used to have a couple of ties to the assistant trainer of the Cardinals.  He’s now the Cubs head trainer.)

All I’ve got is my view on what’s happening.  A lot of reaction, a decent bit of second guessing, maybe a little predicting.  I also head up the United Cardinal Bloggers and we, from time to time, do a blogging project.  In fact, one is scheduled for Thursday, so stay tuned for that.

I hope you’ll like what you see and will come back often.  I’m glad to be part of the neighborhood, so to speak, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things go in the future.

Spanning the Globe, AL Style

Posted on January 25, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Yesterday, we took a tour around the National League. Today, let's hit the junior circuit.

  Continue Reading

Spanning the Globe, NL Style

Posted on January 24, 2008 at 11:43 AM

One of the great things about having XM radio is being able to hear other teams' broadcasts, getting a general idea of what the fans in that market are thinking about (plus, of course, all the great voices!) Thanks to the internet, we can do that daily. The next couple of days, we'll take a look at each team that doesn't play in St. Louis. I'll have a blog link and a newspaper link, with a little discussion tossed in there as well. Blogs, for the most part, come from the team lists at striketwo.net.

And, without further adieu, let's look around the National League:

  Continue Reading

Reader Interaction Post #1: Why Are You a Cards Fan?

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 6:06 PM


With the general slowness of the offseason, it seemed like a good time to find out about the people that read this blog.  If you’ve not commented before, this would be a great time to start.  I think you will find it’s a fairly easy and painless process. 


The question before you is why are you a Cardinals fan?  How did you come to follow the Redbirds?  (This, of course, assumes that most of the readership of the blog is a fan of the team from St. Louis.  If you are fans of another team, feel free to substitute their name and tell that story.) 


My first real baseball memory isn’t of the Cardinals, but of the Detroit Tigers.  My family visited my aunt and uncle that were living outside of Detroit in 1984 and we went to see a game at the old Tiger Stadium.  I remember that fall watching those same Tigers win the World Series. 


However, in this area, it’s tough not to be a Cardinal fan.  I remember in 1985, we had just moved into a new house and the cable had yet to be hooked up, so my dad stood in the kitchen listening to the Cards and Royals on the radio.  I also remember being very disappointed the morning after Game 7 when the DJ on the radio said, “This one is for Whitey Herzog” and played “Goin’ to Kansas City.” 


This is Cardinal country, mainly due to the fact that St. Louis is the closest baseball team, the fact that KMOX helped raise a generation of fans that are passing it down to their offspring, and the fact that the Cardinals usually win.  When I really started following baseball, it was 1987 and the Cards were going to the Series for the second time in three years. 


I latched on to Ozzie as my favorite player, followed by Big Mac (who I followed while he was in Oakland as well) and now Albert.  Somewhere along the way I got onto message boards and now into blogging about the team.  It’s been a gradual transformation and there’s no one definitive moment in my fandom, but it’s been fun all along the way. 


And it’s a lot of fun to have my son very excited about baseball and the Cardinals already as well! 


So that’s me.  How about 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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