Posted on January 18, 2012 at 7:59 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
Personally, I'm not a fan of this administration but for the second time in just about a year, I found myself watching the official White House feed. As much as it was great to see Stan Musial up there last year--a fact the president referred to in his remarks--this was a little better because it was solely focused on the Redbirds. It was fun to see the players and hear what the president had to say.
Plus, the first lady admitted she was a Cub fan, and anytime you can twist that knife just a little bit, it has to be a good day.
I thought it was an interesting tidbit that they confiscated the baseballs the players had brought for the president to sign, noting that they were projectiles. It seems a little extreme, but then again, you did have Chris Carpenter there. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of his fastball!
Of course, a few players didn't make it. There was no Albert Pujols, which was not surprising--can't imagine how awkward that would have been for the team and for Pujols, who would have been besieged by the media--or Tony La Russa. Adam Wainwright didn't go, most likely as he was working out and probably because he didn't feel like he should, since he never was on the roster last year. Ryan Theriot missed as well, again I'd think because of the uncomfortableness of having to sit next to the guy that cut him from the team.
You noticed Edwin Jackson went, though, and I can't blame him at all. He's not signed anywhere, so he has no loyalty to another organization, and he's been around a while. He knows that it's not every player that gets to make this trip. I'd have definitely gone if I were him. Heck, if I were Theriot I might have dealt with the tension and gone anyway!
Leave it to Matt Holliday
to put it into a great quote: "Let's do this again next year"
Before the team went to the White House, though, they made time to visit the wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital
. In one of those "small world" type of encounters, Sgt. Justin Griffin made sure to find
, since they had attended the same St. Louis high school. Freese Tweeted out a picture
of their meeting later on and there's no doubt the whole experience was memorable for both sides of that equation.
Like Lance Berkman
said, this is "life-altering stuff" and the players seemed to get a new perspective on those that serve in the military and the sacrifices that they make for our freedom. I'm sure that the soldiers really got a kick out of seeing the players come through, especially those that were Cardinal fans.
It could be stated that John Mozeliak is a workaholic. I mean, most GMs would have just enjoyed the day, soaked up the experience, just kinda kicked back on this trip. Instead, as I noted yesterday in posting the press release, Mozeliak got work done on the trip by signing Kyle McClellan
to a contract, avoiding the arbitration process with him. Mozeliak actually got the deal done on the bus to Walter Reed, which is just got to be one of those legendary things about Mo that we'll talk about years from now. (Granted, it'd have more lasting power if it was more than extending a middle reliever, but it's still a good story!)
Kevin may link to this when he writes more about talking with McClellan, but you can see some of his interaction with the media at Winter Warm-Up over here
. At least in public, McClellan is saying all the right things and appears to want to stay in St. Louis. Mozeliak also said over the weekend that they expected to keep him, so at least for now it seems that McClellan will be wearing the birds on the bat in 2012.
is the last arbitration guy out there and you'd expect the two sides will come to some sort of deal before they have to go to a hearing. The Cards always avoid the hearings, not having had one in over a decade.
Also, if you are into the fantasy side of baseball or other sports, check out The Fantasy Sideline Show
. I know Dennis through various organizations and he wanted me to pass this along, noting that they are just outside the top 20 on iTunes and would love some ratings if anyone was so inclined. (Of course, if you are going to rate that one, would you mind rating and commenting on this one
Lots of things will be coming down the pipe as we get closer to spring training. Those that have read here for a long time know that there are a couple of traditional things we do and I'm making plans to have those happen again. Until then, stay warm and keep counting the days until February 18!
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