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Standing For Stan

Posted on November 18, 2010 at 8:10 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
The Associated Press doesn't quite get it.

In their story about the Presidential Medal of Freedom winners, their description of Stan Musial is "a Hall of Fame first baseman/outfielder who played 22 seasons for the Cardinals."

Stan Musial is so much more than that.

Not surprisingly, even though he is being honored on a national level, you really have to get into St. Louis to understand the special relationship Stan has with the city and the fanbase.  As I said last night on the UCB Radio Hour, almost every athlete has some sort of negative. They couldn't do this, they were money hungry, they held out, they were a jerk this one time when someone met them.  Almost everyone, but not Stan.

The stories about Stan, from regular people to players that he played with and against, all glow with love for The Man.  Joe Posnanski's Sports Illustrated cover article from this summer shows the reverence and high esteem he is held in.

Bernie writes today about the love Cardinal Nation has for Stan The Man.  As much as Albert Pujols is beloved in this town, as much as he's done for St. Louis, I don't think he could ever top Stan in the hearts of the fans.  That's no slight against Pujols, don't get me wrong, more that it's a different era.  When people start earning tens, hundreds of millions of dollars, the connection is not going to be as strong.  That financial aspect is always going to tinge the thoughts of the fans.  Even if AP signed a huge discount (which, due to the union, he probably couldn't do even if he wanted to), he's not going to have the same connection with the fans that Stan does.

When I was working on naming the Baseball Blogger Alliance awards this summer, trying to figure out which players I wanted to assign to which awards, I knew only one thing--Stan Musial was going to be honored in some way.  I thought it most appropriate that he'd be our MVP, because if the consistency and values that Musial brought to the game were applied by everyone, just imagine how much better off we'd be.

Stan joins Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Buck O'Neil, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson on the list of ballplayers that have been so honored.   If you are looking for a top tier of baseball, that'd be it.

There are a few other Cardinal stories out there as well.  As expected, Jose Oquendo will not be managing the Mets.  I'm still from the school of thought that perhaps it's best that Oquendo get some MLB managing experience elsewhere before taking over in St. Louis, but it's always nice to have the Secret Weapon around.

JC Bradbury has a blog post out saying he expects that Pujols could be the first $40 million man.  While I understand where he's coming from in that projection, I don't think it's possible. AP is extremely valuable, but he's more valuable to St. Louis than just about anyone else given his ties to the community.  I can't imagine that ownership is going to destroy the current payroll scale by blowing out the top end.  Could it be $30?  Perhaps, but I don't see $40 happening at all.

Also, the team is looking to hedge its bets on David Freese's health.  The more I hear his name, the more I'm convinced the Cardinals are going to sign Miguel Tejada to a bench role.  Hopefully, unlike Felipe Lopez, he'd stay there and back up both Freese and Brendan Ryan.

Of course, if the Mets actually are looking to move Jose Reyes, that would have to be a tempting proposition.  He'd only be a rental, being a free agent that the Cards would have to let walk at the end of the year (but likely getting draft picks in return).  He's "only" $11 million for next season.  He'd be the perfect leadoff man, plus he'd fit in at second base.  Problem is what the Cards would have to give up to get him.  I don't think a Francisco Samuel/Steven Hill/Jon Jay package, something that probably would have gotten Dan Uggla, would go as far with the Mets.  Then again, it's a new man in charge, so we'll have to see.

Probably won't be back in this space until the beginning of next week, so have a wonderful weekend!

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1 Comment | Leave a comment


I agree. Stan Musial should get more than kind of recognition.

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