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The Biggest Spring Training Game

Posted on March 5, 2009 at 9:43 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
It's really hard to have a big spring training game.  The stakes are as low as they get, as I'm pretty sure players don't even bet steak dinners on the outcome.  (Better not--I hear that's how Pete Rose got started.)  Your B and C squad get a lot of playing time in most of the games.  Pitchers are trying something new, not caring if it gets hit to or over the wall.  You just have a low-stress, who-cares type of attitude about these games.

So when an All-Star team from the Dominican rolls into town, people sit up and take notice.  The difference from facing the Mets scrubs to facing a lineup of David Ortiz, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez.  The buzz factor has increased by about 100.

Our resident Dominican, Albert Pujols, won't be playing in this game.  No need to worry about loyalties or getting too excited in what still is a spring training exhibition.  (Does this one count on the spring training records?)  I'm sure AP will have a lot of fun cheering for both sides.

Todd Wellemeyer gets his second start of the spring.  He knows it'll be a good test for him.

"I'll kind of know where I stand," said Wellemeyer. "I'm going to be seeing the best of a lot of teams' guys. It will be cool to face them this early in the year."
We may have a pretty good feel for how far along Wellemeyer is by the end of the afternoon.

The off day also gave writers a chance to ruminate on the struggles of top prospect Colby Rasmus. There's no doubt it looks like Rasmus is really forcing things, which comes as a surprise after last year's strong spring.  He had more of an opportunity to make the squad this year than last, which would seem to mean less pressure to be perfect.  Hopefully he'll be able to make adjustments and have a strong kick to the spring finish line.

On the lefty front, it appears that the Cards might not be all that excited about any of the guys after Trever Miller.  They are reportedly kicking the tires on some of the lefties still out there, now that prices are dropping.  It'd be pretty impressive if they were able to get Will Ohman after waiting this long.

Today I'm kicking off a project and I hope that all of you will help me with it.  I was listening to ESPN Radio a couple of days ago and the host was talking about "approval ratings" for players.  How he gave a certain basketball player a 90% because of what he did on the court but that certain tendencies (like flopping or acting) drug it down a little bit.

I want to take that concept into Cardinal Nation.  What is your approval rating on certain Cardinals?  There are two things to take into account when you are coming up with your number.  Weight them however you want, of course.  There's nothing objective about this exercise.

The first part is, of course, their play on the field.  I imagine most of you would give Albert Pujols a 95 or higher on that part of his rating.  Maybe his baserunning drives it down from 100 for you, though, or maybe he pops up too much for your taste.

The second part is your impression of them off the field.  Some of you may have had contact with them and that influences your rating.  Perhaps you ran into Pujols on a surly day, so you'd give him a 50 on his personal aspect of the rating because that's always lingered with you and shaded how you look at him.

Put them together and maybe AP gets an 85 in your book.

I'm going to be doing this for a few days (however long there is interest) with a player or Cardinal figure each day.  We won't start with Pujols--I think those scores might be more uniform than others.  Let's start with the manager, Tony LaRussa.

You can put your score (with explanation, if you want) in the comments here.  I'm also planning a thread at CardsClubhouse and a FanPost at VEB, so either of those spots will be acceptable as well.  I'll average all the scores and present Cardinal Nation's approval rating of the manager in this space tomorrow!

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4 Comments | Leave a comment

It's no secret that I respect, admire, and yes, even love TLR, so he starts out pretty well. I have no problem with his loyalty to Big Mac, and I won't even mention the (cough) incident (and I'm sure you know what I mean). I do have to take off points for the Ozzie Smith factor and then a few more points for the Anthony Reyes factor, but I'll throw a few more back on for the amazing work his Animal Rescue Foundation does.

Grand Total = 90

Ugh. Tony La Russa is, without a doubt, my all-time least favorite Cardinal. Listing all the reasons why is just going to angry up the blood. Check the number on his back for my approval rating for him.

I like Sarah's thinking on this one. Starting from where she left off, I think we have to consider why Tony was brought in - a high-profile, successful manager to guide the Cardinals into the World Series - and look at his playoff record.

NLDS - 20-5 (ridiculous)
NLCS - 15-22 (2 pennants in 6 tries)
WS - 4-5 (1 title in 2 tries)

At least he's improved in the LCS, winning two of the last three times the team has played. But seven post season appearances and 1 WS title? I he takes a hit for that.

Total: 84

TLR should have books written about him already, plain and simple. Jeff is free to speak his opinion, but the Cards wouldn't have the title in 06 without their manager.

He is tough to get along with (Edmonds), downright spiteful at times (Rolen), and not easy to win over (Reyes). But truth be told, we love him for that.

Why do I love him? TLR is just like the rest of us -- flawed. He reminds me of a Wild West gunfighter, sticking to his views no matter what and quick to pull the trigger if you cross him.

I will be sad to see him go because that will be another chapter of St. Louis history that closes. Much like this years' projected win total -- Tony gets an 87

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David Freese (1)
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Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
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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)

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%)

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%)

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%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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