Granted, it wasn't the result that Cardinal fans were hoping for to kick off the spring, but just seeing those columns and rows is a beautiful thing.
It's easy to want to draw sweeping conclusions from one game, but being that the regulars only got a couple of at-bats and the ninth inning rally came off of a couple of guys unlikely to be in the bigs this year, it's not exactly a representative sample yet. It was good to see them get off the mat and appear to have that same "until the last out" mentality that we saw a lot down the stretch last season, but 1) grain of salt and 2) I remember 2010 (I believe) where the team rallied often to seemingly always put the tying run on base in the ninth, only to fall short. In other words, even if it means something, you'd have your choices of what it means.
So the Cards fell to the Marlins 4-3 in the first "feathers and fins" game of the spring. It's not like the Redbirds won't have many other chances to avenge that, as they play their stadium co-tenants often. Is there anything we can take out of this game?
Well, for the most part, Kyle Lohse looked pretty good. If it hadn't been for Greg Dobbs he'd have thrown two scoreless with a couple of strikeouts, which is a nice way to start the spring. It was also good to see that the command idea that Dave Duncan had preached is still in place, as the Cardinal pitchers only walked one batter all day long. We also got to hear (if you were able to listen to the KMOX broadcast) some of the young prospects get into the game, guys like Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal, and they all pitched well also. If it wasn't for Brandon Dickson having a hiccup, this would have been a closer game for most of the way.
Offensively, Carlos Beltran got his first swings in Cardinal red, but went 0-3. Not having a hit wasn't limited to Beltran, though, as the hitters only managed six hits, three of them in the last frame. If you want to be upbeat, you could say the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point in the spring. I don't know if that's true or not, but we'll go with it. Plus the Marlins did start Josh Johnson, which is usually a tough task, though they were able to get to him a little in the second before Wade LeBlanc snuffed out the rally.
Lohse seemed to be pleased with his outing. He's also able this spring, since he doesn't really have to worry about his arm for the first time in a while, to break out a new curveball and have a chance to experiment with that. Anything that can add a wrinkle to a batter/pitcher confrontation is a good thing, at least when you are the pitcher.
No Lance Berkman in the lineup yesterday, giving Matt Adams a little time in the spotlight. Adams got a hit in three at-bats before giving way to Mark Hamilton. He's going to be an interesting guy to watch this spring. He won't go to St. Louis, but if he does well enough he could be in the mix for a callup if an injury occurs.
The Cardinals made some news off the field yesterday, announcing that Robert Stock, drafted as a catcher a couple of years ago, was going to follow the Jason Motte career path and start pitching. Stock's bat has never really come around and many people think he'd be more successful on the mound. It is interesting that Mike Matheny was one of the people that wanted to keep him behind the plate the last couple of years, but he was the one who had to let Stock know of the switch. Hopefully he'll take to that quickly and be another great pitching prospect in the organization.
Before I get to the approval ratings, Chris Jaffe always has fun historical stuff to read and today is no exception. Fifty years ago today St. Louis passed the bond measure that led to the creation of Busch Stadium II. Also on this date in 1923, the Cards announced that players will wear numbers for the first time. Which means this is a very special day for the Joe Sports Fan guys, as that obviously led to jersey personalization and you know what that means to them.
We are reaching the end of the approval ratings, just a couple more days to go. Today's player happens to be yesterday's starting pitcher, Kyle Lohse. Lohse has had a mixed relationship with the fan base due to his injuries and his inability to live up to the contract given to him. However, last year was a much more successful year, so will we see a jump in his ratings?
It doesn't seem like there's much outpouring of support for Lohse. He reached a high of 95, but that was his only mark above 85. A lot of middling scores (and a couple of low scores, including one 0) left him with a score of 68.9%. However, that's 13 points higher than last year and his highest score since the spring of '09, so obviously last year did have an impact.
Our media subject of the day is B.J. Rains. Rains, who is the son of St. Louis media member Rob Rains, is one of the younger members on the beat and, at times, you can tell that. The other media members have been known to tease him, whether kiddingly or not, on Twitter about various foibles. Does he have a better reputation among the voters?
A lot of voters didn't have any opinion, but among the ones that did, Rains rated a 69.5%, which is just a tick less than what he did last year. There's plenty of time for him to grow in stature or in the impressions of the fan base, however.
Our final selection is the final time we'll put our opinions down about the former manager, Tony La Russa. There's no doubt that TLR stirred up a lot of debate during his time here and opinions of him varied widely. However, he went out with his second World Series title in five years, so that has to count for something, right?
It must. TLR wound up with 11 perfect scores and tallied a 88.2% total rating. That is easily the highest he's ever had in these surveys and almost 18 points higher than it was last year. Tony's tenure might have been interesting, but it definitely was appreciated by the fans.
Cards and Mets today. Going to be a good day, because there's baseball!
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball