Woo-hoo…I haven’t laughed at a Strauss this hard since Stanislas “Animal” Kasava danced with Harry “Sugar Lips” Shapiro! #stalaugh17
Joe Strauss @JoeStrauss
District in meltdown. Mention Natitude and it’s as if someone shook the hive. #NotMyMarketingCampaign
Now, this is funny, because apparently a few Nats fans got angry at Strauss or something. And by writing “#NotMyMarketingCampaign,” Strauss here signifies that he did not, in fact, come up with Natitude. Meaning he’s zeroing in on the real target: the sports-marketing employees in the Washington front office who came up with Natitude, employees whose hands could never be washed clean of this villainy merely through the deft use of a hashtag.
Joe Strauss @JoeStrauss
It’s pretty bad when you’re accused of going negative by merely citing a team’s record (34-35) and run diff (-30). #NoRepresentation
Now, I’m going to let you figure out for yourself why this is funny, while I go over and lunge into a cement wall 10 or 20 times, because heaven knows I don’t care what some random person from St. Louis writes about the Nats on Twitter, and you sure don’t care, and he doesn’t care, because no one living in St. Louis could possibly care about the marketing slogan of a Washington baseball team in the middle of June, unless that person were actually drowning in several tons of the gloppy tapioca pudding of despair, so starved for angry human reaction that he must taunt a Twitter account purporting to represent the beard of a D.C. ballplayer late at night, but if that’s the case, then what does it all say about the sportswriter/blogger person from half a continent away who takes the time and energy to recognize and sort of winkingly respond to these comments that no one cared about in the first place, and Oh Mercy it might never end if someone else responds with similar weariness, although that would require an energy level that this debate could not possibly inspire, because it isn’t even a debate. It’s just nothing. A vast expanse of nothingness.
Before Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter took the field Thursday and offered examples of why he may be back at Citi Field next month as an All-Star, manager Mike Matheny stumped for the second baseman with an even higher title.
“He has established himself as the best second baseman in the league,” Matheny said. “The rest of the baseball world is overlooking what he’s been able to do offensively and defensively, all the way around. He’s been a difference-maker for us.”
A novice at the position entering spring training, Carpenter’s .327 average at second base is the second-highest in the National League and his .889 on-base-plus-slugging-percentage (OPS) is the highest among everyday second baseman at the position. According to Bill James Online, Carpenter has saved six runs this season in the field, the fourth-most at second base. Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, widely regarded as the overall best at his position and likely All-Star starter, has saved four runs.
Matheny’s advocacy went beyond his comments.
The manager wanted to give third baseman David Freese a day off Thursday, and instead of moving Carpenter back to his natural position Matheny started Daniel Descalso, a natural second baseman, at third.
“I want him to see that as a compliment that he’s made a nice transition,” Matheny said. “Defensively he took to it. He’ll outwork anybody. You take his talent and mix it with a willingness (to work) and it sets you up to have a good chance. He’s done more than we could have thought.”
Smith was hitting better than .300 in early June 1983, but his drug use was intensifying.
“I did cocaine and pot mostly and I was even starting to drink,” Smith told the Associated Press in March 1984. “That was a bad sign because my father was an alcoholic and still is. I saw what it did to him and I had stayed away from that. But avoiding alcohol left me wide open to drugs.
“I started in high school in Los Angeles … It progressively got worse. The more you do, the worse it gets.”
...On June 8, 1983, Smith went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks at Philadelphia. Boxscore Years later, in an interview with Kent Babb of The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Smith said he bought drugs after that game.
Wrote Babb: ”(Smith) holed up in his hotel room, plowed through the drugs and began a night that would chill him to the bone. Smith says he did not sleep that night; he sat on the floor, shaking and sweating as the sun rose, and was terrified he was on the edge of a fatal overdose. He did not play in the Cardinals’ game the next day, feeling nauseated in the dugout and stuffing clumps of toilet tissue into his nostrils to stop a chronic nosebleed.”
It was that day, June 9, that Smith told Herzog of his drug problem and asked for help. Babb later reported that “Smith learned he had consumed so much cocaine that he developed a large ulcer in one of his nostrils, a sign he was burning away the flesh of his nose.”
“I felt so terribly drained,” Smith said in the 1984 interview with Hal Bock of the Associated Press. “I was losing interest in everything in life.”
How is St. Louis fending off the Reds and Pirates? Grinding, says hitting coach John F. Mabry.
Mabry uses terms like “process” and “grinding” almost interchangeably. Mind-set is as important to success as technique.
Mabry knows that style carries lots of weight in a market that loves to reminisce about Whitey-ball, which was played on a rug with lots of fast guys, two elements this club no longer boasts. (Nobody in the NL has attempted fewer steals than the Cardinals’ 17.) The new mantra is lengthy at-bats, better two-strike approaches and a willingness to execute an opposite-field line drive rather than a pull-hooked crank.
“We’re not trying not to hit home runs. We’re just going about the right approach for each individual guy,” Matheny asserted. “They’re grinding at-bats. We are preaching that. The overall theme is to have tough at-bats, top to bottom. We’re not backing off. We’re trying to drive the ball deep. But that doesn’t mean when we get in a situation where we need to hit a ball hard we’re not trying to find out a way to do it.”
The only person associated with the Royals to cheer for this summer.
A recent transplant to St. Louis, Hoffmann visited a new Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which has an award for people in their UFO Club who drink 200 different beers from the menu.
The first person to complete the task receives a commemorative plate with their name on it to be placed in the establishment’s “Ring of Honor.”
Only Hoffman planned a twist.
The engraving would say Don Denkinger, whose name still evokes awful memories for Cardinal fans who haven’t gotten over losing the 1985 World Series to the Royals.
“It is definitely to get under the skin of Cardinal fans,” Hoffmann said. “One of the most common things I would hear when I told people I was moving from KC to St. Louis was: ‘At least now you can be a fan of a real baseball team’ or something to that extent.
“There is so much cockiness coming from the fans here, and putting up a Royals-themed plate just didn’t seem like it would take things far enough.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Less than a year removed from his selection in the draft, celebrated prospect Michael Wacha will make his major-league debut Thursday at Busch Stadium against the Kansas City Royals.
While it’s not nearly as easy of debut as it would have once been, this has to be one of the easiest situations they could call him up for with half the pitchers on the team having their arms falling off.
Here come Freese, he’s wearing a Cardinals shirt
Here comes Craig, y’know he’s sporting pure RBI plague
“Absolutely, I always root for them,” McGwire said Saturday. “I’ve got a lot of time invested - great times - with those guys over there.
“It was a bit funny to watch them from the other side. But they’re really great hitters. Their offense is just stacked. It’s always been but ... it’s sort of different when you’re watching from the other side.
“You just go, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ Plus they’ve got a year’s more of experience, which is deadly for them. They’re smarter, better and stronger.”
...While McGwire was anticipating a Dodgers’ offensive burst, he was happy that Craig, who leads the Cardinals with 35 runs batted in, had burst onto the national scene.
“He’s a future All-Star for many years,” McGwire said. “A pure RBI guy like that is just born. When you see his average with men on and when there aren’t men on, it’s a mentality that you can’t teach. He’s had it. He’s always had it.”
Former Cardinals outfielder Fernando Tatís once famously hit 2 Grand Slams in one inning and set a Major Leage record with 8 RBI in one frame but that may not be his biggest feat. Lately it seems that Fernando has been lighting up the world of graphic design and his all original creations are truly a sight to behold and the world needs to stand up and take notice.
Somebody is going to get traded eventually. When you have surplus in one area and a shortage in another, it’s the only sensible thing to do.
“I understand why people connect the shortstop-outfielder and on a low level find a way for that to help both teams,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Friday. “But the reality is we have just gotten to the point we wanted with our farm system — with more elite talent back and set to contribute to the major-league club. I’m not in the mood to start breaking it up.”
During spring training in 2010 as the Cardinals tried to indoctrinate fastball jockey Brad Penny into the organization’s philosophy of sink, pitching coach Dave Duncan and his staff kept a running tally for Penny’s benefit on a markerboard in the coaches’ office.
In one column, the pitching coach counted every fly ball allowed during spring, and in another all of the groundballs. Beside each was the number of extra-base hits in the air or on the ground. That number, so much higher by the fly ball totals, showed that when it came to pitches put in the air “extra bases are everywhere,” a coach said. Duncan wanted to prove to Penny, who had the game’s hottest fastball for several years and an eagerness to flex it high in the zone, the benefit of staying down, down, down.
An MRI taken of Cardinals closer Jason Motte’s right elbow on Tuesday revealed a low-grade tear of the ligament, which, if it doesn’t show improvement over the next three weeks, will require season-ending Tommy John surgery.
As we flock to Busch Stadium for the 2013 home opener, this is as good time as any to tell everyone that St. Louis is The Best Baseball Town in America.
In case you didn’t know it, we’ll be happy to repeat it. If you didn’t hear us say it the first 100,000 times, no problem. We’ll brag on it again.
And again. …
And again. …
Let’s face it: we’re baseball snobs.
The Cardinals and their fans can be annoying to outsiders. Try to view it through the eyes of the non-believers.
They see a consistently successful franchise that’s won 11 World Series and 18 NL pennants and is still going strong.
They hear the “Best Fans in Baseball” bluster.
Just the sight of that Cardinal red makes their faces turn red. It’s too much to handle.
Will Leitch — devoted Cardinals fan and contributing editor at New York magazine — described the envy last October when his favorite team upset the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series.
“The rest of the world, to my astoundment, hates the Cardinals,” Leitch wrote on the Sports on Earth blog. “The rest of the world was cheering for the young, likable, fiery Washington Nationals, with their superstar youngsters ... the Cardinals weren’t the heroes to them; they were the brutish villains, the Cobra Kai, the Empire, stomping on the dreams of the upstart rebellion.”
Leitch vented his angst after noting the reaction to the berserk NLDS Game 5 at Foley’s, the popular New York sports saloon: “My Cardinals! My beloved, sweet, Best Fans In Baseball Cardinals! My comforting Midwestern oasis from this hard, wonderful city … bullies! The Cardinals are the Yankees now? How did that happen?”
Fans get ready, there’s a train-wreck comin’
You don’t need no excess baggage, you just get on board
The “tradition” argument is weak.
Why? The DH is now part of that tradition.
The DH is used in the minor leagues, the colleges, high schools, and right on down the line.
The NL is the oddball here.
Like it or not, the National League will adopt the DH rule. The day is coming; most baseball people think we’ll see the DH implemented within 10 years.
Look at it this way, Cardinals fans: if the full-time DH comes to the NL in a few years, at least your team has brawny Matt Adams locked and loaded to fill the job. Or, depending on the Cardinals’ roster configuration at the time, Allen Craig could take over at DH.
One day, many years from now, when Oscar Taveras is in his 30s and slowing down, he can finish his long and illustrious Cardinals career as one of baseball’s top designated hitters instead of leaving to sign a massive free-agent deal with the Angels.
Bad news for the St. Louis bullpen, as closer Jason Motte is likely to open the season on the disabled list because of a mild elbow strain. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Motte won’t be able to take the mound for at least a week thanks to a slight tear of the flexor tendon.
“Right now it’s going to slow him down,” Cardinals GM Mozeliak said. “We’re certainly going to be aggressive with the rehab. The DL is likely going to happen.”
The 30-year-old Motte, a converted catcher, boasts a career ERA of 2.87 to go with a strong career K% of 26.3. He’s converted 78% of his save opportunities.
“We’ll pray for a quick healing,” Cards manager Mike Matheny said of Motte’s injury. “If that doesn’t happen, someone else is going to take the position and make the most of it.”
The message Herzog wanted to impart the most was to be flexible.
“One of the things he told me was there is no ‘book,’” said Matheny. “I kept putting him in different situations and would ask him, ‘What’s your rule of thumb?’ He said, ‘There is no rule of thumb. The game situation is never the same twice.’”
Asked if Herzog ever had answered, “I don’t know,” to one of Matheny’s questions, Matheny laughed and said, “I don’t think I’ve heard that one.”
Herzog praised Matheny for the job he did in his first year, and added, “I think he’s improved a lot.
“They’ve worked on base-running a lot. They’re more aggressive.”
Another area that has caught Herzog’s attention is how dominant the Cardinals’ bullpen can be with an entire season from rookie Trevor Rosenthal, a postseason sensation last year.
“With Rosenthal, you’re going to have to beat the Cardinals in six innings,” said Herzog. “And he’s going to get better. Look at the curve he’s got.
“I told Mike, ‘The strength of your club is going to be your bullpen.’ I don’t care what they talk about. Their hitting is good. Still, last year it was streaky. It should be more consistent.”
...Acknowledging the Cardinals’ deep reservoir of young pitching, Herzog said, “This club is going to be good for a long time. So Mike should manage here for a long time. He’ll make a lot of money. That money he lost in the real-estate deal ... he’ll have more than that in his pocket.”
Given his diagnosis and the “it’s basically all over” comments from Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak last month, it’s not a terribly surprise to hear Chris Carpenter say this when he paid a visit to Cardinals’ camp today, but he said it all the same. Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch:
Asked if he sees a way back to the ballpark as a player, Carpenter did not sound hopeful.
“I do (want to keep playing),” Carpenter said. “I don’t think I can.”
More wins than Rich Gossage, more strikeouts than Babe Ruth, lower ERA than Red Ruffing. PUT HIM IN THE HALL.
The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that shortstop Rafael Furcal’s elbow injury will require Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament, according to Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Furcal’s expected recovery period is eight months.
The Cardinals were preparing to start the regular season without a healthy Furcal, but based on their current backups it wouldn’t appear they were planning on him missing the entire 2013 campaign.
As recently as this weekend, St. Louis continued to hold out hope—at least publicly—that Furcal’s setback would not sideline him for an extended period of time.
At this point, the Cardinals are left to choose from in-house alternatives Ronny Cedeno and Pete Kozma. Cedeno offers the team more experience, while Kozma has more upside and performed well over a limited stretch last season.
In 2010, the Washington Nationals were hosting the Cardinals when hotshot rookie Stephen Strasburg learned he had a torn ligament and would be sidelined at least a year to recover from the necessary Tommy John surgery.
He said Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols both sought him out during that series to offer advice. But it was after his surgery that Strasburg heard from the greatest Cardinal.
“As soon as I got home from surgery I had a video message waiting from Stan Musial,” Strasburg said Sunday.
“It was a brief message about how big a fan he was. He said he knew in his heart that I was going to be even better and stronger. I was down in the dumps. I had never met him before and he reached out to me, gave me a lot of confidence.”
(Throws 10-pound bag of Nilosorb on massivo jub-jub puddle on floor)
A Buck had been in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth for 47 consecutive seasons until Joe, son of legendary broadcaster Jack Buck, decided to pull out five years ago. But he might be back on an extremely limited basis this season, in a ground-breaking role, if the planets align correctly.
There have been preliminary discussions about him doing play-by-play for a handful of Cards games on Fox Sports Midwest, in a looser fashion than ever has been done for any big-league regular season telecast.
Nothing has been cemented, but possibilities include chatting with players while the game is in progress — perhaps someone on the bench or in the on-deck circle — talking to a relief pitcher who wouldn’t play until later in the game, having a microphone on a fielder or other such innovations beyond even what might take place for an All-Star Game.
“The idea would be to try some fun stuff within a Cardinals game that hasn’t been tried before,’’ Buck said. “I don’t even know what that entails, but we’d be looking for different access to the on-air product. I think it could be cool. It would kind of loosen the reins a little, make the broadcasts a little more compelling. It would be in the category of ‘something different’ (but) how that takes shape I don’t know.’’
...FSM general manager Jack Donovan likes the idea of getting Buck — the national Fox network’s lead baseball and football announcer — back on the local airwaves.
“Nothing has been finalized but the way I look at it, Joe is widely regarded as the best announcer in the business and if we’re fortunate enough to have Joe do some games we’ll absolutely take advantage of that,’’ Donovan said. “He’s the best in the business, fans would be delighted if he was doing some games. He’s in the Fox family, he makes his home in St. Louis. It’s an option that’s out there and we’d be delighted to have Joe on our telecasts.’’
Buck firmly emphasizes that he doesn’t want to intrude on existing Dan McLaughlin and Rick Horton, who do play-by-play for FSM, as well as analyst Al Hrabosky. And if the idea comes to fruition it would be for only a few games.
“It’s insulting to Dan, it’s insulting to Ricky,’’ Buck said of any idea of him trying to get back in a regular rotation in the booth. “I’m not just looking to do games, this is not my broadcast. This broadcast belongs on the air to Dan, Ricky and Al. I’m well aware of that and would never infringe on that.’’
Every signing that [the Indians] have made has surprised folks that they were willing and able to spend the money and come with the certainty that NOW the Indians must be tapped out. Maybe they aren’t… and Lohse is a definite fit for a team that basically pitched itself out of the division race last season. The draft pick wouldn’t matter a bit – if I’m not mistaken, all they would lose would be a fourth rounder. The Kansas City Royals are another team that obviously can’t afford to put more money into payroll – but would probably make a great fit for Lohse.
Only Griffey was young (how Burns was able to pry a 22-year-old Ken Griffey away from the Mariners is a mystery). Other than him, only Canseco and Clemens could still have been considered in their prime. That’s a very old infield. Most of the players had strong 1991 seasons, so you can understand their appeal to Burns, but buying a year late is a common problem in baseball. Heading into the season, the team had no depth. Most glaringly, there was but one pitcher with big league experience, which poses a serious problem for any team hoping to contend (unless that one pitcher is Old Hoss Radbourn). Burns was eventually able to put together a bullpen and the rest of a starting rotation filled with average players, but the team’s bench would be made up almost entirely of replacement level hacks, player’s who’d never played at that level before and frankly, mostly lacked the talent for it.
Uhh…shouldn’t the Cards be looking for someone who brings the chase for Crystal Light Mocktails instead?
General manager John Mozeliak said, after his staff had done its due diligence, “We found nothing negative about him.”
Gary LaRocque, one of Mozeliak’s assistants, who signed Wigginton with the Mets, “was a huge advocate,” Mozeliak said. That Wigginton plays the game with a “get out of my way” approach is an influence seen as positive. Catchers beware. Second basemen, too. He’s comin’. Yadier Molina, recalling a collision with his new colleague in Pittsburgh a few years ago, groaned and grimaced. Wigginton smiled, even though Molina held the ball.
“If that’s why they were interested in me, that’s fine,” Wigginton said. “I’m glad they were interested in me. I was always interested in them. It seems like they always do things right here, and they’re always in it. They make good decisions, they have good people. They play the game right. I know George Kissell [the Cardinals’ late Minor League instructor] ... People talked about him like he was a genius.
“This will be real baseball here. I’ve always liked the way the Cardinals play, and now I’m one of them.”