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.”
St. Louis restaurateur Edmonds, who is helping with the outfielders, said he didn’t think he wanted to be a full-time coach and travel much of the season. Instead, Edmonds, who is known for his whimsy, has a rather unusual aspiration.
“I’d like to own the team some day, to be honest,” Edmonds said this weekend. “You see (Cardinals chairman) Bill DeWitt stand up in front of the team and be such a stately figure. What a great position it would be to be like a Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Dodgers) or a Michael Jordan (Charlotte Bobcats), where you have part of an ownership
“I don’t know if I’d like to put the group together or sneak in the back door,” Edmonds said. “But I definitely think that it would be a great thing to be high up in the front office and evaluate and do all the fun things.
“Well, they’re not all fun but I’d like to do the things involved in keeping a team winning.
“You start talking about the tradition. There’s ways to do it out there on the field and there’s ways to do it up there’’ in the front office.
...DeWitt chuckled Saturday when Edmonds’ desire for ownership was relayed to him. He said Edmonds hadn’t talked about any ownership stake with him — and the team isn’t for sale.
“No plans at all,” DeWitt said. “We’re very happy with the situation.”
But DeWitt said Edmonds had expressed an interest in being more involved.
“He knows the game as well as anybody,” DeWitt said.
“We have total alignment on our vision with this organization and that is to compete year-in, year-out at the major-league level and we know the only way to do that consistently is to have a strong player procurement and development program,” DeWitt said during a news conference Thursday at the team’s spring training. “Over the past six or seven years (under Mozeliak’s guidance) I think we’ve done an excellent job of living up to that vision.”
The Texas Rangers are more popular than the Dallas Cowboys. That doesn’t sound right, does it?
Probably because it isn’t; or at least, the evidence is a single survey showing that, by a single percentage point, more D/FW folks watched a Rangers game last year than a Cowboys game (and remember that the Rangers play ten times as many games).
I could not find the complete survey results, but basically there are a lot of cities where about as many people see a pro football as a pro baseball game each year. The one interesting outlier is St. Louis, where evidently 81% of the population saw a Cardinals game last year as opposed to 48% watching the Rams. Now that’s “more popular.”
Chris Carpenter, the longtime ace of the St. Louis Cardinals and a central figure to their two World Series championships this century, will not pitch in 2013 due to enduring shoulder numbness, putting his career in doubt.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made the announcement Tuesday at a Busch Stadium press conference, saying Carpenter “wants to make sure whatever is going on his neck, arm if not going to preclude him from a normal life.”....
The Cardinals took advantage of an earlier injury to obtain Carpenter in 2003 after he missed a year with labrum surgery. They signed him as a free agent knowing he wouldn’t be able to pitch for about a year. He also missed most of the 2007 and ‘08 seasons because of elbow surgery, but came back to lead the NL in earned average in 2009, going 17-4 and finishing second in Cy Young Award voting.
Best Farm System flags fly forever. Just ask the Royals.
1) St. Louis Cardinals (ranked #5 last year): Strengths: Everything. They have pitching, hitting, high upside, and depth. They have a proven track record of player development. Weaknesses: none really. They could use a shortstop with a better bat but so could most teams.
2) Seattle Mariners (#4 last year): Strength: Good balance between hitting and pitching, strength up the middle with Zunino, Miller, Franklin; potential ace arms; good knack for finding underappreciated college hitters. Weaknesses: Persistent problems with Latin American prospects showing poor strike zone judgment and contact issues.
3) Tampa Bay Rays (#7): System was already strong and trade with Royals just adds more. Strength: considerable pitching depth; good mix of players who will be ready now/soon (Myers, Archer, Odorizzi) plus guys at lower levels with high upside. Weaknesses: upper level hitting other than Myers….
30) Detroit Tigers (23): Very thin in all respects. Strengths: Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia could help soon, and there are some potential role players behind them. Bullpen arms. Weaknesses: lack of depth almost everywhere, particularly hitting.
Musial might have had a slightly higher OPS+ than DiMaggio…but suddenly the gap seems wider.
I was 32 and a lifelong fan of Musial, but I never had met him. Figuring I might never get another chance, I hatched a plan. I would go to Doral and attempt to meet him. I brought a Sharpie pen, my 1963 Topps Musial baseball card, a notebook and a ballpoint pen. My hope was to have Musial autograph the card or a page in the notebook.
...I reached for the notebook and the ballpoint pen.
“Mr. DiMaggio,” I said. “May I have your autograph?”
DiMaggio looked purposefully into the eyes of each of us.
“I’ll remember you,” he said, addressing us as a group. “I better not see any of you behind the 18th green, asking for another autograph.”
...I had accomplished what I had set out to do. I had met Stan Musial. I got to tell him my story and how much he meant to me. I had gotten a personal autograph. There was nothing more to do.
And, oh, yeah, I got stared down by Joe DiMaggio, too.