Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cards/cubs & Wrigley wrenovations

The Cards are stopping for a cup of coffee (and perhaps other beverages near Rush & Division), and two games in less than 24 hours at Wrigley field.  The Cardinals dropped the first game on Tuesday night, as Lance Lynn suffered his first loss of the season, bringing his all-important win/loss record to 5-1.

A lack of offense (despite Yadi's best efforts) was a factor in the loss, and I wish I could tell you that's uncommon.  Tuesday's 2-1 loss (game #32 of the 2013 campaign) was the 14th time this season that the Cards offense scored 3 or fewer runs.

But what I really caught myself thinking about tonight was Wrigley Field.

There has been a lot of buzz in the news lately about the plans that the Ricketts family has for their business.  Discussions surrounding a $500MM renovation to Wrigley, a possible move to the Rosemont area, should the organization, city, rooftop folks, and 36 other entities (including a dozen or so dirty government officials) be able to come to an agreement that would allow the cubs to do the things they need to do, and plenty of other variables that would put this already long run-on sentence over the top.  The bottom line is that the cubs want to overhaul the Wrigleyville area, including major upgrades & renovations to the ballpark itself, or they're talking about moving.  Leadership in the suburb of Rosemont, near O'Hare airport has offered the club roughly 25 acres of land, if they want to head outbound on the Kennedy from the intersection of Clark & Addison.

If you've not seen the artist's renderings of the proposed renovations, check this out.  You can find these drawings in many places online, but I linked to picture #2 in this collection for two reasons.

Reason 1)  One of the major sticking points is a videoboard, or as some might refer to it, the jumbotron.  It blocks the view of some of those rooftop seats, which apparently violates a contract that the cubs entered into a few years back with the owners of those rooftops.  Erect a 6,000 square-foot videoboard at the back of the LF bleachers, and you're going to block a lot of rooftop views, thusly pissing some people off.

So, maybe I'm over-simplifying here, but stay with me for a second.  If the proposed major overhaul of Wrigleyville (or, as some might call it, "Ballpark village North") will encompass the area spanning Clark, Addison, Waveland & Sheffield, and a ton of construction to enhance the area...  Why not just back that videoboard up another couple hundred feet, and put it on the other side of Waveland?  Sure, it's a little outside-the-box thinking, having a scoreboard that technically exists outside the ballpark itself, but why not?  I know it wouldn't be a walk in the park to get that done, but keep it in perspective--we're already talking about messing with landmarks that are on the list of 'things that are historically important, so you can't just go doing whatever you want with them'.  If you can get that done, you wouldn't think it'd be as hard to put a scoreboard across the street.

Reason 2)  One of the things that Tom Ricketts harped on in his comments earlier this month was the ability to run the cubs organization like a business.  Which, incidentally, it is, and for being a pretty lousy product on the field, it's certainly a very lucrative business.  But, in the name of "running it like a business", I'll tell you right now:  Don't be surprised if the cubs home games of the future are played at "McDonald's park at Wrigley Field" or "Motorola Stadium".  Just sayin'.  If the man wants to run this organization like a true business, he'll likely cash in on the opportunity for naming rights.  We're talking about (easily) tens of millions of dollars to change the name for a few decades.  If the business attitude that we've seen so far remains in tact for the future of this ownership and this organization, I wouldn't be surprised to see it.  Wouldn't be surprised at all.

I've been to Wrigley several times, and as far as it's charm?  I saw a twenty-something year old girl drunk puking in the street outside the park before a 1:20 start last September.  At that same game, there was this kid (I'd guess 3 years old or so) who was "washing his hands" in the various streams of urine and the trough of pee itself between innings, much...MUCH to the displeasure of his father, I might add.

If that's not charm, I don't know what is.

I digress.  Game two of this two-game set is this afternoon, and I expect a Cardinals win.  Westbrook has been solid, and as long as he keeps the ball down (which hasn't been much of a problem thus far in 2013), and the bats show up (Matt Adams' return from the DL should help that), the redbirds should be able to handle Villanueva, even if it's a B-squad that takes the field.  Given that, it's hard not to notice that the Cards are currently in a four-day stretch where they have two days on (again, two games in less than 24 hours), and two days off.  The good news is that the Cards could run an "A" squad out there on Wednesday, since they're off Thursday.  The bad news is that they don't have another day off until two weeks from Thursday.  13 straight games is nothing to overlook when making lineups and planning ahead, but until the last series (out west) of that run, they're home games, which is a decent silver lining.

That homestand welcomes the Rockies, Mets, and Brewers to Busch before the Cards head out west to play at SD & LAD (also making for sleepy mornings at my house on Tue, Wed, Thr, and Sat).  Beating the teams the Cardinals are supposed to beat during those sets will be important.  But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, the Cards are "supposed to beat" the cubs...let's start there.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

UCB PGB: 5.4.13 @ MIL - 9th

As the 8th inning brought to you by ManFridge came to an end...

The game entered the ninth, the score was tied 6 - 6.  Ron Roenicke had made a couple of defensive changes, moving Yuniesky Betancourt to first base from third, and after pinch-running, Jeff Bianchi stayed in the game, and filled the vacancy left at third base.  Brewers closer, Jim Henderson came into the (tied home) game to pitch the redbirds in the their half of the 9th inning.  Due up were: Shane Robinson, Jon Jay, and Pete Kozma.

Shane Robinson led off the inning by hammering the first pitch he saw into left-center field for a single.  Centerfielder Carlos Gomez kicked the ball, allowing Robinson to advance to second base to start the Cardinals 9th.  In a tied game on the road, with nobody out and a fast runner at second, I'm ok with a sac bunt here to move Robinson to third.  Especially given the defensive changes at the corners the Brewers had just made.  Bianchi and Betancourt had been seen exactly one pitch at their "new" positions so far this game, and neither were involved in the play that sent Robinson to second.  Good enough reason for me, given the situation, to test them.

Everybody in Miller Park was thinking the same thing, and expected the bunt.  The Milwaukee infield came in as Jay squared around, and then quickly pulled back to take ball one.  After bunting the second pitch foul, Jay took a strike high & outside, which would've been a decent pitchout.  Coincidentally, Shane Robinson got a good jump on Henderson, and stole third on the pitch without so much as a throw from Maldonado.  With a 1-2 count, Jay would now be swinging away.  The infield was drawn in to try and cut down a run at the plate, and keep the game tied.  Jay fouled off a couple pitches, and took another ball, before lining a 2-2 pitch back up the middle, scoring Robinson.  RBI, Jon Jay -- his fourth of the afternoon (career high).  Jay has needed to get something going offensively lately, and this was great to see happen today.  But 90% of that run was Shane Robinson.  Teamwork at its finest.  7 - 6 good guys, nobody out.

Shane Robinson swipes third without a throw, even though this was wouldn't have been a bad pitchout.

In stepped Kozma.

Jay drew a couple of pickoff throws from Henderson right away before Kozma looked at ball one, up & away.  The hit-and-run was on, and Jay took off as Kozma pulled the 1-0 delivery to the shortstop, Segura, whose only play was to first.  Descalso then came to the plate with Jay at second, and one out.   On the 1-0 pitch (ball 2), Jay's lead had gotten a bit too big for Maldonado's comfort, so he threw down to second, but it wasn't really much of a "pickoff" attempt.  Descalso swung & missed at the next pitch for strike one, then watched ball 3 float outside.  Ball four was a little further outside, and Descalso took his walk to first.

Jay was now on second, and Descalso on first, with one out for Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter found his way into an 0-2 count after just two pitches.  (The theme from the original Super Mario Brothers played over the sound system at Miller Park between pitches 2 and 3 to Matt Carpenter here.  I know, hardcore baseball reporting, right?).  The third pitch was a ball, but Carpenter chased the next one, missing a fastball, and struck out.  So, with Jay still on second & Descalso still on first, Beltran, who stepped in to bat left-handed against Henderson, came to plate with two down.  He struck out swinging, stranding Jay and Descalso, as the game headed into the bottom of the 9th.

Cardinals up by a run, and Mujica would have his work cut out for him.  Due up for the Brew crew were their 3-4-5 bats:  Braun, Betancourt, and Weeks.

Braun fouled off the first pitch he saw, and then swung and missed on the next.  After taking the next one for a ball, he grounded the next pitch weakly back to Mujica, for the first out.

Yuni also fouled off the first pitch, and swung and missed at the second one.  He then fouled one off the ground that bounced back up and hit him in the face.  Fouling off another, he got out in front of the last pitch he saw, grounding to Matt Carpenter at third, for a 5-3 putout.

Two down, and in stepped the Brewers' last hope: Rickie Weeks.

Mujica's first two pitches were fastballs out of the zone, and Weeks watched the next pitch settled right in for strike one.  After fouling off the 2-1 pitch, Weeks fouled off a 2-2 pitch before he looked at ball 3.  With a full count, Mujica ran one on in on Weeks' hands, and it was fouled off.  The next full-count pitch Weeks saw, he lined to Beltran in right field to end the game in rather anticlimactic fashion.

7 - 6 Cardinals over the Brewers.  Redbirds become winners of five straight, and remain owners of the NL's best record, now at 19-11.  For more on the postgame recap, head over to C70 at the bat.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bloggers at the ballpark

Bloggers at the Ballpark - part I

Once again this year, the St. Louis Cardinals have been gracious enough to invite some of us blogger types to join them for an afternoon.  Honestly, "gracious" isn't even the word.  It's unbelievable how well the Cardinals organization has treated us--we are truly blessed & fortunate.

This past Sunday morning, a modest group of us gathered in the conference room in the administrative offices of Busch to spend some time with GM John Mozeliak, team President, Bill DeWitt III, and others.  Public Relations specialist, Lindsey Weber & Director of Public Relations and Civic Affairs, Ron Watermon were among those who hosted us for an hour or so in the conference room area.

We were treated to an update on some of the on-the-field-related things from Mozeliak, and DeWitt brought us up to speed on some of the more operational aspects of the organization, including Ballpark Village.  After we were treated to these brief updates, both gentlemen took questions from the group.  Most of those questions were decent, and at no point were we abruptly asked to leave, so we've got that going for us.

There were also presentations given by Stephanie Spargur, director of retail and Alex Eusebio, master executive ninja chef of all things delicious.  Stephanie showed off some of the new looks available at the team store at Busch Stadium, some of which are exclusively available at the ballpark (as it should be!).  Eusebio talked about some of the delectable foods we'd be able to find later that afternoon in our suite, while taking in the Cards/Bucs contest.  He used words that almost made me squeal like a schoolgirl right then and there:  "Four-hand nachos".   The name, he explained, is derived for the exact reason you think it was.  Unless you're really into horses, and think that this is a description of how tall this order of nachos is.

On top of it all, I got to spend it with my wife and many of my fellow bloggers.  Imagine a game night on twitter or bonfyre, and being able to take in a game with all those folks that you interact with regularly.  Pretty great stuff.

World-class hospitality, amazing food, great friends, and free beer.  But that wasn't even my favorite part of the day.  Those two things were the candles on the icing on the cake, and I can't wait to share those with you. part two.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mitchell Boggs does not suck

"Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it's stupid."     - Albert Einstein

Mitchell Boggs may not be much of a tree-climber, but dude can swim.

Remember last year's infallible trio of Mujica, Boggs, & Motte?  I think it's a good example of how guys fit into certain roles.  Once placed in a position to succeed, they either sink or swim, but I think it's key knowing which players can, will, and don't fit in certain situations.

Yadi Molina?  Not a leadoff hitter.  For a variety of reasons, you wouldn't want this, but  for a guy who excels at hitting behind the runner to bat leadoff would not make a lot of sense.  Matt Holliday?  Probably don't want him batting 8th in the order.  Descalso?  I'll bet we never ever see him hitting cleanup.  I mean, you wouldn't hit the pitcher anywhere know what, nevermind on that last one.

My point is that if you put players in a position where they can have success, and avoid putting them in situations where they just don't fit, you're more likely to have positive outcomes.

The Mitchell Boggs we saw last year had a career year, it's true.  Career bests in:

  • ERA (2.21)
  • W & W% (4 & .800)
  • G (78)
  • IP (73.1)
  • R (20)
  • ER (18)
  • BB (21, also had 21 in 2011)
  • K (58)
  • BF (296)
  • ERA+ (174)
  • WHIP (1.050)
  • H/9 (6.9)
  • K/9 (7.1, also had 7.1 in '11, '09)
  • K/BB (2.76)
Dude.   That's nearly every basic category that he set or tied career bests in during last year's campaign.

So, why the dramatic drop off so far this year?

There are (at least) two sides to this argument.  One camp may point to career highs in IP, G, & BF, and say he was overworked, and put too much on his arm, and that this year is showing the impact of that.  Another side of the story is that this is who Mitchell Boggs is.  While he did reach career highs and lows in numerous categories, for the most part, he wasn't blowing the old number away.  There are a few exceptions to that, such as ERA, ERA+, and maybe WHIP.  But for the most part, these are Mitchell Boggs' numbers.

He's not a lousy pitcher.  In fact, he's been a very effective 8th inning guy.  But a closer, he is (apparently) not.  One must now hope that his confidence in his ability hasn't been shaken too much to recover and pitch well again.  I don't suspect that's the case, personally.

Maybe there's another combination of bullpen guys in roles that can work in Motte's absence.  The Mujica thing seems to be off to a good start, anyway.  In any event, as long as Matheny is able to find a way to put guys in a position to succeed, that's the foundation for success.  If the players don't perform, that's on them.  Sometimes knowing the difference can be a pretty tough challenge in and of itself.

"Mitchell Boggs is a good bullpen pitcher.  But if you judge him by his ability to close games and earn saves, you will convince yourself that he sucks."      - Me

Friday, April 19, 2013

Coming soon: A 26th man on the Cards' roster

Jake Westbrook's less-than-stellar outing was washed away along with the rest of the game when the rains came down in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.  The makeup date hasn't been officially scheduled yet, but according to my somewhat certain memory of a source that I think I might've seen on twitter, the makeup will occur during the Cards' next series at PNC Park.

The four-game set against the Bucs will be July 29th through August 1st, a Monday through Thursday series.  All four of these games are scheduled for 6:05 St. Louis time, with the before/after games being Sunday @ ATL at 1:35 (CDT) and Friday @CIN at 7:10pm Central.  I'd guess Tuesday or Wednesday would be the twinbill.

Last year, Major League Baseball made a slight modification to the rules for situations just like this.  When a double-header is scheduled at least 48 hours ahead of time, teams are now allowed to expand the roster to 26, to allow for an extra starting pitcher for that game.  In the past, managers had to deal with starting rotations that weren't getting their normal rest, and had to juggle rotation spots, burn a long man out of the 'pen, or some other creative solution to try to keep the team's arms in a good situation, and keep the team out of trouble.

When these two teams square off at PNC again this summer, it won't be Clint Hurdle's first time with "the 26th man" on the roster.  Last year, there was a rainout between these Pirates and the Colorado Rockies (who were snowed out earlier this week!), and both teams took advantage of the new rule.  About last year's situation, Pirates GM, Neal Huntington was quoted as saying, "If it's a one-day stay, you can bring them up and (send them) back."  He added, "Having an extra arm gives you the flexibility to cover 18 innings in one day."

No matter how it shakes out, it might be an opportunity to see one of the young arms we've heard so much about recently from the Cardinals minor league system.  Let your imagination run wild:  Martinez?  Gast?  Wacha??

Only time, Mo, and Matheny will tell.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

He who shall remain [nick]nameless

Maybe it's just me.  Plenty of the things I write about here are, and maybe it's just because of all the youth coming up to the major-league level in such a short span that has taken things over the top.  But, for the love of "Pete (Kozmania, Koztastic, Wizard of Koz, Kozmo, Kozzy Kozbourne, Koz of death, Kozts too much, Koz I said so) Kozma", can we PLEASE, PLEASE lay off the infatuation with every single player having to have a clever nickname?

Please?  I'm begging you.  I'll give you a dollar.

See, when Uncle Walt was at the helm, he had an affinity for the veteran guys.  Woody Williams, Eric Davis (you might have forgotten he played in St. Louis), Larry Walker, Will Clark...etc.  Don't get me wrong, it was great seeing those guys in a Cards uni, and their contributions here won't soon be forgotten.  (and I know, "The thrill" was a nickname)  The advantage to bringing over a veteran guy is that, if he's going to have a nickname, he's probably already got it by now.  Cardinal nation on the whole need not scramble (not "scrabble") to come up with some clever something-or-other that everyone starts using all the time.  But, then Walt left.

The reason we didn't see a rush of newbies and their sure-to-follow horrible nicknames was because, even though Mo wasn't quite as keen on old blood as his former boss, he has dabbled here & there (you hadn't already forgotten about Smoltz, have you?).  Overall, the Cards current GM is a bit more favorable when it comes to younger guys than his predecessor.  The manager is the reason we didn't generally see a lot of opportunity to butcher & contort some kid's name into a not-actually-funny nickname that doesn't fit.  It's no secret, TLR liked his established players, and his veterans--some would (figuratively) say he "hated the kids".  It's awful that I truly felt it necessary to insert "figuratively" into that last sentence.  Some people.

But now, all of that has changed.  Now we've got Mo (er, John Mozeliak, that is) & Matheny running the show, and younger players can be found all over the diamond at Busch Stadium.

Some of the nicknames, however lame they may be, are at least somewhat recognizable as to why that nickname might 've been chosen for that player.  I think of "Applesauce" for Jason Motte.  Are you kidding me?  "Applesauce"?  ...for a CLOSER?  ...who throws 100mph??  Why not just play the theme song from Care Bears when he comes in from the bullpen?  What batter is EVER going to be rattled/thrown off their game in fear from some dude who is supposedly a badass, but his nickname is Applesauce?  Nobody, that's who.

Ever seen Mariano come in, and hear "Enter Sandman" over the loudspeakers?  Ever seen Trevor Hoffman come in, and hear "Hells Bells" booming throughout the stadium?  I have.  It's a little bit different than encountering some applesauce.

I get the um, "connection": Jason Motte - Mott's Applesauce - Applesauce.  But a 4oz snack cup that your 4 year-old takes to daycare for their snack before they go lay down on their little cot for a nappy-poo isn't exactly intimidating.  As a matter of fact, just sitting here typing this, I'm gaining confidence that I could take a guy deep if his nickname is "applesauce", and could probably hit .360, .370 off him.  I would friggin' OWN "applesauce".  And I'm 5'3" on a good day.  Dude.  It's the opposite of intimidating.  You see, no one would fear the 'dread pirate applesauce', so there should be (have been) a better nickname for him (that is, if he MUST have one) this whole time.

Almost as bad?  Allen Craig - Allen Wrench - "The wrench".   You ever watch GSN?  Game Show Network?  Chuck Woolery used to host this show were you had to connect two completely unrelated words with 4 or 5 other words that were related to the other words, until you "complete the chain", and connect the two original words.  I'm not explaining it very well, but it's a lot like 6 degrees of Bacon.    Mmmmmmm, bacon.

Anyway, It's almost as if it's a race to see who can be the first to come up with a nickname that sticks, so they can point to the timestamp on their tweet at some point in the future, and claim all the glory for having come up with it.  You know, all that glory everybody always gives for coming up with nicknames?  Nevermind that it gets buried among the other suggestions they also threw out there (or worse, acted like everyone should already know about) when they tweeted/posted/said/texted (yes, I say "texted", not "text") to their friends.  The result?  An awful lot of horrible, horrible nicknames that, occasionally sick stick.

All the good nicknames are gone, anyway.  Every now & then a good one comes around, but when it does, it's natural, not forced.  Back in the day, dudes earned their nickname because of a way they went about the game, or a memorable play they were involved in.  Maybe a broadcaster came up with something on the spot.  Or maybe, a crowd at Ebbets Field was so overcome by one's ability to hit, they provided the greatest nickname in the history of baseball nicknames.  But THAT'S how nicknames should be born, not by an online social media frenzy.

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about names like "Waino" or "Yadi", I'm talking about manufactured nicknames, where fans take a square nickname and try to fit it into a round player.  Um, figuratively, of course.  #Awkward

"Scrabble?"  Ok, whatever.  I get it.
"Wizard of Koz"?  No.  Just, no.
"The Wrench"?
"Wolf Pup"?
"Disco Dirty Danny Double D"?
"Big City Mayonnaise" or whatever it is?  What in the eff is going ON here?!?

So, please stop trying to force nicknames on every player that pops out of that dugout.

That concludes my rant on nicknames.  Thank you for reading, have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nobody call 9-1-1 (or 9-1-2)


Nine runs.


In one inning.

It's SO MUCH more fun when the Cardinals are the ones scoring those 9 in one inning, like in the 4th on Sunday in SF, than when they're being scored on in the 9th on Monday's home opener against the visiting Reds.  (Still think the DH needs to come to the NL?)

9-1-2:  9 runs, in 1 inning, twice in 2 days.

But it's not a reason to go off the deep end (off either edge).  One of the many cliches you hear in baseball is not to get too high or too low.  There are plenty of good reasons for that.

Take Sunday, for instance.  Matt Cain pitched 2 2/3 innings, and surrendered 9 earned runs.  But, it's one start.  One of probably 33 starts he'll make this year, and we all know who Matt Cain is.  He's a Cy Young-award caliber pitcher who is the number one starter for the reigning world champions.  Opening Day, all he did was throw 6 innings, scattering four hits and striking out eight Dodgers, in what is a pretty potent Los Angeles lineup.  He's pretty good.

A wise man once said, "These are men, not machines."

Cain had an off day Sunday, and the redbirds happened to be lucky enough to be the ones with the bats when that day came around.  I hope it made for as much chaos, fun, and trash-talking in your fantasy leagues as it did mine.

Ah, but those who live by the inverted serious number, die by the inverted serious number.  Those nine runs would come back and be scored at the Cards home opener the next day.  Unfortunately for the Cardinals (and any fantasy owners who had Mitchell Boggs), those 9 runs came against the the ninth inning...of a tied game.  Those, my friends, are difficult circumstances to recover from.  And, in case you'd not heard, the Cardinals did not recover from those circumstances, thus dropping the home opener 13-4.

But, these are the 11-time world champs, and this is a deep pitching staff.

A few hours ago (as I type this), Motte's elbow ligament appears to have taken a turn that would make the bullpen, and staff as a whole, a bit more shallow.  Couple that with the fluky performance Boggs turned in the day before that kind of news breaks, and half of Cardinal nation thinks the sky is falling.  To help comfort any of you who may be feeling that way, I just checked the calendar, and found some good news: There are 155 more games to be played this year--more games than several decades of full seasons of the game's history.

I always sort of think there are going to be about 10 games a year where you win a blowout, and ten or so games a year where you're going to lose a blowout.  Baseball reference even has categories for things like this.  The important thing in my mind, in those games, is not to screw yourself for the next day or two or series by burning a bullpen or bench.  Let guys get  their work in, if needed, and just move on the next day.  Which is what the Cards need to do, and as I look up over the screen of this laptop right now, seem to be doing just fine.  Arroyo perfect through 5, and it's now 5-1 good guys, bottom of the 8th.

Can't wait to see who comes in to close this one out.   (c:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cards rattled by snakes, lose opening series

As I'm sitting down to write this, I can almost audibly hear Beavis in my ear John Kerry-ing back and forth about the series the Cards just wrapped up with the DBacks. "That was cool.  No, no, wait, it sucked.  That sucked.  Um, except for, like, that part that was cool.  That part was cool.  The rest of it sucked, though.  It sucked.  FIRE!!!!"

Aaaaand now I've just lost the 7 readers I had by mentioning Beavis in my first paragraph.

If I'm going to take a few things away from this opening series, it is true, some of those things are cool, and some of them...well, some of them suck.  Let me be clear about the whole starting-a-game-at-like-9pm-then-playing-til-almost-two-thirty-in-the-morning-on-a-weeknight-to-BEGIN-the-season thing?  As a fan, it most definitely sucks.  It's tough enough getting through the week when they take a 6-game road trip out west in mid-season.  Kicking off April that way?  I've not worked up to that just yet.  Color me exhausted.

I'll tell you what was cool, though, Jamie Garcia's performance, that's what.  5 2/3 IP, surrendering 1ER on 2 hits?  I'll take it!  Not to mention he did it in a place not called Busch Stadium.  That 1:1 K/BB ratio (4ea) isn't great, but it's easy enough to overlook for now.  I really like how after Montero left the yard in the 2nd, Garcia didn't lose his mind & fall apart.  Instead, he came back, went after (and retired) the next three batters he faced.  I didn't do the research to find out exactly how long it's been, but it's been quite a while since I can recall Jamie giving up a bomb, then retiring the next three he faced.  Jamie's 6th got off to a good start when he induced back-to-back groundball outs.  Unfortunately, he couldn't finish the job, walking the next three to load the bases to punch his ticket to the showers.  Mujica came in and ended the threat, stranding the bases full of snakes.  So, while not the greatest performance you'll ever see Garcia make, there were plenty of positives to take away from his outing.  There are no shortage of things to work on, but the things you can't teach, like what's between his ears, seemed to look good night on Tuesday.

Wainwright was cruising on Monday, until that comebacker hit him in the arm.  He was leaving a lot of stuff up after that, and it caught up to him.  A throwing error by Descalso proved costly in the home half of the 5th, and a couple of baserunning blunders were responsible for taking the redbirds out of a couple of opportunities that seemed to be unfolding.  It just sort of felt like things weren't clicking on Monday night's opener, like the team was covered in funk, and just couldn't shake it.  Probably LaRussa's fault somehow--I saw where he was in the building that night.

Then, there was the marathon 16-inning game.


The longest game I've ever been to was a 20-inning affair vs. the Mets a few years ago.  It's a great story to tell, and maybe I will another time, but now isn't the time or place.  But, I can tell you first-hand that I didn't miss one pitch of that game, and somehow the 6:53 it took to play seemed like a good amount of live baseball to watch.  But that game started at 3:10 on a Saturday afternoon, and as I told my (now) wife as we left that night, "I can't even begin to tell you how many time I've been to a 7:10 game that ended earlier than this one did.".  (It was our first baseball game date, and she didn't complain one bit while sitting through 20 innings.  How could I NOT marry her?!)  True story.

But this 16-inning game was, if nothing else, a decent opportunity to get bullpen guys some chances to throw.  Matheny sent 7 different Cardinals pitchers to the bump Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and there was no shortage of opportunities for hitters coming off the bench.  In a cruel twist of fate, the Cards came out on the wrong end of a 10-9 ballgame.  It was a decent chance for guys who might have otherwise not seen action for another couple of days to get a little work in, which never hurts.

Don't misunderstand me for being cavalier about the loss, though.  I've long said that every game you win in April is one you don't have to worry about in August or September.  Once the tallies start piling up in the loss column, there's nothing you can do about it.  I'm merely pointing out that at least some good came from the extra-long game.

Also good?  Having Thursday off!  The official time of the game was 5:32, the longest game in Chase Field history.  Rather fortuitous that the team didn't have to shower, and get on the bus to head straight to the airport and fly to San Francisco right away.  They would've been fortunate to travel, land, get to the team hotel, and get settled in and to sleep much before the sun came up.  Realistically, this might have been how it went down anyway.  But, at least they didn't have to do so, only to get up after a few hours of sleep and go start a series against the Zito and the Giants.

After all, last time we faced Zito and the Giants, we had a 3-1 NLCS lead, and were playing on a Friday night in our home ballpark and couldn't win.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Waino extended: I like/love/hate it

I like the Wainwright extension.  I love what it means.  I also hate what it means.

When Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to terms on a 5-year, $97,500,000 extension this week, there was plenty of reaction from Cardinals fans, but not much variety among those reactions.  The (very team-friendly) extension has no deferred money, and an AAV of $19,500,000 per year.  I'm using all those zeroes on purpose--it's easy to forget just how much money it truly is when the word "Billion" has crept into the game recently.

I like the deal.  It makes sense for the organization on several levels, that have been well-documented.  We know about the plethora of young arms in the system that are currently under control, very inexpensive, and for the most part teachable.  Wainwright is a great anchor for a situation like this.  These young players can learn a lot from Waino, and I expect they will, just like many pitchers for decades and generations before them.  Not to mention, it is the perfect compliment to the Yadi extension we saw a year ago.  This whole organization's pitching staff benefits from these two being inked to (relatively) long-term deals.

I love what the deal means.  Members of Cardinal nation are not only familiar with the phrase "hometown discount", folks works it into every hypothetical scenario when discussing ideas as to "what they'd do if they were Mo".  To lowball a player's agent, and expect them to be overjoyed, and thank you for the opportunity to accept your low offer is sheer stupidity, "Best fans in baseball" or not.  If I were a major leaguer, I wouldn't LOVE playing in Oakland (particularly as a hitter), but enough zeroes on the ol' paycheck, and I could certainly get used to it.  I don't think anyone who pays attention would argue that Wainwright couldn't have gotten a larger payday had he tested the FA market.  Have you SEEN the starting rotation the Yankees and Red Sox are trotting out there??  For all the talk, it's great to see that it can, and occasionally does still happen--a hometown discount.  A guys signs for less to stay in St. Louis, and play for the Cardinals.  Some thought we might see it happen a couple of years ago, but we actually did see it this week.

I hate what the deal means.  I hate that in order to get an Adam Wainwright-caliber pitcher, the organization was able to take advantage of (an aforementioned very team-friendly) deal worth $19.5M AAV for 5-years.  Justin Verlander agreed to an extension with the Detroit Tigers within days of Wainwright's deal, but the difference in dollars is astonishing.

Verlander became the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history when he signed a 7-year deal worth $180,000,000.  I know, again with the zeroes.   I'm not going to try to tell you that Wainwright is Verlander, he isn't.  But is Verlander almost twice as good?  Not hardly.  I'm not going to break down what each organization is projected to pay per strikeout, per inning pitched...etc, but suffice to say that somewhere between the overpaying of Verlander and the underpaying of Wainwright, the average payday for good pitchers lies somewhere in between.  The Kershaw & Price deals remain to be seen, but I suspect they'll be a little more JV and a little less AW.  This could require more teams in MLB (and perhaps all who won't have a mega TV deal in their near future) to change their approach in order to be competitive, as in be a little more Tampa Bay and a little less Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Putting the F-U in Furcal

You know what really grinds my gears?   The way this whole Furcal thing went down.  Not the Furcal thing itself, but the way it all happened.

For the record, the "Furcal thing" I'm talking about is the announcement made this morning that he will have season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair a bad wing.  The same bad wing he's had for a long time now, that landed him on the DL last September.  This particular wing is the one that he (and Mo) were optimistic about following the end of the season when the decision was made to go ahead and try to rehab Raffy's ailing elbow without surgery.

Now, I'm no know what, I probably don't even have to finish that sentence, and you know where I'm headed with that.  I remember when it became public that Furcal was going to try a rehab that didn't involve surgery this offseason, we all just sort of looked at each other like, "WTF?".  And now in a shocking turn of events, the guy can't hack throws across a spring training diamond, and will be undergoing TJ, courtesy of your friend and mine, Doctor James Andrews.

So, who's the Cards' 6 now?  I don't know.  Descalso?  Kozma?  Jackson?  Please.  Ray Vinson just saved himself an awful lot of money if wringing $99.99 out of him is going to take turning a Descalso-Carpenter-Craig double-play.

I'm not saying DD can't play defense, in fact, I'm not even saying it's a downgrade (or upgrade for that matter) at SS now that Furcal's out for the season.  Although, let's face it, a real man would've just had the nerve and any problematic anatomy removed, and pushed through.

All I'm saying is that I don't like the way it went down, and I'm pretty salty over it today.

Don't put him on the DL in September, then a month or two later tell me you're optimistic about the non-surgical rehab Furcal has in front of him, then in January sign Ronny Cedeno, and state clearly that the purpose of that acquisition is specifically to bring him in as a backup shortstop, before you look me in the eye in March to tell me he's having season-ending TJ surgery.

Do I think the on-the-field landscape has dramatically changed at the shortstop position now?  Not really.  I see a minimal impact on Ws & Ls, quite honestly.  Furcal's career OBP is .346, Descalso's is .337, Kozma is .373.  (I know, small samples sizes for DD & PK.)  My point is that we're not talking about the difference between a perennial all-star and some no-name scrub.  Without having saturated myself in the number-crunching, I see the on-the-field difference as marginal.

It just irks me how it all went down.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

UCB Roundtable: Day 4 - Stan the man

I've mentioned it before, but the UCB Roundtable is a discussion held twice a year, and the group responds to a new question each day for a few weeks.  This time around, my question revolved around the greatest Cardinal of them all, Stan Musial.  The question and responses from Day 4 of the UCBRT were as follows:


Yesterday, the Missouri State Senate gave their first approval to name the new bridge in St. Louis after Stan Musial.  (link to PD's story)  You don't just roll out of bed, and live the kind of life, and have the kind of impact that Stan Musial had on, not only the Cardinals franchise, but the entire city of St. Louis, and beyond.  The entire Busch family sent a very nice "6" wreath to the site of the statue.  Bud Selig, Joe Torre, and other high-profile MLB names came to pay respects when he passed.  I submit to you that had Earl Weaver not passed the same day, the VIP list would've been much much longer.

Today's question takes a break from prediction-type discussion, and looks back instead:

Tell me what impresses you about Stan Musial.  If you were trying to describe Stan to someone who knew nothing about him, and very little about baseball in general, what would you say?

I'd encourage you to really think about this, and not just reply with some low-hanging fruit like 'half the hits on the road & half at home' type things.  Don't shy away from statistics, but also don't be afraid to share your thoughts on things beyond those numbers.  Thanks, everyone!


Great question...

I struggle a lot with the way players are perceived as heroes and "good people" just because they play the game we love.

That's my focus on Stan.  He was "The Man" in St. Louis.  Not just at the ballpark, but in the town.  He took time to greet people in the supermarket.  He took the time to talk to children, sign autographs, and genuinely felt blessed by his talents.  He transcended the game into everyday life.  He was the type of guy that you could point to when talking to your kids and say, "that's someone to look up to."  

That's what was most important to me.  That the fame did not cause him to become larger than life.  He was seemingly the same person when he died as he was when he signed his first contract.  

He was more than a ballplayer, he was The Man, and St. Louis was blessed to have him.


It's not always easy to put things like this into words.  Stan was, well, Stan--if you are a fan, you get it without a whole lot of words being necessary.

I'd echo what Bill said in that Stan was a genuinely great guy with no obvious black marks against him.  No "pulling rank" as it were, even though he could have without any animosity.  No sordid past or group of detractors.  Now, it's easy to say he played in a different time, when the press wasn't as adversarial or the coverage wasn't as complete, but he's stood the test of time and the people digging into his past.  There's still no one (save maybe Joe Garagiola) that had anything but the nicest things to say about Stan.

Even in that, though, Stan wasn't about the image.  He wasn't this person that had carefully crafted public displays of charity.  He didn't act one way with the cameras rolling and another without.  He was exactly what we thought he should be.  He could be a role model, unlike so many other athletes of today.

Couple all of that, the class, the dignity, his marriage to Lil for 70+ years, all of that with the fact that he was good. He started hitting as a rookie and never stopped.  He had probably the most complete career we're ever going to see.  Albert challenged that part of his legacy, but I don't think we'll see Albert hitting .300 when he's 40.

Even if he wasn't recognized as much in life, he was one of the all time greats and he spent his entire career in St. Louis.  That would be enough for admiration, but with everything else, well, someone said it best when they said, "I gave up on worrying about popes when they picked a Polish one and it wasn't Stanley Frank Musial."


I agree with Bill.  What separated Musial from the rest is that, while he was a star, he never acted like a star.  He would always take the time to sign autographs, he would play happy birthday for you on his harmonica, he was just an all-round great guy.

Athletes today could learn a lot from him and he will truly be missed.


What a wonderfully thought provoking yet difficult question.  The one thing that
strikes me most about Stan Musial is that there was no one thing that stood out.

Sure, he was a talented and successful ballplayer.  He also seemed to be unaware
of his greatness, as were some of the other legends of his time (Willie Mays,
Henry Aaron, Ted Williams).  The first thing that I think about when someone
mentions Stan Musial is that all he required for an autograph was a handshake
and a conversation.   He seemed to be as thrilled to meet a fan as the fan
was to meet him.

That's why he's called Stan the Man and not Stan the Ballplayer, or The Sultan of
Whatever, or the Cardinal Clipper.


Again, I agree with Bill and others...and that's always the first thing that strikes me about Stan. For decade after decade as the premiere celebrity in St. Louis - midwest royalty, even - he never changed who he was...not even a bit. But thinking longer on it, I always hear so much about Stan spending hours with fans - standing at his car after a game and signing, handing out souveniers after church, or even going out of his way to approach a couple taking wedding photos in front of his statue and make their memory even more special - and I always wonder, why can't players who want to follow Stan's example do that now? I know the easy answer is, "They would get swarmed by fans"...but that's never really been true in St. Louis. A bit, sure, but one of the reasons players love playing in St. Louis is the fact that they can live some semblence of a normal life - go to a movie, go to the zoo, go out to eat, etc. - with minimal disruption.
When Matt Holliday or Yadier Molina tire of autographs and escape to the clubhouse, or Chris Carpenter walks by fans after a 6 and a 1/2 hour Baseball Writer's dinner and says "no autographs, no autographs" as he loads his family into the car...I think to myself, "Would Stan have done that?" And more often than not - I'm sure even Stan couldn't sign forever - the answer is, "no."
Don't take me wrong...I don't think those players are being selfish or slighting fans in any way (despite what some fans think, players DO deserve to have a life), but it was just difficult to reconcile who Stan was in those moments with players who seem to be good people and want to emulate Stan...and yet always fall short. Stan never forgot those promises we all make to ourselves as children - "If I make it to the big leagues, I'll sign for EVERYBODY!". But I think - and I thank Dathan for this question because it finally led to the answer for me - it's not a matter of whether players want to be like Stan or even if they are "lesser people" than Stan was...
It's simply a matter of how unusually strong Stan Musial was as a person, as a player, and as a man. Stan is constantly seen as a friendly, caring, attentive person who always went out of his way to make someone's day special when he saw an opportunity to do so...but Stan was also full to the brim with strength. To be able to endure, persevere, and manage to be the man he was actually required a rare combination of patience, endurance, understanding, and strength. Stan Musial was no pushover.
One of my favorite stories about Stan is when a pitcher deliberately threw over his head two or three times in a row. By the third time, even Stan started to charge the mound! A player who was never ejected from any game...even he had his limit. When push came to shove, Stan would throw down with the best of them if needed. When the strength to endure was needed, he showed that to extreme...but when the strength to act was appropriate, everyone in that stadium that day saw Stan "The Man" take two or three strides towards the mound to confront a man challenging him.
I think a lot of people would look at Stan - especially outside St. Louis - and have trouble seeing him as anything more than "a nice guy." But it took so much strength to be who he was consistently, day in and day out, that I marvel at the strength he must have possessed as a man.
One more modern-day reference...
Jason Motte recently tweeted something about a fan booing him because he didn't stop to sign at the gate. Motte said his wife had a horrible fever and a screaming child, so he just needed to give his attention and time to them at that moment rather than stop to sign. I am completely on Motte's side, so please don't misunderstand me when I say this...but I just can't help but think Stan would've found a way to make it work...maybe he goes back after his family is settled, maybe he has someone take his family home while he signed a bit, I don't know...but I just feel like Stan wouldn't have been fazed in the least by the adversity.
Now, maybe that's not true. Maybe it's the mythology of Musial talking when I think Stan would've somehow found a way to sign and care for his family...but even that says something. The man displayed so much strength and ease when dealing with people that the mythology he left behind made him seem superhuman. Like Paul Bunyan, Stan displayed such amazing strength as a man and as a person, he actually became a modern-day folk tale.
That's what sticks with me about Stan...his incomprehensible strength.


I love this question. Not because it's about Stan, per se, but because there is honestly no wrong answer. Stan was a legend in baseball, but even more so in life. That's the rarest kind of fame, in my mind. But for me, the thing that blows my mind about Stan "The Man" is the depth (and length and breadth ...) of his reach.
I never saw him play baseball. I never met him. I never knew him as anything other than an aging legend. I grew up knowing the name, yes. But, as a young baseball fan in a generation removed from Musial's playing days, I didn't have any sort of first hand knowledge of why we (as a Cardinal-fan family) loved Musial ... we just did. I just did. Of course, that was initially due to the relation to my team, and very little else. Stan, though, had a reach that spanned generations in such a unique way. He was a living legend whose post-baseball life was as magnificent as his playing days.

His generosity, loyalty, commitment, compassion, and humility were just as great (if not more so) than his batting average, his defense, his "clutch-ness" ... Even I knew he was an All-Star in life, not just baseball, and I saw only a microscopic portion of what made him that way.
Stan had a firm grip on reality, and an understanding that baseball was only one small part if it. So many of today's athletes either shirk the responsibility of being a "role model," or they build up their sports image as the be-all and end-all of life. Not Stan. He lived every day in such a way that, if a child (or grownup!) was watching, they'd see how baseball should be played, and more importantly, how life should be lived.
And, I didn't have to see Stan play to know that. 


Great question, Dathan!  In addition to all the great things that everyone else has said about Stan, he was one of the few white ballplayers in the 1940s who befriended African-American ballplayers.  Stan would see them playing poker in the locker room and ask to be dealt in.  That was his way of befriending them off the field. He was good friends with Willie Mays. 

I saw Stan in person only once and that was at the opening of Busch Stadium III.  He may have been frail and he had difficulty walking, but when he got up to the microphone, he turned on the charm, shared a few jokes, and played his harmonica. 

What I would say to someone who knew nothing about Stan was that he was a man who gave 110% on and off the field and who treated everyone he met like royalty.  All of his stats came naturally - no performance enhancing drugs or steroids.  He was a devoted family man and a humble person.  All of these qualities in one person is rare in these times.  There needs to be more people like Stan in today's world. 


To my knowledge, and I do not have a lot of it, Stan Musial is an irreplaceable icon who not only won the hearts of baseball fans in St. Louis, but the hearts of non-sports fans in the metro areas as well. 

From his on-the-field accomplishments, to his patriotism and sacrifice of serving in the military, to his wacky harmonica, Stan Musial should be remembered not as the "Perfect Midwesterner" as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports painted, but instead as the perfect American. 

Nobody has ever been so successful and seen so much, yet stayed as humble, friendly, and charming as Stan Musial. He was a role model for young athletes. He was a role model for young kids. He was the type of person every adult across this country should strive to be.  



Stan Musial was true to himself, true to his family, true to his heritage. He never pretended. He treated everyone with dignity and decency and respect. He was a selfless individual. He was comfortable in his own skin. He was a talented person with a humble spirit and a kind heart.


Echoing what everyone else has said, I like that he always had those complementary autograph cards on him—even when he was charging for 8x10s and above.
To me, Stan is and always will be St. Louis.  He played during the time of the reserve clause and when he had a bad year, he asked for a reduction in his contract.  How many players in this era have the courage to approach the organization in a down year?


Stan was a presence. If you grew up in St. Louis, whether you watched a single Cardinals game or not, you knew of Stan. He was a one-man institution in St. Louis, on the level of the Anheuser-Busch, the Arch and the Cardinals themselves. Much like people know of Pierre Laclede separate from him founding the city itself, you know of Musial, separate of the Cardinals.

Stan was numbers, but for the majority of people in the city now, he was living legacy and visualization of respect coming and going. This is as surface level as I can go, because I started asking questions about "Why is everybody standing up for him...who's that?" from the time I was about 8 years old, so I know him a very in-depth way now. Partially because of my thirst for baseball knowledge, but also because of that impact he made on me at such a young age, and I'm sure for countless other locals over the 70 plus years he made an impact in St. Louis.


I doubt I'm mining territory the rest of the group hasn't already, but Stan Musial was one of the few sports icons in history with an unblemished purity. There are often good guys throughout the game of baseball, and there are plenty of Hall of Fame talents as well. What Stan did is manage to be both, a feat that seems increasingly impossible as time passes. Stan was one of the best and most talented players in the history or the sport, but that never changed him. For his entire life he was nothing but an extremely well-meaning man who influenced the lives of many. He never came across as anything less than a legend both on and off the field, and that's a combination we just never get to see anymore.


In baseball, as in life, there are genuinely good people who people can honestly and rightfully admire. Stan Musial was one of those people, both in life and in baseball. He retired before I was born, and I was not born a Cardinals fan, yet even I learned before becoming one the impact of what he meant both as a man and as a ballplayer. That’s an accomplished life.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free sample: UCB Annual Publication

Each year, the United Cardinal Bloggers publishes a collection of stories, perspectives, and commentary looking back on the previous season.  This year, the publication is available in ebook format via amazon.  (paperback coming soon?)

For less than the cost of a subway footlong, you can enjoy a robust collection of written gold from various members of the world-famous* UCB.  I've decided to include a small sample of what you'll find in this glorious collection.  Enjoy what you read here for free.  $4.99 is enough to buy the whole thing.

Another season, another career high in nine of the 10 categories we’ve been looking at. Toss in yet another Gold Glove Award, the inaugural National League Platinum Glove Award, another All-Star appearance, another top-25 in MVP voting, as well as another World Series Championship, and you’ve got Yadi’s 2011 season.

Let that sink in for a minute. Go ahead and read that last paragraph again.

Now we come to the 2012 season. World Series hangover, new manager, no Pujols, new pitching coach, Wainwright coming off Tommy John surgery, Carpenter with the whole brachial plexus issue, a new contract looming … etc. There were several factors going into 2012 that could’ve been used coming into spring training as potential excuses. Hedging before the season would’ve been a very easy thing to do for anyone on this team, and Molina would have been no exception.  

Instead, the guy went out and did what? You guessed it. Set new offensive career highs. You know the drill (+ prev career high):

  • 65 times, dude dented the plate (+10)
  • Put the ball between the lines 159 times (+14)
  • 28 two-baggers (second only to ‘11’s career high 32)
  • 22 fair souvenirs (+8)
  • 76 ribs (+11)
  • Stole a dozen bags (+3)
  • Batted .315 (+.010)
  • Slugged .501 (+.036; and +.109 over next-highest career SLG)
  • .874 OPS (+.060; and + .125 over next-highest career OPS)
  • 253 Total Bases (+32)

And, of course, no Yadier Molina season would be complete without, (say it with me), earning his fifth consecutive Gold Glove Award, his second straight Platinum Glove Award, his fourth All-Star appearance in a row, and finished fourth in NL MVP voting.

A lot of Cardinals fans think of Yadi as a defensive god who has been coming around the past couple of years with the bat, to complerment his skill set on the other side of the ball. Not to sound like a homer, but those folks are half right -- he is a defensive god. His bat, however, has evolved into much, much more than a mere complementary aspect of his game that’s “coming around.” This guy finished fourth in the MVP race this year. Players who finished fourth the past few years include Justin Upton, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Manny Ramirez, David Wright and Carlos Beltran. Most folks wouldn’t figure Yadi to be in that kind of offensive company. But he is.

Not “he could be,” “he has the potential” or “he could blossom into.” He is. This is the real (and yes, I believe possibly Hall-of-Fame-bound) Yadier Molina.

In 2012, Molina cracked the top 100 list for career defensive WAR, passing skilled counterparts from years gone by such as Lance Parrish and Benitgo Santiago, who once threw out Vince Coleman from his knees. Yadi’s defense, his run-prevention/reduction and near elimination of opponents’ running game is clearly a tremendous asset for both he and the Cardinals. It’s also a major part of the reason why the organization wisely rewarded him with a handsome, yet sane, contract extension.

So there you have it, a taste of what the UCB Annual contains this year.  For more, check out the details on amazon.  If it's not the best Cardinals-related $4.99 you'll spend this year, let me know, I'd be tempted to refund your money personally.  You won't be disappointed.

*or, you know, at least a decent-sized portion of the KMOX listening area.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stan Musial 1920 - 2013

There's really nothing that I could write about Stan that hasn't already been written, spoken or otherwise conveyed by others.  In fact, all any of us really have are our first-hand accounts and stories.

I never met Stan Musial (Myoo-see-uhl), but like most Cardinals fans had a deep appreciation for everything that he means to not only Cardinals nation, but to all of baseball, its history, and the city of St. Louis.  I shared some of my thoughts about Stan's visitation on a recent podcast on the Seamheads network here.

I was out of town when I heard the news, and I cried in front of strangers when I read that Stan had passed.  Given that, I didn't get the chance to make it down to his statue until a few days later.  It was quite moving, and incredible to read the letters, cards, and notes that fans had written to him and left at the foot of the perfect knight.  The hats, pictures, balls, jerseys, and other items fans had left there was quite a sight to behold.

The Musial statue at Busch Stadium last week

On a somewhat related note, the folks that I work with in real life have a holiday party every year, and we always have it in January.  This past weekend was this year's party, and much to my surprise, my director (my boss's boss's boss) was in town from L.A. to come to this party.  As it turns out, he isn't a big baseball fan.  To put it lightly.  He didn't know who Stan Musial was.  (Cue the overlooked comments)

So, in order to rectify this problem, I told him that I was going to email him once a week, and drop Stan Musial knowledge on him.  Whether the 24 All-Star game thing, or the half of the hits on the road/half at home thing, I'm going to send him info once a week for the rest of 2013.  What I'm expecting is to educate him, sure, but also to learn a lot myself.

I was at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 when we all stood for Stan, in an (eventually) successful effort to help propel Stan Musial into the white house to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian in the United States.  But it was this past week, standing in line to pay final respects as I walked past his casket, when I truly felt that I had the chance to Stand for Stan.