As you read on Friday, we’re kicking off the 2014 Favorite Living Cardinal (FLC) Tournament here at C70 At The Bat on Tuesday. The matchups have been released and the bracket is available for you to print out. Remember, if you send me your picks and have the best bracket at the end, you’ll win a copy of the 2011 World Series Game 6 on BluRay and DVD. Right now, the inbox is empty, so send it your selections. What do you have to lose?
Of course, what fun is a bracket without sitting down and looking over it. So, even though I constructed this technological terror, I’m going to give some general thoughts on some interesting matchups and my thoughts on the whole thing. To that end, I went ahead and predicted the whole tournament. Here’s how it came out:
This region is chock full of all those names that, if you were a child of the ’80s, you knew better than most of your family members. Ozzie Smith. Vince Coleman. Willie McGee. Jose Oquendo. Terry Pendleton. Tom Herr. All in the same bracket. Yes, I’m going to make you choose between childhood heroes, because I’m just mean that way.
I think the potential second round matchup between Ozzie and Vince should be intriguing. I’m interested to see if Albert Pujols gets some backlash. I don’t think it’s enough for him to be upset by Skip Schumaker, who had his own flaws, but it could make for a tight contest. And what about Mark McGwire? Does the PED albatross keep him from going far here as well? I think he can get by Ray Washburn, but if it had been Ray Lankford, he’d probably have flamed out early.
I don’t think there will be too many upsets in this division. If that’s the case, I can’t imagine the agony some folks will have in the regional finals when Ozzie and Willie face off.
BALLPARK VILLAGE REGION
The fun quirk in this region is that everyone is either a pitcher or catcher. It’s really interesting to see that you could stock six catchers in this mix without a stretch.
I think the first round here will likely go all chalk. The possible second round battle between Yadier Molina and Chris Carpenter, however, should be an epic one. And if Carpenter gets past Yadi, he most likely will be facing down Bob Gibson. Gibby and Carpenter head-to-head? The region might explode from that showdown!
My main upset here is Mike Matheny making it to the Elite 8. Given his current profile, I think he is able to pull the upset on Ted Simmons and, since I predicted another upset in Tom Pagnozzi knocking off Joe Torre, being able to muscle his way to a faceoff with either Carpenter or Gibson.
No real gimmicks in this region, though it might have a higher concentration of players from the turn of the century than some others. I’m personally going to be watching the 4-13 battle between Steve Carlton and Jeff Suppan. There’s no doubt who was the better pitcher, but Suppan did have his fan base here and Carlton’s time was perhaps before much of this voting populace. I’m picking the upset here based almost entirely on the immediacy factor. If people with long memories are casting their ballots, that could shift quickly.
A second round matchup between Rick Ankiel and Jim Edmonds would be a lot of fun as would a regional semifinal between Scott Rolen and Edmonds, reliving a good chunk of the MV3. I’m thinking Edmonds, getting a lot of support from people in my generation, makes sure that not all the #1 seeds make it to the Final Four.
An interesting assortment of players make up our last region. Many of them were home grown. It’s the only region with two Hall of Famers in it. It also has three current Cardinals in there, which is unique as well.
I think everyone is going to want to see the second round matchup between Red Schoendienst and Jason Isringhausen, just to try to fit that many letters into a bracket. I’m also interested to see Matt Morris versus Todd Zeile. I think Morris should take that one without too much trouble, but I might be underestimating those that saw Zeile work his way through the Cardinal system.
I think Bruce Sutter is the first one seed to go by the wayside, though I may be overestimating the cult status of So Taguchi by saying he’ll leave in the second round. A regional final of Adam Wainwright versus Red would be an amazing litmus test of the past versus the present, the legacy versus the person adding to it. I almost could see Waino taking the final step, but in the end, I think the admiration for Red is too much.
Ozzie Smith vs. Bob Gibson. Jim Edmonds vs. Red Schoendienst. Talk about your Cardinal history.
I think any of them could win, but my general gut feeling, perhaps biased by the fact that he was my favorite player growing up, is that those that were formed into Cardinal fans in the ’80s have Ozzie as the core of that formation and aren’t likely to be denied in this.
Those are my predictions. What are yours? What are your thoughts on the brackets? We’ve got a comment section–why not use it? I’d love to hear what you think!