UCB May Project: The Mailbag

As our regular readers know, here in this spot we tend to take part in all the various United Cardinal Bloggers projects that come our way.  This month we are taking one of our old standbys and giving it a new spin.  In May and October (or November, depending on when the season ends), we do a roundtable project, where one blogger asks a question, either about the Cardinals or something else baseball-related, and everyone chimes in with answers.  This time, thanks to the genius of Bill Ivie, we’re doing a reverse roundtable (or, to be probably more accurate, a mailbag).  Those participating sent questions to all the others participating so they could answer them on the blog.

Let’s take a crack at these.  It should be fun!

Who do you see the Cardinals using as trade bait come July and what hole(s) would they try to fill via trade?Mark (Cardinals Fan in Cubs Land)

The more I think about it, and I’ve expressed this in various locales recently, I’m really thinking there will have to be a trade made to get Oscar Taveras up to the big leagues.  I’m thinking that either Matt Adams or Allen Craig will get dangled, with the one bringing the most return shipped off.  Now, what would that return be?  I don’t know.  You could make a case for a veteran starter that can go deep into games, since the rotation now tends to put a burden on the bullpen and that might only increase with Jaime Garcia joining it.  You could also trade for a few prospects to stock at Memphis, but other than that, I’m not sure what you’d target.

In your years of following the St. Louis Cardinals, what is your favorite moment?Daniel (Redbird Rants)

There’s been plenty of them in the 27 years that I can mark actively following the Cardinals.  Obviously there are the two World Series wins, including that insane Game 6.  There was the Mark McGwire home run race that, no matter what you think of it now, was an amazing time as a Cardinal fan and I can still remember where I was for many of those milestone homers.  I mean, heck, that’s where the 70 comes from in my Internet handle.  There was Rick Ankiel‘s pitching, Ankiel’s homer in his first game as an outfielder, Bud Smith‘s no-hitter…..the list goes on and on.

What I might pick as the top moment, though, was Game 5 of the 2011 National League Divisional Series.  I don’t typically watch important games that closely–I get way too nervous–but I vividly remember watching Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay swapping punches, pacing a small section of my carpet and continually updating Twitter.  When you add in the great pitching, the import of the game, and being able to share that with a huge bunch of friends all across the country, that really shoots up the list quickly.

With so many moving parts in the outfield and the young Memphis talent rushing in, who do you see more likely to be involved in a trade sometime between now and the beginning of next season, Matt Adams or Allen Craig?Dan (Sports Rants)

You’ll note in the first question that I didn’t make a choice between Adams and Craig.  That’s not because I was waiting on Dan’s question to come along so I could definitively opine, but more because I really don’t know.  If I had to blindly guess, I’d say Adams.  The club has already made a commitment to Craig and even though that contract would be just another point in his favor come trade time given its team-friendly status, I don’t see them shipping him off that close to when he put his name to paper.  While Adams has the power that this team seems to be lacking, he’s not flashed much of it and could help out an AL team not only at first but at DH.  I’m very fond of Big Fill In The Blank and I personally might keep him instead, but I think that if one of them is gone by Opening Day 2015, it’s Adams.

Which player that has started slowly has concerned you the most?  Meaning which player may have the toughest time turning the corner?John (CardinalsFarm)

Until recently, I think my answer to this question would have been Craig.  I was worried that he was getting exposed and the Cards might have bought high on that contract extension.  His most recent games, though, have eased those fears somewhat and while I’m not sure we’ll ever see the power out of him that we’ve seen in the past, I think he’ll be able to contribute to the team at a level that’s close to what he’s done before.

Shelby Miller threw a good game on Saturday and if he can do a few more like that, I’ll be less concerned about him as well.  I expected Miller to really shine this year, perhaps become the second-in-line behind Adam Wainwright in the rotation.  Instead, even though his ERA is pretty tolerable, his overall pitching has regressed.  If he can start consistently getting into the seventh and cut back on the walks, I think he’ll be OK, even if he’s not all I hoped for.

Which leaves Trevor Rosenthal.  With the way the season has started for Rosie, I think it’s going to take me a while before I feel comfortable with him trotting out in the ninth of a one-run game.  He did do well against the Cubs when he had to come in with the game on the line in the eighth and there’s always hope that he’ll step it up, but right now if I had to pick one person I’m afraid won’t reach his regular levels, it might well be him.

You and your fellow bloggers have turned The Cardinal Conclave into a one-stop shop for all things St. Louis Cardinals.  With adding more and more quality content, I don’t know if I’ll ever have to go anywhere else for content.  What’s the hardest part of keeping up with all the bloggers and posts?Ben (The View From Here)

Flattery will get you everywhere, of course.  While I appreciate the sentiment, there’s plenty of other great places to go for Cardinal content, including the UCB blogs and, of course, Viva El Birdos.  We can’t corner the market and we don’t intend to–we just want to be a place you can come to and get plenty of Cardinal talk and opinions from different points of view.

If you are asking what’s the hardest part of managing this place, there really isn’t any.  I mean, if we were a place that whipped the writers until they met the deadline or something of that nature, getting pieces to publish might be a challenge, but that’s not what we do.  I feel like we’ve got enough quality (and then there’s me, that provides the quantity) that when we get something, it’s wonderful.  Sometimes figuring out when to time the club’s press releases so they don’t immediately bump a post can be a small challenge, but that’s really about it.  Working with the men (and lady) of the Conclave is a treat and I’m glad to do it!

You are a man that’s very strong in your faith.  In St. Louis, for well over a decade, we had a player that showed our children that it was possible to remain strong in that faith and be a leader on the ball field.  When Albert Pujols left, that torch was seemingly passed to Adam Wainwright.  But if not Wainwright, then who?  Who do you see on this team that draws your attention for his off the field activities and beliefs as he does on the field?Bill (I70 Baseball)

The idea of faith in the clubhouse is an intriguing one for me, which is why I was so excited when Rob Rains wrote his book on the subject last year.  I’m glad that the clubhouse is so outwardly Christian in its approach to things and I agree, Wainwright personifies that now that Pujols has left.  Both of them were very open about thanking God for what they’ve done, but I think Waino opens up a little more about other aspects of faith.  Maybe that’s just what I’ve heard and, again, there’s no comparing the two leaders or their faith, it just seems Waino expresses it slightly differently.

If you weren’t going to count Wainwright, I’m not sure who you’d go to next.  I think Matt Holliday is very much in the vein of “don’t let the left hand know what the right is doing”.  He has verses tattooed on his arm and he does some incredible things for young players and the community, but he’s not always as vocal about it.  Whether I’m just not reading the right things, the media doesn’t cover him like they did Pujols and do Wainwright, or it’s an active choice on his part to be more under-the-radar with his works, I don’t know.  I don’t fault him for it, because from what I understand he shows some strong leadership in this regard in the clubhouse and better the strong, silent, dedicated type than the flashy type that might not have the depth of faith and conviction.

How has blogging about baseball changed your experience of baseball?Kevin (STL Cards ‘N Stuff)

Interesting question.  I think more than anything I tend to watch the games with some thoughts about tomorrow’s post already in mind.  Since I’m not one of the analytical sorts, I don’t think that I approach the game any differently, but I do tend to mentally note things or start writing a theme in my head, only to have to scrub it later if the game goes a different way.

I also think that blogging about the Cardinals has narrowed my focus considerably.  Back in high school, I had a pretty good feel for what was going on with a lot of teams.  I was doing fantasy baseball stats by hand, which also helped, and I had more time to keep up with things.  Now, almost all of my baseball time is reserved for the Cardinals.  I’ll know if something big happens, of course, but how teams in the American League are doing is usually something I have to look up before I talk about it.  Even other NL teams outside the Central don’t get much of my attention, but I can talk Cardinals all day long and have a fairly good grasp on what I’m saying, at least in my mind.

Just a few days ago, the sky was falling in Cardinal Nation.  Then the Cardinals ran off four wins in a row.  Specifically who or what most and truly concerns you about the team for the rest of the season?Pip (Fungoes)

This sort of ties in with John’s question above and Rosenthal is still my answer there, but if you look a little broader and don’t limit it to a player, my biggest concern is that this shakedown phase of the season will wind up costing them the divisional title and they’ll have a fluke play go against them in a tight wild-card game, washing out this season before they can really get going in October.  I don’t know that I’m very fearful of that, but the longer they sit five or so games out of first, the more that fear grows.

At what point in your life did you realize that you would regularly blog about the Cardinals and organize a group of similar people to create the UCB?Corey (CardinalsFarm)

I’d say I didn’t realize that until after it happened.  I am pretty sure that if you’d said seven years ago, right when I was getting started, that I’d still be doing it today and that there’d be this wonderful group of Cardinal bloggers that I’m “in charge” of, I’d have thought that a bit strange.  All of this–the blog, the UCB–has just been the result of showing up and trying a few things, then keeping at it.  There’s no doubt the UCB wouldn’t be what it is today without the great people that do so much to help me out and make sure I’m not talking to a wall.  So, I guess to best answer your question, there was no grand plan, but I’m sure happy with how things turned out.

Thanks to all the UCBers who donated questions for this post and I hope that I answered them with some sort of clarity.  Check out all the other posts around the UCB for other questions, including some that I asked!

  • Ben Chambers

    Hey, on the religion question, one of my faves is Matt Carpenter. He’s open about it on Twitter, he has a verse tattooed on the inside of his bicep, and he did go to a Christian university (TCU)!

  • Buddhasillegitimatechild38

    I think the blogging narrowing focus is a great point. I am simply a commenter here and VEB, yet I know feel strongly about my baseball understanding and seemed to have taken a step back in my hockey and football knowledge

    • Cardinal70

      Which is fine, because you really didn’t need to know that other stuff anyway!

  • Pingback: UCB Project, May 2014: The Mailbag — United Cardinal Bloggers()

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