The United Cardinal Bloggers like to keep things interesting during the season and put together these projects. One month may be a roundtable where questions are presented and others include a set of questions for the writers to answer themselves. It’s a lot of fun and a way to decompress from the drama of a 162 game season. The August project this summer is putting together a roster using the UCB writers list. The members. You take the list and play General Managers. Being John Mozeliak for one day.
Let me admit this is hard. Very hard. Choosing between writers I talk to frequently, met once and some I don’t even know is work for a fancy looking man in a bowtie and not this bald Italian South St. Louis reject. Having written about this team for a long time, I have been told several times that it’s a good thing I am NOT the GM. That reality gets a little blurry here.
I took the roster and broke it down to 28 spots. 25 body roster and a manager, hitting coach and pitching coach. I could have went deeper but I just couldn’t do any more selecting and dissecting. I will catch enough flack for my choice that I don’t need to compound the fractures that will already occur. Without further delay, here is the way my team breaks down.
Manager-Daniel Shoptaw (@C70 on twitter)
Look folks, Shop is a guy I look up to and a man who was born to be a leader. He barely ever loses his cool (that is unless you swear against Star Wars or any of its characters) and is a smooth operator. I could see Shop taking that slow walk to the mound to take Waino out, and not feel like pulling a double switch just for the heck of it. Shop is an easy going fella with a Southern twist to his voice and one that will make postgame pressers seem like a gathering of friends instead of a Game of Thrones set. Shop is trustworthy and someone who could stand the 162 game test of time.
Hitting Coach-Mark Tomasik (@retrosimba)
If you need a stat, Mark has it. If you need a straight to the point update on a player, Mark will have it. If someone reaches 1,000 hits or 1,000 RBI, Mark will tweet it out before the hitter reaches first base. The man is a walking encyclopedia of Cardinal baseball and anything attached to it. He is to the St. Louis Cardinals what Martin Scorsese is to film. A book of history and knowledge. In person, he is a comforting presence but I could imagine Matt Holliday walking back to the dugout after a first pitch groundout and Mark saying, “You know big fella, 6 out of the last 7 times you have swung at the first pitch, you have recorded an out.” He would know when to say it and how to say it. I respect Mark a lot and is one of those follows that I am honored to have. He’s my hitting coach.
Pitching Coach-John Nagel (@CardinalsFarm)
It’s simple. John is the wise voice of calm in your ear every time you make a comment on twitter or use a stat. In addition to being a Memphis Redbirds and Minor League maestro, John knows when to start a wise conversation with a hopeful writer(pitcher) and when to drop the hammer. He challenges you to be better and be more accurate with your words(pitches). There are a small group of people that I look out of the corner of my eye for when I tweet, and Nagel is one of them. He is a wise man who is too young to be so patient. It would make for a perfect pitching coach. He could walk to the mound and tell Shelby Miller, “What you did that one time in Memphis, do it here, alright.” I have never met Mr. Nagel but he is my pitching coach on words alone.
Bill Ivie (@poisonwilliam)
My UCB radio partner can give you the innings you need and the wit to back it up. I won’t throw around Ace of the rotation here lightly but Bill is a man I can hand the ball to in a clutch game. He writes with an authority and is a leader. He recently put together a moving batch of articles on the troops in Afghanistan. That kind of go get it done fight is needed in my rotation.
Tara Wellman (@TaraWellman)
This lady is tough. She has everything you want in a starter. The guts to push through a tough outing and the sass to say give me an inning to figure this out. She doesn’t hesitate to call you out on wrong doing and writes with her heart and mind. Basically, she kicks ass.
Cole Claybourn (@HighSock_Sunday)
Cole brings a mixture of abilities to the table. He is a journalist, blogger, blunt disher of opinion and writes like his hands are daggers. He is adept at getting interviews. Cole can give you the innings required to prove a point and a little extra. He is a young writer so he has plenty of time to climb the ladder. He is also a person who can give advice and take it as well. That’s rare.
Kevin Reynolds (@deckacards)
I met Kevin this year at the Winter Warmup and carries the easy going grace of Shoptaw. He can rein you in on a point or he can ease you along. He may not be top of the rotation or find enough time to write, but he stays active on Twitter enough to get his say in. He is needed in the rotation no matter what because of his leadership. I had ZERO clue what I was doing at the Warmup and Kevin eased me along.
Christine Coleman (@CColeman802)
Along with Tara, Christine forms the UCB Female 1-2 punch. You could put these ladies at the top of the rotation anywhere and be safe. Christine can organize articles for an end of the year book or she can pound out a memorable piece on a late Cardinal. She writes when she sees fit and that is something to respect. Her words are opinionated yet not heavy handed. She can dish it without putting her foot on someone’s throat. She closes the back end of this rotation and is a lot more consistent than Shelby Miller.
Swing Arm (starter and reliever)-Marilyn Green (@Marilyncolor)
Marilyn is blunt. Whether it’s dishing a defense on Peter Bourjos or simply stepping into a discussion about Mike Matheny and grabbing a bashing stick and swinging away, Green doesn’t pull any punches. It can come short and quick or long and brutal. Over at Red Cleat Diaries is where you can find Marilyn’s blunt take. Get read up. You can disagree all you want, but it won’t soften up her next dose.
Setup Man-Jon Doble (@JonDoble)-I haven’t interacted with Jon as much as I would like but he can handle an inning or two in a tough intense baseball conversation.
Closer-Matt Whitener (@CheapSeatFan)-Look, when a long thread on Twitter gets far too crazy for a civil soul, Matt comes in and closes it with one classy precise comment. Twitter needs minds like Matt. A voice of reason. When in doubt, go see what Matt said last, whether its on wrestling, football, inner city politics or baseball.
Long Relief-Ben Chambers (@chambersb7)–Ben can go on for innings. Agree or not, admire the man’s tenacity and endurance. He likes a certain side of sabermetrics and worships the WAR stat. He is your long inning guy. Reliable to a fault.
Specialist-Matthew Philip (@fungoes)-Matt has the graphs, stats and instructs in his articles. Best of all, if you need a percentage of a player’s WAR that affects his MVP chances or any other sabermetric, this is the person. He doesn’t just look at one stat. He looks at them all.
Middle Relief-Dathan Brooks (@Dathan7)-Dathan is useful in many areas and doesn’t mind dishing his political take in a manner that is not overpowering. He is more than just baseball and that’s a good thing to have in a bullpen. A number of ways to get someone’s attention.
Middle Relief-Cole Brand (@cbrand17)-A former pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals system, Cole knows how to get hitters out and is just breaking into the strokes of writing about it. His tweets are even keeled and inform you about the game little by little from a player’s point of view.
Wes Keene (@KeeneMLB)-Second Base
Wes is a gent and a guy who can combine comedy, analysis and an invitation to engage within one tweet. Good to have leading things off.
Corey Rudd (@CoreyRudd)-Catcher
Corey is a valuable writer and treats twitter like a deft attention to detail. He can talk fantasy football, baseball and pick apart the Wall Street Journal all in a few tweets and claims to be able to collect doubles like I drink cups of coffee. He hits in the most important spot and plays a demanding position. I feel like I learn from Corey weekly and our conversations never waver into nonsense.
Jared Simmons (@McGeeTriples)-Shortstop
Simmons was the first person to enlighten me on the value of Lance Lynn, which makes him special and important. Jared doesn’t write as often as he wants to but he is valuable in his twitter baseball chats and doesn’t waste his tweets. He can also talk Banshee so that is a game changer. You can depend on Jared for something juicy.
Nick Waeltz (@PitchersHit8th)-Left Field
Nick helps run a website at the Conclave, writes posts and contributes painfully funny and informative tweets all while being a new dad at home. He carries a big stick but doesn’t have to tell you every time he comes to the plate.
Rodney Knuppel (@KnuppelRodney)-Right Field
Rodney spreads his knowledge around to all sports but the one thing I like about him is he is level headed and contributes to conversations as well as starting them. You need a fair egg in the ocean with all these misfit toys.
Daniel Solzman (@dsolzman)-Third Base
Solzy is a writer who provides regular updates, statistic heavy articles backed up by commentary and can also dish a movie review. Sometimes, he brings the two worlds together. Solzy is a true value player, giving his audience a little bit of everything.
A.J. Blankenship (@GSC_AJ)-First Base
Sometimes I just want to purposefully disagree with A.J. so I see if the Hulk comes out. The man is a nice cool fellow and can write as well. He reaches out for contributions and likes to interact. He never makes you feel like he is above you in his writing or tweets. Good guy. All around. We need more A.J.’s around here.
Doug V. (@drv421g)-Center Field
Doug just joined the UCB and pumps out 2-3 articles a week. He keeps his articles to the point and short. He doesn’t wear on you or preach too much. Just the right amount of opinion and fact.
The Bench-They are ready and willing
Josh Gilliam (@aprfool79)-He claims to be done with writing for a while, but he lurks on Twitter with a smoking gun. John Mozeliak pointed this guy out at Blogger Day wanting to hear his question. He may be worth only one swing these days but it will damn sure be mighty. He also likes Banshee, which if you haven’t figured out yet can be bonus.
Scott Turner (@TurnerTwists)-Scott pumps out occasional work at Turner’s Twists, and has a good self made blog going for the Cards. We don’t interact as much but he gets a spot on the bench until he earns more at bats. Keep him honest.
Scott Wuerz (@ScottWuerz)-He contributes to View From The Cheap Seats and is an active Twitter typer. Scott and I can go back and forth on an issue and find some middle ground. We may not like our opinions in the end but there will be some respect on the table. He’s a worthy opponent.
Joe McBrayer (@McBrayerBall23)-This guy pumps out articles on the McBrayer baseball blog and fires out one line tweets. You know how hard that is? Very hard. He is direct, blunt and a friendly gent in person. Good to have on the bench when a bullet is needed.
Free Agent I Am Keeping An Eye on-Joe Schwarz (@stlCupOfJoe)-He can say he is gone for the time being but I still consider him part of the UCB. Joe is valuable in too many ways to list in one blog. He writes for Viva El Birdos and is a wonderful combatant on Twitter for any type of conversation. He is wise beyond his years.
Retired Player I Am Going To Lure Out of Retirement-Bob Netherton (@CardinalTales)-Bob is a combination of several things. Wit, comedy, vast knowledge, calm reactions, and overall a joy to interact with. He doesn’t write anymore but he contributes enough on twitter that if you aren’t following him, your priorities aren’t straight. A man I will lure out of retirement to come write for the Conclave or join me on the radio some day.
That’s all I got. If anyone was left out, I will leave it up to you to figure out if it was on purpose or simply me being forgetful. This General Manager thing is tough and I spent 2200 words here convincing myself I don’t suck at it. Thanks for reading this different kind of post. I am part of a special group of Cardinal writers and they are all good players in my book.
Until next time.