Cardinal70

In the wake of all the Giancarlo Stanton talk, there’s been a lot of talk about how St. Louis “isn’t what it once was” when it comes to a destination for various players.  Free agents won’t come, folks say, because the aura and the mystique isn’t there anymore.  That could somewhat be true, but let’s discuss one possibility.

The Cardinals have never been that destination.

When we talk about big names and big signings for St. Louis, who comes to mind?  Jim Edmonds.  Scott Rolen.  Mark McGwire.  Matt Holliday.  What did all of those folks have in common?  They were traded to St. Louis, with no recourse a la Stanton’s no-trade clause.  They came to love the location, the fans, the atmosphere but if given a choice not one of them (well, OK, maybe Indiana boy Rolen) would have chosen the Cardinals on the free agent market if they’d not been baptized in baseball heaven in the first place.  That was Walt Jocketty’s MO for the longest time.  Get them to St. Louis and you can keep them.

The big free agents never came, though.  Holliday didn’t sign an extension with the Cardinals and went to free agency, but the others were locked up before they could get away.  Holliday, if you remember, didn’t exactly jump on returning to the Cardinals, not signing a deal until January to return.  If the pull to St. Louis was so great, why didn’t Holliday put pen to contract much sooner, perhaps even before the end of the season like McGwire did?  Now, admittedly, Holliday said around the time of his signing that he kinda had St. Louis on the mind during the free agent period, but he didn’t just drop everything so he could be a Cardinal.

As one of our regular Meet Me at Musial listeners pointed out (I broached this topic on our last show), Carlos Beltran did come to St. Louis and that’s a fair point.  Beltran wasn’t the biggest fish on the market that offseason, but he was a notable name and a guy that had plenty of success even as his career was (supposedly) winding down.

Now, you could easily make the case that the “trade and keep” philosophy isn’t working out as well either.  Jason Heyward never seriously entertained returning to St. Louis, it doesn’t appear, and we’ve seen this year that Juan Nicasio might be a similar story.  That’s a strong argument that things aren’t maybe what they were in the first decade of this century.  However, I don’t think you can point to Stanton or others as a sign that things are bad or that Mike Matheny has made it where players don’t want to come to St. Louis.

Would we still be talking about such things if David Price had just been a bit quicker to make up his mind to come to St. Louis?  The stories are that he was just hours away from becoming a Cardinal before Boston went over the top with the money.  Price wanted to be here, it seemed.  Having a major free agent make the choice to be a Cardinal might have nipped some of this in the bud.  You also have Dexter Fowler, but the competition for Fowler was a bit lesser and the Cardinals had to give him an extra year to get him to commit.  It felt like St. Louis was almost a drawback that had to be overcome, which is the way many fans look at it now.

I guess I wouldn’t disagree with those folks, I just would say that it’s not a recent occurrence.  It’s not because of Matheny.  It’s not because they’ve missed the playoffs two years in a row, though that certainly doesn’t help.  The biggest names have always been traded for or home grown.  I don’t think what we are seeing now is really any huge sea change from what things have been for many a year.  When you are competing against places like New York or Los Angeles, it’s going to be tough to get someone to come to the middle of the country.  You have to write a check significantly larger than your competitors then, something the Cards have historically not wanted to do.

Derrick Goold also makes the point that players are coming to free agency earlier in their life span, so they are concerned with different things than they were years ago when Mike Hampton famously chose Colorado for the schools (and the hefty contract).  That probably plays into it as well, but Hampton himself shows that this idea of the big name players not choosing St. Louis is not a current trend.  That offseason that Hampton was being battled over was after the 2000 season, a whopping 17 years ago.  (Which is so hard for me to believe because I remember that battle quite well!)  Even then, fancy presentations and large dollars weren’t enough to get the prize the Cardinals wanted.

Let’s also point out that it doesn’t seem that St. Louis’s reputation as a baseball city has been affected much at all.  One of the only reasons Stanton even met with the Cardinals was because, given that they share a spring training facility, he’d seen what kind of organization they were, what kind of fan support they had, their focus on winning.  While he still didn’t think he’d fit in the way he wanted to, he had nothing but respect for the club if his public comments are to be believed.  There are no reports, anonymously or otherwise, of players having a major issue with anything baseball-related with the Redbirds.  It still seems like Baseball Heaven, it’s just that if you want something besides baseball, it could be a little lacking.

It’s fitting that the farm system was an invention of the Cardinals (or, more fairly, Branch Rickey while he ran the club) because that’s where they’ve gotten many of their best players from.  They’ve also done a fine job bringing in players via trade.  When it comes down to bringing in a player cold, though, that’s always been a weakness.  That didn’t start in the last few years and it’s not likely to stop anytime soon, I don’t believe.  It’d be nice to have a Manny Machado, but it might take trading for him and lavishing a huge extension on him before he reaches free agency (a tough task, but he’s not a Scott Boras client so it might be possible) to get him into Cardinal red.  Trying to grab him or Bryce Harper or anyone else of that ilk next winter?  That seems much less likely.

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Luke, I Am Your Blogger

OK, I can’t actually start this post without confirming my Star Wars credentials.  I know that the line that this post title is a takeoff on doesn’t actually exist.  I can quote you the scene from The Empire Strikes Back with the surrounding context.  I know Vader says, “No, I am your father.”  However, it’s a paraphrase that, like “Play it again, Sam” from Casablanca–another line that doesn’t exist–has entered our collective consciousness.  I know you don’t expect much from this site, but you do expect accuracy when it comes to a galaxy far, far away and I want you to know that trust is not misplaced.  (Also, while we are here, The Last Jedi looks amazing, doesn’t it?)

Now that the geek card has been played, we can move on to the baseball.  Last night, probably in response to this tweet, the Cardinals signed relief pitcher Luke Gregerson to a two-year deal.  Gregerson, who most fans know went to San Diego with Mark Worrell from the Cardinal minor league system in the deal for Khalil Greene, has been a solid relief presence for most of his career before stumbling last season with the Astros.  Of course, he also has a nice new World Series ring to bring into the clubhouse, just like last year’s signing, Dexter Fowler, did.  You wonder if this is John Mozeliak’s subtle way of letting the players know this is what they should be striving for.

Anyway, I saw some folks I respect, most notably Zach Gifford and Joe Schwarz, aren’t enthused at all about this signing.  I’m sure they’ll have an article up at Birds on the Black later today to explain why and it will make a lot of sense.  I’m not smart enough to look at heat maps and exit velocity and things like that, so my admittedly amateur eye looks at the stat lines.  I know that’s not the best way to look at things always, but it’s what I’ve got and what makes sense to me.  Gregerson’s had a very good career up until last year, his first major stumble.  He’s still a guy that has struck out over 10 per nine innings four times in his career–including the last two seasons–and often has a FIP under 3.00.

What stands out to me, like most anyone, is that last year he gave up 13 home runs, which was almost double his previous career high.  It was more than he gave up in 2015 and 2016 combined.  If that home run total is more like 6-7, and moving to Busch from Minute Maid should help that, that ERA and WHIP is going to drop.  (I know, reliever ERA is worth about as much as paper in a paperless office, but let’s go with it.)  Gregerson also gave up about two hits per nine more last year than he ever had before, another number that might have been inflated.  His batting average on balls in play last year was .308, which was significantly more than most of his seasons.  There are reasons for me to think that he could get back to being a solid piece in a bullpen where many folks have claimed that the Cardinals should throw arms at the problem.

There’s also the Mike Maddux factor to take into account.  He’s not necessarily a pitcher whisperer like we think of Dave Duncan being, but he’s obviously got a strong reputation as a coach.  It would seem a decent possibility that if Gregerson’s issues last year were mechanical, Maddux would find the flaw this winter and get him to correct it.  Of course, we don’t know if that was the problem or not.

Now, Gregerson is also going into his Age 34 season.  It’s possible that last year was not a blip but the beginning of a trend.  That’s a fair approach to take at this.  I’m also not enamored with the idea of a two-year deal, because so many of the multiple year contracts that the Cardinals have had over the past few years, whether they’ve been signings, extensions, or acquired in a deal, have been a bust, usually because the pitcher winds up spending part of the deal injured.  Gregerson has appeared in 60 games every year but 2016 (when he was in 59) so he’s been fairly durable.  With Mo’s luck, that will catch up to him sometime soon.

There was a notable tweet that indicated, as the Cubs also signed Brandon Morrow yesterday, that both teams had found their closer.  That was quickly derided by a lot of Cardinal fans, because there’s no indication that Gregerson will be used that way.  Sure, he had 46 saves in ’15 and ’16 combined, but he’s not been a closer much of his career.  It would seem more like he’s a replacement for Kevin Siegrist in the seventh inning, letting the Patron Pitcher of the Blog Tyler Lyons take the eighth and whatever closer is acquired the ninth.

So what does the bullpen look like right now?  Assuming that the Cardinals can’t shake Mike Matheny from his 13 man pitching staff, currently it is probably:

Matthew Bowman
John Brebbia
Brett Cecil
Gregerson
Lyons
Alex Reyes (?)
Ryan Sherriff
Sam Tuivailala

If Reyes isn’t ready to go for the beginning of the season, it would probably be Josh Lucas or John Gant until he was cleared to return to action.  That’s a staff that still doesn’t have an obvious closer (as we mentioned above) and it’s not Matheny’s strength to mix and match and be creative.  It would seem some more work needs to be done but there are going to be some names that will either be moved or cut in the shuffle.  Brebbia and Sherriff do have the option of returning to Memphis, which could help, but the 40-man is getting crowded.

The winter meetings kick off today in Orlando.  By Wednesday, this roster should look a lot different (should being the operative word).  It could be fun to see what they’ll do!

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Yesterday we wrapped up our look through all those that got votes in our Top Cards on Twitter project.  However, we did things differently this year.  Instead of ranking people 1-25 on a ballot, I asked you to give me a valuation of the account on a 1-10 scale, where one was barely worth following and 10 was a must-follow.  So it was possible to wind up with more points but have less “vitality”, if you will.  Let’s look at what the top 10 accounts by average per ballot was (minimum 20 ballots):

Handle Points Ballots Average
cardinalsgifs 382 40 9.550
StlCardsCards 334 38 8.7895
dgoold 357 41 8.7073
LangoschMLB 344 40 8.6000
miklasz 326 38 8.5789
C70 349 41 8.5122
bschaeffer12 318 39 8.1538
crashstl 276 34 8.1176
stlcupofjoe 323 40 8.0750
CardinalTales 246 31 7.9355

Not a real different look here.  A reshuffling of sorts but only CardinalTales really jumps up much.  Look at that overall average for gifs, though.  As you’ll see in our next table, which shows those that had the highest percentage of 10 votes, he was probably as close to perfection on this kinda thing as you can get.

Handle Ballots %10
cardinalsgifs 40 65.00%
StlCardsCards 38 50.00%
miklasz 38 50.00%
dgoold 41 43.90%
LangoschMLB 40 37.50%
TexasCardsFan1 36 36.11%
CardinalTales 31 35.48%
SimulacruMusial 32 34.38%
stlcupofjoe 40 32.50%
crashstl 34 29.41%

A bit more variety here.  A couple of folks that might not have gotten overwhelming support overall but what support they got was very strong and devout.

Who got voted on the most?  Nobody was voted on all of the 43 ballots, which given the form was a little surprising.

Handle Ballots %
C70 41 95.35%
dgoold 41 95.35%
cardinalsgifs 40 93.02%
LangoschMLB 40 93.02%
stlcupofjoe 40 93.02%
vivaelbirdos 40 93.02%
bschaeffer12 39 90.70%
hochman 39 90.70%
Ben_Fred 38 88.37%
miklasz 38 88.37%
StlCardsCards 38 88.37%

Probably not a surprise there are a lot of media types on there, given their reach, plus I’m on there because I am the one running this thing and odds are you found it from my links.

Anyway, just a few little tweaks and ways to look at things.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the whole series and we’ll probably do it again next October!

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We’ve reached the last of our list, though we’ll be looking at it through some different prisms tomorrow. If you are just now tuning in, where have you been? Here are the other links for you:

76-97
51-75
26-50
21-25
16-20
11-15
6-10

We’ve put this off long enough.  Who are the best Cardinal Twitter accounts?

Number 5: miklasz
Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported my lengthy career at the center of the sports-media industrial complex.

On Twitter since: February 2009
Number of Tweets: 37.7K
Following: 1,411
Followers: 140,228

Number of ballots: 38
% that were 10: 50.00%
% that were 1: 2.63%
Total points: 326
2016 rank: 15

Being that I’m not in St. Louis and I don’t tend to listen to sports radio, I tend to think about Bernie less than I did when he was at the Post-Dispatch and was doing Best Podcast in Baseball with Derrick Goold.  However, it doesn’t appear his move to radio has affected his import and popularity at all if these results are any indication.  Bernie’s always been a “tell it like it is” guy and an interesting read.

Number 4: StlCardsCards
(No bio)

On Twitter since: March 2014
Number of Tweets: 44.9K
Following: 606
Followers: 4,817

Number of ballots: 38
% that were 10: 50.00%
% that were 1: 2.63%
Total points: 334
2016 rank: 1

Last year’s Top Card followed that up with another solid year on Twitter, even if he couldn’t figure out where he wanted to write his humorous posts that had to be over 140 (or 280) characters.  Now he’s settled in as part of that new Birds on the Black site to bring down the quality of that site to a more manageable level.  There’s no telling what you’ll get on CardsCards Twitter feed but it’s probably going to be funny, has a good chance of being offensive, and is often going to be a highlight of your day.

Number 3: LangoschMLB
Christian. Cardinals beat reporter for http://MLB.com . Regular contributor to http://101sports.com , MLB Network and Cardinals Magazine.

On Twitter since: July 2009
Number of Tweets: 21.7K
Following: 388
Followers: 63,172

Number of ballots: 40
% that were 10: 37.50%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 344
2016 rank: 4

It’s hard to believe Jenifer has been covering the Cardinals for almost six years now.  She continues to do so with professionalism and solid reporting.  Her Twitter account isn’t often going to interact with followers but it still has a lot of Cardinal news and links to her work.  I also want to extend congratulations on her absence at the beginning of next season as she has her first child.

(As I have done the last three years, I include my account on the list but don’t count the results in the overall rankings, just noting where I would have fallen, which would be right here.  I appreciate all those that gave me the good reviews and would like to extend my thanks for all the votes!)

Number 2: dgoold
Lead Cardinals beat writer for St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Proud father. Bookworm. Lapsed cartoonist. World Record-holding INF. Friendly neighborhood word slinger.

On Twitter since: September 2008
Number of Tweets: 118K
Following: 1,440
Followers: 95,786

Number of ballots: 41
% that were 10: 43.90%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 357
2016 rank: 2

It’s not surprising that the beat writer in a baseball-obsessed town always gets ranked highly.  We’ve done this three years and Derrick has finished first once and twice second.  He’s usually good about interacting with followers, though the answers aren’t always what folks are looking for.  He’s indispensable for news relating to the Cardinals, especially this winter with so many irons in the fire.

Number 1: cardinalsgifs
⚡ “I don’t know who put out the hit,” Maddon said “I don’t know if Tony Soprano is in the dugout”

On Twitter since: May 2015
Number of Tweets: 25.3K
Following: 1,199
Followers: 4,882

Number of ballots: 40
% that were 10: 65.00%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 382
2016 rank: 33

You want a challenge? Find someone to say something slightly negative about gifs.  Even on Twitter, that place where negativity thrives, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything.  Gifs is great about helping anyone who asks–see the Exit Interview header he did for me as an example–and now is putting his creativity behind the Birds on the Black site.  With the talent there and gifs running the show and the visuals, there would seem to be no stopping them from internet domination.

So there you have it!  Tomorrow, we’ll take a couple of different looks at the data just to show a few things.  Thanks for sticking around!

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Another day and no resolution on the Giancarlo Stanton front.  However, if the rumors and reports are accurate, it seems like St. Louis might be best served by moving on.

According to Craig Mish last night, neither St. Louis nor San Francisco is on a (I assume) recent list of teams he’d accept a trade to.  (It’s possible that he’s just referring to the general no-trade clause that we’ve been dealing with this whole time, though I thought that only had the Dodgers on it as acceptable and right now there are teams other than LA that he can be dealt to without asking his permission.)  The Cardinals have been working on this deal for longer than the five weeks that it has been since the end of the World Series and it still feels like they’ve made no headway.  Mish cautions that the Cards aren’t out of the mix for Stanton yet, but let’s look at it this way.  San Francisco has a lot of advantages over St. Louis in this whole thing and they haven’t been able to seal the deal.  I don’t think Stanton has ever felt farther away.

(Imagine, though, if Stanton goes to the Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani winds up in, say, San Diego.  Missing out on both prizes of this offseason would be pretty painful, especially when many Giants fans felt Stanton was already in their pocket.)

I’m not saying that the Cardinals should just pull out of the Stanton sweepstakes or anything.  Obviously until he makes a decision, the whole Dumb-and-Dumber “so you are saying there’s a chance” thing comes into play.  You want them to be in a position to strike if things line up right, but now it feels like there are so many moving parts that to have them line up just right is asking the cosmic tumblers to click into place.  (Two movie references in one paragraph.  I feel like Dan Buffa.)  John Mozeliak talked about patience in an interview with Derrick Goold last night and it’s not a terrible thing, but it feels like patience will only get you so far.  You can wait and wait and wait and it may still never come to fruition.

The club is obviously working on various other plans and hopefully they are ones that are close to fruition.  The fanbase, which was already not inclined to cut a lot of slack, has become restless over this Stanton ordeal and there needs to be something to show for this offseason soon.  The move for Miles Mikolas is intriguing and interesting, but it can’t be anything more than an appetizer or a side salad to this winter’s main event, whatever it might be.

Which raises the question, what are Plans B, C, D, and the rest?  We haven’t heard Josh Donaldson‘s name much as it doesn’t feel like Toronto is motivated to move him.  There were the rumors of a Chris Archer, Alex Colome, Evan Longoria deal and while that’d be a lot of fun, Longoria’s not the transformative bat that we have continued to ask about.  Not that most fans would be disappointed to add Archer to the rotation and Colome to the bullpen, but the focus for this offseason was an impact bat and while I’ve been a fan of Longoria for quite some time, I don’t know that he qualifies as that anymore.  He had a strong 2016, but the years around have been good but not great and he’s under contract until he’s 37, I believe.  Again, having a strong defender and 20 homer bat at third isn’t a bad thing, but Jedd Gyorko‘s given that sort of pop the last couple of years and his defense hasn’t been terrible.

Most of the focus would tend to stay on Miami and their other outfielders, Christian Yelich and Marcell OzunaViva El Birdos and others like Adam Butler over at The Redbird Daily have been high on Yelich as a solution to the problems St. Louis is having (and if you listen to Goold much, it seems he’s on that bandwagon as well), but if Miami moves Stanton, how motivated are they to move a guy like Yelich, who they have signed through 2022 and will only cost $7 million next year and $9.75 million the year after?  Wouldn’t that be the guy that they wanted to build around as the leader of their next youth (and cheap) movement?

That leaves Ozuna and I guess your feeling on him can be tied to how representative you think his 2017 is going to be.  Ozuna hit 50 points higher than he ever has, had 14 more homers than his previous career high, and his 145 OPS+ dwarfs anything else he’s done.  Next season will be his Age 27 season, which is when players are often starting to develop into whatever they are going to be.  So if you are telling me that he’s going to hit .312 with 37 homers or a reasonable facsimile thereof, I guess that he would be that bat that we’ve been looking for.  Of course, there are just as good odds that last year was a career year and he’s going to wind up more like a .275 with 25 homers guy.  Which is good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard to say that’s going to transform the lineup.  There are a lot of players in that same arena that already calling St. Louis home.

No matter who comes, unless there are options that aren’t even being whispered now (a complete possibility given this front office, but not to be expected), it’s going to have a bit of a disappointment attached to it, I think.  A lot of folks put a lot of stock into a Stanton deal.  Getting what would appear to be a lesser talent, even if it is a good, smart move that makes the team better, is going to feel a little less than stellar.  Still, we’ll all forget any impatience or disappointment if the 2018 Cardinals can win a lot of ball games, so hopefully a move will be made soon that will put them closer to that ideal.

You would figure the roster would be significantly different by this time next week.  (Though, in fairness, we’ve thought that a few times already this winter.)  Winter meetings will be done and surely Stanton will have made his decision by then.  I would hope so, at least.  For a winter that promised us a lot of “roster churn” from the front office, it’s been remarkably stagnant, it feels like.  Trevor Rosenthal is gone and Mikolas is here, but that’s really about it that is notable.

As for Mikolas, he’s an interesting guy that blossomed in Japan after being nondescript in the beginning of his MLB career.  He’s also carried quite a workload the last year or so in Nippon Professional Baseball, which should mean that he can cover a chunk of that innings gap we have been looking at.  His addition also means that Alex Reyes can start the year in the bullpen and at his own pace while Jack Flaherty can develop a bit more in Memphis.  (Obviously, this all is as of right now–trades could change this.)  Mikolas looks to be a mid-rotation starter but there’s plenty of disagreement about what he’ll do in the big leagues.  Still, even at his worst it looks like a pretty good fourth starter and it allows for either development or trades.  It’s not a big contract–two years, $15 million, I believe–so it can’t burn them like a Brett Cecil contract can.  (I still hold out hope for Cecil to get back to form this season, though.)

While this is a move that makes sense and improves the club, that’s not the sort of shakeup that we as fans have been expecting.  We’re probably getting closer to that sort of move but that doesn’t mean it is imminent.  Patience may be a big thing for Mo, but it’s not our strong suit!

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We’re reaching the end of our list of the top Cardinal Twitter accounts.  For reference, here are our past posts:

76-97
51-75
26-50
21-25
16-20
11-15

Who are the top 10 Twitterers?  Here’s the first half of them!

Number 10: KeeneMLB
Expert analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals. RT = humiliation. During games there will be a deluge of tweets. You’ve been warned. Tweets by @WesKeene

On Twitter since: July 2012
Number of Tweets: 65.5K
Following: 549
Followers: 2,872

Number of ballots: 37
% that were 10: 21.62%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 271
2016 rank: 17

Why anyone votes for Keene is beyond me, but hey, y’all did so we have to talk about him.  No, seriously, Keene is a witty, snarky guy who is willing to take anything the Cardinals do and give it a sardonic twist.  He can be a little quieter in the offseason and didn’t tweet as much this year with the rough season, but that may be why he moved up the listing.

Number 9: crashstl
I am guilty of being an in the moment tweeter| Faith, Family, Cardinal Baseball |

On Twitter since: January 2016
Number of Tweets: 25.7K
Following: 600
Followers: 2,185

Number of ballots: 34
% that were 10: 29.41%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 276
2016 rank: 14

Hey, I think Crash kept the same Twitter handle all year long! I can tease him because we’ve known each other via message boards and the like for close to 15 years.  Crash is a passionate, fired up, dyed in the wool Cardinal fan that has no problem expressing his opinions and running hot with how things are going on and off the field.  Depending on your point of view, you’ll love him or be infuriated by him, more than likely!

Number 8: vivaelbirdos
@cardinals news, notes, & analysis. managing editor: @craigjedwards. editors: @lil_scooter93, @johnjf125 & the Red Baron

On Twitter since: November 2009
Number of Tweets: 22.4K
Following: 392
Followers: 20,306

Number of ballots: 40
% that were 10: 25.00%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 308
2016 rank: 9

One of the rare blog accounts that is more than just a feed for links on their posts, VEB is a very active account run by a number of their writers.  I mean, there are links to their stuff, which isn’t surprising, but there are also numerous tweets during the game and reactions to news.  It’s also fun to also guess who is actually running it on a daily basis, though it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s Heather.

Number 7: bschaeffer12
Cardinals and Blues writer @KMOV. Owner @TheIntrepidSTL. Mizzou grad. Pollster. I’m no Seth.

On Twitter since: July 2011
Number of Tweets: 43K
Following: 570
Followers: 5,874

Number of ballots: 39
% that were 10: 28.21%
% that were 1: 2.56%
Total points: 318
2016 rank: 26

I should have found a poll tweet to embed above because that’s what Brenden is known for this time of year.  Any sort of trade possibility that’s rumored or even if it’s not, Brenden will put it out there to get the pulse of Cardinal Nation.  Plenty of good stuff besides the polls on his feed as well, including links to some of his writing.  Lots of good discussions come about as well!

Number 6: stlcupofjoe
Joe Schwarz, Pharmacist (PharmD) | Pitching analysis, formerly at @vivaelbirdos | #GoDawgs | stlcupofjoe at gmail dot com

On Twitter since: May 2010
Number of Tweets: 55.2K
Following: 477
Followers: 6,106

Number of ballots: 40
% that were 10: 32.50%
% that were 1: 5.00%
Total points: 323
2016 rank: 18

Joe hasn’t gotten around (as of preparing this post) to changing his Twitter bio to reflect his new home, as he is one of the driving influences behind the new Birds on the Black site.  One of the best known writers on pitching in Cardinal Nation, it’s not surprising that it didn’t take long for him to write another article on Carlos Martinez.  Joe’s feed will also touch on soccer and Butler, but it’s worth following anyway.  If you want to know something about pitching, Joe’s the guy to ask.

We’re almost to the top!  Come back and see who gets the top spot–it’s not the same as last year!

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We’re getting closer to the summit of the mountain with our last full slate of double digits.  For reference, here are the past ones:

76-97
51-75
26-50
21-25
16-20

Some good names coming so buckle up!

Number 15: CardinalsFarm
stlbabybirds at yahoo dot com. Tweets by John Nagel

On Twitter since: April 2012
Number of Tweets: 22.7K
Following: 595
Followers: 11,221

Number of ballots: 36
% that were 10: 13.89%
% that were 1: 5.56%
Total points: 247
2016 rank: 5

One of the losses to the Cardinal base of knowledge this year has been the lack of posting by John, my former Meet Me at Musial co-host.  From what I can gather, life and other interests have kept John, who just a year or so ago was considered one of if not the best prospect guy for the Cardinals as well as the founder of The Redbird Daily, away from the keyboard.  Thankfully some others have picked up the slack, but it would be great if things lined up to get John writing yet again.

Number 14: craigjedwards
Writer @fangraphs. Managing Editor @vivaelbirdos. Email is in my VEB profile.

On Twitter since: February 2011
Number of Tweets: 13.5K
Following: 550
Followers: 3,765

Number of ballots: 35
% that were 10: 11.43%
% that were 1: 8.57%
Total points: 251
2016 rank: 10

Given the Fangraphs and VEB references, it’s not a surprise that there’s a lot of sabermetric knowledge on Craig’s feed, though the pinned Tweet is Tom Lawless’s bat flip.  Lots of good information there as well as links to his current work, which is a helpful thing.  You’ll find plenty to think about if you are following Craig!

Number 13: TexasCardsFan1
I tweet about St. Louis Cardinals baseball 99% of time. Been in love with the Cards for all of my life or at least since 1964.

On Twitter since: November 2011
Number of Tweets: 103K
Following: 1,846
Followers: 3,226

Number of ballots: 36
% that were 10: 36.11%
% that were 1: 11.11%
Total points: 266
2016 rank: 22

Scott is a fun Twitter follow.  At times, he’s a little cynical or negative, but he’s not so overwhelmingly so that he won’t have a good conversation with someone that sees the sunnier side of things.  He’s willing to listen to the other side even while putting out his point of view.  Plus he’s seen a lot of Cardinal baseball and he lets that influence his thoughts as well.

Number 12: hochman
Sports columnist for my hometown paper, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Eater at Protzel’s Deli.

On Twitter since: October 2008
Number of Tweets: 152K
Following: 9,488
Followers: 37,502

Number of ballots: 39
% that were 10: 10.26%
% that were 1: 2.56%
Total points: 267
2016 rank: 19

Hochman is, of course, the most….energetic, shall we say, of the Post-Dispatch writers.  He’s still busy at the P-D after getting married this summer, but he’s not shown up as much on the Best Podcast in Baseball.  Hochman’s style of pop references and rabbit trails can be polarizing, but he’s good to interact with his followers and give them a follow as well.

Number 11: tarawellman
TV host & producer. Storyteller. Baseball lover. Cupcake connoisseur. Just assume it’s sarcasm. RTs ≠ endorsement. 1 John 4:4

On Twitter since: January 2011
Number of Tweets: 60.1K
Following: 1,215
Followers: 2,038

Number of ballots: 34
% that were 10: 14.71%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 269
2016 rank: 25

Tara is one of my favorite Twitter people, partly because she deals with me every week on Gateway to Baseball Heaven with minimal complaint.  Her Twitter feed is the best place to find a link to a new Bird Seeds (besides subscribing on YouTube, of course) and she’s always talking baseball even while she mixes in other topics, such as whichever place she’s traveled to this week in the course of her real job.

And with that, we’re knocking on the door of the top 10.  We’ll get to those in our next installment!

2 comments

We continue to quickly (or not so quickly, depending on your point of view and how you would rather not read so many posts on this topic) go through the rankings compiled from your opinions on various Twitter accounts.  If you’ve missed out, you can find the others here:

76-97
51-75
26-50
21-25

Let’s see what the next five have in store for us, shall we?


Number 20: buffa82
South City| WGNU 920 AM Radio Host | Contributor to @590TheFan | @uber driver | @ksdknews and @stlouisgametime columnist | @STLFilmCritics member |

On Twitter since: January 2011
Number of Tweets: 133K
Following: 5,990
Followers: 8,611

Number of ballots: 37
% that were 10: 5.41%
% that were 1: 10.81%
Total points: 231
2016 rank: 8

I am pretty sure that if you are on Twitter, you know about Dan, the man with seemingly endless energy.  You’ll find his writing many places and on many topics.  You’ll hear him on the radio on Friday nights.  Heck, if you are out in St. Louis, he could be your Uber driver.  Opinions sometimes vary on him, but there’s no doubt that most everyone has heard the name!

Number 19: SimulacruMusial
Cardinals | gifs | @VanHicklestein

On Twitter since: February 2017
Number of Tweets: 16.5K
Following: 557
Followers: 1,558

Number of ballots: 32
% that were 10: 34.38%
% that were 1: 3.13%
Total points: 240
2016 rank: 7

Even though our methodology changed, we are still seeing similar names up high in the list.  While you’ll see that this account started in February of this year, that was just when VHS split off his baseball info from a personal account.  Cardinal Nation is truly blessed with some amazing visual folks and Sim (if you’ll allow me to abbreviate) is one of the best.  Watching game clips in gif format during the game from this account is always a treat.

Number 18: johnrabe
St. Louis ex-pat, Cardinals fan. Not so hot on Matheny. Political, social, and biblical views over at @johnrabeFL

On Twitter since: June 2008
Number of Tweets: 31.7K
Following: 533
Followers: 2,086

Number of ballots: 32
% that were 10: 28.13%
% that were 1: 3.13%
Total points: 242
2016 rank: 38

John (who does what I do, separates the personal from the baseball) is another one of those that doesn’t shy away from a good discussion or even a bad one.  He’s perfectly willing to be out of the mainstream (or at least out of the Twitter version of that) and defend positions that are going to be challenged.  Another one that benefited from our change in methodology, I believe.



Number 17: Ben_Fred

Sports reporter/columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and @stltoday. Radio talker for @550KTRS. Trying to read more and tweet less.

On Twitter since: January 2009
Number of Tweets: 37.1K
Following: 2,055
Followers: 14,180

Number of ballots: 38
% that were 10: 2.63%
% that were 1: 2.63%
Total points: 244
2016 rank: 50

Ben is, of course, one of the folks you’ll see covering the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch.  He’s much broader than that, though, and his Twitter feed will be full of links and thoughts about many other sports, especially those coming out of Columbia.  I imagine that’s a selling point for many in that area.  You’ll also find him riding around with Benjamin Hochman in videos put up by the PD talking about all things sports.

Number 16: CardinalTales
Former St. Louis resident and long time fan of the Cardinals and Blues, amateur radio operator and music collector.

On Twitter since: May 2008
Number of Tweets: 149K
Following: 2,090
Followers: 3,812

Number of ballots: 31
% that were 10: 35.48%
% that were 1: 3.23%
Total points: 246
2016 rank: 12

It’s no secret that Bob is one of the great Cardinal historians on Twitter.  He’s got a wealth of knowledge having seen a lot of the great players come through St. Louis in person or actively keeping up with them after he left the state.  A huge proponent of those coming up through the organization (including, for many years, Tommy Pham), Bob is one that has a good feel for things from top to bottom.  I don’t think he and I share a mind as much as we used to, but he’s still a great one to talk baseball with.

All right, just three more posts!  Well, probably four when we take a look at lists a little differently.  But you’ve hung around this long, you might as well come back for more!

0 comments

Before we get into the top folks in our survey, here are the ones that we’ve already talked about:

76-97
51-75
26-50

All right, here we go!  As we did last year, we’ll put up their bio and a recent or pinned tweet to give you a taste of who they are.  Stats are through November (basically).

Number 25: Cardinals
Official Twitter of the #STLCards | http://facebook.com/cardinals | http://instagram.com/cardinals | 👻: cardinals

On Twitter since: July 2009
Number of Tweets: 53.9K
Following: 1,279
Followers: 1,151,816

Number of ballots: 35
% that were 10: 22.86%
% that were 1: 11.43%
Total points: 216
2016 rank: 6

It’s a bit interesting that the official account dropped when, in my opinion, the feed really improved over the past season.  There was more personality, more interaction with followers, than we’d seen in a while.  I mean, they aren’t the Rockies or anything like that, but there’s more than a dry recitation of facts and stats and constant selling of stuff.  (There’s still a lot of the latter, of course, but in a little better ways.)

Number 24: BirdsOnTheBat13
Bringing you all the news, stats, and articles that you need to know for the 11-time World Series Champion St. Louis @Cardinals.

On Twitter since: April 2012
Number of Tweets: 93.3K
Following: 4,619
Followers: 37,117

Number of ballots: 35
% that were 10: 0.00%
% that were 1: 5.71%
Total points: 218
2016 rank: 3

This might sound as a slight that it’s not intended to be, but BOB might be the biggest Cardinal cheerleader on the site.  If you want to know stuff about the Cardinals, he’s putting it out there, whether it’s links like that above or RTs of other folks.  He’s a great conduit for things that are going on–you can follow this account and it’s like following 1000 others!

Number 23: cigarmike
Christian, lover of fine cigars, The Beautiful City of Memphis, St. Louis Cardinals, Memphis Grizzlies, Arkansas Razorbacks, fine books, and fine conversation.

On Twitter since: January 2009
Number of Tweets: 59.4K
Following: 1,829
Followers: 2,701

Number of ballots: 32
% that were 10: 9.38%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 225
2016 rank: 37

Mike’s got a pretty wide-ranging Twitter feed.  You’ll find some great Cardinal talk, of course, and he’s very willing to get into a good discussion about the team and everything around it.  There are other things here as well, though, including Memphis in various forms and, of course, the virtues of a fine cigar.

Number 22: MozAlgorithm
St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations computer algorithm | Cardinals contributor at @STLHatTrick | Special Thursday Guest on @birdsonabatshow

On Twitter since: July 2017
Number of Tweets: 20.1K
Following: 599
Followers: 1,677

Number of ballots: 33
% that were 10: 12.12%
% that were 1: 6.06%
Total points: 227
2016 rank: N/A

If you are looking for a Twitter rookie of the year, you probably don’t look much beyond Moz here.  He’s been on Twitter for less than half a year and already is a fixture on there, with a lot of great work (as can be seen in the embedded Tweet) and some great thoughts.  Moz isn’t afraid to stake out some far edges of opinion and then get into the mix to defend it, but usually does so with plenty of data and strong thought.

Number 21: StlWinn
Sports-junkie who’s also nerd-curious, @NeverNeverDan. Unique blend of positivity & sarcasm. Resides in a network of tunnels beneath Busch Stadium.

On Twitter since: February 2011
Number of Tweets: 40.6K
Following: 80
Followers: 2,092

Number of ballots: 29
% that were 10: 24.14%
% that were 1: 0.00%
Total points: 230
2016 rank: 11

Regular readers of this blog remember Daniel from his work on the Luke Skyweaver series we ran last offseason.  One of the many on Twitter than can do some great visual work, Dan’s usually active during the season but is much less active once the games stop.  That doesn’t mean he won’t pop in from time to time, though!

There’s our first foray into the Top 25.  More to come soon!

0 comments

All right, we’ve tackled the first two chunks (76-97 and 51-75) of our list.  Here we get into those that run right up to the Top 25.  I don’t know if we need any more intro so let’s get on with it, shall we?

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
50 clutchmarp 127 8 1 54
49 MattSebek 128 10 1 24
48 Total_CardsMove 133 8 1 50
47 CattMarpMD 134 9 2 65
46 cardsblog 135 9 1 30
45 b_g_h 137 10 1 13
44 crying_birds 140 10 1 N/A
43 elmaquino 141 10 1 31
42 TonOfClayton 144 10 1 N/A
41 ArtLippo 145 8 1 58

A couple of changed names here and I can’t quite remember what they were beforehand. I put roseyisking’s rating for last year on CattMarpMD but it might have been crying_birds. (Or it could have been neither–I should follow more closely.)  We see a couple of pretty sharp drops here in rankings with MattSebek and b_g_h, though neither are quite as active on Twitter as they used to be so maybe that plays into it.

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
40 DrunkFredbird 150 10 1 35
39 amedlock1 151 10 1 N/A
38 TheBaseballGuy1 152 10 1 N/A
37 Carly_Schaber 165 10 1 40
36 PrezJohnMo 168 10 1 20
35 deckacards 168 10 1 23
34 lil_scooter93 169 10 1 28
33 kyler416 172 10 1 65
32 CardinalHistory 176 10 1 50
31 2xbirds 190 10 1 29

The podcast partners elmaquino and 2xbirds are close together again, just like they were last year.  JohnMoGM got a promotion this year.  Our good friend Kyle Reis might have made the largest jump of the year, going from a write-in last year to knocking on the door of the Top 25 this season.  Also good to see my Meet Me at Musial podcast partner Mr. Medlock get a little attention!

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
30 TheJJBailey 191 10 1 41
29 johnjf125 193 10 1 27
28 jstreibel22 194 10 2 21
27 markasaxon 205 10 1 71
26 drewsilv 208 10 1 16

I see John created some distance between him and Heather, his VEB podcast partner.  I doubt that comes up on the show, though.  Mark Saxon did what Kyle did, jumping from write-in to in Top 15 contention, all while losing the Cardinal beat due to ESPN’s cuts.  Just like when you start seeing more lanes on the interstate as you get closer to a big city, you can tell we are getting to some quality accounts when you see these sort of names just outside the cutoff.

We’ll go into more detail with the rest of the accounts, starting with #25, very soon!

0 comments

Let’s continue our look at the best Cardinal-centric follows on Twitter as determined by those that got tired enough of listening to me beg for input that they filled out a form.  If you missed it, our first batch, from #76 to #97, ran here.  All the details about the project are there as well, so let’s just get after it. (Wait, one more detail since it didn’t come up last time. Ties were broken by the higher average of points per ballot the Twitterer appeared on.)

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
75 BinPiehl 66 7 1 46
74 turpin4prez 69 10 1 72
73 mademdashes 69 8 1 64
72 buddha6883 70 9 1 63
71 Diane1611 71 7 1 N/A

Some quality follows here, of course.  Diane’s one of the regulars of the United Cardinal Bloggers and is always active with whatever we do.  I always enjoy seeing what Dan Moore has to say and, quite often, how he’s going to say it.

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
70 saraholmesSTL 87 10 1 73
69 boxcar_fritz 88 10 1 69
68 AdamMFelder 88 8 1 62
67 FWBluesFan 92 10 1 34
66 ErdrickStorm 95 10 1 N/A
65 CruddyWH 97 9 1 38
64 Graham_Stl 103 9 1 ??
63 kluttz_fan (protected) 105 10 2 46
62 FakeMikeMatheny 106 9 1 54
61 DizzyDean_17 106 9 1 54

Pretty big jump between our first chunk and this one.  That’s probably going to happen at this stage of the list, though.  I don’t know where Adam Felder went off to–when I was doing the form, he was on Twitter, but some time since the World Series he seems to have deleted his account.  Hopefully he’ll be back when the season rolls around.  I think Graham_Stl was a different account last year but I really can’t remember which one, which is why his 2016 ranking is what it is.  Tina (ErdrickStorm) is one of my favorite new follows and I’m glad that she has been able to join me at times for the Star Wars podcasts as well!

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
60 DrMilesM5 107 10 1 N/A
59 Drunk_Yadi 108 9 1 43
58 thestlcardsfan4 109 10 1 49
57 AshleyMClark92 109 10 1 67
56 CardsNation13 113 8 1 46
55 grobot05 117 10 1 69
54 elichap22 117 10 1 45
53 stlcardsminimo 121 10 1 N/A
52 LanceDance1 122 10 1 N/A
51 2xAught7 123 10 1 58

A few bloggers in this mix, including Dr. Miles, whom many of you may remember from his Adam Wainwright interactions this summer.  As I mentioned yesterday, really enjoy the Bird Law podcast which Adam (LanceDance1) is a part of.  And Sean (2xAught7) is a great one for pithy observations, either about the Cardinals, St. Louis, or other items of interest.

We’re right about halfway through.  We’ll go through another 25 in our next post then get ready to break down the top accounts!

1 comment

Back in October, as you might remember before the long waiting game of the offseason really began, I asked for your help in determining the best Cardinal-related Twitter followers.  This is the third straight year we’ve done this and I think the method I have now of ranking accounts on a 10-1 scale, while not perfect, is the best of the bunch so far.  We received 43 legitimate responses (there were a couple of trolls I had to toss out) which is the third straight year that the input has increased (42 last year, 26 the year before).  This year, as we have always, we will do our ranking by total points received, but I will also break down the results in some different ways when we are done with the first list.  As always, the ones outside of the Top 25 are broken down in table form with some general comments on the group.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

 *–Write-in

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
97 Toppercoachx3* 5 5 5 N/A
94 friggencards* 6 6 6 N/A
94 JonDobleRBD* 6 6 6 N/A
94 uhnooffense* 6 6 6 N/A
90 ImJimR87* 8 8 8 N/A
90 leadenfooten13* 8 8 8 N/A
90 RobRains 8 8 8 N/A
90 stlsportsnation* 8 8 8 N/A
89 gr33nazn* 9 9 9 N/A

When making up this year’s list, I took everyone that had gotten even a single vote last year (assuming I could find their Twitter account was still active) and added in a few others.  I was stunned when I saw some of the write-ins because I would have sworn they were already on the list.  They well should have been–Jon Doble’s been active for years and is a great account to follow (he just started up a podcast as well), Rob Rains is one of the great media members in St. Louis, and Dennis (gr33nazn) isn’t as active as he used to be but he’s always bringing quality stuff.  All of these folks probably would have placed higher on the list had they been listed with the others on the form.

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
83 BlogOfTheirOwn* 10 10 10 N/A
83 CGSportsfan* 10 10 10 N/A
83 D_Shore23* 10 10 10 N/A
83 HolyShildt* 10 10 10 N/A
83 JMcDonald_91* 10 10 10 N/A
83 triveratops* 10 10 10 N/A
82 PinkDaisy08* 15 8 7 N/A
81 zjgifford* 16 9 7 N/A

Again, I don’t know how some of these people were left off.  I mean, I think I actually remember adding Cassie and Zach into this.  Maybe that version didn’t save for some reason but those really stuck out to me as ones I thought I had put on the list.  Derek Shore is one of the great follows for minor league coverage and we’ve got a couple of Redbird Rants writers here that you can follow as well.  I look forward to seeing how these folks do next year when I make sure they are on the list!

Place Handle Points Max Min 2016
80 STLMattinals* 24 8 8 N/A
79 Eric_Schmitt 41 5 1 58
78 deborah91473 51 7 1 54
77 RyanOnTheRight 56 10 1 42
76 hes_verygood 62 9 1 N/A

Mattinals got the most write-in votes with three, which might be a good tell of his popularity.  RyanOnTheRight was ryan_stl1 last year, if you are going to look back on the prior year lists for some reason.  Also want to give a shoutout to Rusty Groppel (hes_verygood) for the outstanding work he does on the Bird Law podcast.

There’s our first dive into the mess.  We’ll be back soon with the next 25!

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