Cardinals Nerve Center

448602If you listened around St. Louis this afternoon after the Cardinals signed veteran bat Mark Reynolds to a one year deal, there wasn’t much optimism in the air. One would think the Cards just signed a guy to a long term deal and dumped a ton of money into him. Many are overthinking this smart low key addition to the team. Reynolds isn’t coming in to start 145 games. He isn’t wearing a Superman cape to the press conference. He isn’t going to replace anybody on the team in 2015. He is a component and supplies a much needed area of this team. Power. The raw ability to step off the bench and hit a home run. Unless you have been hiding for the last few seasons, the biggest threat off the bench for the majority of the 2014 season was Shane Robinson or Tony Cruz. The Cards have lacked a true threat in the late innings who has the recent experience to back it up.

Reynolds does strike out a lot. He once struck out 223 times in a season. He hit under .200 for a team in 2014. He has never been a high average guy. He isn’t going to dazzle people with his defense at first base. However, Reynolds’ skill set is power. For the last 7 seasons, Reynolds has collected at least 20 home runs. In a three year period(2009-2011), Reynolds hit 114 home runs. He has hit 20 plus home runs for four different baseball clubs. He has done it in a variety of baseball parks and on teams in each league. He is a 31 year mercenary who will play for at least three more teams before he retires. He isn’t here to save the day. He is here to supply the team with a power boost.

Since Albert Pujols left, the Birds have been short on power. I am not asking for the early Tony La Russa MV3 days to reappear but it’s never a bad idea to have a guy who can come off the bench in the late innings and pop a long ball. A hitter who gets all of it or nothing is someone pitchers fear and managers have to prepare for. Reynolds doesn’t hit lefthanders as well as one would like to suggest a split with Matt Adams, but he can still secure a few starts at first when Adams is on a cold streak or taking a DL stop. He is a backup over there that went missing when Allen Craig’s bat vanished in 2014. The best part of the Reynolds acquisition is the bench bat potential. With all due respect to Randal Grichuk and Xavier Scruggs, Reynolds has over 200 home runs as a major league hitter and that gives me a little more hope in the late innings.

Mark Reynolds is potential low liability and high reward. He isn’t a risk. Few 31 year old sluggers are a risk to a winning team on a 1 year deal. John Mozeliak didn’t mortgage the future by bringing Reynolds in and this doesn’t block young players like Scruggs or Grichuk from getting their shot. It’s supplying the team with a known threat.

Offseason signings require the right perspective. If you look at the Reynolds deal right, it makes a lot of sense.

Like what you have read? Find more of my instant take here on Twitter. 

3 comments

Checking In On The Cardinals

Photo Credit-Excelsm

Photo Credit-Excelsm

Greetings folks,

While I have relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas, some things haven’t changed. The trek towards getting my three year old son potty trained is still active and ongoing. He still trashes the house. I can still have St. Louis coffee at an arm’s reach and the St. Louis Cardinals don’t drift far from my mind. Well, that last part is only half true. I haven’t paid too much attention to the Rogues in Red since the end of the National League Championship series. A break was needed. That moment at the end of the race where you drop the log off your shoulders and simply walk off the race track. Stress levels of a different kind grow out of the ground(moving, adjustment, job hunt) and the sports side calms down. However, I must check in on things. Make sure fireworks are being kept to a minimum and the home team is securing another long deep playoff run for 2015. I trust John Mozeliak like I trust my espresso maker to jolt me out of a zombie state in the morning. He’s got it covered. I’ll just do a fly over here.

*Pat Neshek Signs with Houston

After an amazing out of nowhere season with the Cards, good guy Pat goes down to Texas and joins the rehabbing Astros bullpen for a two year, 12.5 million dollar contract. That right there immediately informs every Cardinal fan that the man wasn’t coming back under the arch. That’s expensive money for a guy with zero real closing experience and one brilliant season. Let Houston stray down inside that barrel. Neshek bought the permit for that shiny new gold boat with his work here in 2014 and I wish him the best of luck. He earned it.

*Jon Lester Signs With The Cubs

10 year. 155 million. Small Bears Club affiliated. Lester goes from the Red Sox to the A’s to the Cubs. Formerly cursed club to Beane’s Moneyball turmoil to a seriously cursed group of dreamers. Lester picked the Cubs over The San Francisco Giants, who have won three World Series in the last 6 years and always find a way. I am sure they didn’t woo him with Old Style advertising or Train tickets but something got Lester to sign on the dotted line in Chicago. Dollar bills? Sure. I believe the man wants a challenge. The reason I like the deal is it completes the Cubs makeover. They have the young talent, hungry general manager who brought a World Series to Boston in Theo Epstein, and they went out and signed Joe Maddon to a 5 year deal. Now they have a legit ace in their rotation, and can pair him with good young arms. This makes the Cubs relevant and gives them a heartbeat. It sparks the rivalry with the Cards, which has died since Sammy Sosa, Dusty Baker and other Cub employees wandered off. It makes the National League Central even better. I like it. The Cubs like to spend money. Let’s go out and spoil the party again.

*Lance Lynn Will Get A Raise

As Teddy KGB(John Malkovich) said in the underrated poker classic, Rounders, to a room full of bookies, gamblers and gangsters, “Pay the man his money. He beat me straight up.” Lynn has earned a raise straight up. He climbed the hill from alright 4th starter to a possible 2nd arm or ace in the making. His 2014 season didn’t raise Cy Young flags but the people who watch all 30 plus starts with this durable young kid every season, a change was evident. He pitched to contact, seemed more democratic and didn’t fly off the handle when a building showed a crack in the foundation during an inning. Lynn’s earned run average went down with his run support and he still won a healthy amount of games for the Cards. When Adam Wainwright broke down with a dead arm or Michael Wacha had a stress reaction that ended his season(effective pitching wise at least), Lynn stabilized the rotation. He doesn’t smile a lot, carries a sharp wit and answers questions in short bursts, but he’s paid to pitch and not practice being a politician. I don’t think the Cards should trade him while he is hot. I think they should lock him up. Look at his career. Consistency doesn’t show up like that often.

*Finding a Bat

This isn’t an easy area to dance around in. You can support the big guy at first base with a bat or you can supply the outfield with a safety net. There is also the bench bat problem and the backup catcher weakness. The Cards can still locate a bat on the market. Rickie Weeks? Mark Reynolds? There could be an internal option. Something. All I know is the late night threat needs to loom larger. Randal Grichuk could be the guy but it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a veteran. Make him earn his playing time. Mo still has some work to do.

*Carlos Martinez Makes the Best Tribute to Oscar

Martinez taking over Oscar’s number #18 is a perfect way to remember the young slugger. That number shouldn’t be handed off to anybody and it shouldn’t be left alone in the vault. It needs to live, breathe and create more signature moments. Forget the grass cut outs, the small statue or the other memorial plans. Just seeing the #18 on Carlos’ back as he takes the mound in the first or runs out of the bullpen will be a good reason to sit back and acknowledge the legacy of Taveras. The exuberant energy of Martinez and his strong friendship with Oscar makes this the perfect move by the club. Every time I see that number I will instantly picture the huge Arch sized smile on Oscar’s face. A smile that never dimmed.

That’s a wrap, folks. The winter is slowly rolling through. Temperatures haven’t gotten drastic yet but a new year is upon us. A year that will include more turmoil, surprise, excitement and a heavy dose of drama that is only served best by the Cardinals. A signature blend of sports blues.

Care for me to write about something? Please list it in the comments section or find me on twitter right here. I love suggestions and live for interactions with my readers.

So long,

DLB

 

1 comment

When I submitted my annual Cardinal Blogger Awards ballot, I put answers without explanation. That’s what I get for trying to do it at work and not taking the proper time to give a little thought to my reasoning. You can view my original ballot right here. I am going to give the ballot a proper breakdown here. The best thing about being a writer is you can always come back and make it better with another article. Here we go. This may not blow your face off, but it will hopefully enlighten a few desperate souls.

Player of The Year-Matt Carpenter

Tough choice here. Jhonny Peralta came in and fixed a much needed position at shortstop. Matt Holliday recovered from a ghostly start to provide his usual clutch hitting and consistency. However, Carpenter once again provided that much needed spark at the top of the order. He also locked down another position full time when he went to third base. Carpenter won’t win a gold glove at third, but he played the position well for a guy fielding it full time for the first season in his career. He didn’t duplicate the 2013 stats that made national analysts turn their head and caused MVP voters to slide him a few votes, but he was concrete again in the leadoff role. He had an on base percentage of .375 and drove in 59 runs to go along with 99 runs scored and 162 hits. He played in 158 games, which is appropriate for a leadoff guy. All in all, Carpenter is a vital piece to this team and he lives up to his last name. When a team has a leak, he seems to be able to find a way to fix it. No matter where he hits in the lineup in 2015, he will be a highly valuable piece.

Pitcher Of the Year-Lance Lynn

Adam Wainwright was amazing again and that isn’t being overlooked here. However, I believe in ascension of players and their importance to the overall of the team. When the Cards were hurting with Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha hurting and Waino dealing with injuries, Lynn provided a strong second half and carried the team. He provided similar numbers that he put up in 2013 but did so in 2014 without all the run support and drama. He grew up in 2014 and became a more economical pitcher on the mound. He grew more confident in front of the media and discovered that line that stands between uncontrollable rage and contained fire. He’s my pitcher of the year and someone I can see leading a rotation someday soon.

Game of the Year-NLCS Game 4(Adams Leap)

Carp’s big hit in Game 1 was great and will go down as the first tire kicked out under Clayton Kershaw’s mustang but it was Matt Adams’ cranking an improbable series deciding bomb at home against Kershaw that will go down as the greatest moment of 2014. He couldn’t hit lefties much, but he saved his big hit for this moment and it carried the team into the next round. Seeing Kershaw hunched over after a Carpenter hit has become normal but seeing it after this big smash was extra special. People who were there at Busch Stadium that day(myself included) will never forget the feeling they had when that ball left his bat. Adams won’t forget it either. He smoked all the rumors of a time share at first base into right field with that poor baseball. More than Adams, it was Shelby Miller holding the Dodgers in check. It was the well pitched game from the Cards bullpen. It was the second straight upset of the Dodgers. All around, great game.

Surprising Player Of The Year-Pat Neshek

Simple here. NO ONE saw Neshek’s 2014 production in a relief role coming into the season. I don’t even think John Mozeliak did. Neshek started out rough in April but eventually worked his way into befuddling hitters. Neshek only gave out 9 walks in 67.1 innings, a vital tool for a reliever. His WHIP(hits and walks allowed on average per inning) was a filthy 0.79. Neshek earned himself a big contract from another team with his amazing 2014 performance. Another revamped pitcher coming to St. Louis for career rehab and leaving with a new lease on his life. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy either.

Disappointing Player Of The Year-Peter Bourjos

This will draw some fire but I will take it. Bourjos came into the 2014 season looking to lock down the center field job and lost it to Jon Jay throughout the course of the season. Bourjos couldn’t develop the hitting stroke that he had before wrist surgery in 2011, striking out 78 times in 264 at bats and hitting a paltry .231 and only stealing 9 bases. He never provided that burst of energy or speed in a full time role that I thought he would coming into the season. Maybe he wasn’t given a proper chance. He did hit better in August and September but he still fits the disappointing label here.

Cardinal Rookie Of The Year-Kolten Wong

His defense needs polishing and he has to be more consistent, but when he was on, Wong was dangerous in 2014. He cranked 12 home runs and stole 20 bases in his rookie season. The kid proved to the city that the Cards have found their second baseman for the future. That was in question before. Going into 2015 it’s a given that second base is Wong’s.

Acquisition of the Year-Jhonny Peralta

Peralta brought better than advertised(even if it wasn’t supposed to be that bad) defense to shortstop and injected some pop into the position that had been missing since Edgar Renteria had his better days in red. Jhonny may not show a ton of emotion or flash, but he is silky smooth at short and made his big contract stand up in 2014.

Most Anticipated Cardinal-Stephen Piscotty

Jason Heyward is coming, and I voted before the trade, but as far as Cardinal coming up through the system in 2015, I am looking at Piscotty. He has similar tools as Randal Grichuk, but is sharper in vital areas. He makes contact, doesn’t strike out and has great defense in the outfield. He has the hitter makeup of Matt Carpenter(not bad, see top of the list) and can play here for a long time once given the opportunity.

Cardinal Moment of the Year-Big City Leap

We went over this already. Easily the best moment.

Best Individual Cardinal Blog-C70 At Bat

Daniel Shoptaw’s blog recaps the games Monday through Friday and does it with a depth and quiet wit that can’t be taught. He separates the heroes from the goats and calls it like he sees it without attacking players and coaches. It’s a scientific approach that seems simple and perfect at the same time.

Best Team Cardinal Blog-Viva El Birdos

Led by the sharp Joe Schwartz, this site brings you a variety of exquisite Cardinal material and in all sizes and packages. It may be a game recap or a minor league player breakdown. These peeps know how to mix a little of everything into one pot and deliver a blunt take year long. Bookmark the site. Take my word for it.

Best Cardinal Media Coverage-Bernie Miklasz

I’ve read Bernie since I was a kid dreaming of being a writer and his style and ability have grown stronger as the years have flown by. He is deadly accurate when it comes to the use of stats and he drives his points home with a hammer. He isn’t afraid to call himself out on a mistake and always takes players to task when needed. He writes about all sports but I look forward to his baseball coverage the most here in The Lou.

Best Rookie Cardinal Blog-High Sock Sunday

Cole Claybourn is a unique talent. He mixes analytic data with a sophisticated commentary in his articles and uses his journalism background to cover all the corners. He is ambitious enough to score interviews with Gabe Kapler and takes his talent on the ESPN network in Evansville. Cole is a wise division of the Cards Conclave. A much needed dose of clarity in a noisy season.

Post of the Year-Lynning(Fact or Fiction) by Daniel Shoptaw

Right before Lynn went on his renaissance, Shoptaw examined what Twitter Cardinal Nation had coined the “Lynning”. He used stats, his own eye and a recoup of every game the man had pitched it seemed in his article. It was the perfect preview to a pitcher set to turn it all around. Worth a read.

Best UCB Project-Bloggers as Players

Bloggers spend the entire year playing General Manager, so it was fitting here for the UCB group members to construct a roster of their favorite writers and put them in positions. It was a fun project and challenging at the same time.

Best UCB Podcast-UCB Radio Hour

A slight self promotion here, but throughout the entire month this channel of thought delivers. If it is Bill Ivie and myself breaking down a week of games while one is going on during the podcast or Tara Wellman and Matt Whitener going back and forth on their fierce takes, the UCB Radio always delivers on a weekly basis.

Best Non UCB Podcast-The Best Podcast in Baseball

Bringing together two furiously busy minds in Miklasz and Derrick Goold, the show isn’t long enough. They go through timely issues with the Cards and add in their own distinct flavors in a podcast that couldn’t happen enough. I respect these two the most in this profession and that is because they know how to utilize their audience and combine exposure and expertise.

Best Twitterer-Bob Netherton(@CardinalTales)

Every game and even during the open dates, Bob delivers his honest opinion on popular topics along with engaging fellow bloggers and telling history lessons with old game descriptions. No one I know utilizes 140 characters better than Bob.

The breakdown is complete. I hope this worked and helped support my original picks.

-DLB

 

 

 

 

0 comments

Five Things On The Cards

Good morning folks. As Thanksgiving nears, I find myself hearing some Cards related questions and ramblings. I posted a small Q&A with John Mozeliak yesterday, but now I want to tackle some popular hot takes here myself. Present a rumor or statement and respond to it. It’s late November. It’s cold out. Everything outside is starting to freeze up. Everything inside baseball is turning warmer, with the Hot Stove cranking up and writers searching for stories. Here are 5 things on the Cards. Rumors. Ramblings. Ideas. Statements.

635486188839040274-USATSI-8122188

1.) Do the Cards need a righthanded bat off the bench?

Well, what is Randal Grichuk going to be with the season opening up? Sure, he strikes out a lot and may not crank 15 HR off the bench, but he is a nice addition to a bench that featured early last year the lethal weapon off the bench that resembled Shane Robinson. Grichuk can give the Cards a good supply of power late in games, and eventually, he may be joined by Xavier Scruggs and Stephen Piscotty. Sure, you could spring for Michael Morse, but could Grichuk do what he can for far less pay, less liability and also provide better defense. I am starting to wonder if Grickuk can play first base. Sure, I haven’t been the kid’s biggest fan. If I hear one more person compare him to Mike Trout, I may get hot but I get it. Mike Matheny loves him almost as much as Daniel Descalso and he can play defense and has pop. He’s also cost controlled and cheap. I vote Grichuk for the power bench bat.

2.) Is Matt Adams a 150 game first baseman?

Yes. For a variety of reasons. First, Adams has shown the ability to spray the ball all over the field. He has a decent power stroke and can hit a few bombs, possibly 20 if he stays healthy. Third, his defense at first is impressive. For a pitching staff featuring some ground ball technicians, that is required. He is still a young player and is coming into his second full season on the team. He doesn’t hit lefties well, but he showed improvement towards the end of the season and also drew more walks in September and October. Scruggs may make an appearance on the roster and there are rumblings of other incoming talents, but to me Adams is the first baseman. He has his cold streaks just like any other player on the team but he has shown improvement in enough areas to run with the job. His defense gives him the edge over a possible replacement.

3.) Am I glad Carlos Martinez is going to compete for a roster spot over Shelby Miller

Yes. Looking at the stats is an injustice to Martinez. He hasn’t gotten the chance to fully showcase his skills over a season in the rotation. He has always been a stop gap starter or spot guy. His stuff can be electrifying and you don’t harness that inside 1-2 innings. You let it roam free, like a wild horse on a farm. Miller put together a fine rookie season and finessed a new pitch into his arsenal in September, but overall, he was inconsistent and never showed me the kind of pitcher who could be an ace any time soon. He was expendable and looked like a juicy piece of strip steak to another team. Martinez and others like Marco Gonzales and Tyler Lyons represent lesser appealing at the moment but potentially valuable assets. As Frank Cusamano said quite well…frankly after the trade….

Carlos Martinez gets a shot after he won a 2014 “competition” with Joe Kelly. Let the young man rumble.

4.) How do I feel about Mike Matheny going into his fourth season as a manager?

Okay, I guess. We all know he can lead. He is a military general when it comes to respect, stature and leadership. One would almost say a Mike Matheny presence in Ferguson tonight may calm some heads. He’s that kind of guy. He talks like Clint Eastwood and walks like John Wayne. However, his in game management needs to improve in 2015. He needs to recognize things faster and adjust accordingly. His win-loss record and playoff reach is impressive to the naked eye, but a closer inspection shows a man desperately going against normal managerial projection and against what any level headed person would call smart judgement inside a game. He can’t wear out Trevor Rosenthal‘s arm in 2015. He has to play to his strengths more. He has to resist his player urges and start to think more like a manager. I like the guy, but every time I want to step completely over to the line and support him, he makes a foolhardy move. Case in point. Finally inserting Michael Wacha into a playoff game…..during the most crucial moment of the series. That one still hasn’t left my head. That or leaving in Randy Choate to choke away Game 4. Those things have to stop in 2015, whether they are different players or not. The situational tactics must improve in 2015.

5.) Is there reason to worry about Adam Wainwright moving forward? 

Sure, any pitcher who has thrown over 529 innings in the past two seasons needs to be worried about. I worry about the ace every time he goes into his windup. Wainwright has been an absolute horse since his return from Tommy John Surgery and has pitched through a few minor injuries and produced a record of 39-18 and an ERA of 2.55 over the past two regular seasons. There is a reason for concern as he settles into his 9th season of action. The 2015 health of Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia combined with Waino’s wear and tear do make one question how much depth the Cardinals actually have in the rotation. However, unless a catastrophic collapse occurs, the 2015 arsenal is loaded with many types of potential dominance. Once again, Adam Wainwright will be at the front of that pitching assault.

There’s your take 5, folks. I hope I shed a few watts of light on certain issues that are drumming up for the Birds as the winter takes a full scale effect.

Thanks for reading and if you want more, find my action on Twitter.

 

0 comments

Q & A With John Mozeliak

This month, the gentleman that pulls the strings on the St. Louis Cardinals’ roster and operations, John Mozeliak, sat down and answered a long list of questions from various United Cardinal Bloggers. Some questions were sent in twice but he answered all of them. Whatever you think about the general manager, at the end of the day(his famous catchphrase), Mo is a good sport and doesn’t hide much with his answers. I found this out in January at the Winter Warmup. He was the first guy to don the media chair and take questions from a hungry group of reporters(including this rookie). He didn’t seem taxed or worried. He was as cool as a cucumber and didn’t hesitate with his answers. I like honest guys in suits. Mozeliak can’t always answer a question fully, and that is evidenced below when I tried to ponder the future of Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, but he does his best and I respect that.

Here are his answers to my five questions submitted.

1.) After such an amazing season out of nowhere, what kind of contract do you approach Pat Neshek with that is fair to him and the team?

We don’t comment on free agent players.

MattAdams

2.) Do you still view Matt Adams as a full time first baseman heading into the future?

I do.  I think he is going to be given every opportunity to do that, and you look at some of his late-season success against left-handed pitching, it was encouraging.  

3.)In a time of tragic circumstances, is there any better manager to guide this team into the future than Mike Matheny, a player who has experienced loss on a baseball field in 2002 with Darryl Kile?

When you have a tragedy in an organization, leadership does matter.  And anyone who had the opportunity to read what Mike wrote upon Oscar’s passing should realize that Mike has the compassion and understanding to assist our club to get through this.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals

4.) With such a crowded rotation going into 2015, what are the chances we see Jaime Garcia on the bump next season?

Our expectations are TBD.  He’s currently rehabbing from thoracic outlet surgery and right now we are encouraged on how that’s going.  But until we see him on the mound and see him in spring training, we won’t know exactly what we have until he’s cleared to throw.
5.)Is Jason Motte a pitcher on your radar at the moment?

No comment on free agents.

There you are folks. Straight from Mozeliak. As a writer and blogger, you learn new things every day and with these set of questions, I found out that it’s not the right place to ask Mo about free agents at this point of the year. Being a fan of Motte as a person and his potential as a late inning reliever, I felt the need to ask the question. The same went for Neshek, who had an amazing 2014 season but will carry a far heavier price tag in 2015.

When it comes to it, getting answers straight from the source with this round of questions was another great new aspect to being a part of the United Cardinal Bloggers. In last week’s roundtable finale, I was asked what I was most thankful for this time of the year when it came to the Cards. Well, for me it’s simple. I am thankful I was invited into such a special group of scribes and storytellers. This was just the latest perk of being a member.

Thanks for reading and have a good start to the week. For more instant doses, find me on twitter.

 

1 comment

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Atlanta BravesRemember last year right before Thanksgiving, John Mozeliak pulled the unthinkable and signed PED inflicted Jhonny Peralta to a 4 year pricey deal. People were mad, perplexed and oddly pleased by the urgency of the deal. Eventually, Peralta proved to be hungry to forget about the past and carved out a fine spot at shortstop for himself, scooping and dishing baseballs in the field like a silky smooth operator and providing some pop with the bat. Well, this time, Mo went for a right fielder, that place that had the electricity turned off in 2014. It was a timely deal. Oscar Taveras tragically passed away. Randal Grichuk didn’t blow people away with the potential to be productive for 150 games. Stephen Piscotty seemed a bit raw to toss in so suddenly. Nelson Cruz carried a big stick, but little else. Giancarlo Stanton has made Miami his home for 13 years. Other players seemed a bit dicey and the reward didn’t shine too bright. So Mo sat down at the poker table and gambled, placing a bet on Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward. With no offense to Jordan Walden, a fireballer of a late inning relief man, Heyward is the brass metal part of the this deal. In order to acquire Heyward, Mozeliak sent the Braves Shelby Miller and minor league arm Tyrell Jenkins. As I will do with Heyward, let’s focus on Miller first.

Is it bad to ship Miller away so soon? Of course. In two seasons, he has 26 wins, a solid ERA and fine tuned his curveball and added a sinker at the end of the 2014 season. He is very young and cost controlled. If he goes to Atlanta and kicks out 18 wins in 2015, there will be a bit of sadness in Cardinal Nation. The ability and talent are there. The finish has eluded Miller in his two seasons. He couldn’t pitch deep into games often enough. He was inconsistent in his second season, even though he finished well. He is a young man and could do very well in Atlanta. I was never as high on Shelby as others were but the talent was undeniable. I just never saw a man who could ascend to the #2 spot or ace label like others did. I could be wrong but if there was one young arm on this loaded Cardinal pitching staff I could part with, it was Shelby.

What do you get in Heyward? A gold glove caliber right fielder who saved Atlanta 32 runs alone with his defense in 2014. He is 25 years old and entering the final year of his contract. My expectation would be that Mozeliak is going to make an aggressive approach in resigning him but there are no guarantees. Heyward gives you an everyday outfielder, and a legit one that had an overall WAR of 6.4 in 2014. You don’t have to gamble on an unproven rookie or sign an aging power hitter. Heyward gives you youth, fierce defense, speed on the bases and maybe a little pop at the plate. Signing Heyward means you can move Matt Carpenter down in the order so he can get more RBI opportunities. He can also hit 2nd or possibly 5th in the order. There are risks here, ones that extend outside of the contract frenzy. Heyward can’t hit lefties too well, carrying a career average of .255 against them. He saw his HR power drop from 27 bombs in 2012 to just 11 last year. A change of scenery may help or it may top out around 15. Heyward isn’t going to dazzle with his bat, unless he flips the trend of his last two seasons. However, the fact that he is only 25 gives some hope to a tweak or two producing more production. What you are getting in Heyward is something the Cards haven’t had since Jim Edmonds departed. A gold glove and powerful arm in right field that puts other teams on watch. If a single goes into right field with a man on second base, the base runner will have to think about Heyward. The third base coach knows who won the fielding bible in 2014. Heyward gives you that threat in the outfield. If he gets back a tinge of that 2012 power stroke, it’s all gravy for Cardinal fans.

Young player analysis. Jenkins projected as a special arm, but looking at it right now it screams potential and no sure thing. He recovered from an injury in 2014 and looked good in a recent session in Arizona but there was no telling he could translate his stuff to the majors. The Cards have a heavy supply of young fireball relievers. Waldon gives you a fireballer that, unlike Jenkins, can step into the Cards bullpen right now and compete for Pat Neshek(expected to depart in free agency) or the late inning job of Carlos Martinez(expected to enter the rotation fifth spot sweepstakes). Walden strikes out a ton and walks a few more than he should, so he will fit right in. Waldon makes it easier for the Cards to let go of Jenkins in this deal.

Closing statement. I like the deal. Short term, it’s very good because right field just got a lot better. Long term, it could be even more juicy if Heyward signs a new deal here. Credit the GM here a lot. Mo had to do something quick in right field and found a young player with dazzling defense and a bat that has potential to be powerful if not at least get on base and steal a few bags(or 20). If they resign Heyward, it’s a great deal. That remains to be seen even though I find it hard to believe Mo makes the deal without inheriting a confidence that an extension is highly possible . For now, enjoy the presence of legit talent in right field. Heyward will make Cardinal baseball a lot more exciting.

Jason+Heyward+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Atlanta+rnjhHdfg_-vl

There will be more coverage here at the Conclave and elsewhere around the United Cardinal Blogger arena, so be sure to check in there this week.

Until next time,

D. Buffa

 

2 comments

2014 Cardinal Blogger Awards

Every November, there comes a time where the United Cardinal Bloggers uncoil a table full of awards and honors. Some for the players, a few for the local media and a section where we take a look in the mirror and see how far we have come as bloggers and informers.

Let’s get this show on the road.

1) Player of the Year-Matt Carpenter
Nominees: Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta

2) Pitcher of the Year-Lance Lynn
Nominees: Lance Lynn, Pat Neshek, Adam Wainwright

3) Game of the Year-Game 4 NLDS
Nominees: May 20 (Wainwright one-hitter), May 31 (Taveras debut), Game 1 NLDS, Game 4 NLDS, Game 2 NLCS

4) Surprising Player of the Year-Pat Neshek
Nominees: Jon Jay, Lance Lynn, Pat Neshek

5) Disappointing Player of the Year-Peter Bourjos
Nominees: Peter Bourjos, Justin Masterson, Kevin Siegrist

6) Cardinal Rookie of the Year-Kolten Wong
Nominees: Marco Gonzales, Randal Grichuk, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong

7) Acquisition of the Year-Jhonny Peralta
Nominees: John Lackey, Pat Neshek, Jhonny Peralta

8) Most Anticipated Cardinal-Stephen Piscotty
Nominees: Rob Kaminsky, Stephen Piscotty, Luke Weaver

9) Cardinal Moment of the Year-“The Big City Leap” In Game 4 of the NLDS
Nominees: Taveras’s first home run as the rains came, “The Big City Leap” in Game 4 of the NLDS, Wong’s walkoff in Game 2 of the NLCS

10) Best Individual Cardinal Blog-C70 At The Bat

11) Best Team Cardinal Blog*-Viva El Birdos

*–All members of The Cardinal Conclave are considered individual blogs.  No votes for “The Cardinal Conclave” as a whole should be done here.

12) Best Media Coverage-Bernie Miklasz
Nominees: Derrick Goold, Jenifer Langosch, Stan McNeal, Bernie Miklasz

13) Best Rookie Cardinal Blog-High Sock Sunday
Nominees: Baseball Geek In Galveston, Bird Tales, Cajun Cardinal, Gateway Sports Connection, High Sock Sunday, Red Cleat Diaries

14) Post of the Year-The Lynning: Fact Or Fiction(Daniel Shoptaw)
Nominees: The Dawn of the Stephen Piscotty Era in Right Field (Daniel Solzman),Doctor’s Prescription: A Daily Dose of Baseball (Doug Vollet), The End of a Love and a Season (Marilyn Green), The Lynning: Fact or Fiction? (Daniel Shoptaw), The Outfield Chronicles: A Conversation (Christine Coleman), Thinking of Playoff Baseball (Dan Buffa)

15) Best UCB Project-Bloggers As Players
Nominees: Bloggers As Players, Cardinal Hall of Fame Voting, Mailbag, Roundtables

16) Best UCB Podcast-UCB Radio Hour
Nominees: Conversations With C70, Gateway To Baseball Heaven, UCB Radio Hour

17) Best Non-UCB Podcast-Best Podcast In Baseball
Nominees: Best Podcast In Baseball, St. Louis Cardinals Extras (MLB.com), Viva El Birdos Podcast

18) Best Twitterer-Bob Netherton(@CardinalTales)

Who did it best? Who did you look to for the right stuff and content? Head over here and vote yourself.

http://www.cardsconclave.com/2014/11/17/time-to-vote-in-the-cards-blogger-awards/

Thanks and have a nice day,

D. Buffa

1 comment

The Jay Bargain

Jon+Jay+Cincinnati+Reds+v+St+Louis+Cardinals+fYPAzhNFgUflIf Matt Holliday is the whipping boy in Cardinal Nation for being the most expensive position player, Jon Jay is known for being the guy people can’t seem to value correctly. People will bring up their strongest Colby Rasmus defense here when slamming Jay, saying they won’t the home runs that Colby has produced in Toronto and the quality that Jay has put out there since that memorable 2011 trade are useless. Then there is the Peter Bourjos crew. When Bourjos was traded for last winter and Jay was coming off a troublesome 2013 in the field, the same sea of red figured the Jay Era was finished. Opening the season, Bourjos was positioned as the starter and Jay was the 4th guy. Before the middle of the season, Jay had fought his way into more playing time. People will still say Mike Matheny favors Jay over Bourjos, and they aren’t lying. However, the production of Jay in the first half and especially his stronger second half justified the move by Matheny. Jon Jay is a valuable piece and the only reason he should be spoken of in trade talks is due to his resurgent 2014 season. He is an unselfish productive ballplayer who has a lifetime average of .295 and on base percentage of .359.

His defense isn’t great though, right? Well, it’s not horrible. Take away his rough 2013 season and Jay is right around a 0.5 dWAR(defensive wins above replacement). That’s not going to win a gold glove or gather any applause but Jay is an adequate outfielder who can make the occasional great play. His arm isn’t strong neither was Bourjos’ in 2014. Jay isn’t a bad outfielder no matter how you look at it.

Well, he can’t hit in the postseason? In the 2014 postseason, nobody was more consistent than Jay at the plate. He hit .483 in 39 at bats, and he walked three times. He didn’t light it up with the stick, but why has Jay been confused with a power hitter for the past few seasons? That was never his reputation. He gets on base and sets the tables. He is a perfect #2 hitter.

Jay hit .375 off lefties in 2014 and this wasn’t really a new thing. He only hit .220 off them in 2013, but from 2010-12, his average against lefties was right around .295. Jay can hit lefties and righties. That’s a special thing.

It also helps that Jay can turn an inside pitch into a first base pass. Jay was hit 20 times in 2014 and also drew 28 walks. His 78 strikeouts didn’t overwhelm his ability to reach base.

When I look at Jay and his 3.2 million salary in 2014, I can’t find much to criticize. If he gets a raise(and he deserves it) to around 4.5-5 million in 2015, there isn’t a problem. I mean, Cards fans can complain first about John Mozeliak handing a combined 10 million dollars to Mark Ellis and Ty Wiggington the past 2 seasons instead of the 8-10 he will hand Jay for two years of work. People often forget that while Jay’s average and defense slipped in 2013, he still hit 7 home runs and drove in 67 with 151 hits. What can you possibly not like about Jay when it comes to matching salary and production?

As Joe Schwarz of Viva El Birdos pointed out today, it’s a useless argument. Jon Jay is a valuable piece of the equation and the Cards are right to give him a first bite at center field in 2015. They would be crazy not to. Unless another team barks up a very good trade offer, the Cards would be wise to continue riding this Jay production train. It hasn’t steered them wrong to this point. It would be foolish to bet on Bourjos reaching Jay’s offensive production with a full season(they will point out his one productive 2011 season in an argument) or insert a rookie out there with Jay doing so well. For the time being, you stick with what is working. That’s not an opinion. That’s logic supported by stats and facts.

When it comes to the future of Jay here in St. Louis, I say pay the man his money. He’s earned it.

Like what you’ve read? Get more of my instant take right here.

 

0 comments

mlb_g_ymolts_576Yadier Molina and the Gold Glove award for catcher are becoming quite acquainted with each other. Since 2008, no other catcher in the National League has won the award. He has taken it home seven straight seasons, a sign of power, reverence and a legend being crafted right before our eyes. When Albert Pujols left the team after 11 amazing seasons, the first thought that hit my mind was, “Oh no, Yadi can’t follow him.” Pujols was a vital piece of the franchise and a larger than life figure. Yadier was the cornerstone of what the Cardinals stand for as an organization. Toughness. Endurance. Passion. A true brother to his teammates who put longevity over the ultimate dollar sign in this greedy world of sports business. Yadier embodies the epitome the excellence in his position and he belongs to a select group of players who have won it 7 years in a row.

Molina is putting together a Hall of Fame career. He has two World Series rings, 7 gold gloves(and counting), and has dominated his position for nearly a decade. While his body will begin a decline, I doubt his effectiveness will slip behind the plate. While his intensity and dedication will never quit, Yadi knows how to take care of his body. The one good thing about the collision rule at home plate is it will extend the careers of catchers. Yadi has taken a few of his lumps at home and to see him be protected for years to come is important.

Molina is the most valuable player in my mind because he is a vital piece to the Cards operation in several ways. The team put up a positive record in his two month absence this past season, but the team earned run average had a spike and the young pitchers struggled. The virtue of Molina can’t be sliced up into home runs and runs batted in. Sometimes, people confuse the MVP with the Silver Slugger Award instead of really diving into the idea of true value. Molina is a player the Cards can’t do without. If there was a guy who couldn’t leave after Albert, it was Yadier. When he signed for 5 years and 75 million dollars, many thought it was too much. The right people knew the deal was a bargain when you put into frame all the different weapons Yadi brings you.

He is a brother to the pitching staff. He shuts down the running game. He is a coach in the dugout. He is one of the hardest guys to strike out in baseball. He can hit for average. He has pop in his bat. He has a respectable career batting average. Yadi is all those things and more to the Cardinals.

When I heard he won the Gold Glove last night, I thought to myself, “Yeah that’s about right.” It’s the standard. Yadi winning the award means coffee is still black and the sky is blue every day. It’s as wet as water and hot as a stove. It’s the usual suspect who every baserunner in the game knows very well.

Yadi is valuable, revered and will retire as one of the best catchers to ever crotch behind the plate. In the long run, he will prove to be more valuable than Pujols or any other Cardinal.

-DLB

0 comments

One Week Later…

John MozeliakA week ago, the world lost Oscar Taveras, a bright young talented star to a tragic car accident. His girlfriend also perished in the accident. Since then, The Kansas City Royals were defeated by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Baseball has come to a standstill again and closed its doors for the year. Clubhouses are desolate and general managers are stretching out their hands for the inevitable phone call charade. The St. Louis Cardinals have to be in shock still over the loss of Oscar, which makes me think their offseason plans are still running second fold to a real blunt tragedy. As fellow Cards blogger Kevin Reynolds pointed out today in a roundtable session( I won’t tease any more so you can read it on I70 Baseball tomorrow), the loss of Taveras is especially rigorous when you think about how high of a pedestal the Cards placed him on three years ago. A gaping hole has taken place in the Cards minor league system. A “what now” situation has developed. Let’s run down the list of potential outfielders for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.

Jon Jay, Matt Holliday, Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham and not Shane Robinson. That’s six guys for four spots. Who stays and who goes? Who can produce at a high level and who is a fourth outfield type with a deceptive ability that has to be masked in spot starts? Before Oscar’s death, he was going to compete for the right field spot which plunged Jay, Bourjos and Pham into center field and left Grichuk staking his claim for playing time in right with Taveras. I like Randal but STILL don’t see him as a regular everyday bat out there. Pham is intriguing but has gotten 2 at bats to show his stuff. His body could hold up and he could be here in 2015 but that’s not a guarantee. Piscotty has the very good arm, decent bat and Matt Carpenter like longevity to garner a look in 2015 but that’s uncertain as well. If there were cards on the table and a wager placed today, the bet would be Grichuk starting opening day in right field. That doesn’t make me very happy. Sorry.

Now you can think short term and worry about 2015 or you can think long term and take a big bite. John Mozeliak had his hands full before the tragedy and they only got more complex last Monday.

A short term fix would be Michael Cuddyer coming into the fold. He is 35 years old, a free agent and has some pop and average hitting ability left in his lumber. He could also play first base if needed. Ben Zobrist is there for the taking if the Cards can deal. They are both multi-position threats. Neither will make crowds chew their fingernails in anticipation but each carry a unique flavor when their name is popped. That is short term. A player who can help, not dominate, a position. Marlon Byrd also comes to mind as a resourceful yet short term fix.

A long term answer is a player like Giancarlo Stanton, the most dreamy and equally unrealistic landing of any fan’s mind. You could insert him into right field and center field wouldn’t matter. It would become the Giancarlo show and his home runs would lift the Arch. Nelson Cruz isn’t a long term fix but he would supply the power this team needs and was lacking in 2014. He can swing it, and it’s even better when he does it clean.

If the Cards decide to do nothing and retain Jay and Bourjos, their starting lineup could look like this.

Carpenter, Jay/Bourjos, Holliday, Adams, Peralta, Molina, Wong, Grichuk, pitcher. The #2 hole and #8 hole can switch easily but that’s your lineup. It could be streaky like 2014 0r certain players could come into their own.

Sure, Mo could go after injury prone yet game changing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. When healthy, there isn’t a better all around shortstop in baseball. Peralta would move to third base, and Carpenter could shift to right field or first base if Adams was dealt. That’s extreme and actually more likely than Stanton. That would provide the Cards with a true core player for years to come, even if it was most likely 130 games a season.

There are other options out there. Would the Atlanta Braves relinquish Jason Heyward in a deal? Probably not.

The Cards have enormous pitching depth. Their infield depth is questionable at best. Their outfield depth lost a huge chunk of real estate with Taveras passing away. That event shifted Piscotty and Pham into potential big roles and could push Grichuk into a full time spot, to start at least.

The options are endless for the Cards. Their rotation is crowded with eight potential candidates. Their infield is set, barring a huge trade. Their bullpen has some set pieces but a few relatively small moving parts. If Pat Neshek departs as a free agent, Carlos Martinez most likely stays down there and takes over the 8th inning. The biggest question and area of intrigue is the outfield.

Matt Holliday is your leftfielder. Right now, that is the only completely certain thing. Sure, Mike Matheny and Mo said Jay was their starting center fielder but the recent events could change that. Two spots remain open today.

As Reynolds pointed out today, there are some older bodies in this Cardinal lineup. Holliday has a couple years left. Yadier Molina has a few years left but could be showing some decline at the plate. There isn’t a legit power bat in the lineup unless you count the days when Peralta and Adams are hot. The Cards lineup could use a dose of power right now. Will they get it? Who knows?

What would I do? I would go small right now, sign Cuddyer and see how the young guns fare with more playing time. Piscotty, Pham and Grichuk. Let them run with it. I am not sure I would bring back both Jay and Bourjos but they could. For me, you see what the kids can do before a big splash is made. Give it until the deadline or the entire 2015 season.

It’s November and the trade talks and rumors have begun. Look for the phrases “sources say” and “according to” to be heavy players from here until February.

The on field action is finished. The off field board game has begun. Strap in for an interesting winter, folks.

 

0 comments

dm_140601_mlb_bbtn_minute

When I found out about the death of 22 year old St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, I didn’t want to believe it. I blocked it out for a few minutes and took the field in a softball game. Minutes later, it came rushing back when I stepped to the plate. Maybe it’s because I am lefthanded on sides of the ball like Oscar Taveras or maybe it was common sense, but it wouldn’t leave my head. It had nothing to do with baseball. One person close by blurted out, “Well, we can’t get Giancarlo Stanton anymore” and I restrained myself from knocking him out.  When a 22 year old kid dies in a tragic accident, the last thing you think about is his profession. You think about his family. You think about his girlfriend’s family, because she passed away in the accident too. You think about his friends and his teammates, people who had their day lifted by Oscar’s smile every time he decided to beam it across St. Louis or whatever city he was in.

I had the privilege to participate in a media session in January and I asked Oscar about his offseason training program with Matt Holliday and Trevor Rosenthal.  I couldn’t tell you his answer because all I could focus on was the kid’s smile and his wide eyed amazement at where his life had landed him. He was sitting in the king’s circle. A place where previous players have used as a pedestal and others have fallen down from. He looked like he won the lottery and had to prove he was worth the excitement. All I could do was step back and admire the kid’s potential and what was to come for years in this city. He was a special player but more importantly, he was a great kid. Eager to learn and please. He wanted to do well. He didn’t carry a two cent head or a 100 pound ego onto the field. He treated his teammates like brothers and not like people standing next to him in a bank.

His baseball talents were talked about as much as any previous prospect in St. Louis. He came up on May 31st as the savior for all things wrong in Cardinal Nation and that big sweeping swing of his made the world seem good and fine for the few seconds it took to start and complete at the plate. Oscar’s stat line won’t woo strangers who care to stop by and read what he did. You had to watch him often in order to get the full effect. Regular season and playoffs combined, Oscar hit 4 home runs, drove in 23 runs, and hit .244 in just over 80 games. It wasn’t enough for fans to truly realize his talent. I jumped on the Oscar bandwagon because there was something about his swing and his overall poise at the plate that screamed special to me. More than anything, it was easy to root for the kid. He did things right. In a world of money hungry egos and larger than life personalities, Oscar just wanted to belong and that’s why it is a big loss for the world and the Cardinals in addition to his family and friends.

We will never get to find out what exactly Taveras had in store for us. He was just opening up his toolbox. He was going to compete for a starting job in 2015 and get to show the National Media and baseball fans what everyone in the Cards farm system was talking about. The most painful thing when it comes to death is the unknown. Seeing someone’s potential have a permanent bottle cap clamped onto it. Seeing a door slammed shut and bolted forever. There is no go to device that sits at our disposal when it comes to death. Any death. A personal family member or friend. An athlete you watch. A movie star you are amazed by. You don’t have to know somebody in order for them to have an effect on your life. Oscar Taveras had an effect on a lot of lives since the day he was born in 1992 and the day he passed away this past Sunday.

Reading Xavier Scruggs’ heartfelt letter to his fallen friend, I felt that special ode could have been duplicated for several teammates throughout his career. The effect he had on anyone in the same clubhouse with him.  I truly think no individual Cardinal had a problem with Oscar during the 2014 season. I just don’t believe the rumor at all. I think they loved him like a teammate and tried to help him mature into a Major League baseball player.

What do the Cardinals do now? Mourn. Same for us. Just remember the kid and let his passing be another reminder of the harshness of life. It can be cut off at any moment and will always be a privilege. You can be the healthiest person in the world and still be a potential victim. You can be the safest person and still fall prey to the devilish dangers of this world. Sometimes, bad things happen and there are no easy answers. When I found out on Sunday, I simply stopped thinking about everything else for a moment and just asked myself…why him? There was no answer and there never will be. That’s the hard part. The good thing is that Oscar can be an inspiration to us all. Live every day like it’s the last 24 you have.

This has been a stream of thought and that’s because there are multiple angles to take on this story. It’s a story no one wanted to write about. It’s a story nobody wanted to uncoil about. That’s the reality that hits us every time somebody like Oscar passes away. Gone painfully soon and taking with him so much excitement and optimism.

A month ago, I got into a heated argument with a close friend that proved to be useless and escalated because I got defensive over Oscar and his talents. I wish so badly that I could go back to doing that today. I wish I could debate with another fan about the player Oscar could become. I had no idea it would come to this. That’s life. It’s a 24/7 sucker punch.

I am sure the death of Oscar Taveras will effect the 2015 Cardinals in a big way. I am simply not ready to discuss that. At least not at this second. I will choose instead to look back and admire the exuberant kid that I got a chance to meet and watch play for a single season. I’ll stay with that for a while. For as long as I can. Until it’s time to move on. I don’t know when that will be. I’ll remember the smile. The first home run. The dramatic home run in the NLCS against the Giants. The many stung baseballs that flew off his bat. I’ll remember all the good stuff.

I’ll pull a page from Mike Matheny’s handbook and take this one day at a time.

Thanks for reading and goodnight.

0 comments

It’s Just A Game

A week ago, the Cardinals were eliminated from postseason play. Their season came to an end on a long game winning home run off the bat of Travis Ishikawa that was delivered by Michael Wacha. The lights didn’t dim. They were shut off for the winter. When it happened, I felt anger, resentment and foolish noise crawled up inside me. I wanted to punch something or scream but when you have a kid in the house sitting right next to you who mimics everything you do, that’s not possible. So I decided to sit there and take it. Just digest the loss. Digest the fact that Cardinal baseball was finished for 2014. The hunt for Red October was done. My life would go back to normal. That’s right, my life wouldn’t consist of 24/7 Cardinal reporting and writing. I wrote 170 plus articles this year on the Cards. For three different websites. While there was love there, there was exhaustion and tireless energy spent putting into words what this team was doing to me.

Now that it’s over, I recognize that it’s just a game and for people like me, addicts, that realization isn’t easy to register or completely buy into. If it is just a game, why does it throw me for a loop for seven months a year?

Baseball is just a game. My wife, father and friends have told me this. Relax, it isn’t life. It’s a game. That is true. Every time the Cards lose or bow out, I understand what is really important and what lines shouldn’t be crossed.

Family is important. The people who fill your every day life. The people who care about you and put up with your Cardinal crazy obsessions for more than half the season. My wife is a special woman because she doesn’t mind baseball hogging the living room 47 inch flat screen 145 evenings a season.

This is why I don’t understand fans who rip Seth Maness’ fiance on social media and cause the player to come out and request a stoppage. I don’t get that. Baseball isn’t that important, right?

You know what’s more important than baseball? Clean clothes, dishes and a healthy son. A good marriage. Fresh air outside in my backyard is also more important at times than sweating through another Trevor Rosenthal save and calling for his head after a season where he nearly ties the single season saves record in St. Louis.

Baseball isn’t as important as the holidays, where families come together, smiles per minute go up a little and good times roll. In baseball, you never know what will happen on any given day. When you are around family, you know there will be laughter, fun, and maybe some heartbreak. Drama of the expected variety. Baseball doesn’t have to happen all year for this very reason. Our ordinary lives carry enough unpredictable events that a sport rest for a little while in order for our minds to have a vacation. I have written two articles in the past week on the Cards. For the six months before, I averaged 7 stories per week and sometimes more. It feels good to let go of my second wife for a few weeks before trade talks ramp up the cold weather excitement. As Game of Thrones promises, the winter is coming but as long as there is a bow tie wrapped around it, I am content to wait and respond.

Ordinary life carries enough punches for us to worry about. Baseball is played on a field and a field only. Life can happen anywhere.

Occasionally, they intersect. When my son got really sick six weeks after he was born, the Cards happened to be making their run towards their 11th World Championship. The sweet and bitter can share the same place on occasion. Most of the time, life happens whenever it wants.

Keep this in mind the next time you get seriously angry about the Cards losing. Think about it. While the Cardinals have been very successful at making the playoffs in their team history and have been especially strong since 2000, they have only won the World Series three times since I was born. That isn’t bad, but it’s three times in 32 years. Fans should be used to this team not winning it all. It doesn’t happen as much as we would like to think. 2006 and 2011 are recent but that just makes the expectations grow like seeds in a spring garden. Sports, like life, are full of disappointment.

Just remember what is important. Family, friends and work. The day after I wanted to smash a skid of coffee into a pole but suggested to myself that it wouldn’t go over well with my bosses. My reason would be my team lost last night and I am sure that wouldn’t save my job. I wanted to scream at the television after they lost but my kid would get upset so I just held it in. Baseball, and other sports, were designed to get into our system and make us feel something. Sometimes that feeling can twist around and tie a few knots in our stomachs.

I am here to remind you, and myself, that there are better things to come in the future. Bigger younger talent. Exciting seasons. More playoff action. In the mean time, put on the sweatshirt and grab an extra cup of coffee while you enjoy the colder weather. The mind can get a little rest before the frenzy begins again.

Thanks for reading and happy resting,

DLB

 

2 comments

 

Archives

Subscribe to The Conclave via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 87 other subscribers