Posted by JE Powell
The holidays are finally over. Yes, I certainly enjoy them, but as a parent with an ever expanding family (siblings getting married, getting ready to give birth [though not the same sibling], etc) the holidays can be a bit, shall we say, harried. In my neck of the woods we have had several days that were around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and has had a spring feel to it (though reports indicate snow is on the way; stupid Midwest weather) and with that it has served to remind me that baseball is once again right around the corner. In about five weeks St. Louis Cardinals pitchers and catchers will report to Jupiter, Florida on February 19th. That day, for me at least, is the official start of the baseball season.
My little blog will officially be over a year old on the aforementioned 19th. Well, I guess it depends on how one defines the blog’s birthday. I created the blog on February 15th, 2011. My first post was February 23rd, 2011. So, in human terms, I suppose one could argue that my blog had a gestation period of 8 days. Well, I guess that’s not really close in human terms. The closest would be the American opossum, which is 12-13 days and can be as short as 8 days, though, opossums are marsupials and give birth and then let the offspring develop in the ventral pouch of the mother. So, I suppose that my blog’s official birthday would be Feb. 23rd. So it will be just shy of a year old when pitchers and catchers report. But I digress.
Back to baseball. Since I am coming down with another case of Cardinal Fever (as you may recall, it’s a form of Bird Flu), well I guess I have had Cardinal Fever my whole life, so I am not coming down with it, let’s take a very quick peek at the 2012 season.
I hope to cover some of these topics more in depth at a later date, so these will just be quick hits for now. First, some of the questions for 2012:
- Will Adam Wainwright be able to come back from Tommy John surgery and be as dominant as he was before?
- Will Rafael Furcal and Carlos Beltran spend any significant time on the disabled list?
- Will Jon Jay be able to able to produce with the bat having considerably more playing time at centerfield (while he put up good numbers last year, statistically speaking, his numbers declined as his playing time went up)?
- Can Allen Craig come back from knee surgery and play as well as he did with limited playing time in 2011?
- Can David Freese stay healthy and carry over his magnificent play during the 2011 playoffs?
- How well will Mike Matheny manage the team?
- Who will see the most playing time at 2nd base?
Time will be the only one who can truly answer these questions, but they are questions that will affect (effect? I still don’t know which one to use and I have looked it up several times) the outcome of the season.
But the best part, in my opinion anyway, is finding the answers out. I am anxiously awaiting the start to the real New Year, the first day of baseball season (which, as you may recall, I have stated to be February 19th. Sure, the regular season doesn’t start until April this year, but I cannot wait that long. I miss baseball.
Posted by Steve Griffith
The offseason to a general manager is like September is to a player on a team 8.5 games out of the Wild Card. The chaos begins the day the World Series ends. Which players might the team lose to free agency? Which players do we try to retain the services of for the next season? Which players are we willing to deal if the right trade presents itself?
For John Mozeliak, the regular season is fun and exciting, but I can bet you that night after night of the postseason are sleepless for him. I don’t want to dive into the drama that is the Albert Pujols free agency. Rather, I’d like to analyze some possible free agent pick ups and trades that could keep the defending World Champions fighting for another ring in 2012.
Posted by Steve Griffith
So, It’s now November 1st, and baseball season is over. Your St. Louis Cardinals are once again the World Champions, and if you are anything like me, you are still dreaming of baseball, and the season that was. In the next couple of days, you are going to start noticing some changes in yourself. You will begin to feel lonely around 7pm, maybe even a little depressed. Although your family may be sitting right next to you at the dinner table, or begging you to read a bed time story, you are going to feel as though something is missing. Like when you lose your car keys, and search the house top to bottom, even looking in the refrigerator just in case. Soon you will realize, what you are missing is the adrenaline rush you get every evening as your Redbirds step out on the field. You miss the way you could almost feel the grass under your feet while chasing down a flyball with Jon Jay, Lance Berkman, or Matt Holliday. You miss the excitement of stealing 2nd base, or turning a double play with Furcal, Schumaker, and Pujols. You miss the thrill of having a perfect game through 7 innings. You miss giving a standing ovation to Carpenter from your living room as he makes way for Salas, Sanchez, or Motte. If you’re lucky enough to go to several games every season, you miss the $8.00 beers, and the chicken nachos from El Birdos cafe. You miss the call of the folks peddling everything from cotton candy, to peanuts, to lemonade and water. You miss how one side of your face is sunburned after sitting in the lower bowl sections during a June day game. But most of all, you miss the thrill of always being in the penant race, and bragging about YOUR team, or playfully cracking jokes about the Cubs, Brewers, or Reds.
So how do we survive November to February?
There are plenty of baseball related activities that occur during this time. Not the least of which will be the on going Pujols contract talks, and the search for the next Tony La Russa. There will be plenty of this type of news to keep our feable baseball minds churning for the foreseeable months, but there are other things you can do.
1. Re-watch the postseason (if you were awesome enough to DVR the games, or buy the DVD’s that will inevitably be available soon.)
2. Get your fantasy baseball league ready for next seasons draft.
3. The first time the sun melts just a little bit of snow, grab your glove and play catch. Even if it means throwing the ball against the wall.
4. Attend a Cardinals Caravan event. I recommend getting there a few hours early, as our caravans are always well attended. Also, if you want an autograph, bring a small child with you, as they are often the only ones that get the autographs.
5. Read this blog often, as we will be posting the latest Cardinals information, rumors, etc… as often as we can.
6. Go visit your mom. While you are there, say hi to her and ask her how she is, but don’t forget the real reason you are there: To creep down to her basement and look through all of your old baseball cards.
7. Most importantly, take a breath and relax. Spend some time with your other die hard Cardinals friends, and just talk baseball. Talk about the glory that was 2011, and speculate about 2012. We all do it… It’s ok. Pretend you are Mo: What moves are you going to make this offseason? Who stays? Who goes?
Keep your mind in the game! It’s only 3 and a 1/2 months til pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there is no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby
Just for the heck of it, I thought it might be fun (for me at least) to match up current St. Louis Cardinals players vs. fictional/historical figures to and have them duke it out. When the season gets under way, I hope to have more informative blog posts, but for now, I want to play around and have some fun. Some of the people I will use because they have played for the Cards in a few games or are non-roster invitees, but I think their names warrant use. So here goes:
Who Would Win?
Adam Ottavino vs. Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus of the Spider-Man comics)
The Fight: At 6’5″ Adam Ottavino has a distinct height advantage over the 5’9″ Doc Ock and Doc Ock does have the extra tentacles, but Ottavino is built solidly and has good reflexes making him Spider-Man-ish.
Winner: Adam Ottavino narrowly escapes Ock’s death-blow and knocks Ock unconscious with a fastball between the eyes.
Jon Jay vs. John Jay (Founding Father and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court)
The Fight: Jon Jay had a batting average of .300 last season with four homers, four more than John Jay ever had. John Jay, however, was very influential in founding the United States. Jon Jay had 27 RBI last season, but John Jay was a fierce opponent of slavery in New York state and was instrumental in emancipating slaves in New York.
Winner: With all due respect to Jon Jay, there was really no contest. John Jay beat him easily. Oh, and John Jay has a much cooler name.
Adam Wainwright vs. Orville and Wilbur Wright (Inventors of the Airplane)
The Fight: The Wright Brothers invented a way to (temporarily, at least) defy the laws of physics. Adam Wainwright has a wicked curveball that seems to defy the laws of physics. The Wright Brothers paved the way to make international travel much, much quicker. Adam Wainwright is out for the season, but Orville and Wilbur are both dead.
Winner: Wright Brothers. Really, what chance does a baseball pitcher have against two people who changed the world?
Matt Holliday vs. Doc Holliday (of Tombstone fame)
The Fight: Last season Matt Holliday hit .312 with 28 HR and 103 RBI with above average defense. Doc Holliday was a gunfighter and dentist who hung around with Wyatt Earp and was part of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. While both Hollidays are/were associated with individuals considerably more famous than them, neither are/were really sidekicks and have a place in history all their own.
Winner: Matt has a bat, Doc a gun. While Matt has a better career batting average, Doc has a gun. Matt has a considerably larger yearly income, but Doc has a gun. Catching my drift? In this case, Doc wins.
David Freese vs. Mr. Freeze (Nemesis of Batman)
The Fight: Mr. Freeze has a freeze gun and can turn almost anything to ice, or at least cover anything in ice. David Freese had 4 HR and 36 RBI in 70 games and if you extrapolate that out to a full 162 games, had he been healthy and played in all of those, he would have had roughly 9 HR and 83 RBI.
Winner: As I said, Mr. Freeze has his freeze gun, but David Freese is from Texas and you don’t mess with Texas. Therefore you don’t mess with David Freese. Had Mr. Freeze kept that in mind, he would not have received a beating that he has only seen from Batman.
Blake King vs. The Burger King (Stupid marketing mascot)
The Fight: Blake King is on the forty man roster and could end up back in the minors, but he has a track record of striking out more batters than innings pitched and could be useful for short relief or even just to face one batter. The Burger King is (in my opinion) as stupid character from those Burger King commercials and has a face literally made out of plastic.
Winner: Blake King because I don’t like The Burger King and I am sure that Blake could knock The Burger King into submission with fastballs.
Jaime Garcia vs. Jerry Garcia (Former guitarist for the Grateful Dead)
The Fight: Jaime Garcia had a great rookie season last year and was a very solid number 3 starter behind Wainwright and Carpenter. He had an impressive 2.70 ERA and went 13-8 with 132 Ks. Hopefully he can continue and build on last season because the Cards are going to need that kind of output this season with Wainwright out due to Tommy John surgery. Jerry Garcia was the front man for the Grateful Dead and co-wrote such songs as “Truckin'”,”Casey Jones”. and “Friend of the Devil.” Jerry Garcia is still, in many ways, a pop culture icon more than 15 years after his death.
Winner: Tie. The Grateful Dead have a huge following called Dead Heads, but Jaime has a bigger following called Cardinals Fans. Jerry’s career lasted 30 years, but Jaime has just gotten started.
AND NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT!
This is the Match-Up that many of you have been waiting for (or not, how should I know?):
Albert Pujols vs. The Incredible Hulk (A superhero in Marvel Comics)
The Fight: This one is epic. The Hulk is a green, raging monster with nearly limitless strength. Albert Pujols is a fearless machine with nearly limitless talent. The Hulk rages through anything in his path leaving a wake of destruction. Pujols tears through opposing pitchers leaving a wake of destroyed baseballs in his path. The Hulk has two green hands. Pujols has two Gold Gloves.
Winner: Although this was a tough one, Albert Pujols manages to best the Hulk. How? Pujols outsmarts the Hulk by finding Betty Ross and getting her to calm the Hulk down and return him to his Bruce Banner form. Pujols doesn’t need violence to win, he just uses his keen mind and strategy to win. Which is how he has been doing it for ten years.
I hope this post has been, at the very least, entertaining if not informative. All the links to the Cardinals players lead to the St. Louis Cardinals official website and all the links for the historical/fictional characters lead to wikipedia. I certainly hope that you have had as much fun reading this blog entry has I have had writing it. GO CARDS!!!
One last note. I apologize, but I have not figured out how to get links to pop up on a separate screen, so all links will take you away from this post. Once I figure it out, I will fix it.