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Arch Madness

Posted by JE Powell

This is a St. Louis Cardinals blog, but I think I am going to expand a bit and deal with college basketball and March Madness. So here are a few questions and answers for this years first round of the NCAA Men’s basketball tourney.

What do the Louisville Cardinals and the St. Louis Cardinals have in common? Neither of them will be playing basketball in March anymore this year. Louisville, a fourth seed, lost by one point to Morehead St. a 13th seed, 62-61. Rick Patino, you may now start looking ahead to next season.

What is a better bird, a Cardinal or an Owl? Unfortunatley, I would have to say an Owl, since St. Louis lost to Floriday (5-2) in baseball and Louisville (as previously stated) both lost today and Temple beat Penn State to advance to the second round. Some where, Bill Cosby smiled and brought a puppy back to life.

Unlike the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Panthers can win a game and and they did so by beating North Carolina-Asheville by 23 points. At least one team has a bright future in Pittsburgh. (Pirates? Enough said. Penguins? No Sidney Crosby. Steelers? Lost in the Super Bowl. U of Pitt? One game down five to go).

Kentucky beat Princeton (edging them by only 2 points) to prove that sometimes it is brawn over brains*. Had Princeton been as smart as STL Cardinals fans, then they may have found a way to pull off the upset (yes, that’s outrageously biased and I have no statistics to prove that STL Cardinals fans are smarter than Princeton basketball players).

The West Virginia Mountaineers, with 5 seniors, beat the Clemson Tigers, with only four seniors, proving that an experienced Mountaineer can beat a wild Tiger any time. Final score: WV 84, Clemson 76.

The Butler Bulldogs dethroned the Old Dominion Monarchs 60-58 thanks to a last second shot by Matt Howard. He seems to be a smooth customer, kind of like Matt Carpenter (poor way to tie it into the Cardinals, but oh well, I suppose).

The Richmond Spiders wove a web and caught the Vanderbilt Commodores (insert old computer or Lionel Richie joke here). Richmond bit Vandy 96-66 for the second biggest upset of the tournament so far. Richmond was a 12 seed and Vandy was a 5 seed.

The number 2 seeded San Diego State Aztecs speared the Northern Colorodo Bears 68-50 for a spot in the second round. I wonder if the Aztecs consulted the Padres for spiritual guidance before the game?

Cougars can be viscious animals and a little dog, such as a Terrier, doesn’t stand much of a chance. In fact, the Bringham Young Cougars tore apart the Wofford Terriers for a 74-66 win. Jimmer Fredette scored 32 pts and if BYU goes very far into the tournament, he will have to keep putting up 30+ points a game.

The Michigan State Spartans fought bravely against the UCLA Bruins, but a pack of ravenous bears was to much for those warriors of Sparta. MSU nearly mounted a 23 pt comeback, but fell just two points short losing 78-76.

St. Johns’ school name nickname is the Red Storm and now that I think of it, I think that would be a great nickname for the Cardinals. Well, maybe not. Anyway, St. John’s lost to Gonzaga 86-71. I am beginning to think I should never pick against Gonzaga in the first round.

A Spanish-Indian cowboy from South America (a Gaucho, which I had to look up) probably shouldn’t be playing around in a swamp because sooner or later a Gator will bite and not let go. That’s what happened to the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos when they played the Florida Gators in the first (second? I get confused with the way the 68 team format is) round of the tournament. UCSB suffered a 28 point defeat against Florida. Final score: 79-51.

I have never been a University of Connecticut fan, but they are playing some very good basketball right now. They had to win five games in five days to win the Big East tournament then came into the first round (second? someone please help, this is driving me crazy!) and destroyed Bucknell 81-52. I guess a pack of Huskies are more viscous than a heard of Bison.

The Wisconsin Badgers beat the Belmont Bruins. I wish that some of these schools would come up with some original nicknames. How many Bulldogs, Bruins (or bear related), or cat related (Cougars, Tigers, Panthers, etc) do we need? How about the Belmont Tea Cozys . Yeah, I like that. The Badgers tore apart the Tea Cozys 72-58 despite the fact that many (including me) thought there would be an upset in this one.

You know what? I am going to start renaming these teams myself. Rather than the Missouri Tigers losing to the Cincinnati Bearcats  (I like bearcat because, by definition, a bearcat is someone or something that fights ferociously). The Missouri Mittens lost to the Bearcats. 78-63.

Oh fun, more cat related nicknames. The Kansas State Hamburgers (formerly the Wildcats) nipped the Utah State Aggies (short for Agnes? Agriculture?) 73-68.

That’s a recap of the day that was in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. I hope to do an Arch Madness, Part II, but we will see how things go. If my bracket gets even more busted than it already is, I may just get to depressed and do some other topic.

And as always GO CARDS!!!

*To be clear, I am NOT saying that Kentucky basketball players are dumb. But Princeton is an Ivy league school known for academics and Kentucky is known for bourbon. I guess that’s the state, not the school. The school is known for a winning basketball program.

The Invention of AA Carpenter

Posted by JE Powell

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog, already in progress…

…so, overall, I suppose that, given the circumstances, the best thing to do is buy a new pair of pants and pretend nothing happened.

For those of you just joining us, I am chatting with my special guest, Adam Albert Carpenter, one of the greatest fictitious baseball players to ever play the game. He’s even better than Steve Nebraska from the movie The Scout. AA Carpenter has won 2 Cy Young Awards, a batting title, and retired as the career leader in WAR (wins above replacement). He played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

STL: Fear The Red: So, Adam Albert, how do you feel about the upcoming season?

Adam Albert Carpenter: I think the Cardinals have a good shot at winning the division, though, it will be much tougher than in years past. The Reds pitching is decent, not great, but they play a very good defense and can score runs. The Brewers are looking tough, too. The Zack Greinke injury hurts a little, but he should be back in a month or so.

STLFTR: What are your thoughts on Wainwright?

AAC:  I am disappointed at the loss of Wainwright for the season because he is a special pitcher and a perennial Cy Young candidate, though he has yet to win one. He had a chance to win it this year. With Roy Halladay being on a team with Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, they may have taken some votes away from each other just as Chris and Wainwright did a few years ago, and allowed Waino to slip in there as a winner.

STLFTR: Any prospects you think may make a difference this year?

AAC: I am keeping an eye on Matt Carpenter (no relation to me or Chris), who has been very impressive thus far in Spring Training. Though he’s not technically a prospect, if David Freese can stay healthy, I expect good things from him. There are a couple of prospects out there that I think will have a shot in a year or two and could become Big Gamers, such as Shelby Miller or Zack Cox.

STLFTR: Speaking of Shelby Miller, what do you think is the best way to handle him?

AAC: I think it would be a very good idea to take a page out of the Wainwright book and bring Shelby up later this year (or early next year) for eighth inning relief or use him as a closer, especially if Ryan Franklin does retire after this season as he has suggested. History shows that bringing up a pitcher as a starter to early and using them to much could casue problems as was the case with Mark Prior and may have been the case with Stephen Strasburg. I’d rather see a young pitcher start off in the bullpen for a season and then become a starter after they have become accustomed to the long MLB season.

STLFTR: What do you think the key factor will be for the Cardinals to win the divsion?

AAC: Winning more games than the other teams in the division.

STLFTR: Fair enough. What do you think will be the outcome of the Albert Pujols contract negotiations?

AAC: He will either re-sign with the Cardinals or sign with another team. If he truly wants to spend his whole career with the Cardinals and wants to win, he will re-sign.

STLFTR: During your career, you suffered two concussions due mainly to your very aggressive base running style. During the second of those concussions, you were knocked unconscious for a few moments. How do you feel about in-game collisions and today’s style of play?

AAC: I don’t remember getting a second concussion. Are you sure you did any research? I would slide hard into bases to try to break up a play. That’s common throughout baseball history. In retrospect, I probably should have slid feet first more often, but what’s done is done. Today’s style of play is different because it’s a different time. The 1970’s style was different from the 1930’s just as today’s style is different from that of the 1970’s. It’s not better or worse, just different.

STLFTR: Last question. Do you feel it’s better to be talented or a hard worker?

AAC: Honestly, you almost have to be both. There is a place for hard workers who may lack talent, but make up for it by practicing all of the time and hitting the gym, but it seems to me that those types of players are usually role players. Athletes that have a copious amount of raw talent can only get so far on said talent without a good work ethic. The truly special players are the ones who hone their natural talent and with constant hard work.

I want to thank my guest, Adam Albert Carpenter, for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit down and chat with me for awhile about life and baseball. For those of you who missed the first part of the blog, we may have a re-airing (printing?) at some point in the near future, but that depends on future programming. So, thank you for joining us today and as always, GO CARDINALS!!!!!