The United Cardinal Bloggers (of which this little blog is a part) has a monthly project for August where we interview a fellow blogger and I had the pleasure of interviewing Tara from Aaron Miles’ Fastball. She interviewed me for her site, so, if you want to read responses filled with non-sequiturs, trains of thought that go nowhere, and several blatant threats towards blogs written by space aliens, please go read my silly answers to her perfectly cromulent questions. And, while you’re at it, check out other blog posts by the other contributors over at AMF. It’s a truly wonderful site for those who enjoy reading about the Cardinals.
What follows is, in my biased opinion, a shining example of how an interviewee should respond to questions, even if the interviewer fell asleep several times during questioning and once started crying for no apparent reason.
So, what’s your story? How/why are you a fan?
Tara: I tell people I’m a Cardinals fan by birth, despite not ever living in St. Louis! My dad — who is a die hard sports fan anyway — was born and raised in St. Louis and, thus, a Cardinals fan! As I’m sure you’ll do with your daughter, my dad introduced me to baseball early and often. In some of my earliest pictures I’m sporting a Cards cap (albeit several sizes too big!) to match his. For me, it was always something I did and followed with my dad. We didn’t get to see many Cardinals games when I was growing up in Utah, but any time we got to sit and watch a game together was priceless. It’s just one of those things, as you know, that you grow up with. It just sticks. And it’s a part of you, win, lose or draw!
Do you have a specific game that has always stuck out in your mind? Have you been to any other stadiums besides Busch to watch a Cardinals game?
Tara: My greatest Cardinals memory may seem a bit cliche, as it’s all about that 2006 World Series run. But it still is the clearest memory … it could have been yesterday! Again, because of my dad’s part in my baseball fandom, he’s a big part of it. First was that Adam Wainwright curve ball that froze Carlos Beltran in the NLCS. My dad and I were literally on the edge of the couch, but only until that strike was called. I’ve never jumped up faster in my life! And for the World Series, once again my dad and I watched together. Only this time we were inches from the television! That emotion is just unreal. And to share it with my dad was even better!
I’ve been to other ballparks … but not to see the Cardinals, unfortunately. I’d love to go to Kansas City or Milwaukee. Or, of course, Wrigley for that rivalry!
How did you get started blogging? So, tell me your top five Cardinals moments. They do not have to be in your lifetime, though. And they do not necessarily have to be actual “in game” moments.
Tara: My involvement with blogging — and especially the UCB — came about in a very fast and unexpected way (but I wouldn’t trade a second!). When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to start a blog as a way to get my name out there as well as to continue honing my journalistic skills. So I did, but not about baseball. Then I came across a new online sports network looking for female sports writers. In my digging, I found Christine Coleman’s site, Aaron Miles’ Fastball, and realized we live in the same area. I sent her an email, just saying I really appreciated her blog. Since she certainly had the St. Louis Cardinals site under control for the new Aerys Sports Network, I didn’t expect anything else. But she offered to let me guest write occasionally. And occasionally it turned into weekly. And that progressed quickly to co-hosting a UCB Radio Hour, and ta da! Here we are. It’s been great getting to know so many skilled writers and baseball minds!
Top five Cardinals moments, huh? Let’s see. In no particular order:
David Eckstein being awarded the 2006 World Series MVP. Always loved him, and it was awesome to see him rewarded!
Any time Yadi throws a guy out from his knees. Ridiculous!
That October 17, 2005 Albert Pujols homer off brad Lidge. My dad’s birthday, the NLCS, and the destruction of Brad Lidge (at least for a few years!) … it was perfect.
In 2007 (or 2008? Can’t remember) the Single A Cardinals affiliate that happens to be in my town had a special night with the World Series trophy. Again, my dad and I were there and had our pictures taken with it. Being that close to so much history was priceless!
And for one outside my lifetime, how about Stan the Man’s 1955 All-Star Game walk-off that was just named the greatest moment in All-Star history! I would have loved to watch him play.
(These are, of course, in addition to that wicked Wainwright knee-buckler mentioned earlier!).
If you could get any player from any team to play for the Cardinals who would you want and why? Who is your favorite mid-season acquisition the Cards have ever had?
Tara: You know, I sit and watch games on a regular basis and thing, “Man, I wish he played for us.” But trying to pick just one is tough! I think Craig Kimbrel would be great to have. We’ve needed a dominant closer for so long!
As for my favorite mid-season trade, all-time I’d, of course, have to say Lou Brock in ’64. Not that I saw it happen, but the result when it did was pretty spectacular! If I were to pick more recently, I’d go with Matt Holliday. Not quite Lou’s caliber, but I really like him and what he’s brought to this team, especially right after that trade happened.
How do you feel about the trades the Cardinals made this season? And how realistic of a shot do you think the Cards have at making the playoffs this season?
Tara: The trades this season. Well, so far I’ve been under whelmed with the exception of Rafael Furcal. I love the defensive prowess he brings to the short stop position! Rzepczynski has been strong, but I don’t think he’s being used as effectively as he could be. I was a Colby Rasmus fan … so I was sad to see him go, but the new guys haven’t been all bad.
As for this season, it’s so hard to say. I’m such a cup-half-full kind of fan in that, as long as it’s mathematically possible, I’ll still be holding out some bit of hope! That said, there are so many pieces that would have to fall into place (the Brewers collapsing, our own offense soaring, and our pitching holding steady, to name a few) that, while I still hope they do something, I’m not holding my breath.
Assuming the Cardinals do not make the playoffs, which is starting to look like a distinct possibility, what moves do you think the Cardinals need to make to improve the team for next season (besides resigning Pujols, of course)?
This off season could be very interesting. There are a LOT of decisions to be made, including what to do with Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman as well as the predicament with Ryan Theriot. I wouldn’t mind adding a bat in center field, but I’m not holding my breath there.
The underlying question may revolve around Tony La Russa — if he’s back, chances are Pujols, Carp, and Yadi are around again. Regardless, it will be a very telling off season — we COULD see a very different team on the field next year. But, it’s just as likely that we see a largely similar lineup.
How many games do you go to? What is your favorite commercial or tv appearance featuring a current or former Cardinals player?
Tara: Since I grew up in Utah, I wasn’t at a Cardinals game until 2009, after my family moved to Iowa. We’re about five hours away now, so it’s not a terrible drive, but it definitely takes some planning. That time (in ’09) we were really ambitious and we drove down for the game and back in the same day, so we didn’t get to really experience the new Busch. Of course, my dad had been to all kinds of games as a kid when he lived in St. Louis, so it was fun for him to be back and to see the new stadium. They played the Marlins that game and Todd Wellemeyer pitched a pretty solid game, backed by a Pujols home run right at Big Mac Land. Then, we were back just over a week ago and saw two games — the final game in the Brewers series and the opener against the Rockies. (So far, I’m 3-0 in games I attend!!) I’ve been to other Major League games, but not to see the Cards outside of St. Louis.
Favorite commercial. That’s a good question! I always love seeing what crazy Cardinal Nation commercials they come up with at the beginning of the season, and this year I especially love the one with Berkman trying to pick a number. One, because I like just about anything Adam Wainwright is in, two, because it shows just how many Cardinals greats there are! It’s a great way to show what it’s like becoming a part of Cardinal Nation. Plus, Lance is such a great personality, too. That one’s my favorite … at least right now!
So, that’s how the interview went down. I would like to thank Tara for taking time out of blogging to help me with mine. Thanks Tara!
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!!!!!