Posted by JE Powell
The January (yes, I know, I am a little late putting this up) United Cardinal Bloggers monthly project is for bloggers to list their top five iconic moments in Cardinals history. So, here are my Top Five:
5. The Ozzie Smith Backflip
My first taste of Cardinals fever started in the early ’80s when my dad and grandpa took me to my first game. Growing up in the ’80s I do not have a more clear or fond memory of Cardinals baseball than seeing Ozzie Smith do his backflip. As a youngster of five or six years, I was enthralled watching him do that and when I think of Cardinals baseball in the ’80s I think Ozzie Smith and his backflip.
4. McGwire’s 62nd Home Run
I realize that this feat has been tainted with Mark McGwire’s admission of taking steriods, but the home run race in 1998 between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped bring baseball back into the mainstream. The strike in 1994 had hurt the sport, but the home run duel between Big Mac and Sosa aided in bringing it back and the first one to 62 homers was Big Mac. I remember seeing him run the bases (nearly missing 1st in the process) and was extremely excited that the home run record now belonged to a Cardinal. I may take some slack for this pick, but at the time it was monumental. Read More…
Posted by JE Powell
2011 certainly has been an interesting year in Cardinals Nation. There have been many different, interesting, and sometimes frustrating stories throughout the year. Well, for the UCB December Project I get to pick my top five stories of the year.
Losing Adam Wainwright for the entire season was a huge loss. Wainwright was a 20 game winner and the ace of the staff. Before he had to go on the disabled list, he was set to be the Opening Day starter. This story dominated Spring Training and overshadowed the fact that Albert Pujols showed up to Jupiter, Florida without a new contract. I would have much rather had Wainwright, however.
The 2011 post season turned David Freese into “Absolute Zero” and a superstar. Yes, a superstar. Whether that will carry over to 2012 remains to be seen, but his performances during the post season gained the St. Louis area born 3rd baseman national fame. More importantly, to Cardinals fans at least, his performance did two things: 1) helped deliver an 11th World Series Championship to St. Louis and 2) help carve is immortality in Cardinals history and lore.
Much has been written about this, but here’s a quick recap:
- The Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out of the Wild Card on August 25th.
- The Cards were 3 games out with 5 to play
- The Cards won 23 of their last 31, a record of 23-8
- This was, historically speaking, one the greatest late season surges to make the playoffs of all-time
This is one of the best games I have ever seen. This game ranks at near the very top as one the greatest games in the Cardinals’ storied history. It could be the greatest.
There is no other moment, in my opinion, that can top this. This was one of the most improbable World Series wins in the history of Major League Baseball, a World Series that will be talked about for years and decades from now. For me, there is no other story capable of being Number One.
Posted by JE Powell
For the December project for the United Cardinal Bloggers, each member asks a question of the entire group. I was slated to ask my question 12-13-2011. The following is my question followed by the responses of my fellow Cardinal bloggers.
First of all, there has been a plethora of great questions asked and I have really enjoyed answering all of them. For my question I am going to ask you to peer into your crystal ball, read your tea leaves, or make an educated guess based on SABRmetrics or however you choose to do it to answer the following:
On the current 25-man roster, which players do you see going into the Hall of Fame one day, if any, and why (they do not have to go in as a Cardinal, just in general)? Now, for the sake of the question, please assume there will be no major or career ending injuries and that there will be no sudden, drastic decline in play that would kill a players chances. Just for clarification, I do mean the Hall of Fame in general, I.E if you think a player will get in, but not until the Veteran’s Committee elects the player, that still counts.
Daniel Solzman, Redbird Rants
Molina but he has to keep his offense up. Defensively, he’s the best catcher in the game right now.
Holliday is possible with 1300 hits and 200 homers through 8 seasons but I don’t know whether he’ll have a 15 year career or a 20 year career. He has the BA, no doubt there, to get the hits.
Lance is nearing 2000 hits but he’s at 358 home runs. If he gets to 500, I’d say he would be a lock. That’s the only thing stopping me from putting him in right now.
As much as I like Carp, I just don’t think he’ll be elected, not by the writers anyway. Right now, he’s nowhere close to 200 wins and just shy of 1700 strikeouts. Even if he pitches two more seasons, he would not get the numbers you would want HOF players to have.
Adam is 66-35 with 724 strikeouts in 5 seasons so far. If he’s still dominant over the next 10 years and puts up great numbers, I’d induct him.
Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball
My opinion of the Hall of Fame might be different than others. Numbers, obviously, make the case for a Hall of Famer, but I also think a Hall of Famer had to/has to have that extra *something* that makes you instantly recognize his greatness. There are some recent Hall of Famers that I don’t think really earn that title for me.
With that, I could possibly see Yadi as a Hall of Famer someday, depending on how his career continues both on defense and offense. Maybe.
Ray DeRousse, STL Cardinal Baseball
Of the current roster, I can’t see any potential Hall of Famers except Wainwright if he manages to stay healthy for 13-15 more years and puts up numbers. I don’t think Berkman or Holliday will have numbers spectacular enough to make it.
Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball
I will echo Ray’s vote for Wainwright. If he simply continues at pace for another 10 years he will be close to 200 wins.
Yadi’s offensive production has been on the rise, and he needs that. He can get to the hall based on his defense, but he needs to get to a few minor milestones (2500 hits would be nice) to solidify his call.
Matt Holliday has the best chance if he can put together 5 or 6 high-quality
consistent seasons for the Cardinals. He has a NL MVP Award. His career batting average is .315. He has 1,348 hits and 770 RBI. He turns 32 in January. If he can keep the career batting average above .300 and get to 2,500 hits and 1,350 RBI, he has a chance.
Because of his statistics and his popularity with the writers who do the voting, Lance Berkman could be a candidate, too. But I think he’s marginal. His hits total is 1,822. He turns 36 in February. His career batting mark is .296. Holliday’s age gives him a chance to achieve better totals than Berkman.
Chris Carpenter would be a cinch if he hadn’t missed virtually all of the 2003, 2007 and 2008 seasons because of injuries. His career stats likely won’t be strong enough, though. But any Cardinals fan knows he has been a Hall of Fame-quality ace and one of the best big-game pitchers in franchise history. He could be a Veterans Committee pick.
Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At the Bat
I’ll chime in for Molina and Wainwright. Obviously still a lot of baseball to be played, but with the lower standards for catchers, some good offensive seasons and Molina should make it. Waino, we’ll have to see how he does returning from the surgery.
Tom Knuppel, Cardinals GM
I just don’t see anyone except maybe Wainwright but my feeling is there are no future HOF’ers on the Cardinals roster at the moment.
Jon Doble, Redbird Dugout
My initial thought was nobody.
Lots of guys would be in the Hall of Very Good though.
Wainwright is 30 right now and has 66 career wins. I think he’s basically going to need about 250 wins to be considered, which means his next 8 years would need to be downright amazing.
Molina could get some consideration, but I honestly think that comes down to whether Ivan Rodriguez gets consideration. They are both viewed as exceptional defensive catchers with excellent pitcher handling and pitch calling abilities. Rodriguez had a nice bat in his prime too, but it has deteriorated as he gets more innings on his knees.
However, Lance Berkman is one guy I can see getting in the easiest. He is one of the best switch hitters of all time. 11th in batting average, 2nd in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 4th in HRs, 10th in RBI (but within striking distance of 8th this season). He’s up there in every category for switch hitters.
Thank you very much for all the bloggers that have participated in the October/November United Cardinal Bloggers Monthly Project: Post-Season Roundtable (the project is now into December due to the Cardinal improbable run to the World Series,though I am sure Cardinals fans will not complain). If you are interested in reading the questions and responses at the other wonderful Cardinals’ blogs, check out the October Project page. It has all the links to the other blogs.
Posted by JE Powell
It’s finally here, the official A & E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions 2 DVD Box Set of the 2011 World Series Champion ST. LOUIS CARDINALS!!!
Now, the DVD set comes out on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 with the World Premier at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis and if you are in the area and want to buy tickets, just click the link and buy away. It looks like it’s going to be a blast. But perhaps you would prefer to stay home, since the weather is getting colder, and watch the DVD set from the comforts of your couch. The good news is that you can purchase the DVD set from A & E Home Entertainment and the MLB Shop! It’s a very good price for hours of enjoyment and cheaper than taking a loved one to the movies with you, not to mention (though I am going to anyway) the fact that you can watch it over and over again and relive some of the best moments from one of World Series in many years. There is also a trailer that you can check out.
Posted by JE Powell
It’s that time of year again when members of the United Cardinal Bloggers get to make their picks for for the Cardinal Blogger Awards. This year, however, readers get to vote for the Awards, too! Readers can vote here. So here’s your chance to make your voice heard. Well, not really your voice, but you get to make your picks known.
There are twenty categories and I have gone through and carefully determined who I feel is the best choice and why. So gather ’round and let me tell you the tale of the SS Minnow and its three hour tour…er, I mean let me tell you my picks:
Cardinals Player of the Year
This felt like an easy choice to me. Albert Pujols had more home runs and more RBI, but had trouble the first half of the season and grounded into a lot of double plays. Berkman was consistent all season long and filled in for Pujols while Pujols was on the disabled list. Berkman had 31 HR and 94 RBI, so he was pretty close to Pujols’ numbers and had a slightly better batting average at .301 (compared to .299 for Pujols). With Matt Holliday injured on an off all season, Berkman had to carry the team the 1st half and had some big hits in the playoffs.
Cardinals Pitcher of the Year
Like, Pujols, Carpenter struggled the first half of the season, but turned it on the second half of the season and was huge in late August and all of September and October. Carp pitched a shutout on the last day of the season and, coupled with an Atlanta Braves loss, helped the Cards secure a playoff berth. He also pitched a 1-0 shutout in Game 5 of the NLDS and pitched on 3 days rest in Game 7 of the World Series to ensure the Cardinals 11th Championship.
Regular Season Game of the Year
September 7th vs. Milwaukee
Carpenter pitched a 2-0 complete game shutout of the Brewers and struck-out Nyjer Morgan, which caused Morgan to have a temper tantrum. That was the Cardinals fifth win in that last six games against the Brewers and Morgan’s temper tantrum may have been a sparking moment that sent the Cardinals onto the playoffs and World Series.
Post Season Game of the Year
World Series, Game 6
This game could probably win Cardinals Post Season Game of the Decade without much effort. This was one of the best games I have ever seen in my life, period. The Texas Rangers took a 4-2 lead and the Cards tied it. Texas took a 7-4 lead and the Cardinals tied the game when they were down to their last strike. Texas took a 9-7 and the Cardinal tied it, again down to their last strike. David “Absolute Zero”** Freese hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. The Cards may not have officially won the WS until winning game 7, but in reality, they won the World Series in game Six.
Surprise Player of the Year
Berkman had a disappointing season in 2010 and was traded from Houston to the Yankees where he continued to disappoint. However, he signed a one year deal with the Cardinals and ended up winning Comeback Player of the Year and had 31 HR and 94 RBI while batting .301. There was quite a bit of speculation that he probably wouldn’t be able to play the outfield any longer or that he had lost his swing or whatever. He proved them all wrong.
Disappointing Player of the Year
Rasmus had a strong first couple of weeks, but then began to slowly taper off and after 94 games played he was only batting .246 will 11 HR and 40 RBI. Not necessarily bad stats, but when a player whines and complains that he isn’t getting enough playing time when it seems obvious that he just isn’t trying very hard out in the field on defense, it’s disappointing. He had a lot of potential, but his maturing needs some work.
Rookie of the Year
I think it’s fitting to pick Craig here, because this category follows Rasmus. Craig also had 11 HR and 40 RBI for the Cardinals, but did it in only 75 games. He also hit .315. Craig came up huge in the playoffs, especially off the bench in the World Series.
Sensing a theme here? I don’t think I can add much to what I said the last two times a picked. He was just very important to the Cardinals run this year.
To steal a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rzepczynski “isn’t a name, it’s a bad scrabble hand.” But this left hander really helped to solidify the bullpen and got some huge outs against left handed hitters in the playoffs.
Most Anticipated Cardinal
Jake Westbrook has really not worked out that well for the Cardinals. In fact, they only used him for one inning during the entire playoffs. He will be the 5th starter in the Cardinals rotation, but if he is struggling in late July or early August, I think the Cards will call up Shelby Miller. Miller has some maturing to do, but I think he will be a very important piece in the Cardinals rotation. Even if it’s not in 2012, I think he will be a starter in 2013.
Best Individual Cardinals Blog
Daniel is the Godfather of all Cardinals bloggers. He started the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) and the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), but his blog is more than that. He is insightful and puts a lot of time and effort into his blog. His blog post Happily Ever After is one of the better Cardinal posts I have read in quite some time and when I got done reading, I went back and reread it. It was that good.
Best Team Cardinals Blog (A blog with 2 or more bloggers)
Nick, Dennis, and Josh run an insightful, funny, witty, and enjoyable blog. I often find myself laughing out loud or nodding my head in agreement with something they have written.
Best Professional Cardinals Blog
Derrick Goold is a blogger and journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His blog updated regularly and he often has inside information on trades, rumors, or anything Cardinals related.
Best Rookie Blog (Started after December 1st, 2010)
I had the pleasure of meeting Christine during the UCB Event at Busch Stadium the third game of the season and Tara and I interviewed each other for the Get to Know A UCBer monthly project in August and I had quite a bit of fun with that one. I have only read posts by Miranda, but I enjoy her upbeat writing style. AMF is a great site and I really do not see them having a sophomore slump.
Post of the Year
This blog post gave me goosebumps. It was just that damn good. I am not going to defend this pick. It can defend itself. Read it. Now! Go!
Best UCB Project
Get to Know a UCBer
Most Optimistic Cardinals Blog
Honestly, just check out the site. You will feel better about yourself and life in general. Trust me on this.
Best United Cardinal Bloggers Podcast
UCB Radio Hour
Best Cardinal Tweeter
Best Fake Twitter Account
I gotta be honest and say that I rarely tweet and I haven’t checked out any of the fake twitter accounts. I was listening to the MLB Network on XM and heard someone mention that an account had already been created just after the squirrel ran over home plate. That’s why I picked it.
Those are my choices for the Bloggies. You can read all the picks from the other bloggers at the UCB Official Site and don’t forget to vote for yourself, dear reader, the link is all the way back at the top of this post. There are many, many wonderful Cardinals bloggers and blog sites out there, so make sure that you hop over to the UCB site and check them ALL out.
**I call David Freese “Absolute Zero” because when he was up to bat twice during game six of the World Series and again in game seven he didn’t have ice running through his veins, he was so cool that all molecular activity ceased.
Posted by JE Powell
STL: Fear the Red is proud to introduce to you, all two of my readers, the newest member of my blogging team…Steve Griffith. Well, I suppose it’s a team now and they way I phrased that made it sound like I was a team before. Anyway, I feel he will be a great addition to this here little blog and I look forward to his upcoming posts.
Steve and I have known each other since, I think, 5th grade, so it spans about 20 years. I remember that he was a Cardinals fan, but I didn’t realize how big until I started seeing a few status updates from him on Facebook. I liked what he had to say, so I contacted him and asked if he would like to be a part of the blog and he graciously accepted.
So, keep an eye out and give Steve a big round of applause.
Posted by JE Powell
The top of the fifth inning was pretty uneventful as Kyle Lohse was able to put the Brewers down 1-2-3. The first batter was Rickie Weeks who flew out to Lance Berkman in right field. Second up was Craig Counsell and a little ground ball to Albert Puujols for the out numero dos. The last batter Lohse faced in the inning was Ryan Braun, he of the recent contract extension that keeps him a Brewer through 2020. Braun fouled out near the tarp to Pujols who make a basket catch for the third and final out of the top half of the inning.
Yovani Gallardo started the game for the Brewers and was still pitching, and quite well, in the fifith inning. The first to bat of the inning for the Cardinals was Matt Holliday who struck out swinging.
Berkman was up second and walked after working the count full. It was a pretty good at bat for the Big Puma who not only worked the count full, but also fouled several balls off. I really like to see this from batters because if every batter can cause the pitcher to throw six to seven pitches per at bat, the pitcher is nearing 100 pitches by the fifth or sixth innings. Even if it results in an out, I still like to see Cardinals at bats where the batter forces the pitcher to throw at least six to seven pitches. This one, as I said, resulted in a Berkman walk, so all the better.
Yadier Molina was the third batter of the inning and came up to bat with one out and one on. He made contact with a one and one count, but didn’t hit the ball very hard. In fact, the ball went off of Brewers’ pitcher Gallardo’s glove and kept the ball from being a double play ball. So, if nothing else, Molina advanced Berkman over to second.
Daniel Descalso was the fourth Cardinals batter to come to the plate in the fifht inning. Descalso’s at bat was very similar to Berkman’s in the inning. Descalso worked the count full after fouling off a couple of pitches, and then walked. Another very good at bat in the inning.
The fifth, and final, Cardinals batter of the inning was Tyler Greene who came to bat with two on and two out. Greene made good contact on only the second pitch he saw, and it to just shy of the warning track, but Mark Kotsay made a nice hopping (skipping? definitely not leaping) catch to take away a hit. The ball gets over his head and Greene probably would have been looking a two RBI triple. Despite the fact that it resulted in an out, it was a decent at bat for Greene and if not for a good play, could have been a great at bat.
The Cards had a runner in scoring position and two on at one point in the inning, but failed to get anyone home. This game, I think, was an example of Gallardo pitching very well, rather than the Cardinals just not hitting. The Cards have a very good hitting lineup and rarely hit that poorly, therefore, Gallardo pitched great. He didn’t necessarily pitch great in the fifth, allowing two walks, but he pitched well enough to get out of the inning without allowing a hit or a run to score.