It’s Starting To Look A Lot Like Baseball

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.

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2011 WS Championship DVD Set Review Part III: Game 5 NLDS

Posted by Steve Griffith

The A&E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions Official 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals 2 Disc-DVD Set (from here on out, I will just refer to it as the “DVD Set” because it’s just easier that way) is basically set up in three parts: The Official Film, the Bonus Material, and the entirety of NLDS Game 5 (Carpenter vs. Halladay). So, I have decided to review it that way. I now present to you, Part A&E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions Official 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals 2 Disc-DVD Set (from here on out, I will just refer to it as the “DVD Set” because it’s just easier that way) is basically set up in three parts: The Official Film, the Bonus Material, and the entirety of NLDS Game 5 (Carpenter vs. Halladay). So, I have decided to review it that way. I now present to you, Part III: Game 5 NLDS!

Ok Cardinals fans, I want you to think really hard about this question: What is the best game you have ever seen?

           Most people will think about an Albert Pujols 3 homerun game, or an extra inning affair that ended with a walk off, or maybe this years Game 6 of the World Series. My pick is this years NLDS game 5 where Chris Carpenter squared of with Roy Halladay. Call me old fashioned, but I still enjoy a great pitchers duel. Offense happens every day. Walk off homers end multiple games every season. How often do you get to see a great pitching duel between two of the games top starters end in a 1-0 shutout for the Birds? Ok, to be fair, that happens from time to time too, but how exciting is it when it’s against the heavily favored Phillies in the NLDS Game 5 that either sends you to the next step closer to the World Series, or sends you on vacation for the winter?

    The World Series DVD from MLB Productions and A&E contains the complete game telecast of this game as a bonus when you purchase the World Series tribute to your World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

   There are no special features or commentary of the game. It is only the game as seen on T.V. There are no commercials, which is great because it makes a 3 hour game so much shorter, and lets you watch the game about as quickly as watching an episode or two of GLEE.  Seeing as how the game is still so fresh in my mind, and I already know the outcome, it wasn’t the greatest thing for me to watch it again just a few short months later, but I know that a few years from now, I’m going to be glad it is in my DVD collection. In my mind, this will go down as one of the greatest postseason pitching performances of ALL time, and it will be fun showing it to my daughter who is currently too young to get excited about it. I’m certain this will be one of the center pieces of the Cardinals indoctrination I instill in her in the coming years.

Top 5 Stories of 2011: UCB December Project

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.

#5

Wainwright Has Tommy John Surgery, Misses Entire Season

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.

#4

David Freese Wins NLCS MVP and World Series MVP

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.

#3

Cardinals Win NL Wild Card on Last Day of Season, Game 162

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

#2

World Series Game 6

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.

#1

St. Louis Cardinals Win the World Series

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.

Honorable Mentions

Pujols Starts Spring Training with No New Contract

Colby Rasmus Traded

Albert Pujols Signs with Angels

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Posted by JE Powell

As I am sure many of you have heard by now, the St. Louis Cardinals have recently signed Carlos Beltran to a two year contract, worth about $13 million per year.

This is a great move that makes sense to me. Beltran is decent defensively, but his bat will be a good boost to the lineup. At 34 years old, Beltran is still capable of hitting around .290 (he hit .300 last season) with 20+ home runs (22 last season) and 80-90 RBI (84 last season). He has had health issues in the past (he only played in 81 games in ’09 and 64 in ’10), but played in 142 games in 2011 between the Mets and Giants.  Read More…

What Pujols Will Make: The Breakdown

Posted by JE Powell

As I have already said, I do not begrudge Pujols because he took the money and ran. I also do not begrudge the Cardinals organization. I was a little tough on Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak in the linked (above) article, but I also think one of the big reasons fans are upset is about the fans’ egos (it’s always nice to brag that your team has one of the best players in history). However, I thought it might be fun to break down the second largest contract in baseball ($254 over 10  years) history and see what Pujols will make for doing what. Just to be clear, when doing these numbers I have kept each category separate. The numbers will reflect what Pujols would make per at bat, home run, RBI, etc., not overall. Also, the contract breaks down as an Average Annual Value (AAV) of $25.4 million per year. That’s probably not what he will actually make per year (I would guess there is more money up front and less towards the end of the contract), but I am basing all of my math on $25.4 million per year.

How Much Albert Pujols Makes:

Per Year:

  • $2,116,666.70 per month
  • $69,589.04 per day, 365 days a year
  • $2899.54 per hour, 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year
  • $48.33 per minute, 1440 minutes a day, 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year. Read More…

Punto Punts Cardinals, Puts on Red Sox

Posted by JE Powell

Nick Punto just won a Championship with the Cardinals in October of 2011 and has decided to take his talents to Boston. It’s being reported that Punto has signed a two-year deal worth $3 million. Punto has been signed to replace recently traded  short stop Jed Lowrie. In his career, Punto has played 2nd base, 3rd base, and shortshop. Punto played all three posistions for the Cardinals in 2011 playing in a total of 63 games, 45 of those at 2nd base. Punto had three seperate stints on the disabled list in 2011.

In other Cardinal news, the Cards appear to be close to a deal with left handed reliever J.C. Romero. Romero will give the Cardinals another needed left handed presence in the bullpen along with Marc Rzepczynski.

It looks like things are starting to take shape for the 2012 season. I still hope Read More…

UCB Roundtable Question 12-13-2011

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.

Mark, RetroSimba

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.

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