Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Stories of the Year – UCB Style!

*brushes away the cobwebs again* Hey… remember me? I work here, sometimes.*


Sometimes the holidays take up a truckload of time and you have to scramble at the last minute to finish getting something together so Daniel** doesn’t come after you for not putting something together when you said you would for a UCB party. Well, better late than never. Actually, I don’t think we’re late since this will be posted before the new year. Win for us!

So here’s our top five Cardinal stories of the year, but instead of waxing nostalgic, we’re going to give you some older posts to bring back the warm fuzzy memories of baseball season. Okay, some of these are a little less than warm and fuzzy, but it’s baseball, so why are you complaining?

Our Top Five:
1) Stan the Man winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom – The Cardinals made a big push for the President to award Stan Musial the highest honor a civilian can earn, and Cardinal fans embraced it whole-heartedly. Jacqueline once met Stan, and Cadence got to be there when Stan was honored at the end of the season at “Stand for Stan Day.
2) The Brawl in Cincy – Like this wasn’t going to make our list? It was a crazy three game set with the Reds, which we were worked up about for weeks! The gut check reaction was probably my favorite, so look back with this piece called: Words? Meet Actions.

3) Great pitching – The Cardinals could not have gone as far as they did without stellar pitching this year. The two we’re choosing to highlight are Adam Wainwright’s 20 wins and Jamie Garcia’s excellent rookie season.

4) Whitey elected to Hall of Fame – Okay, I’ll be honest. We did not cover this very well at all. However, watching the Hall of Fame ceremony and seeing his acceptance speech was phenomenal. My favorite line? Being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame… is like going to heaven before you die.” We apologize for glazing over it with this picture of the day. Are we forgiven?

5) Uninspiring play-uninspiring season – Well this is a downer to end with. We’re going to point you back to our first “Girl Talk” piece, where we answer the question, “What was the most frustrating part about this year’s team?”

2010 is over. Years from now, we might not really remember much about this season, but we here at the CDD have enjoyed our first year blogging and getting to know so many of you. Here’s to a new year and a new season to look forward to. Go Cards!!!!!

*Apparently I work too much over at i70 Baseball. If you haven’t been reading my off-season history stuff you can check out the archive here. Okay, end shameless plug.
**Daniel will not come after us. I went on the radio with him Wednesday night. I bought time with that one… I think. ;)

Reindeer Droppings

by Elance
Happy Holidaze! That’s what I feel like I’ve been in lately. A complete daze! Lots of good stuff happening in real life has kept me away from baseball, twitter and obviously blogging. But wanted to get in a few thoughts before the holidays.
Joe Strauss at Winter Meetings? (by MMWCAmazon)
Reindeer Games Also known as Baseball’s Winter Meetings. A time where everyone from baseball execs, team management, agents, gurus and the working press gather together to meet, eat, drink and schmooze. Not a damn thing happens except for Scott Boras claiming his newest client deserves a Mark Teixeira like contract. Total waste of time. Would somebody send me next year….please! I’ll even pay for my own food and beverages. Unlike those per diem scribes at the Post Dispatch. 
No Elfing Allowed My beloved Cards are quickly becoming the absolutely no fun allowed on our team, ever, yo! Our own in house elf, Brendan Ryan, was told to take his talents up north to that city of coffee, techies, rain and indie music. TLR just doesn’t play well with others. Even though my intricate research has shown that loose teams with a couple of characters that play with joy and passion tend to win championships, there will be no thongs, bongs or Amish beards found on the Birds on the Bat. I could totally see Waino in a Brazilian Rio tanga, though. 
Ebenezer De Witt Has the Ghost of Albert in a Cubbie uniform Future not visited you yet? This dragging it out concept has worked out really well for you, eh? Does the Ghost of Contracts already signed by Ryan Howard, Joe (well-played) Mauer, Jayson Werth?!?, Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee need to pay you another visit? PAY THE MAN! BY THE EVE OF CHRISTMAS! Cause ya never know if the Ghost of Gussie may drop in after midnight.
D Goold at Winter Meetings? (by Atticus)
Rudolph WTW? Who ARE we? Rudolph? Cause all the other people in the press and the league are laughing and calling us names regarding our signing of Lance Berkman to play somewhere out there in the outfield and Ryan Theriot to play SS. Cause we all know they both have shown so much recent success playing at those positions. Uh…..oooookaaay… 
by Epicbrofist.com
Die Harder Yep…The NL Pennant seems destined to have to go through the Phillies pitching lineup from hell. Not to mention our own NL Central just got tougher with the Brewers adding Greinke, the NL Central Division winning Reds returning with an outstanding lineup, and the Astros showing improvement. Yippee ki yea!!! 
Roast some Chestnuts and have a couple of Eggnogs on me And guys, I’m not talkin about what you think you might be doing during a hot humid Sunday afternoon game in July sitting inside Busch. Seriously, a huge Happy Holidays to my great girlfriends at Cardinal Diamond Diaries who invited me onboard and put up with my shenanigans. And a very special Holiday wish to all who take the time out of your busy day to read and comment on my attempt at being a professional amateur Cardinal lovin blogger. To you and yours…may you find peace, love, joy and a Cardinal for life Albert Pujols during this joyous wonderful season.  
Jacqueline 

What I Have Learned- Saying Goodbye to the Boog.

 Yesterday my favorite spinning shortstop was dumped.  The Cardinals sent Brendan Ryan to the Mariners for an A level pitcher with a questionable future – which pretty well shows how much they wanted to rid themselves of Brendan
Sure, we knew this day was coming.  The Cardinals had been trying to give ol’ Brendo away for at least a month now.  But that doesn’t make it any easier to lose a favorite player to a team on the other side of the baseball universe.
What probably surprised me the most in my stunned state of the blues yesterday was the internet response from Cardinal Nation.  Reading the comments of the many Brendan fans who were just as disappointed was comforting.  That sense of community and commiseration helped ease the sting.   But seeing the numerous criticisms of Brendan from those who were relieved to see him go was also therapeutic – in a tough love sort of way.
Being a real baseball fan isn’t all popcorn, peanuts and World Series wins.  As I am forced to realize more and more by living through these trades and baseball business decisions, getting too attached carries obvious emotional risks.  Rosters change, hot corner rookies get injured and rumors of baseball politics may rob us of the romance of the game. And not everyone loves and appreciates the same players – well, other than Mr. Pujols, of course. ;)
In the short time that I have followed the Redbirds I have survived other (some would say “bigger”) heart-breaking baseball separations: David Eckstein, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Edmonds, and Ryan Ludwick – just to scratch the surface.  In fact, I was reminded yesterday by my oh-so-patient Hubby that I have had similar (albeit less tearful) reactions to the departures of Joe Mather, Blake Hawksworth, Joel Piniero, Brad Thompson, Brett Wallace and a pocketful of other AAA Memphis boys.
So, my dear Brendan Ryan is the newest roster casualty and here I am being all grown-up about it!  Maybe I am getting better at this process.   Okay, okay… if we don’t look back at last week’s blog posts, that is.  ;)
Does it hurt? Absolutely.
Will I boycott the Cardinals?  Nah….
I will wish Brendan luck in Seattle and probably watch some Mariners baseball in 2011. I will pick some new favorites and find more reasons to love my team. However,  I will also inwardly enjoy the thought of rubbing the Cardinals’ collective nose in it when Brendan’s defensive wizardry ends up in the web gem video highlights or when he wins the Gold Glove. But dreaming of revenge is just a natural part of the healing process, right?
Baseball may be a game of hitting and catching, winning and losing, but it certainly is not just a game of numbers. The drama of player personalities and the passion of the fans are just as important to the vitality of the game.  I certainly love the boys. I love the stories.  And though it brings the occasional heartbreak, I know that -for me- baseball is worth the occasional heartache.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training camp in 2 short months.  That should give me time to get over it.  ;)
Go Cards!

Major League Distraction

As a disclaimer, please remember that I am a rather new devotee to the glorious pastime of baseball.  So while the rest of you have had years to soak up all the extras, I am still playing catch up.  Last evening when I was fairly certain that the day’s news from baseball’s Winter Meetings had dried up for the day, I settled in to watch Major League, a movie that some of you (okay, okay… probably every last one of you) may have seen in the theaters 21 years ago, or at least by the time you turned 12.
Of course, I loved it.  But I also must say that timing is everything.  If I had been dragged to watch a (groan) baseball movie when I had little interest or appreciation for the game, Major League would have been a major disappointment.  However, right now, in the middle of December with the trade flurries, free agent frenzy and rumor mills spinning at high speed, Major League was the perfect escape for an overly loyal and passionate Cardinal fan worrying about the makeup of the 2011 lineup.
Hollywood’s version of the luckless losers who were destined to fail involved a team whose GM was crafting an evil plan to insure a last place finish.  The idea was to round up some old veteran players with bad knees, a bunch of young kids nobody else had heard of and a prima donna superstar who is more concerned with his future contract than playing a hard nine. (True, that last one has no relevance… but the word “contract” did ring in my ear a little louder than usual.) It was entertaining – in an odd but familiar way.
Yes, the spectacled bad boy hurler Rick Vaughn with his Wild Thing theme song, triangled haircut and California Penal League baseball quote were a hoot. The hilarity of Bob Ueker’s creative play-by-play broadcast ramblings to a relatively nonexistent listening audience of a last-place team was beyond funny.  The voodoo cures for the curveball made mustaches and high socks seem…. well, boring.  And as in all contrived theater for the masses, the underdog team rallied, the fair weather fans returned, the guy got the girl and everyone lived happily ever after.
I hope I didn’t ruin the ending for you?  ;)
photo from Jeff Pearlman.com
The Cardinals now have ex-Astro (and temporary Yankee) Lance Berkman penciled into the 2011 outfield.  Yesterday I received word from my dear brother-n-law, a native Houstonian and long-suffering (but loyal) Astros fan. He reassured me that Berkman’s on-base percentage in the 2-spot of the lineup (ahead of Pujols) is a very, very big plus.  I know it hurt him deeply to admit that the Cardinals offense would be dangerous, so that opinion means more to me than any statistical model or official Cardinal spin on the topic. If my Astro fan bro-in-law is correct about the predicted OBP value of our new Cardinal /old veteran with bad knees – and  our buddy Bob’s (@throatwarbler’s) most recent Cardinal history lesson is any indication of the potential, than I am ready to watch this Major League type Hollywood magic come true.
If you prefer to get a shot of positivity from history rather than Hollywood, you really should check out what our friend Bob has to say.  His ability to weave historical similarities into the frame of current events is not only amazing, but also reassuring.  Link here
And as far as the hot stove chatter this morning:
Apparently our old buddy Ryan Ludwick is generating a lot of interest from everyone except us.  Boohoo  L  Link here:
And now the Cardinals are rumored to be talking to Yadier Molina’s big brother Bengie for the back-up catcher spot.  That idea just warms my baseball heart!  ;)
Have a wonderful Wednesday, Cards fans!   =)

Making Peace with the Hot Stove

When my own mother called last week, legitimately worried that I might be burning all my Cardinal gear in a big bonfire out back, I realized that my previous blog post may have been a tad…. ummm, overly dramatic.
I do continue to randomly spout off (to anyone within earshot) that Mr. Mozeliak and the Cardinal ownership are dumber than a box of rocks if they dump ol’ Brendan and his magic glove, but I have adopted a few mental strategies that (so far) are helping me survive each day with that big stupid boulder hanging over my head.
Happy Thought #1: 
Maybe this is all just a clever Cardinal experiment created to motivate Brendan to step up his effort. You know, push him harder to fix whatever is broken and get him to apply himself. Let the Boog think he has to fight for his job and watch the magic return.  After all, a little friendly competition (disguised as brutal rejection) is good for everyone, right?
Happy Thought #2:
As hard as it is for me to spit this out, maybe it is best for Brendan if he gets the heck out of TLR territory. Perhaps the pressure of the Albert thunder grumbles, the Carp death-stare and the LaRussa doghouse are the reason for Ryan’s performance issues at the plate.  That’s a lot of pressure for a quirky young ballplayer from California, regardless of his defensive wizardry.
Aside:  Blame this thought process on a sappy little poster from my childhood bedroom wall. It was of a stunning black horse running majestically through a field of yellow wildflowers. “If you love something set it free” was printed in the corner.  (Looking back on it now, the horse was a poor choice.  Who is going to set a horse free? It should have been a chipmunk or a squirrel or something…)
Anyway, if we truly love our Brendan – and hope to continue to enjoy his acrobatic athleticism on the field – we may indeed need to set him free. Let him go play with a team who will appreciate him in all his mustached goofiness.
A California team would be best. With an outfield full of yellow wildflowers.
Happy Thought #3:
That Ryan Theriot guy is kinda cute. ;)
More Happy Thoughts…
And of course there are amazingly awesome Hot Stove contributions from wonderful Cardinal bloggers that make me smile and forget my Brendan worries.
Today Daniel over at Cardinal70.com composed “A Cardinal Christmas Carol”.  It is *amazing* incredibly funny stuff… and yes, Brendan’s got a part in it.  So, if you suffered through this dribbly post here, consider yourself rewarded – here’s the link to a future Cardinal Holliday classic (yeah… I meant to spell it like that.)  ;)
psssst… Mom (if you are reading this): See? I am doing just fine.
I am making peace with the Hot Stove, and Hubby has hidden the matches.

End of an Era

It has been a while since I’ve felt like putting together a post on baseball.  Life’s been crazy and there has not been a whole lot to talk about.  Yesterday however, the Cardinals made some moves.  Blake Hawksworth was sent to the Dodgers for Ryan Theriot (be expecting a Hawk-dedicated post from Ang any second now…) and in another move the Cardinals picked up a left-handed reliever, Brian Tallet.

Where does this lead me… to my Hot Stove hot button, Brendan Ryan.  If this is the first time you’re reading Cardinal Diamond Diaries, you should know…. Brendo’s a favorite.  If you don’t like BRyan, don’t bother reading the rest.  Fair warning?
Ok…. here goes… Girl rant ahead:
If you missed this article in stloday.com, let me hit the highlights – or rather, the absolute lowest of low points.  The scribes see the writing on the wall and are reporting that Brendan Ryan’s era with the Cardinals is nearing an end. Mr. Mozeliak and the front office are making it clear that Brendan is on his way out.
Ahem…. Excuse me while I find the words to express my frustration with Mr. Mozeliak and the Cardinals organization…
Okay, first let me get this out….
WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU MEAN: BRENDAN’S PERSONALITY ISN’T A FIT???!!!”
If Brendan’s loveable, quirky, heart-on-his-sleeve, boy-you-grew-up-with, hilarious, camera-hound, fun-loving and friendly personality is not a fit for the Cardinals then I am seriously wondering how I fell in love with this team.  Maybe I’m not a good match as a Cardinal fan?  Maybe I’m a bad judge of character.  But I loved the team with the goofy shortstop who made us laugh and cry and cheer through the season’s struggles.
Is the true nature of the organization starting to show up – like after dating someone long enough to finally see the true person behind the charade and you discover Mr.(or Mrs.) Right is really a jerk who is actually a slob when you aren’t around? Well, I fell in love with the Cardinals, and my heart is breaking to think it was all a figment of my imagination.  Give me heart and fire and honesty.  If that doesn’t “fit”the team, well….
Brendan has always been one of the main reasons I am glued to the television for every single Cardinal game. I know I’m not alone in that as I meet more and more Brendan Ryan fans.
Brendan isn’t a “fit” for the team??
Brendan’s Gold-Glove caliber defense, his amazing range, his spinning, jumping, and diving plays that put him at the top of all MLB shortstops defensively are something that the Cardinals don’t value?
One last time…The Cardinals are a ground ball pitching staff.  I know this because everyone says so.  Defense behind that type of hurler? It absolutely matters. Remember what it was like in those games when Brendan’s glove wasn’t in the game? It was ugly.
Why does it seem obvious to me that the hole in the middle infield defense was at second base?  Was Mo watching a different team than I was?    The Cardinals decide to fix the middle infield problem by replacing the best defensive shortstop?  Does that make sense?  Really??
I have no problem with this Ryan Theriot guy. In fact I am quite sure that I would love him – at second base.  I’ve read the various opinions, and yesterday Bernie Miklasz had some great info on the comparison of Brendan Ryan and Ryan Theriot.  Link here.
I wish Mo would let me in on the grand scheme.  Beginning with the Ryan Ludwick trade and continuing to this shortstop dump idea, I have absolutely NO CLUE what the Cardinal brass are thinking. In this Brendan situation – IF there had been an available player whose defense was great and whose bat was strong, then I may have understood and accepted the decision to upgrade. Instead I’m left wondering how this Theriot fella fixes the problem.
I am new at this baseball circus and I do know a lot more than I did just two years ago.  However I catch myself wondering how a gal who has followed baseball for only 4 or 5 years can feel so betrayed and frustrated by a series of moves made by baseball professionals and executives who are in this to make money and win?  Have I missed the big picture?  We are trying to win, right? If the Cardinal blueprint continues with this type of shuffling without major improvement, getting ‘veteran’ players past their prime and neglecting the potential of young, talented players in the process then I worry this team has bigger issues than just locking up the historical golden contract of Mr. Pujols.
Maybe I have blinders and cannot see the wisdom behind the madness.  Oh, I certainly hope that’s it.
But for now…
I am a Brendan Ryan fan.  I look forward to seeing him on the highlight reels in 2011 and winning his many future Gold Gloves.  The Cardinals would be crazy to give up on him now.  And I may be crazy for being a Cardinal fan.  Time will tell. ;)
Now, excuse me while I go kick the crud out of the Hot Stove…..
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: