Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Monthly Archives: November 2011

“Thankful for Cardinals” Winners and Erika’s World Series DVD Review


Whether you spent your long holiday (one ‘L’, not two) weekend filling up on turkey and pumpkin pie, battling the frenzy of Black Friday and/or watching football (only because there isn’t any baseball, of course,) we have a few more Thanksgiving moments to share with you before the mistletoe madness and Christmas rush officially takes over the planet.

As part of our giveaway of the Official 2011 World Series Film DVD set (thank you, thank you to A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions), we asked readers interested in winning FREE WORLD SERIES DVDs to send entries telling us which Cardinal players they were most thankful for in 2011.

The following five fun THANKFUL entries showed up in our inbox.  From those, we had the difficult task of picking a winner.  And because we couldn’t pick just one… we’re giving away TWO of the 2011 World Series Film DVD sets.  Congratulations to our lucky “thankful” winners:

Here are the two entries that topped the list for their creativity and won free Cardinals World Series Highlights DVDS:


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Sue brought the smiles with her poetic tribute: 

He’s easy on the eyes,
 just one of the guys
Takes his errors with grace,
determined to just help win the race.
Charm is his middle name
and talent in his claim to fame. 
My favorite number is 23
David is the guy for ME. 
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Lindsey convinced us that Motte had swag:
“This year I am thankful for a blue eyed, red bearded relief pitcher named Jason Motte. He has brought to this team a new meaning of the word swag, and transformed it into the all powerful “Beard Swag” that consumes Jason at all times. With the way he dances around the mound after every pitch, its hard not to mimic his moves in my own living room, making laps around the coffee table and rubbing the imaginary ball between my hands. His antsy behavior makes me nervous and excited all at once, and I love that feeling. Motte has been the Cardinals secret weapon all along, it just took a few years, good timing, and being in Franklin’s shadow for us to realize it. Before this season not many people had heard of the newly transformed catcher-to-pitcher mechanism named Jason Motte. He was just another relief pitcher who paid his dues in the Cardinal bullpen every other 8th inning or so. But right around the time Franklin’s control started to diminish, Jason’s control of his immense fastball gained more recognition. And while he was never named the official closer, I think we can all agree that without his abilities to control the ball at that type of speed and work so well with Yadi, this team couldn’t have made it so far. Pretty impressive for a man who can barely see his catchers hand signals! Sure some people like to argue that Motte had a horrible Game 2 experience in the World Series this year, but lets face it, had he not had an off night our dramatic comeback to win it all wouldn’t have been so sweet! It wouldn’t be our true Cards if we didn’t have a little drama in the mix! I’m even thankful for an off night. Thanks to his incredible performance this year, Jason has made “Motte” a household name. Fangirls everywhere have been falling in love with the beard, myself included. I thank the Cardinal gods for sending us such a blessing in Jason Louis Motte. And I thank them for making him look so good in a Cardinal uniform! ;)”

Our other three fabulous entries (and honorable mentions) were from Nancy, Kent and Eric :

Nancy reminded us of the MANY reasons we were thankful for the 2011 Cardinals: 
“2011 was the most amazing year of my all my years as a Cardinal FANatic.  It tops all other World Series Titles I’ve lived through and followed faithfully – all the way back to 1964, which, until this year, was my favorite season of all.  This year we went from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy.  How did this happen?  Who sticks out as the difference maker?  So many different people stepped up  when called upon.  Pujols’ 3 homers in game 3 is one memory I’ll never forget – and Albert delivered a lot of times – but this was not his best season.  Holliday, star power #2, suffered through weird injury after freak accident after weird injury and never really got in a rhythm post-season. The trade for Furcal was absolutely a difference maker and I loved watching him dazzle from shortstop, but his bat suffered.   Guys like Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, Ryan Theriot, Skip Shumaker all had their moment in the sun for guys who didn’t play regularly.  Allen Craig emerged as an ominous threat at the bat.  Lance Berkman was absolutely worthy as the comeback player of the year – and was the most consistent of all the above-mentioned beloved Redbirds.  Yadier Molina is the man and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone behind home plate.  His bat improved dramatically this year, leading the team in the regular season average tally.  The hero, and most valuable player of the playoffs and the world series is David Freese, hometown boy and emerging superstar – possibly the future face of the franchise.  And exciting as can be.
But I don’t think we win the World Series without Chris Carpenter.  His guts and his emotional command in the final game against Philadelphia coupled with his 2 world series wins carried our team to the title.  His performance in the Playoff Series game against the Phillies reminded me of the Bob Gibson era.  He was totally into every pitch and even when he got into a jam, he never buckled, kept his cool and in the midst of chaos, delivered when it mattered.
Carpenter gets my vote.  And I am so thankful to him and all the Cardinals, including Tony La Russa, Dave Duncan and the entire coaching staff and management for the ride of a lifetime.”
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Kent made us stop and think with his unexpected entry: 

“The Cardinal that I am most thankful for is Ryan Franklin. Ryan had a very tough start to begin the 2011 season.  He was bashed and criticized on twitter, Facebook, the newspaper and on TV. He handled the poor start with dignity an class even though the people that were bashing him did not. Eventually he was informed that he was being released and again he didn’t leave the team kicking and screaming, but handled it with class.

After laying low for the remainder of the season, Ryan reappeared and again was a person of class. I feel that Ryan is the epitome of what I hope that all Cardinals both past, present and future will portray!

I admire and respect Ryan Franklin and so do all of his teammates!”

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Eric summed up his choice by going right to the top:

Tony La Russa would be my choice. It all starts at the top. Being a consummate professional. And having the time of his life from August the 24th on including donning a hearts on fire pendant and a talisman from Carlos Santana himself. To guide a team from 10.5 games out to a World Series victory is beyond reproach. Plus handling all the media crush, the AP contract situation, the Colby Rasmus trade among other things. I know the city will miss Don Tony. He made me smile right up to the last out of the World Series. Wish him the best and I’m thankful we had the right skipper for the red draped ship.

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***And now for my quick official unofficial review of The 2011 World Series Highlight Film:

This DVD absolutely surpassed my expectations.  So much more than just a rewatching of the series, this DVD combines those lovely behind-the-scenes videos and interviews that make us smile while perfectly complementing the theatrical narrative of our Cardinals’ incredible journey to the 2011 World Championship.  Close-ups of the boys, player interviews (including multiple moments of insight from our darling MVP, David Freese), new video angles and footage I’d never seen from the televised coverage of the World Series – all pleasant surprises.  Even though I knew how the story went (oh, don’t you LOVE happy endings?!?) I was on the edge of my seat, cheering and reliving the ups and downs as the Cardinals (again) ba

ttled through 7 hard-fought games against the Texas Rangers.   My son may or may not have rolled his eyes at one point, saying “Mom, this has already happened, you know…”

Okay.  Honestly?  The 2011 World Series Highlight Film DVD set is phenomenal.

Buy it for your Dad, uncle, cousin, grandpa, sister… whomever you know that loves the Cardinals.

Then go and watch it with them.  Win/win!

…or you could just go buy it for yourself. Consider it your little way of lightening Santa’s load.  He’ll have more room in his sleigh.  You’re so thoughtful!

And when you settle in for some December DVD baseball magic, try not to cheer out loud when Freezer hits that walk-off homerun (again).  I dare ya!  ;)

Didn’t win?  Didn’t enter our other “Guess the Pujols Presser Date” contest?

It’s okay.  You can buy it HERE:

2011 WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHT FILM 2-DISC SET

http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12328342&cp=2366583.2498437

WIN the Official 2011 World Series DVD Set

When an email shows up in our inbox asking if we would like to host a giveaway with the Official 2011 World Series Film DVD set, how could we say no??

A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB productions has provided us the opportunity to review these DVDs and give away a few sets to some lucky Diamond Diaries readers.

So….Want to win?

Contest #1:  Enter your guess for the date of the press conference when Albert Pujols will announce that he will (or will not) be a Cardinal in 2012.  Enter a date (and a time in case of a tie) in the comments section below.  The closest guess wins.  Deadline for entries: November 24th at 6pm CT.

(unless, of course, the press conference happens BEFORE November 24th…)

 

Contest #2: Send us an email (cardsdiamonddiary@gmail.com) telling us which Cardinal you were MOST THANKFUL for in 2011 and why.  We Diamond Diaries gals will pick our favorite email and we will publish all entries over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Deadline:  November 24th at 6pm CT.

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Want more info?

The World Premiere of the 2011 WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHT FILM 2-DISC SET is coming November 22nd, at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis.  For more information on this Red Carpet event and to buy tickets, click <HERE>

2011 WORLD SERIES HIGHLIGHT FILM 2-DISC SET
In the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM, the annual, crowning program from Major League Baseball Productions, St. Louis native and narrator Jon Hamm (Mad Men) delivers the redoubtable Redbirds championship run, from first pitch to last in a pulse-pounding documentary format.  Providing comprehensive highlights, exclusive access and interviews, plus breath-taking footage and sounds captured by MLB cameras and microphones throughout the series, this DVD is a perfect way to relive the epic battle against the Texas Rangers.
The OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM will be released as a 2-disc set, featuring an exclusive bonus disc containing the complete NLDS Game 5 vs. the Phillies, a taut 1-0 pitcher’s duel which propelled the Cardinals to the NLCS and, ultimately, the World Series.  Additional extras include behind-the-scenes interviews and bonus programming.  Just in time for the holidays, the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM 2-Disc DVD will be available on November 22 and will also be available in the crystal clarity of a single Blu-ray disc on December 6, both currently available for pre-order onworldseries.com.
Bonus Material: This Week in Baseball – Dave Duncan n This Week in Baseball – Lance Berkman n Prime 9  La Russa Segment n NLDS Game 5 Last Out and Celebration n NLCS Game 6 Last Out and Celebration n WS Game 3 – Pujols 3 HRs n WS Game 6 – Freese Triple to Tie n WS Game 6 – Berkman Single to Tie Again n WS Game 6 – Freese Walk-off HR n WS Game 6 Postgame – Berkman and Freese Presser n WS Game 7 – Freese Double to Tie n WS Game 7 – Last out and Celebration n WS Parade
See the trailer:  HERE
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Good Luck!

2011 UCB Awards

Every year the United Cardinal Bloggers have what is known as the UCB Awards – a way to not only recognize what the team has done in the past year, but also recognize the fact that the UCB is one group of people that are all here together writing about this crazy team we love. This year we have even had the joy of following our boys all the way to the top! But now that the champagne has all been sprayed, the confetti cleaned up and the championship swag all hitting the shelves, it is time to look back and recognize the year that was.

As an added bonus, this year everyone is invited to check out the ballot and vote for their favorites! If you are so inclined, you can head over here to see what’s what and have your say in the awards. As for our team, we decided that we would make one collective vote, so our thoughts are all sprinkled throughout.

On to the ballot!

1 – Cardinal Player of the Year: Lance Berkman. This was a unanimous decision, and Erika said it best, “Berkman won me over early, picked up a clubhouse leadership roll, slugged and walked his way on base and hit in more than his fair share of baserunners.  When the Cardinals signed Berkman, I was warned I would love him – and I do.” Make that we do! :)

2 – Cardinal Pitcher of the Year: Chris Carpenter, without a doubt! His horrific start to the year left us all scratching our heads and wringing our hands, trying to figure out what was left of our co-Ace since Adam Wainwright went down for the year and we had no one else to turn to. He then buckled down and became the bulldog starter we all hoped he still could be. After several shut down performances – shutouts, out-dueling aces, big game wins and locker room speeches – he was the leader the boys needed on the mound.

3 – Regular Season Game of the Year: September 7 – Cards vs. Brewers. Carp throws a shutout, Nyjer Morgan throws a temper tantrum, the Cardinals gain momentum and scribes and fans everywhere go into a frenzy. What more could a die-hard fan ask for?

4 – Postseason Game of the Year: Diane summed it up when she called game 6 of the World Series a game for the ages. What else could happen? The boys were down to their last strike twice. The hometown hero – David Freese – came through, and we all found ourselves cheering and hugging our loved ones to the bitter end.

5 – Surprise Player of the Year: Lance Berkman. Why? Umm… did you see his 2010? It was ugly, to put it gently. He was an absolute wildcard signing. It could be great or it could be a bust, but most of us were just kind of hoping for a shade above mediocrity. Lance turned us all into believers and even worked his way into some chatter for MVP awards. We’re excited to see the Puma again next year!

6 – Disappointing Player of the Year: It’s a tie that I’m not going to break between Ryan Franklin and Colby Rasmus. Franklin just had to go. Had. To. Go. Where he went we honestly didn’t care, but as long as no one let him in to the bullpen where he could try to sneak on to the field and snatch another defeat from the jaws of victory, we were not sad to see him go. As for Colby… he had been built up for such great things, but just could not overcome daddy drama, TLR issues and streakiness to be the effective centerfielder the team needed. Enjoy Canada, Colby!

7 – Cardinal Rookie of the Year: Daniel Descalso. HOW could you argue against Dirty Danny D here? For awhile he was Mr. Clutch, coming up with timely hits over and over. Despite a relatively low batting average, you cannot argue with the facts: he appeared in more games than just about any other Cardinal this year, despite having fewer than normal innings for a regular third baseman his glovework earned him a finalist nod for a Gold Glove, and he became the first ever relief third baseman, inexplicably coming in game after game in roughly the 7th or 8th inning to relieve Freese. There’s just something about this kid you have to love!

8 – Pre-Season Acquisition of the Year: Lance Berkman (What, like you thought were were going to say Ryan Theriot?!). Diane notes that the Cards got him for a bargain.  He was the leadership spark the team needed.

9 – Mid-Season Acquisition of the Year: I was kind of leaning towards Marc Rzepczynski, if for no other reason than because he has an awesome name, and TLR still can’t pronounce it (never mind how poor Mike Shannon bungled the thing repeatedly). However, the girls outvoted me and went with Rafael Furcal!  Erika? “Finally, I love our shortstop again.  Diving, spinning, range — and a bat (just not a postseason bat.)  ;)”

10 – Most Anticipated Cardinal: Shelby Miller.  A lot of hype has been built up for this kid, and he honestly didn’t help his cause by getting himself suspended from the Springfield Cardinals (AA) for a time this year. Our hope is that he takes the winter to grow up enough to handle the pressure that he’s going to face in the next few years.

11 – Best Individual Blog: On the Outside Corner is informative, historical, and always timely. Bob will find a way to relate something that happened in 1967 to the random obscure play we witnessed last night that left us all scratching our heads and you will suddenly realize that you know absolutely NOTHING about the history of the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re always thankful for his Twitter tales too!

12 – Best Team Blog: i70 Baseball might be about those blue clad baseball players on the other side of the state too, but they never fail to bring new content about our Redbirds. Their hard work does not go unnoticed!

13 – Best Professional Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer from Matthew Leach is always informative, usually the first to report the news, and written by a writer that is always 100% classy, no matter what venom is being thrown around the twitterverse. Bravo, Mr. Leach.

14 – Best Rookie Cardinal Blog: El Maquino is one of many new kids on the block for this year. He’s a good writer, aspiring sportswriter, and we might not always agree with him, but he is always informative.

15 – Post of the Year: We had a split vote here… If Backyard Dreams by Bill Ivie over at i70 Baseball doesn’t either bring a tear to your eye or a wistful smile to your face, there is seriously something wrong with you. SERIOUSLY. Erika sent her vote over to Pip at Fungoes for his post called Why the Cardinals Will Still Beat the Brewers, and Diane tipped a nod my direction (with a note that she might be biased) by selecting my post commemorating Darryl Kile’s death entitled 9 Years Later. It is obvious to see that there were some incredible posts out there this year (and I wasn’t about to choose my own post or break the tie on this one – there were a lot of great ones to choose from!).

16 – Best UCB Project: The roundtables are a great way to not only clog up our email inboxes for a month and a half, but also hear a lot of thoughts and opinions getting floated around the various sites. If you haven’t been catching them all head over to the UCB site to check out the list!

17 – Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog: That one is easy for us – Bob with On the Outside Corner takes this one as well. No matter what happens, Bob always knows that a) it could always get worse, b) “Remember that one time in 196<fill in the blank> when this happened? Yeah, we could have that.” and c) tomorrow is a new game. Thanks for reminding us Bob!

18 – Best UCB Podcast: UCB Radio Hour takes the cake here. All of the unique voices and opinions bring us back every week. We enjoy hearing all of them!

19 – Best UCB Twitter-er(-er-er-er): Erika and Diane left this one to me, so I’ll say it: @gr33nazn. Do you laugh every day? Do you want to? Follow Dennis. Learn about sporks, 8 lb. chalupas, the Sing Off, brain bleach, and random other topics… oh yeah, and baseball. He does that too.

20 – Best Fake Twitter Account: @TortyCraig might have retired from the scene, but we still had a blast hearing what he had to say about Master Allen, sprinkles and the like. I’m told he will now graze off during the sunset from Allen Craig’s backyard. Enjoy retirement Torty.

UCB Fall Roundtable: November 15

It was my assigned day to post the question to the UCB Fall Roundtable.  This was the first time I have posted a question to the Roundtable, so I hoped that everyone would be nice and not laugh at my question.  Below is the question that I asked:

Good morning everyone!  Congratulations to Mike Matheny on being selected as the new Cardinals manager!  One of Mike’s first duties will be to look at the Cardinals coaching staff and see if changes need to be made. 

Today’s question is, which of the other Cardinals coaches would you like to see leave and why?  My choice would be Jose Oquendo.  The players obviously don’t respect him – they run through his signs at third base.

Thanks for participating!  Have a great day!

Here’s the answers that I got, some of which were edited for brevity:

Daniel SolzmanI would not get rid of Oquendo just because Albert decided to use his inner-Enos and make a mad dash for home.  Let’s like saying get rid of Derek Lilliquist because the bullpen didn’t hear the right name.  I’m guessing it may be Petini’s time to go though.

Daniel Shoptaw, C70 at the Bat -Interestingly, that was the topic of my post this morning.  Or at least who I believe will go, not necessarily who I want to go.  I think the easiest way to get some new blood into the coaching staff is to let Dave McKay follow Tony either out the door or at least to a different position in the organization.  Chris Maloney could take over first and start learning the ropes at the big league leve.

 

Mark,Retrosimba.com – Diane:  Dave McKay. Seems like a nice guy, but other than being a loyal buddy to Tony La Russa, his contributions to the team were minimal. No one ever talks about him being a leader. His departure wouldn’t hurt the team.

Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball – I agree with Nick – I don’t know that I necessary want to see anyone go. But having just read that Chris Maloney was promoted to the major league staff, someone must be leaving. So my option would be Joe Pettini (and have Maloney be the bench coach).

Dathan Brooks, I70Baseball.com – Jeff Murphy, anyone?  I don’t know.  This seems like it could be a dangerous topic, as I suspect most of us have no idea what these folks do outside of the fraction of what we all see every half inning.  It’d be awfully hard to say goodbye to the man who helped bring us the illustrious 35-game Cardinals career of Cody McKay, no?  (c:

Ray DeBousse, stlcardinalbaseball.com – I wouldn’t really “like” to see any of them go. However, I’d really like to see Chris Maloney promoted, which most likely means Pettini would be sacrificed.  The McGwire situation should be an interesting view, given Matheny’s past comments about steroids and McGwire’s obvious success as hitting coach. I’d like McGwire to stay if possible.

Tom Knuppel, CardinalsGM.com – I am thinking two coaches get “reassigned” or move on. One is the reports that the Cardinals are wanting a new bench coach w/major league experience and the word is a Grady Little hiring may be in the works. This puts Pettini out of in a new position. If Maloney is truly on board, that probably means McKay is on the way out. I would like to see “Pop” Warner gets some coaching time with the big club.

Bob Netherton – My first choice is Jose Oquendo as well, but perhaps not for the same reason.   One of the coaches I want to see continue in some capacity is Joe Pettini.   He was in the Cardinals system long before the arrival of Tony La Russa, and I would like to see him stay.  Pettini’s retention could go a long way in making Matheny’s transition easier since Joe handles a lot of the little things, like organizing practice.  Dave McKay is a “Tony La Russa” guy from his Oakland days but I have no desire to see him anywhere else but St. Louis.   If another spot needs to be opened up for Chris Maloney or Grady Little, I would prefer to keep Pettini over McKay – but that’s a very hard choice.

Chris Mallonee – As others have mentioned, this is a tough question because fans know so little of the behind the scenes that goes on. Matheny faces a tough task. He has no experience, and he has to lead a group of experienced coaches that just won a World Series title.  There is no coach that I would like to see leave unless they can’t commit to backing Matheny 100%.  All that to say, the only coach I would “like” to see leave is one that can’t fully support Matheny and would cause dissension in the clubhouse.

Miranda Remaklus, Aaron Miles’ Fastball – I fully understand your point about Jose Oquendo. I wondered about all the talk that he was the key to Albert staying. Why? So he can run over him? But, I’d hate to see him go. I’d rather he be a bench coach maybe. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pettini or McKay goes. Although I’d hate to see McKay leave for sure! As a Memphis Redbirds fan, I like Chris Malloney moving up! I think Lilliquist stays because he’ll probably be pitching coach once Duncan retires. Oh and I’ve noticed no talk of getting rid of McGwire. The kids – Freese and Craig — have really bought in to his teaching style. Getting rid of him would be a set back for the youngsters. Don’t fire McGwire! :)
Justin W. Adams, InsideSTL.com -We simply don’t have enough information to cast such ballots. Period. That said, in hearing Chris Maloney may get bumped up to the big club staff, I think it would be a great opportunity to offer Oquendo the managerial position in Memphis. For whatever reasons, and I believe they are legit, Oquendo has been passed over…not just by the Cardinals, but other clubs as well. As a pro manager he would have the opportunity to prove his worth in that capacity. Honestly, I’m not sure Oquendo even wants the capo gig. Sure has created for himself a little extra job security/added value by repeatedly throwing his hat in the ring, however, no?

Jon Doble, RedbirdDugout.com –  This coaching staff is a World Series Champion coaching staff. The best change would be no change. Just substitute LaRussa for Matheny and go. The biggest question to me would be how well Jose Oquendo can buy in to what Mike Matheny is doing as manager. It’s a tough situation to be in for a coach. Passed up and now working under the guy you lost the job to. Let alone a guy who has less experience than you. In short, there really isn’t anyone I’d remove from the coaching staff. Duncan, Lilliquist, McGwire, and Aldrete are all among the tops in their roles. Oquendo’s staying depends on how he’ll deal with being overlooked for the managerial role. The other two guys appear to be considering their exits anyway.
JE Powell, STL: Fear the Red -I don’t want to get rid of Jose Oquendo, but I just do not see him staying. He was passed up for a job that for which he has more experience, perhaps not by much, though, than does Matheny. I would like to see him stay, but, personally, I would find it hard to be passed up for a job for a company for someone less experienced and want to stick around. I don’t know what other jobs would be out there for Oquendo, but maybe he would be a good bench coach.  I realize the questions was “who would you want to get rid of?” But I am answering by saying that I think Oquendo will probably answer the question for us.
Bill Ivie, I70Baseball.com –  Allow me to say what no one else is saying: We won the World Championship.  We reached the pinnacle of baseball. They are, in fact, a world championship coaching staff.  All that is true at this moment.  The team deserves a small shake-up.  LaRussa gave that to them on his way out the door.  Matheny deserves the opportunity to lead this team and that may mean that he needs to change some coaches.  Who needs to go?  I don’t know that answer.  But I would say a few new coaches would make this Matheny’s team and not LaRussa’s team run by Mike Matheny.
Thanks to all the Roundtable folks who took the time to answer my question.  I realize I haven’t answered many myself, but that’s because someone else has said what I was going to say and I don’t think I could improve on what was said.  Hopefully I’ll get better as the Roundtable goes on and I can contribute something serious to the conversation!  :)
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