Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Brendan Ryan

Spring Training Warm-Ups


lindsey twitter photo
Baseball fever is making a comeback now that the boys are kicking it in Florida for Spring Training, and this week my dear friend (and Cardinals fan), Lindsey, asked (again) when Diamond Diaries would be back in action.  Without much arm-twisting at all, she agreed to write a guest post for us as sort of our own 2013 season kick-off.  And as you will soon see, smart,sassy and lovable Lindsey, an early victim of baseball fever this year, is ready to chat it up, Cardinals style.  P.S. If you aren’t already, you can follow Lindsey on twitter: @LoveAlwaysGives

 So, Welcome Back!!  And welcome, Lindsey!  =)    ~Erika

>Counting Baseball BlessingsWe’ve started out another Spring Training with the stomach-knotting stressor named, The Unsigned Contract Extension. This time, for Adam Wainwright. Waino is one of those players I could never lose faith in. I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous for the guy when we all found out about his Tommy John surgery. I still remember that moment when my heart fell into my stomach wondering, Could this be it for Waino? But then I snapped back to reality and realized who I was talking about. Waino is bueno, after all. I can see where the problem lies, he’s a pitcher just coming off of elbow surgery with a year left in his contract. Could that be more nerve wracking? He needs to be set to impress. Although a contract has yet to be signed, I’m ready to see some Wainwright action out on the mound this year. Let’s not forget, Mo…It’s ain’t right til it’s Wainwright!

lance-lynn-regular- (2)

photo from robrains.com

And hey, has anyone seen Lance Lynn around h—OH MY! Talk about a transformation! Catching my first full spring training game yesterday, I momentarily thought Garcia was pitching until I saw those four red letters: L-Y-N-N. My jaw immediately dropped. I think we all knew of the 40 pound weight loss Lance underwent throughout his offseason dieting and work out program when an interview came out stating his rather, uhm, confident outlook on where he stood in being a part of the starting rotation for the 2013 season. Reading and hearing about that type of weight loss is a lot different than seeing it out on the mound. Although he’s lacking the backside of Jaime Garcia, I do believe I’ll be seeing more Lance Lynn related #chickcomments popping up on my twitter feed this year. Here’s to hoping this season can start just as strongly as the last. Put those new muscles to work, Lynn!

Oh hey, David! I see you’ve been taking advantage of that Florida sunshine…and that strong man workout paid off for ya…

Ahem. Getting back to what I was saying…

photo from stltoday.com

photo from stltoday.com

I can’t even imagine the conversation between Yadier and Bengie Molina when they found out the good news that Bengie would be appointed Assistant Hitting Coach for the Cardinals this year. No, really, I can’t. I don’t speak Spanish. Nevertheless, I know I was pretty excited to hear we would have the Molina Brothers team effort this year, even if only one of them will make it onto the field. We don’t need no stinking Mark McGwire! Mabry and Molina have got it covered. As long as Bengie isn’t a running coach, I’ve got the faith! In all seriousness, I think all of Cardinal Nation knows the bond between the Molina family is something incredible and with the addition of his brother, I have no doubt that Yadi will be in even more high spirits to go out on the field every day and make his familia proud.

Speaking of families, it’s been quite the offseason for our hairiest member, Mr. Jason Motte. Unlike his teammates, this doesn’t have to do with his physique, work out regimen or contract status. Jason became a father. That’s right, our heat-throwing, ungroomed bear of a closer now changes diapers in his off time. And he couldn’t be happier about it! I predict little Miss Margret Morgan Motte (say that three times fast) is going to be a daddy’s girl in years to come, because he just can’t seem to get enough of his little girl.

Photo by Michael Donahue

Photo by Michael Donahue

Not only is fatherhood the only step forward in Jason’s life, but his charity work is in full swing as well. Throughout last season Jason and his wife, Caitlin, began collecting sports memorabilia to hold an auction called Strike Out Cancer, benefitting the Wings Cancer Foundation. The $37,000 they raised at their first benefit will go to expanding the organization into lower income communities. That is quite a big impact to make with their first endeavor, and there is surely more to come from these two.

Now, in true Erika fashion, it would be wrong not to mention that former Cardinal shortstop, Brendan Ryan knocked one out of the park in his first at-bat for the Seattle Mariners this spring training. You’ve still got it, Boog! Keep ‘em comin!

There is just something remarkable about seeing baseball on my tv again. Although there is still snow in my back yard, and the sunshine has yet to be found, I just can’t help but have something to look forward to on every game day. And it’s baseball. I can only believe that the transformations the guys have gone through this offseason will show onto the field in the 2013 season. We’ve got new birds and new bats, so we are set to make this one a season to remember!

Happiness Is A Home Run

No, not the Lance Berkman power shot from last night.  Not even the Nick Stavinoha blast in the 14 inning AAA Memphis game.  No, it took a Brendan Ryan long shot (in more ways than one) to start my day off with a smile.

What is it about baseball’s sleeper moments that resonate with some of us so completely?  I regularly get the chance to admire Cardinals like Berkman, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday smacking it out of the park, but seeing highlights of my former Cardinal-favorite & light-hitting Brendan get his first homerun as a Mariner tops them all.

It’s a recurring theme, probably the main reason I’m an AAA baseball fan.  I enjoy championing the underdogs.  Following minor leaguers on their quest to break into the Majors or cheering surprise clutch hits from players who are valued for their gloves, but don’t garner as much fan confidence with their bats feeds that fascination I have for the human side of the game.

Heart, personality, positive energy and a palpable, genuine love for baseball coupled with an overwhelming, single-minded drive to succeed.  THOSE are the qualities that capture my attention in the ballplayers worth watching.  Superstars often get quiet – sometimes overconfident – and don’t wear their heart on their sleeves once they make the big show.  At that point, they’ve often become part of a machine, part of a business.  Go to work, win the game, job accomplished.  Once a player gets to that point in his career, it seems I’ve usually lost interest.

Give me a reason to love you beyond your batting average or slugging percentage and I’ll cheer you through ups and downs.  For me, the human side of baseball trumps a team’s final W-L record. Don’t shoot me here … I LOVE my team, but I need to really love the players to truly celebrate wins or agonize over losses.  And honestly, it’s easy to admire a superstar who has tunnel vision focused on his job but harder to LOVE him.  The big names don’t “need” me to cheer for them.  Their names are on a gazillion tshirts and bandwagon fans are making enough noise for the rest of us.  Show me the underdog with that spark – those qualities I cherish – and I will delight in his random successes… the human side of baseball.

My baseball habit may have moderated a bit lately while I’ve had opportunities to focus on summer events and precious moments with family, but in moments like today I enjoy a sudden surge of baseball fever from watching one of my beloved ballplayers crack a huge smile in the dugout after a baseball moment that took us all by surprise.

Happiness is a Brendan Ryan homerun.

Want to smile?  Here’s the link.

Blessings and Go Cards!!

;)

The Berkman Bandwagon

Mark your calendars:  the date was April 4th.  Lance Berkman made it into my inner circle of Cardinal love.

Lance Berkman had a clean slate with me.  I knew he was a former Houston Astro, but that was about it.  (The “new baseball fan” status still gives me an excuse for my unfamiliarity with everything not Cardinal-related.)  The Cardinals picked him up in the off-season and the first things I hear about him are 1) Big Puma 2) Fat Elvis and 3) bad knees….. not exactly a glowing report to hang your cap on, Lance.  ;)

Being a fan of our up-and-coming babybirds and pulling for those young guys to get their due chance with the big club, I am not a huge fan of Tony LaRussa’s propensity to favor new-to-me veteran additions to the roster.  Sure, those veterans have experience…. but I don’t remember any of it (new baseball fan excuse.)  So those guys have to give me a reason to love them.  They have to show me some heart, hustle like their job depends on it or at least have a personality that makes me forget that they’re blocking the babybird pipeline to the Majors.
Last night, Lance Berkman had all three.  I was shocked to see him tear around the bases in a hit and run, ending up at 3rd!  Bad knees?  They sure looked to be working well to me.  Then the Fox Sports camera (and microphone) caught Berkman as he headed to the dugout, smiling ear to ear, stop at the steps to shout a heads-up to Skip Schumaker, warning that the pitcher was throwing inside.  Big points to FSMW for showing that exchange.  Personality and teamwork on display makes me happy.
Add to that the (boring) stats from last night that Berkman drew two walks in his first two at bats and hit a rbi single to help spark hope in the almost-rally of the 8th inning and Lance has earned himself a spot in my heart.  Fellow United Cardinals Blogger Christine Coleman was quicker to the Berkman bandwagon than I was.  She pointed out to me at the game on Sunday how quirkily entertaining it is to watch Lance nervously walk in little circles in the outfield after every pitch.  (Quirky works for me…. See: Brendan Ryan.)
So, while I was warned that I would love Berkman this season because he had a “great personality,” I stubbornly held out for proof… and spunk.  Welcome to the club, Lance Berkman.  You’ve earned a new fan.  (Mr. Theriot, I am still waiting.)
The Cardinals did end up with another loss last night.  They are now 1-3 in 2011. (Note: the Cardinal win came on Sunday while the United Cardinal Bloggers were in attendance at the game – not that that matters, but I think it might?)  David Freese wasn’t feeling the love yesterday.  He went 0-4 and has a batting average of .154 which is still better than Pujols’ batting average (now at .125.)  Aren’t early season statistics fun?  They don’t mean much, but yet we all want to make something out of them.  Brendan Ryan is batting .083 for the Mariners right now if you were curious  ;)
And of course I have to mention Hunky Holliday: On March 31st, Matt had a power explosion with 3 hits, a homerun and 2 RBIs.  The very next day Holliday was in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.  Then, 3 days later reports come out (yesterday) that Matt asked not to be put on the 15 day disabled list because he believes he will be able to return before then.  Superman?  Possibly.  Stud?  Definitely!  ;)

Late edit:  link to FSMW video with Hunky talking about his surgery and recovery:  click HERE.

The Cardinals take on the Pirates again tonight at 7:15 CT with Kyle McClellan on the mound.  I feel a win.  Go Cards!!  ;)

2011’s Top Five Cardinal Stories

I’ve been thinking about working on this UCB post for awhile now, but haven’t really come up with anything worthwhile. Someone (not naming names since I don’t remember) made it sound like I could write something sarcastic and completely nonsensical. Score!

So without further ado, here are our top five stories for 2011:

1. Adam Wainwright will win the 2011 NL Cy Young. Okay, this point is obviously legitimate. I really do believe Waino capable of beating out the fierce competition in the National League to take home the Cy. There are a lot of incredible pitching staffs floating around the senior circuit, from the Phillies on the east coast to the Giants on the west, not to mention the Reds, Brewers, and Cardinals in the middle of the country. There are big names like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Zack Greinke. That said, I think Wainwright can match them, pitch for pitch, out for out.


Warning: That was probably the last ‘prediction’ that I actually think could happen. The rest is for my own entertainment.

2. Yadi starts a brawl in Cincinnati when Johnny Cueto kicks him in the shins during warm-ups. Who knows why he did it. Cueto that is. Yadi beat the crap out of him, and we know why that happened. Don’t mess with Yadi… especially not his shins. Watch your back, Reds’ players…

3. The amount of scrappy and/or gritty references made about the Cardinals infielders on various blogs, highlight reels, radio shows and Twitter will quite possibly reach infinity. Good grief. Every new player that has been signed this offseason (with the exception of Berkman who is definitely not the right size or shape to be considered for either) has been labeled with one of these two monikers. Theriot? Punto? What is this? We already had both of those guys, except they were Brendan Ryan, Aaron Miles, and/or David Eckstein, respectively. Can you have too much scrap or grit on one team? The Cardinals might be pushing the limit. Quick, someone find a big slugger to hold together the infield! It would help if he has a good contract that makes him a Cardinal for life.

Wait, what’s that?

“Pay me my money.”

Yes, sir! Get on it Mo!

4. All of our scrappy/gritty infielders come down with bird flu and Tony LaRussa, in a moment of desperation, begs that Mo undoes the trade with the Mariners for Brendan Ryan. A stretch? Sure. Don’t look at me. Erika penned this one. I mean… it could happen.

5. Kyle Lohse’s arm will fall off. Again… it could happen (but Erika says I should be nice). He’s never known a normal injury for a pitcher, whether it was getting a broken wrist while batting, having an injury only known to long distance runners and motocross bikers, or coming down with that frustrating condition known as crap-itis. Oops, that wasn’t nice. My bad.

Let me be perfectly honest – I want Lohse to do well. I hope he becomes the best fifth starter in the National League. But in my mind, the odds of him doing well compared to his arm falling off have to be about even by now.

*~*~*~*

Open in Mobile AppIf you’re interested, check out the new UCB app for iPhone and Android by clicking on the little icon to your left. It’s shiny and NEW! Also make sure that you check out the archive of all the Top 5 stories for this month’s UCB project here.

Baseball season is almost here… just hold on a little longer Cardinal fans! :)

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!

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…..

My Hot Stove Wishlist

Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter?  Yes, please!  ;)
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return?  Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead?  Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies.  Joe Mather, gone.  Matt Pagnozzi, gone.  Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove?  Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest?  I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball.  (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1.      Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable.  The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy.  Brendan’s got the D.  Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball.  Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year.  I promise.  Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up.  With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this.  Brendan stays.  Got it?  Good.
2.      Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag?  Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment.  It’s glorious.
      You can see it too, right?  Yeah, I thought so.  ;)
3.      As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please.  Power outfield bat?  Restored.  Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat?  Priceless.
4.      Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Loyal?  Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club.  Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already.  So, I’ll stop here.

Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short.  I wouldn’t want to be too greedy.  The Hot Stove may not like that.  ;)

The Week People Forgot About Baseball

What a depressing week to be a baseball fan. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still going to watch the games, cheer for the boys, and hope for what is now getting to be dangerously close to mathematically impossible. But people keep talking about football… I’m not ready. I’m not ready for the season to be over. I’m not ready for baseball to be over. I’m not ready for Sportscenter to be 35 minutes of football, 10 minutes of hockey, 10 minutes of basketball and the last 5 for a quick baseball drop-in.

The Cardinals are playing the CUBS! Remember when we used to get excited about this?

No? You don’t?

Well I do.

Guess what else?

Adam Wainwright is on the mound today.

Who? Hey, he’s one of our aces. He’s fighting for a chance at the Cy Young. Yeah, starting to ring a few bells in there? I hope so.

More things to watch? That Albert Pujols guy is still pretty good. He’s still leading the league in home runs, RBI, runs, and intentional walks (I didn’t even look this one up – I’m just assuming).

Did you know that Brendan Ryan is 9 for his last 20? He’s riding a 5 game hitting streak, which isn’t a lot, but it is for Brendan this year!

In minor league news…

  • AAA – Memphis starts their best of 5 PCL championship series tonight against Tacoma. In the off chance that Waino has a rough outing, I’d advise jumping over to a Memphis broadcast to see how that game is going!
  • AA – Springfield’s season ended last night against NW Arkansas in the North Division playoffs. They ended the season with a regular season record of 76 wins!
Head on over to Baseball Digest and check out the numbers on what happens by the numbers when the Cards score runs.
Game time is 7:15. Go Waino! Beat the Cubs! :)
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