Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Cubs

A Lost Soul (Or, Why I Don’t Boo the Cubs)

My lost soul... but I love him

Those of you that I met or spent time with at the Blogger Day at Busch last month also met someone very near and dear to my heart – my grandpa. Aaron Hooks referred to him as “dapper.” Daniel Shoptaw had this to say in his post about the weekend:

Let me put down for the record that Grandpa was very cool.  Not only did he never shake his head and wonder about kids these days or tell us to get off of his lawn, but he never seemed to question what blogging was or anything of the sort.  (Also, he introduced himself as “Dewayne: Dewayne the tub, I’m drowning.”  Gotta appreciate some corny humor like that!)

What none of you knew? My grandpa is a lost soul.

He is a card-carrying Die Hard Cub Fan.

He has a picture hanging in my grandparents’ guest bedroom stating he signed with the Cubs (I assume this is a staple in every card member’s home?). He goes to Cards/Cubs games in St. Louis with my grandma wearing his Cubbie blue. He has a Cubs/Cards checkerboard, and I think he’s the only one that has played with the Cubs pieces. At Christmas, where our entire family gathers for the festivities, he is the only such lost soul in a houseful of people.

My grandpa was born and raised in Michigan, a Cubs fan through and through. He married my grandma after college and they have spent most of their adult lives in the St. Louis area. My grandma is a Cardinals fan. My grandpa is a Cardinals fan… most of the time.

I know. That’s wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. It’s like… like… I have no comparison. There is no comparison. He’s a Cardinals fan, right up until they play the Cubs. He will always take the Cubs. But no one would have ever known seeing him with me at Busch.

I don’t like the Cubs. Should they (heaven forbid) ever make it into the World Series, I might not be able to watch one inning of it. But my respect for my grandpa will keep me from ever being venomous about the team. If you follow me on Twitter, you will never see me use the #cubssuck tag (and definitely not the #cuckthefubs one – I really don’t like that one). I hate losing to the Cubs, but I would also say that I hate losing to the Reds… or the Brewers… or the Pirates, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Braves, Giants, ………. I don’t like when the Cardinals lose. Period. Losing to the Cubs is what it is – another loss in the column.

The Cubs and Cardinals have a long and storied history. The fans feel passionate about it, the players understand the rivalry (even if they don’t necessarily get heated about it), and the franchises both understand the gravity of it. The reality is obviously the rivalry just has not had a lot of weight lately. It’s unfortunate, but true. My first memory of baseball is being at a Cubs/Cardinals game in the early 90′s when the teams were battling for the toilet bowl (the bottom of the Central). My real first year of following baseball was 1996, but the home run chase of 1998 was electric for me, and that had a lot to do with the Cubs, obviously.

However, the last 13 years (wow, ’98 was that long ago?) have been not all that interesting for any Cubs/Cardinals match-ups. The two teams haven’t been competitive in the same season in eons.  But the fans remember the history, and they hold these games dear to their hearts. I like seeing games against the Cubs…

…just don’t expect me to talk trash. I do it for Grandpa.

Girl Talk – Would you rather….

THE QUESTION:  Would you rather deal with fair weather fans that only show up when the team is doing well and otherwise don’t really care, or  fans that live and die with every. single. pitch.  and think the season is lost in the first week when Pujols goes 0-4 or Carp gives up a handful of runs?
Erika says:  
Is there a 3rd choice?  Fair weather fans who respond to a few rough games by bailing out probably can’t name the team’s starting lineup anyway.  While that type of detachment could be a good defense mechanism for a Cubs fan, it hardly befits a true member of Cardinal Nation.  I’m not good at sharing a baseball game with someone who just doesn’t care.  On the other hand, volatile fans give me anxiety through proximity.  It’s either melt-down or mania with them – and that gets tiring faster than Franklin can blow a save.  If I had to pick (and Angela says I do…) I’d pick the live-and-die-with-every-pitch type of baseball buddy as long as they are capable of providing a reasonable, intelligent defense explaining what makes them crazed lunatics (for better or worse) on any given day of the baseball season.
Angela says:
To me, the answer is simple – if I have to choose between the crazies that were blowing up Twitter this afternoon or people that head for the hills during the bad times… I might take the good timers. I think this is a partially emotional response, since I checked out on Twitter after seeing the venom there after Franklin’s blown save today by the ones that are grabbing their pitchforks. Some of these fans just become too much for me. The Cardinals win a blowout and they say, “But so and so went 0-4 and left the bases loaded in the 6th and whatever reliever gave up 2 runs in mop-up duty in the 8th.” People – the Cardinals are winning. They just took three of four from the Dodgers in LA and have gone 5-2 in their last seven. You can smile. You can high five. Enjoy the good times.
Emily says:
I’ve lived on Chicago’s north side for nearly 10 years now, which is the natural breeding ground and safe haven for the fair weather fan, so my first instinct is to say that I can’t stand fair weather fans. This part of the country is full of people who moved to Chicago in their early 20s, purchased a Derrek Lee shirt or a pink Cubs hat, and spend each summer chugging beers in one of America’s largest bars–Wrigley Field. For a truly invested fan, it can be infuriating.
That being said, I think that part of the beauty of baseball is its versatility. There is a time for casually enjoying a game and some badly needed sun; there is a time for watching with fellow fans in a rowdy bar; there is certainly a time for watching from under your bed or behind your couch, pushed into solitude by the sheer intensity of the game. Baseball in June is different from baseball in October, and I feel that the fair weather fan, no matter how gross in October, is a necessity to June baseball and all its fun and warmth. We (the die hard, the obsessed, the truly invested) have a tendency to take things a little too seriously a little too early on (see: week one of the 2011 season), and we need those fair weather fans to remind us, sometimes, to keep things in perspective, to breathe and think, “162 games.”
I think what I’m trying to say is that die hard fans and fair weather fans are both crucial to baseball, because part of what makes baseball great is how it can be enjoyed at different levels and loved to different degrees. I believe that if you care more, the game gives more back to you. Yet as much as I can understand and marginally appreciate every level of involvement, I’ll personally  take the “live and die with every pitch” fan any day, because when it comes right down it, I want to talk to someone who can knowledgeably talk about baseball—not a “Cubs fan” who just found out that Ryan Theriot doesn’t play for them anymore.
Cadence says:
This is a very hard topic for me to approach, because I can’t say I can pick either one. Fairweather fans – at least the ones who obviously don’t care unless they get free tickets to a game – are the worst, but sometimes I consider the living and dying (the extreme version) to be very similar. Passion is a tricky thing and in my opinion, it isn’t always a good thing. I consider myself to be a passionate person…in everything I do. I hate it when we lose, when someone blows a game or when we go on a losing streak. On the other hand, I am very happy when we can score 60-plus runs on a 10 game road trip, we go on a winning streak or someone has a complete game, just to name a few things. I guess what I am trying to say is that my passion for the team (my 5 shelves of Cardinals memorabilia, my 6 shelves full of t-shirts & jerseys, and the fact that almost every one of my profile pictures on facebook is of me at a Cards game) is there…and vivid, but I have many other things going on in my life for me to really place my mood fully in the hands of Ryan Franklin or any other member of the St. Louis Cardinals. It gets me more frustrated to see the huge dynamics from people – ecstatic when we score 15 runs in a game and cursing the name of a player who made a bad play the next game – then it does for me to even have to deal with the people who leave games in the 7th inning.
Ultimately, I can’t change anyone and how they react to sports…they are free to do whatever they want. I will cheer along with my fellow fans when things are good (and I am ok if they are bandwagon fans), but when things go bad, I just have to tune out the stuff I don’t want to hear. I would rather just cheer on my team.
————————————————————————-
Have an idea for future Girl Talk posts?  Let us know!
The Cardinals have today off, a much needed rest for players and fans alike after the brutal 10 game West Coast Road Trip.  The Cardinal offense surged on the road and the Redbirds are now sitting at .500 with 8 wins & 8 losses.  Can they keep the magic alive at home?
Next up?  Back home to Busch stadium on Tuesday, facing the Washington Nationals.  Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth…. this should be interesting!
Go Cards!!

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! :)

Jon Jay – Rookie Luck or Here to Stay?

Welcome to your Tuesday Baseball Fans!


Warning! Slow baseball week ahead!

TWO Cardinal off-days (Monday and Thursday)  plus a day game on Wednesday will leave a lot of evenings to fill with something other than Cardinals games.  Last night I caught the Padres/Cubs game on WGN and watched our old pal Ryan Ludwick in San Diego blue as the Padres beat the Cubs (something the Cardinals should have been able to do in their last two games).

While I will always cherish the fond memories I have of Luddy wearing the Birds on the Bat and patrolling right field for the Cardinals, there is this new fella that has helped ease my heartache.  Jon Jay has stepped up and become the new darling of the Cardinal rookies.  *Sorry Freese… absence is not making my heart grow fonder! ;)*

Today I profile Jon Jay at BaseballDigest.com.
You can find it here.

Give it a read and let me know your thoughts/opinions.  Has Jay peaked as a rookie already or will the baseball magic continue?

Cardinals vs Brewers (2 game stand at Busch Stadium starts tonight at 7:15pm)
GO CARDS!!

Finding baseball’s simplicity again

While the Cardinals 8-game winning streak was wonderful, the subsequent 3-game losing streak had me bummed. The team again looked like it had for too much of the season, underachieving and disappointing, and had me wondering just who the 2010 Cards really are. So by last night’s game, I needed a boost in my spirits.

Unlike most Cardinals fans, I started my baseball life as a (sorry, but it’s true) Cubs fan. Friday night, I caught some of a Cubs game from 1987 that Comcast Chicago broadcast as a tribute to Andre Dawson’s Hall of Fame induction. That time period was my prime Cubs fandom, so watching those players – and especially hearing Harry Caray again – was like seeing old friends, bringing back a simpler time when watching baseball was just that: watching for the game itself, unencumbered by the constant presence of my laptop and Internet and Twitter and the other technological advances of the last 23 years. It also got me wondering what it would be like to just watch a game again. My game routine is so different now, as I’m so attached to Twitter throughout the course of a game. Could it be possible to voluntarily avoid it? More importantly, could it help relieve that malaise?

The clincher to my decision came from Andre himself in his Hall of Fame induction speech when he said, “If you love this game, it will love you back.” I needed a way to recapture that 1987 baseball-watching love. But on the night of a Chris Carpenter start – which would mean foregoing an evening of connecting with all my fellow CC fans and missing all our discussions of the extreme close-ups the ESPN cameras surely would provide? Yes. Plus there would be no Jon Miller and Joe Morgan to complain about, since they were in Cooperstown. So, it was time to just enjoy the broadcast on its own.

At first, it felt odd. Instead of a laptop, I had actual paper and pen to record any immediate thoughts such as my displeasure at the Cards bad base running in the top of the first. And, as the bottom of the first was going to start, I regretted my Twitter-less decision for a Carp start even more. (Did you see him?) These were my untweeted thoughts: “Carp, bathed in sunlight – yes! And smiling and laughing before he throws his first pitch – what?? Need to see that again! Shadows of him: very cool. Chris Carpenter should always have a golden glow of evening sun spotlighting him when he pitches.” Of course, thanks to technology, I also could (and did) take advantage of my DVR to rewind those golden high-def ultra-close-ups of Carp. Then there was the bottom of the fifth inning, when he took exception to a pitch that was called ball four by umpire Bob Davidson to walk Geovany Soto. As soon as I saw Carp walk off the mound, I knew things wouldn’t be good. “The madder he is, the more he chomps his gum,” I jotted down as he did just that on screen. And, after Ryan Theriot drove in Soto to tie the game, I wrote: “And, predictably, CC’s emotions got the best of him again.”

Other than those moments, though, I didn’t necessarily miss being disconnected for the game. Too, that could be because of the vast amount of information ESPN supplies. A huge change from watching the 1987 game is, of course, the on-screen graphics. Now we expect to have the score, outs, count and pitch speed constantly displayed. I like that ESPN displays the pitch count also, once it reaches 10 (and I didn’t know until last night they do that). Plus the amount of information and obscure statistics that ESPN has is staggering. The Cards were 38-9 (now 39-9) when scoring first in the game, the best in the majors. Carp leads the National League with 12 strikeouts with a man on third base and less than two outs – just in case you were curious who did. And did you know the Cubs have spent 0 days above .500 this season? In addition, the analysis from Orel Hershiser was enlightening, such as his explanations at various times of Carp’s differing fastballs and types of breaking pitches. He even explained the annoying glove wiggle by Ryan Dempster, and demonstrated it in the booth with a glove. While I find the wiggle annoying, Hershiser’s explanation was good and made sense.

The game was definitely action-filled. Although I briefly appreciated Marlon Byrd two weeks ago for his smart fielding during the All-Star Game, he annoyed me last night for his harsh treatment of Jon Jay in particular. And when he strode to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with the bases-loaded and Ryan Franklin in his second inning of work, all I could do was watch instead of share my fear that Byrd would be the hero right then. Not focusing on a computer screen did let me see the shot of a Cardinals fan kid standing next to a Cubs fan kid, with Cards Fan wiggling his fingers toward the field. Putting another curse on the Cubs? It worked, as Franklin got Byrd on a called third strike. And I loved that smile from Franklin as he walked off the field.

As the ESPN camera showed Kyle McClellan warming up in the top of the 11th, I knew – courtesy of Cards MLB.com writer Matthew Leach on Twitter last Thursday – how poorly McClellan does in tie games. So I was worried anew. Yet Felipe Lopez came through, McClellan and Dennys Reyes got their jobs done, and the Cardinals had a hard-fought, first-place winner.

As the Cards congratulated each other on the field, ESPN’s Dan Shulman described the game as a highly entertaining 11 innings. He was right. Perhaps I wouldn’t have thought so had the outcome gone the other way, but it was – as I’d been hoping – the opportunity I needed to simply enjoy the beauty of a baseball game. And in the end, the game’s outcome honored yesterday’s Hall of Fame inductees perfectly: Andre’s team losing, as they’d done so many times during his Cubs days, and Whitey Herzog’s team winning.

***

Congratulations, of course, to Whitey on his well-deserved Hall of Fame induction also. He too had a wonderful quote, that being inducted “is like going to heaven before you die.” I appreciate Whitey and his success in his Cardinals’ years, even though I was an enemy fan at the time. (And I can’t go back and retroactively change my feelings about either the 1980s Cards or Cubs. I will always love June 23, 1984.) Whitey’s contributions were many, and I did enjoy reading the tweets yesterday afternoon from the long-time Cardinals fans as they were watching Whitey’s speech.

Winner Winner at the All-Star Game

Disclaimer: The current time tells me that the NL just closed out the win about 10 minutes ago. Also, I’ve had caffeine. I’m a little hyper. This could be awesome.

The last time the NL won the All-Star Game, I was 9. Despite my steadfast dedication to watching the All-Star game (which includes the year a storm knocked out the power and I freaked out in the dark for about two innings), I am fairly certain I didn’t really watch the game until around 1998. Therefore, I am really really excited about this win.


I was talking to my grandpa before the game started, and he ended the conversation the same way he always does – by saying, ‘Go Cubs!’ He’s the lost soul in my family. I laughed and said I didn’t think I’d be able to cheer for Marlon Byrd, even if it was the All-Star Game.

Then, the seventh inning rolled around. Even though Cardinal fans had been treated to a Yadier Molina single in the third, which was only the second hit of the night for the National League, there hadn’t been much to cheer for from the NL side of the stands. No NL batter had even made it safely into second base before the seventh began. It was then that the NL ‘Comedy’ Central took matters into their own hands (with a little help from the East).

After a quick groundout by Joey Votto (Reds), Scott Rolen (also Reds) came up and fought Phil Hughes (Yankees) in a 7 pitch at bat for a single. After watching Rolen for the past two days*, I remember all the things I loved about him as a Cardinal. He works his butt off, has a fun personality, and the man can flat out play third like no one I’ve seen. Anyway, after Rolen gets on, Matt Holliday lined a single up the middle and Rolen scampered all the way to third. Chris Young (D’Backs) popped out, and Marlon Byrd walked to load the bases with 3 members of 3 different teams in the Central. Then, NL fans everywhere watched with glee as Brian McCann (Braves) hit a double to the right field corner that cleared the bases. This was the scene at home:

cardinals.com

Yeah. You’re looking at a picture of a Cardinal, a Red, and a Cub high fiving and cheering together. I’m confused too. I even received a tweet from a Cub fan that was addressed to a Reds fan, a Cubs fan and myself that said, ‘The one night we can get along. Go NL!’ I couldn’t have said it better myself. I almost called my grandpa to apologize. Almost.

My other highlight of the night was the bottom of that same seventh inning: seeing Adam Wainwright take the mound. It was his first relief appearance since the last game of the 2006 World Series, and we all know how that ended! Adam was definitely pumped, hitting 96 MPH on his first pitch. Despite a botched catch in left field that I won’t go into detail on, Adam pitched a dominant inning, striking out two and making several batters look silly with their swings and misses. Torii Hunter (strikeout victim #2) said after the game that Wainwright’s stuff was flat out nasty, and I agree!

I love some of the fun insights you see at the All-Star game. Interviews (#chickcomment), anecdotes, and it’s never the player you expect to get the job done. After the game, Matthew Leach (mlb.com) and BJ Rains (foxsportsmidwest.com) had interesting tidbits to note afterward:

Food for thought…
I can’t wait to see it!

One last thing – today is literally the most boring day in the sporting world. No baseball games, the World Cup is over, and no other major sports are in season. That’s just sad. You’d think someone would have come up with some gimmicky thing to do every year on this day. Oh wait, the ESPY’s are on tonight. Leave it to ESPN…

*For those of you that missed it, Rolen was on MLBNetwork Monday during the media frenzy, and after basically conducting the interview himself by making fun of Kevin Millar (‘Why are you 40 with highlights? Why do your shoes look like that?!’), he described a priceless moment with AJ Pujols. Yes, 9 year old AJ was tearing up the media yesterday. Sign him up now! Anyway, Rolen walked into the room where the players were being interviewed, and after Albert pointed him out to AJ, the kid looks over at Scotty, opens his arms wide and goes, ‘How did YOU get here?!’ Amazing.
UPDATE! I found VIDEO!

The BEST Rivalry

Let me say right now, that if you’re a big fan of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry and think it’s the best rivalry in sports… I’m not sure how you got here, but you’re lost, and should probably leave now.

In the earlier years of baseball, when the thought of teams west of the Mississippi River was still a novel idea and Jack Buck and Harry Caray were crooning over the waves of KMOX, most of the people in the Midwest only had the Cardinals and Cubs to follow along with. You could find fans of both teams duking it out from Nebraska to Tennessee, because those were the only teams they really ever heard about. The players know it is a special rivalry, the fans feel it … and the rest of the world, for the most part, tends to ignore it.

Fast forward to 2010. The Cardinals/Cubs rivalry, while still very special to fans of both sides, feels all but ignored by the rest of the country. Even Major League Baseball schedulers have showed little regard for scheduling the match-ups. A lot was made about the fact that this weekend’s series was the first time these two teams have met this year. In the same vein, today’s series with the Reds marks the third series in the first two months for the two teams. I imagine that it’s not easy putting together the schedule for a year’s worth of baseball games for 30 teams, but seriously, let me try. I can do better than that.

This weekend’s series might not have been one for the ages. It was great to take a series win in Chicago and salvage a 3-3 road trip, and I’m definitely thankful to Erika for making Albert Pujols mad enough to hit 3 home runs yesterday after she dared to question him on Friday, but chances are we won’t be talking about any one of these games for years to come. That said, I did want to share with you some memorable Cards/Cubs games that we are still talking about…

June 20, 1968
Bob Gibson had a memorable 1968 season. He led the league with a 1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, 268 strikeouts, went to the All-Star Game, won the Cy Young, won the NL MVP, and won a Gold Glove… not to mention his 17 strikeouts in game 1 of the World Series. In this game, Gibby came up against Fergie Jenkins, and both hurlers threw complete games, with Gibson striking out 6, giving up 5 hits and 1 walk, and Jenkins striking out 11, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks. The only tally for the game occurred in the bottom of the 3rd, when Lou Brock slapped a ball to right and scrambled all the way to third for a triple, then was brought home by a Curt Flood single to left. The Cardinals snuck out with a 1-0 win, which meant that Gibby came away with a deserving win, instead of the 11 times in his career that he lost with a 1-0 score.

June 23, 1984
The Cardinals and Cubs traded blows for 11 innings on this day, and with a final score of 12-11 Cubs, you know some crazy events had to happen. Most notable in this game included Willie McGee hitting for the cycle, and Bruce Sutter coughing up the lead not only in the 9th inning, but again in the 10th, both on home runs to Ryne Sandberg.

September 8, 1989
Going in to the top of the 5th inning, the Cardinals were already down 7-1 and starter Joe Magrane had been chased after just 3 innings. The Cardinals put 1 on the board in the 5th, 4 in the 7th and 5 in the 8th to make an impressive come from behind 11-8 final score. Those 5 runs in the 8th were scored off of a Pedro Guerrero 3 run moon shot (think the distance of Albert’s blasts from yesterday) and a 2 run blast by Terry Pendleton all off of Mitch Williams, who was having the best year of his 11 year career.

September 8, 1998
After a summer of slamming long blasts, Mark McGwire took over the single season home run record after lining a ball just far enough to sneak over the left field wall for number 62 on the year. It was only fitting that the Cubs were in town for this game, with Sammy Sosa – who had been trading blasts with Mac all summer long – coming in from the outfield to join in the celebration at home plate.

Obviously there have been many other memorable games for the Cardinals and Cubs over the span of their rivalry, spanning almost 130 years and thousands of players. Whether you’re talking about the sea of red making their way to the friendly confines, Brock for Broligo, or 2006 vs. 1908, it’s not difficult to see the history seeping through. This is a rivalry for the ages, and it’s a shame that more people don’t see it that way.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, everyone. Remember those who have sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy a day off with nothing better to do than catch up on the national pastime!

2010 UCB Progressive Game Blog: 7th Inning

This is the third year that the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) have done a progressive game blog, and we here at Cardinal Diamond Diaries are very excited to be joining in on the fun this year. If you want to start at the beginning, head over to the pre-game post at UCB. We are taking a look at the 7th inning, so there is a lot of game to catch up on before we get into the action. If you’re coming to us from Redbird Rants, then welcome! If you want to back up and see what Ryne had to say about the 6th,click here!We’ll wait … back? Okay, we’re picking things up with a 4-0 Cubs score …
Top of the 7th
Chris: Thankfully, the bottom of the 6th ended – but it gave the Cards an even bigger hole to dig their way out of now. Luckily, the right guys are coming up in the top of the 7th. The Cards still have just 1hitas the inning starts. Carlos Silva has a career high in strikeouts, with 10 going into this inning.
The shadows are across the plate at Wrigley, while the pitcher is still in the sun. That will make it even more challenging for the Cardinals as they’re batting, and it’s unfortunately not like they’ve been doing much off Silva anyway.
Ang: Ryan Ludwick popped up in the shallow part of the infield, and Albert Pujols did the same. Not a promising start to what could have been cast as a big inning for the Cards with the heart of the order coming up.
Silva is still throwing well for the 7th inning, although his location is getting a little farther off the mark than it was earlier in the game.
Matt Holliday put a charge into one, but the wind blew it down and it hit off the base of the wall for a two-out, stand-up double.Interesting to note:Holliday has had both of the hits off of Silva in this current 2-hit shutout of the Cardinals.
Colby Rasmus had a great start to the season but his patience at the plate has gone down as he has expanded his zone this month and piled up quite a few strikeouts. Colby already had 2 strike outs on the day leading into this at bat, and he fared no better as he chased an inside pitch that was caught at his shoetops. Three outs.
Time for the Stretch
Chris: Joe Buck mentioned that Jim Belushi would be singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. The whole celebrity singing thing at Wrigley is beyond tired now. In 1998,the first season after Harry Caray died, it was a nice tribute to him. Now, 12 years later, it’s just another Wrigley Field gimmick. “Oooooh, look – the ivy!” “Ooooh, look – women in tube tops!” “Oooooh, look – someone we don’t care about singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’!” Give us “Here Comes the King” at Busch Stadium instead!
Ang: Thank you, FOX,for not making us listen to Jim try to sing.
Erika: We here at the CDD have a better idea for 7th inning stretch. So grab your popcorn, peanuts and your choice of beverage and join us to watch one of our favorite Cardinal commercials, featuring Brendan Ryan!
And then finish up with a little eye candy commercial featuring Mr. Hunky himself,Matt Holliday!
Bottom of the 7th
Ang: After walking in a run and then nailing down the last out of the 6th inning, Mitchell Boggs returned to tackle Derrek Lee and the Cubs in the bottom of the 7th. Lee was punched out on a strike over the outside part of the plate.
Alfonso Soriano came up swinging, striking out on three straight pitches that were all low and away.
Okay, FOX, I’m thanking you a second time for miking up home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and letting us listen in on his comments to Yadier Molina about Adam Ottavino’s first big league start. Wendestedt made the comment that Wrigley Field is an awful tough place to have your first start, but Otto did a nice job. I like that we got that little glimpse into the game!
Marlon Byrd chopped it up the third base line, which David Freese scooped up and tossed a wide but catchable ball over to Albert for the third out of the inning.
Chris: Actually, Byrd grounded to ^Batman^!
Erika: A little background for those of you who may not know: David Freese gained that nickname based on his love of the movie Batman, as described by Derrick Goold during spring training here. We love the nickname and were thrilled when our Twitter pal @stl_cardsfan29sharedthis video, which gives us all a chance to see Freese in his good-luck charm mask.
That wraps up our inning. At the end of the 7th, the score is still 4-0 bad guys. Thanks to Daniel for inviting us to join in on the progressive game blog, and hope to see you all again here on the CDD. Head over to Intangiball for the 8th! Go Cards!

Check Back After Today’s Game …

We are very pleased to announce that we will be participating in the United Cardinal Bloggers third annual progressive game blog for today’s Cards/Cubs game. Check back after the game for our post, which will be covering the 7th inning.

In the meantime, head over to the UCB site to read the full announcement and follow along with all the fun!

Go Cards! Beat the Cubs! :)

The Merry Month of May

Chris closed the books on April quite nicely yesterday, and the boys started out May with a solid win against Dusty Baker and the Reds. I know this has been said elsewhere, but if there’s any manager in baseball that uses his pitchers worse than Dusty, I have yet to see him. I feel bad for the guys on that staff – especially the starters. Their starters are averaging 102 pitches per game, a 35% quality start rate, and have 16 games already in this young season of 100+ pitches in a game (the Cardinals, by contrast, are at 97, 87%, and 9). That’s ridiculous.

Anyway, today I thought we’d have a little preview of the month ahead. If you’re interested, @DBear5 has created a nice desktop calendar for the month of May, which can be found here as well as pictured on the right. It’s easier than actually looking up/memorizing the schedule!

After today’s getaway day game against the Reds, the Cardinals are heading on the road for 4 games in Philly and 3 in Pittsburgh (May 3-9). As far as the Phillies series goes, it looks like the only pitcher we’ll miss is good old, old, old Jaime Moyer. Unfortunately, that means we’ll face two lefties in Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ, as well as a little ol’ Cy Young winner by the name of Roy Halladay. The last Philly pitcher we’re likely to see is Kyle Kendrick, who, as far as I can tell, hasn’t faced the Cardinals since June 13, 2008, a game in which the Cardinals lost 20-2, and Aaron Miles pitched a scoreless 9th. Ouch. Needless to say, the Phillies are going to be a tough match-up for the Cards.

I’m glazing over the Pittsburgh series, because I saw them in person last week, and despite the whuppin’ they put on Trevor Hoffman 2 days in a row, they’re still the Pirates, and that really isn’t Trevor Hoffman anymore, just a guy who looks like him. We’ll be okay.

From there, the Cards come home for 3 against Houston (May 11-13), then head to Cincinnati for 3 (May 14-16), before turning around and coming back home again. That’s a head scratcher. I do find it odd that we’ll face Cincy 3 times in the season’s first month and a half, and both the first two Houston series are in St. Louis, which means late in the season we’ll be playing in that bandbox known as Minute Maid a lot. I’ll save my rant on Minute Maid for later in the summer though…

On May 17-23 the Redbirds get to a home series featuring the Nationals, Marlins, and Angels. Wow, the more I look at this schedule the more demented it looks. Okay, so the Nationals actually aren’t horrible this year, and that’s without their savior-in-training, Stephen Strasburg (who might be getting the call to AAA after his next start). They’re being led by Pudge Rodriguez of all people, who’s putting up an insane line of .400/.431/.508, as well as Ryan Zimmerman with his line of .373/.418/.784. Another blast from the past – Jason Marquis – is 0-3 with a 20.52, and has only pitched 8.1 innings. In 3 starts. Tell me – is that bad?

After 2 with the Nats, we’ve got 2 with the Marlins, who are playing .500 ball through the first month. We then face the Angels, our first interleague series on the year, as well as our last until June 14th. One interleague series and then none for 4 weeks? Like I said, very strange schedule. Last year’s Duncan project – Joel Pinero, had a really rough outing on Friday, and is having issues with his sinker, which was his go-to last year. If he loses that, good luck LAA… in other Angels news, the offense is starting to heat up after a slow start, led by (a sentimental favorite, for reasons I’ll never know) Torii Hunter’s .314/.378/.535.

We’ll close out the month with one of the weirdest road trips I’ve seen in recent history, with a 3 game set in San Diego, followed up by a 3 game set in Chicago. Why on earth wouldn’t the powers that be do another West Coast series there? Depending on how the month goes, this will be either a brutal trip or just one of those random things we complain about (get-away day in SD is a 5:35 Central start, followed by the opener in Chicago at 1:20 Central)… but chances are Tony is not pleased with this set-up.

Those of you out-of-towners without mlb.tv will be able to enjoy national broadcasts for the month on the following days:
Wed, May 5 – @PHI on ESPN (the worldwide leader)
Sat, May 29 – @CHI on FOX (the worldwide failure)
Sun, May 30 – @CHI on TBS (very funny)

So here’s to a month of dominant pitching, solid hitting, W’s in the scorebook and leaving scribes scratching their heads as to what could possibly keep the Cardinals from October baseball. Pretty much like April, plus guys like Skip and Brendan breaking out of their beginning of the season slumps and Lohse having more games like the one he started the month with yesterday. It’s good to be a Cardinals fan.

Editor’s Note: We keep finding new toys – off to the left you’ll find a poll question on who April’s MVP was. We picked out Garcia, Penny, and Rasmus (though we could’ve picked others, such as Yadi or Wainwright). Who do you think the MVP should be?

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