Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: i70 baseball

Kid In A Candy Store

I know that there are about three of you out there that have been waiting for this post, but I hope the rest of you enjoy it as well…

This past weekend was the first Midwest Baseball Writer’s Conference, held at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri. I know, a long trip for me, but worth every second. I got to leave the snow of Wisconsin, enjoy a few days of sunshine in Missouri, see a truckload of sports history, and talk baseball for an entire day? WIN.
For those of you (I’m assuming most of you) that have never been able to check out the Hall of Fame before, I snapped some pics on my dumbphone (that would be a non-smartphone) for your enjoyment.
Stan’s corner, complete with a TV showing his enshrinement
into the hall (he played his harmonica!)
Main Cards section, including lots of momentos from the
2006 World Series
I know that I could have spent several more hours reading all of the various plaques that were in the upstairs of the museum. Some of my favorites included…
Branch Rickey
Rogers Hornsby
Jack Buck
Stan Musial (of course)
Of course, I checked out all the sports fun and games. For the record, I am horrible at the football throw, but think I could take most of you at shooting free throws. An interesting one was the simulation where you could watch a major league pitch. The Cardinal player you could pick was Darryl Kile, so of course I had to see what his 12-to-6 curveball would look like coming in to me at the plate. It’s definitely worth the trip to see the history, but the little kid in me couldn’t walk away from the games either!
Of course, if you go to a conference, you should actually talk about the presenters, right? Up first on the day was John Lofflin, a journalism professor at Park University in Parkville, MO (and writer over at i70 Baseball). John’s section was labeled “Interlopers in Eden: Sports Writers, Gamblers, Gurus and Women.” He talked on many different baseball books, what the author’s intent was, the thought process that readers go through as they journey through the stories, and how the different ‘villains’ (for lack of a better term) were portrayed. I had to laugh at the inclusion of women in the title, considering I was the only one there! Matt Kelsy made a good point in the discussion when he stated the following:

These stories aren’t about baseball. They’re about life. They just use baseball to tell the story.

I couldn’t agree more. One of the best things about this conference was the discussion feel of it. We weren’t there to be lectured at, but to be chatting about the game we all obviously loved.

Roger Erickson was up next. Roger is the head of the Kansas City chapter of SABR, that is, the Society for American Baseball Research. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what all SABR had their little hands in, but in reality it is quite a lot. People point to them as the creators of more advanced sabermetrics such as WAR, WHIP, and many other statistics that we’ve just accepted into our mainstream baseball vocabulary. I got a good laugh when the first thing he stood up and said was, “The first thing I want you to know about us is that we are not all baseball nerds.” I looked around the room… do you really think any person in there listening to him was not a baseball nerd? Nice.
Steve Sommer from Gashouse Graphs was last up on the agenda, and my math background had a major geek-out during this one. Steve and Erik run an amazing site using all kinds of advanced statistical analysis to do anything from predict trends in current players (like this post on Motte’s fastball velocity) and do things like this post on Jim Edmonds where they prove that he is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Steve actually sat down and explain in broad terms how WAR is calculated, which I was happy about. It seemed like this mystical number that people came up with, and in reality… umm… it kind of is. Okay, take it back, there is a method to it, but there’s still a lot of room for interpretation too. Obviously not an exact science, but there is some reasoning, so I feel better.
Long story short, y’all should have been there. I think that we all walked away learning a little more, enjoying some great history in the museum, and, if nothing else, getting to enjoy a day of talking about baseball, both past and present. I’ll let Jack Buck tell you how I felt about this day…
Yes it is Jack… yes it is.
Oh, this is what happens when I’m left unsupervised with baseball history all around me.
You know, in case you were wondering…

UCB Roundtable – Day 4

Welcome to Monday’s Girl Talk… except, this week, we let the boys join in! Before you gasp in shock, let me explain. Each year the United Cardinal Bloggers does a roundtable discussion in October, with the bloggers taking turns asking a question. Today is ladies’s day, so read through our question and the boys of the UCB answers, then head over to the UCB website and check out the full calendar of questions and sites. Enjoy!


Our question won’t surprise most of you, given our love of the Baby Birds. We wanted to know which of our beloved Baby Birds that were wandering the grass of Busch Stadium throughout the year should be looked at as permanent members of the squad next year, either as regulars or bench guys. We also asked which players should get the longest looks in the spring and which of the boys the team should (*gasp*) cut ties with, whether through trades or releasing them. I included the names Daniel Descalso, Allen Craig, Mark Hamilton, Fernando Salas, Joe Mather, Tyler Greene, Matt Pagnozzi and Bryan Anderson, but the responses threw out a couple other names as well. I’ll toss it over to the boys, then chime in with my thoughts at the end…

Daniel (C70 At The Bat)

I think Salas has established himself as a strong bullpen presence and should be a front-runner for a bullpen slot next year.  Craig looks like he’s good for at least a platoon slot in the outfield and Descalso should be a capable bench guy, though I’m not completely sold on him taking over second for Schumaker.


As for the catchers, I think they should keep Bryan Anderson; it’s obvious they are going to keep Matt Pagnozzi.  Anderson needs to be traded, because he’s not going to get the shot he needs in St. Louis.

The rest, I don’t mind having them in the system, don’t mind them getting spot time in the bigs, but if the club can get something for them, so be it.

Dennis (Pitchers Hit Eighth)

The one player who I think should be penciled in as a regular next year is Salas. I believe that his 30 innings pitched represent just large enough a sampling to pass judgment on him, and his 3.52 ERA is lower than both Boggs and Miller. I’d like to see Craig make the team as well, but I have reservations about his ability to be effective as a platoon player or pinch hitter.  He seems like he’s best suited for an everyday slot that affords him 500+ plate appearances a year.  Unless a slot opens due to trade/injury, I just don’t see that opportunity there for him right now.
The situation at catcher deserves some real consideration.  At 23, Anderson should probably be the catcher of the future.  If Pagnozzi is the backup coming out of spring training, and the Cardinals force Yadi to sit more games, the trade value for Pagnozzi could rise.  Pagnozzi could be traded by the deadline, and Anderson could be bumped up.  If needed, Descalso may be a viable option at 2B, but I haven’t seen enough of him to feel comfortable writing his name in the lineup there.  As for Green (27), Hamilton (26), and Mather (28), they are starting to feel like “players to be named later”.

Pip (Fungoes)

One player who showed some promise in limited action was Daniel Descalso. He demonstrated excellent plate discipline and offers versatility at two positions where the team has the most doubts, second base and third base. Assuming he’s not traded this winter, Bryan Anderson should get some exposure not for a spot on the 25-man roster but in order to showcase his talent for a trade.

Which players should the team consider cutting ties with, whether through trades or releasing them?
Anderson, certainly, because he is blocked as both a starting catcher and a backup. Craig and Mather offer largely the same skill set, so the team needs only one. And depending on what happens with Albert Pujols, Mark Hamilton will either be superfluous or a good-buy (and goodbye) replacement.

Joseph (The McBrayer-Baseball Blog)

Joey Bombs Mather, may not get anything in return.

Dustin (Welcome To Baseball Heaven)

As far as guys who could become permanent members of the squad next year I’m leaning towards Salas, Pagnozzi and Allen Craig. Fernando established himself as a viable option out of the pen as a middle reliever this past season. I could be wrong but I’m assuming with a solid spring that Matt Pagnozzi will be Yadi’s backup next year. I’m thinking Allen Craig will get the nod over Joe Mather as an outfield bench option. I’d also like to see Descalso get a long look next spring as a utility guy in the infield.
That leaves names such as Mather and Greene on the outside looking in. I do bounce back and forth a lot on what to do with Craig and Mather, but the organization needs to make a choice and possibly move one. As far as Tyler Greene I just don’t know. He seems to have a never ending case of the yips every time he makes an appearance in St. Louis.

Mark (RetroSimba)

Salas should help the bullpen in 2011. He could be an upgrade over Hawksworth. Craig is a better hitter and run producer than he showed in the majors this year. He should have a role as a bench player with St. Louis in 2011. Descalso should compete for a utilityman role.

I agree that Anderson should be given a long look in the spring, and Cards should make a decision to keep him or trade him.

I agree that Mather and Hamilton have no futures with this club, and should be traded.

Tom (Cardinals GM)

Salas is in. He looked sharp and deserves a bullpen shot. Craig I would keep as an extra outfielder,. He show the prowess to get some hits and a spot starter.  

After that, I am not handing out spots just yet. I believe the backup to Molina will be/and needs to be a veteran (can you insert walkaway Dioner Navarro here?) Pagnozzi needs more daily reps in Memphis. Anderson needs to be somewhere else, in a package trade and Delscaso just needs to show us in Spring Training he is ready. The rest can play AAAA ball

Cole (Redbird Report)


I’d say Fernando Salas. He was solid just about every time he stepped out there this year. Also, you can’t ignore his 19 saves and 0.98 WHIP that he posted in AAA this season. He clearly has good stuff, and it wasn’t just at the minor league level. 

In 27 games with the Cardinals, Salas posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 29 in 30.2 innings pitched. With Franklin aging (and struggling) I wouldn’t be surprised to see Salas get looks in the ninth inning next year. He’ll certainly be an eighth inning guy at the very least.

Bill (I-70 Baseball)


I am of the belief that a good portion of the Cardinals Minor League system are nothing more than career minor leaguers.  


Craig, Mather, Greene could all be traded or cut loose and I honestly would not notice or care (sorry, Erika). 


That being said, as for “long looks” next Spring, I would like to see Descalso, Anderson, and Pagnozzi be given every opportunity to play themselves out of a job.  Fernando Salas needs to be a part of this bullpen.  


Hamilton is intriguing, but projects as a first baseman.  Let’s hope he’s blocked.  

Finally, I think there are a few guys that need to get a look in Spring to determine where they belong this year.  Guys like Matt Carpenter and Darryl Jones need to be evaluated and determine where there future is and how quickly it is coming.

Goodness. Not much love for some of our favorite Baby Birds, is there? Last I checked Erika hadn’t read any of these responses… I think we should all be crossing our fingers that she hasn’t made it this far into today’s post. If she has, sorry dear, but I’m going to probably agree with all of the above.


I want Pags and Anderson given shots to make it on the roster as Yadi’s back-up, but whichever one doesn’t make it should probably just be traded ASAP, because it’s not worth keeping them both around anymore.


I think Descalso will become next year’s Tyler Greene if he doesn’t make the roster. He’ll be the first one up to be the bench guy. In all honesty I want him to have a strong spring and oust Skippy for second base, but I’m not sure he’ll get that much of a chance.


Salas is here to stay. He put it a lot of miles this year between Memphis and St. Louis, and played well everywhere he went. Keep him around.


Craig needs consistent playing time. If he can get it in St. Louis and finally put up the numbers he’s been putting up in Memphis he’ll stick. If not, sayonara.


The rest? You all know I love Joe Mather, but I don’t see him ever being anything more than a AAAA guy (*sheds a tear*). Tyler Greene has never impressed me at the big league level. Ever. His defense isn’t as good as Brendan, his bat isn’t as good as Skip, and I have to believe that there will be someone standing at third not named Tyler Greene. I like the look of Mark Hamilton, but if he is manning first for the Cardinals in the coming years, that means Albert is not. I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with that idea.


Now, we just included players that were actually on the big league squad at some point this year. There are still plenty of names and faces coming up through the ranks of the Cardinal minor league system… but it might be awhile before the calvary comes riding in. Just sayin’.


Thanks to Daniel and the rest of the UCB team for letting us join in on the fun, and be sure to check in over at the official site to see some of our responses to other questions throughout the month of October! Oh hey, while I’ve got you here, yesterday my newest post went up at I-70 Baseball, checking out the Cardinals from 1900-1905. Give it a look and let me know what you think!

No baseball makes me a sick girl.

Monday evening I started feeling a little stuffy, and stubbornly insisted that I was fine. Tuesday morning I woke up in a fog, and spent the better part of the day wishing I was in bed. It was half-sick… healthy enough to be out and about but sick enough to be completely miserable. I survived an eleven hour work day (I don’t know why more people wouldn’t want to be teachers and coaches with schedules like this) and crashed on the couch, thankful for peace and quiet.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t turn on a baseball game (I watched Monday Night Football the night before… I KNOW), and there wasn’t anything to read or follow or do that had to do with the Cardinals. I think it just hit me that the season really is over. It’s official: I’m sick because I have no Cardinal baseball to watch. I checked my calendars from last year – I was sick the week after the NLDS. Coincidence? No.

I suppose there should be some real baseball chatter today (why else are you here?), but I have to say, the playoffs are not exciting me at the moment. I need to actually have the games on to really get there I think. We toyed with the idea of each one of us here at CDD taking a team to follow through the postseason, but none of us could really choose one.

The only thing we could agree on is that we will cheer for anyone but the Reds. My caveat is to include the Yankees, but I was raised in a home that remembers the Yankee teams of the 1960′s, and I’ve watched them do the same sickening winning in the past 15 years, so I think I’m okay to include the Yankees on the ‘no’ list.

We’re still undecided. I think the choices have narrowed to the Phils, Braves, Rays and Twins. That actually works out nicely considering none of those teams face each other in the first round.

Wait, does that mean we are decided… at least for the division series? Huh. Well, I guess that wasn’t too painful, was it? :)

If you need a Cardinal baseball fix (and I know I do), head on over to i70baseball. I’ve started an offseason series on the Cardinals throughout history. Since I thought it would make sense, I started at the beginning. So here it is – Baseball Beginnings in St. Louis. Let me know what you think!

Goooooo Phils/Braves/Rays/Twins! (That’s a mouthful… can we work on a shortened form? Anyone?)

Small Joys

 

This picture is merely saved on my computer
as ‘Bueno.’ (AP Photo)

That’s all we have left for this year, isn’t it? Small joys like Adam Wainwright winning his 19th and keeping his Cy hopes alive, watching the boys play a little small ball and score runs with smart baserunning and sacrifice flies, and just taking in the last few games of the season, knowing that the harsh winter lies ahead and there will be months on end where we wish we could turn on a game, any game, even if it is the Pirates and the Nats playing (okay… maybe that was too extreme).

Now, despite the fact that the Cards are still technically ‘in the hunt,’ and even though I am still rooting for a comeback, please do not mistake me for one of those delusional people who refuses to admit that the Cardinals will probably not make the playoffs this year. I’m still allowed to enjoy every last moment of this season, and enjoy it I will, thank you very much.

*ahem* Okay, I’m better now.

Something I think is interesting is the fact that the Cardinals are actually kind of playing the spoiler to a few other teams around the league right now. It makes perfect sense really. They can’t figure out how to beat bad teams, but they beat the good ones (this has been well chronicled… I even did so myself a few weeks ago).  That’s bad news bears for the over .500 teams they’ve been playing. Taking 3 of 4 from the Padres have dropped them out of the lead in the West, and while they were already in a tailspin before getting to St. Louis, they’re definitely in trouble now. What will happen when the Rockies make it into town for the last series of the year? I’ve never really played the ‘It’s fun to crush other people’s dreams’ game before, but it is kind of fun now that I’m seeing it play out.

Cards are road tripping down to Florida for the make-up game that was rained out back in August today, then quickly hustling up to Pittsburgh to open up a three game set at PNC and rounding out the last road trip of the year with one last series in Chicago. With any luck at all the team will show some signs of life after recalling some fresh faces from down in Memphis. I’m hoping to see some Joe Mather and Daniel Descalso types running around on the field, and I know I am not the only one!

Speaking of our beloved Baby Birds, head on over to i70 to check out a comparison I did between our AAA kiddos and the big boys in St. Louis… ‘A Tale of Two Teams’

Until next Monday… :)

Colby Rasmus is (not?) JD Drew

I don’t want to talk about the team today. I did plenty of that yesterday over at i70baseball, and everything I said then still stands – the team needs to quit playing at the level of their opponent.

Based on the title, you can see I’ve been bouncing around an idea in my head. It started yesterday morning, when I saw that someone (I apologize that I do not remember who or where) had made a statement to the extent of ‘perhaps Colby Rasmus is becoming somewhat of a JD Drew type.’ I almost spilled my cereal because I was upset at just the thought of that.

Let me rewind for those of you that need a refresher course: Drew was drafted in the 1st round of the 1997 draft by the Phillies, but did not sign, instead choosing to play in the Northern League for a year (I did not know the whole saga about that – now I do). The Cardinals then drafted Drew again in the first round of the 1998 draft, and he did sign (For those that want to know, yes, his agent is Scott Boras). Drew received an insane bonus of $3 million and major league contract worth $7 million.

Yes, he did appear to be just that good. Drew spent almost no time in the minors and was already in St. Louis for a September cup of coffee by the end of the ’98 season. In his rookie year of 1999 he was installed as the center fielder and played in 104 games, putting up a good-but-not-great line of .242/.340/.424. He was projected to be a star. He was supposed to be the next big thing. He had a long way to go.

His 2000 season showed a climb – playing in 135 games and hitting .295/.401/.479, tossing in 18 HR and 57 RBI just for good measure. His next three seasons are where it starts to get painful for me. Drew did not go a full year in St. Louis without landing on the disabled list for one reason or another. Leg, arm, shoulder, whatever… he had it, and it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. Eventually Tony LaRussa quit making excuses and started saying what he really thought. In the book Three Nights in August, Tony is quoted as saying that Drew decided to “settle for 75%” of his talent. Fans turned on Drew, referring to him as ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘DL Drew’ or ‘AH (Always Hurt) Drew.’ Ouch.

After the 2003 season the Cardinals sent Drew (along with Eli Marrero) packing to Atlanta, in exchange for Jason Marquis, Ray King, and some skinny minor league pitcher named Adam Wainwright (Think the Cards won that deal?). This was the first deal I remember vividly, and I was absolutely excited. Drew is the first player I really just did not like. Support? Yes, I supported him. He wore the birds on the bat. But like Todd Wellemeyer in 2009, I just did not like him. He copped an attitude, was always injured, and just never played up to that star potential, at least not while he was in St. Louis. I spent all of middle school and some of my high school years as well just disliking everything about JD Drew.

I don’t want Colby Rasmus to be JD Drew redux.

If it wasn’t obvious before yesterday that Colby and LaRussa just do not get along, it is crystal clear now. On his radio show yesterday morning, LaRussa stated that Colby needs to do more than show up – he has to play well. He is streaky, gets homer happy, and sometimes does not play smart baseball. In the same hour TLR made a comparison to Jon Jay, noting that Jay positions himself better in the outfield, takes better routes to the ball, adjusts better to pitchers adjusting to him, and despite Rasmus having better raw talent, Jay is farther along in playing all aspects of the game.

I’m not talking about Jay here, so move past that. Tony is obviously frustrated with Rasmus right now, so much so that after originally listing him in the lineup for yesterday’s game, he changed his mind and pulled Colby out, instead shifting Jay over to center, moving Skip Schumaker into right and dropping Aaron Miles in at second. At first when I found out about the switch I had thought it was that Colby was just not quite ready to play yet from his injured calf that has been bothering him for the better part of the last two weeks. It was then passed through Twitter by Matthew Leach and Joe Strauss (among others) that the switch was made because of a manager’s decision.

Yikes. That is not a good sign for the young (okay fine, he’s the same age as me) center fielder. Now my wheels are spinning. Over the course of two hours, I pondered every possible excuse I could for Colby, then promptly blew holes in every one of them. I didn’t want to, but it happened.

  1. Colby spent three+ full years in the minors. For a potential star, that is not too small of a number. If he was that good, three years isn’t horrible. However, no college baseball. There’s a big jump from high school to the majors. Could a player make that jump in three years? Sure. He obviously did. But LaRussa states over and over again that teaching doesn’t happen at the major league level, and Colby seems to still need a bit of training sometimes.
  2. Colby has the skills. His home runs go a long way (I saw his 483′ bomb in Kansas City first hand – ridiculously far), he’s quick on the bases (yet doesn’t steal… WHY?!), he makes some nice catches in the outfield… and he strikes out a lot, has been caught stealing one third of the time, and is currently running in the negatives on zone rating in the outfield.
  3. Colby is a team… okay I can’t even finish that one. I don’t think he is a team player. I’m starting to feel like he cops an attitude. I understand being frustrated, but after being inserted as a pinch hitter last week after it was made clear by TLR/staff before the game that he was unavailable, Rasmus stated that he didn’t know why he was thrust in the game, dropping a lovely, “I just work here,” line. The word ‘entitlement’ was dropped about things like that, and I think I’m starting to agree. Please please PLEASE, do not let me start seeing mentions of Colby faking injuries while trying to get out of the lineup. I don’t want that at all.

 

The opinions are out there. Some argue Colby would be better off with a different manager and consistent playing time. Others think he needs to be sent packing via trade in the offseason. Honestly? Right now I just want him to get healthy and play. He needs to play like he knows how, and do the things he does well. He has yet to arrive in the bigs. His numbers are good-not-great, and he has the potential to be great.

Another thing – Colby, quit waiting for Tony to pat you on the head. It will not happen. Brendan figured it out, and he is finally playing better. Affirmation rocks, but Tony doesn’t give it. But whatever happens, please do not turn into another JD Drew.

Thanks to friend of the CDD Bob for bouncing this idea around with me yesterday afternoon. He definitely helped me get the dots connected for this piece. If you haven’t read Bob’s stuff, head over here to his blog, or look for his premiere post on i70baseball.com tomorrow!
Also, if you want a second opinion on this subject, azruavatar has a different perspective over on Viva El Birdos… link here! Dan Moore also takes a crack at the top five TLR Clubhouse Rifts… not pretty.

Gooooooing UP!

I kind of have a thing for roller coasters. Upside down, spinning in circles, and ridiculous drops… I love going to amusement parks just to ride the roller coasters.


I’ll be honest. I’ve been on the same roller coaster for the past  5 months, and I think I’m getting ready to get off. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, and I think I was upside down for the better part of a few weeks. I haven’t lost my lunch, but I thought about it for awhile.


However, I am a roller coaster junkie… and right now, I’m feeling that upward trend again. Yes, a 3-5 homestand is embarrassing, especially since we were playing 5 of those games against the Cubs and Brewers, who should have been a doormat waiting for the Cards happy cleats to run right over. But! Winning the last two games against the Giants and last night’s game against the Pirates in rather dominating fashion has me looking up at the sky again, wondering how far I’ll see the team climb this time. Is this the hill that pushes the team over the top? Am I being tricked again, raising my hopes and then watching them go down, down, down in a death spiral, then returning me to the start, forcing me to immediately get off and get back in the long line (unaffectionately called ‘winter’) until the Spring Training gates open and I can get back on for another go around?


Another plummet would be sickening, even for this roller coaster fan. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up hope. Why? For that answer you have to go over to my post on i70baseball.


I know, what a tease. :) Game time is 6:05 again tonight. Don’t be like me last night and forget about that east coast start time!

First by Force

The Cards are back in first! Just writing that sentence brought a smile to my face. But that fact alone is not the best part.

Happy Cards! Our favorite!
Getty Images

The Cards are back in first… and they deserve it! The team has been on fire the first four games out of the gate after the break, sweeping a Dodgers team that is duking it out in the brutal NL West and kicking them out of town in style with a late inning comeback win that featured tough pitching, smart baserunning, key hits and solid defense. We haven’t seen this much of a cohesive unit since I don’t know when.

What’s brilliant is that on his Sunday morning radio show Tony LaRussa admitted that this lineup has basically been triaged together. Can I just say that I love listening to the Sunday morning chats on KTRS? Tony takes every question, and the people that suck up to him with a ‘Thank you Mr. LaRussa, you’re a great manager and I hope you stay here for a real long time,’ always make me laugh. This week’s best caller tag has to go to the guy that requested that TLR not have any more C-team lineups. Tony was trying not to laugh when he said that although he didn’t think there had been any such lineups this year, the caller might not appreciate the lineup for that game. Oops!

People were ready to fight when they saw a lineup that had no Colby Rasmus, no Albert Pujols, no Yadier Molina and no Tyler Greene, but the truth of the matter is that every one of those guys is dinged up, battered, bruised and all around not feeling great! Matt Holliday almost didn’t make it into the lineup yesterday either after fouling a ball sharply off his ankle on Saturday. It was definitely a patchwork lineup that no one expected to play tough, especially not with Jeff Suppan on the mound. I’ll hand it to Sup though, he pitched a very nice game yesterday. (Someone better write that down, because I don’t say things like that often.)

The fact of the matter is that the team isn’t back on top because the Reds finally started to fizzle. In all honesty the Reds just got better by bringing back Edinson Volquez from the disabled list. They have more starting pitching than they know what to do with, and the Cards are running a M*A*S*H unit in and out of the training room. These Cards have been battling lately, and fought tooth and nail to make it back on top. They weren’t handed first, they took it by force. That’s what we like to see.

I wonder what will happen when we get all our boys back? Last I heard Ryan Ludwick is very close and David Freese is still a week or two away. Maybe when they return some of the unwelcome veterans on the team will be given one way tickets to the retirement home (oh, I was going for no snark today… sorry).

Chris has challenged all of us to be Mo and make some plans for the rest of the year. So check it out and make your voice heard!

Speaking of voices, tonight is the second broadcast for i70baseball.com. It starts at 10PM, and for some unknown reason the team has invited me to be the chat host. Head over to BlogTalkRadio and hang out in the chatroom!

Happy All-Star Break!

With the All-Star Game tonight and the anticipation of seeing five of our Cardinals there at Angel Stadium, it’s already a good day.

Hunky Holliday, living up to his nickname
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Last night, Matt Holliday was in the spotlight as one of eight participants in the Home Run Derby. He only lasted one round, hitting five homers (and four of those mighty blasts when he only had one out left), but maybe that’s OK as you’ll see in my newest article today for Baseball Digest: “Is There a Home Run Derby Effect?” With all the talk about who wouldn’t participate this year, I looked at if swinging for the fences in the Derby negatively affects players for the rest of the season. Sometimes, as we remember from Albert last year, it can. The good news? In 2007, the last time Matt participated, he hit more homers in the second half of the season than he did in the first as the Rockies went on their incredible march to the World Series.

To get you ready for tonight’s game, take a look at Erika’s All-Star Expectations at i70 Baseball to find out her thoughts on learning to appreciate the All-Star Game as well as what she’s looking forward to tonight. Of course it’s our five Cardinals, but maybe a few other players too!

Hopefully, tonight’s game will finally be a National League victory again. And perhaps in late October the Cardinals will be the benefactor of the World Series home-field advantage that will be the prize for winning … Let’s go Cards and let’s go National League!

i70 Launch Day

There might not be a Cards game today, but we still have some exciting news for you. Today is the launch of i70baseball.com! The site focuses on both the Cardinals and Royals, will have a weekly radio show starting tonight, and is an affiliate of BaseballDigest.com.

Why are we so excited about this new project? Because Erika and I will be contributing to the site on a weekly basis! Erika will have her first piece up there tomorrow, but I have a couple links for you already:

All-Stars At The All-Star Break: A look at all five of the Cardinal All-Stars that are on their way to Anaheim right now and how they perform from the first to the second half.

Surprising Frustrations: The Cardinal Players Of The First Half: Checking on who’s been up and who’s been struggling so far this season. Don’t yell at me about which All-Stars made the ‘frustrating’ lists – read first, then argue! :)

The Cards finished off a series win against the Astros with a W yesterday. Blake Hawksworth had his fourth consecutive outing of 5 or more innings while allowing 3 runs or less. Matt Holliday continued his hot streak by blasting a 3 run home run, and Jon Jay is carrying an 11 game hitting streak through the break.

For those of you interested in the Futures All-Star game that was played yesterday evening, Shelby Miller (Team USA) and Eduardo Sanchez (Team World) both appeared and had flawless outings, facing a total of 5 batters, hitting 95 MPH on the gun and getting 5 groundballs. Somewhere, Dave Duncan has a huge smile on his face!

Tonight’s All-Star festivities include the Home Run Derby (Go Holliday!) and the Celebrity All-Star Game. It’s not Cardinal baseball, but at least we’ll see a few St. Louis hats out there tonight, and with any luck, Ozzie Smith will be there and playing!

Short post today, because we want you to head over to i70 Baseball and check out what is already going on over there. We’re excited about the new project and hope you enjoy it!

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