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The Top 5 Iconic Moments in Cardinal History

Sometimes the fearless leader of the UCB Daniel Shoptaw puts us on the spot with the monthly projects. January’s project is the top five moments in Cardinal history.

Five? I only get five? I don’t know how Bob Netherton managed to narrow it down, but after reading his I was spurned towards figuring out mine (So… thanks Bob!).

If you are digging back to the very beginning of the Cardinals, the pre-1900′s would be a starting point, but those moments were not really ‘iconic.’ Let’s see… where to start…

5. Bob Gibson’s 1968 season

Have you ever known a player to completely change the way the game was played singlehandedly? No, you think. That doesn’t happen. One player cannot change an entire sport. Oh yes it can…

Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
32 STL NL 22 9 .710 1.12 34 34 0 28 13 0 304.2 198 49 38 11 62 6 268 7 0 4 1161 258 0.853 5.8 0.3 1.8 7.9 4.32 AS,CYA-1,MVP-1,GG
17 Seasons 251 174 .591 2.91 528 482 21 255 56 6 3884.1 3279 1420 1258 257 1336 118 3117 102 13 108 16068 128 1.188 7.6 0.6 3.1 7.2 2.33
162 Game Avg. 17 12 .591 2.91 36 32 1 17 4 0 262 221 96 85 17 90 8 210 7 1 7 1082 128 1.188 7.6 0.6 3.1 7.2 2.33
Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2012.

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Bob Gibson’s 1968 season was other-worldly. A 1.12 ERA, 13 complete game shutouts, giving up 38 earned runs over 304 innings… who does this?

No one, not since Bob Gibson. You see, 1968 became somewhat of a “year of the pitcher” in Major League Baseball. Run-scoring was down, and since most fans come to see at least a little bit of action at a baseball game, the powers that be determined that this was a terrible thing. The result? The actual pitchers’ mound was lowered from 15 inches to 10 inches. It was a literal leveling of the playing field, and all Gibson got to show for his season was an All-Star selection, Gold Glove, Cy Young, MVP award, and a National League pennant.

Oh, that’s all.

4. October 27, 2011 – “They just won’t go away.”

Despite the recentness of this moment, it is crazy to think that game 6 of this past year’s World Series might not make this list. On the whole I feel like I am a pretty lucky baseball fan. I’ve seen my team play in 3 World Series (winning twice) and countless playoff games in my 25 years on this earth. On the flip side, my grandpa turned 80 years old last year and is still waiting for his beloved Cubs to win it all.

The 2011 postseason had its share of thrills, spills and chills, but the Cardinals found themselves against the wall, finding themselves down to their final strike not once, but twice, and they still came out on top. David Freese became a household name with his game-tying triple, then followed it up with his walk-off winner. Joe Buck gave us all goosebumps with his call of the home run, channeling his dad with a “We will see you tomorrow night!”

The team wouldn’t quit. They pushed through and came out on top. Also, to further my point that I am a very lucky baseball fan? October 27 is my birthday. ;)

3. The teams that would not die. 

The 2011 team was not the only one that was left for dead. 1964 was a wild pennant run in and of itself (and if you want a more detailed look, check out Bob Netherton’s posts on the subject). Ten games back? Nine games back? No matter, somehow these two Cardinal teams rose from the ashes and claimed a place in history.

Now, did it take a hard fall from the teams that were ahead of them in order for the birds on the bat to make it to the playoffs? You betcha. The 1964 Phillies are still remembered for that epic collapse. Will the 2011 Braves be remembered in the same way? Probably not, in all honesty. People don’t talk about the 1964 World Series the same way they will talk about the 2011 version. One thing is certain: no one will forget the Cardinals and their fight to the end!

2. Big Mac breaks the record

1998 was a magical summer for 11 year old me. I was living and dying with every long ball hit by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. I watched more Cubs baseball on WGN than any sane baseball fan should ever have to endure.

Yeah yeah, steriods. I know. But I didn’t back then. I’m not the only one that didn’t see behind the curtain either. Many of those that did, just didn’t care. For the first time since the strike of 1994 crippled many baseball fans from their love of the game, baseball had life. Games at Kauffman Stadium and the Astrodome were being sold out, and those teams had no business having that many fans in the stands. Nightly news would be cut off to update the score and the fact that Mac/Sammy had just blasted another one (and I didn’t live in the St. Louis/Chicago area to get full coverage).

But September 8, 1998 is a night that I will never forget. I screamed, I jumped around the living room, and I almost cut off my poor sisters’ circulation from hugging them so tightly. Watching that ball skirt over the wall, watching Mac almost miss first base, seeing the Maris family and Sammy running in from the outfield and all the people screaming and cheering… I was a part of that! We were all part of that. Despite what we know now… back then we were all just baseball fans again.

1.  “Go Crazy Folks”

Ozzie with one out. Took a ball just outside. Cardinals have left ten men on and they left a lotta men on early. A runner at third nobody out in the first and didn’t score, second and third in the second and didn’t score. Smith corks one into into right down the line… it may go… go crazy folks! Go crazy! It’s a home run, and the Cardinals have won the game, by the score of 3-2 on a home run by the Wizard! Go crazy!

Seeing the words just doesn’t do that call justice. It never will. The 1985 NLCS game 5 home run by Ozzie Smith was great in and of itself. He wasn’t a home run hitter, especially not from the left side. The home run was incredible, but it was not the iconic moment.

It was the call. It was Jack Buck. There will never be another.

~*~*~*~*~*~

There you go – the top 5 moments in Cardinals history from my eyes. What say you? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments…

Is it baseball season yet?

Diamond Diaries’ 2011 Stories of the Year

The United Cardinal Bloggers take part in many different activities throughout the course of the year. Many of these projects can be found on our site (search ‘ucb’ in the search tab at the top to find more). The last project of the year comes on the next to the last day of the year, and it is a time for reflection. What were the big stories of 2011? This is our list – what’s yours?

1. First and foremost has to be the #11in11 World Series win! This was a team that was left for dead, then came back and fought their way through a thrilling October run. You would be crazy not to appreciate what going out on top meant to Tony LaRussa, and now that he whose name Erika has forgotten is gone off to the West Coast like Tony did, the 2012 team is going to have a much different feel to it. But that doesn’t sour this win at all for us! The wild ride to the postseason, the extended series’ wins in the wildest of ways, the dramatic home runs and the dominant pitching performances. Yes, this was a postseason we will never forget!

2. Oh David Freese. Your glass ankles made me unsure that you would ever reach the potential Erika and I hoped you would. Your hot start to the season was derailed by your hit-by-a-pitch broken wrist on May 1. The .356 batting average cooled, but your solid play did not. Going in to the postseason we did not factor you in as a major player, but your wrote your name in the recordbooks over and over, thrilling us with clutch hits and home runs that no one expected. Your NLCS and WS MVP trophies must be getting dirty from having to lug them around on the talk show circuit. We would gladly offer to shine them up for you! :)

3. Erika’s favorite, Matt Holliday, had a strange year. What’s stunning is that despite having played in 34 fewer games than 2010, his counting numbers were still relatively in line with his career averages. Appendicitis in the first week of the season? One week out, no big deal. A moth flies in his ear and becomes lodged mid-game? Whatever, pull it out and stick it in a jar. Sore muscles, hurt fingers, Holliday was this year’s Freese in terms of strange injuries. Despite it all, he had a strong enough season to garner an All-Star selection and was even selected in the home run derby competition (I know, that feels like an incredibly long time ago!).

4. At the beginning of the year, Bill Ivie had a Diamond Diaries night on the UCB Radio Hour. Since it was the beginning of the season we were asked to make various predictions on how the season would go for various players and the team as a whole. While I was still licking my wounds about Adam Wainwright’s season-ending Tommy John surgery and Erika was wondering what would become of David Freese’s glass ankles, Bill threw us a curve and asked what we thought about the Lance Berkman signing. I was trying very hard to be optimistic. It was a shot in the dark signing, hoping that he could reclaim some of his former All-Star glory, while still knowing that even if he didn’t show much, it wasn’t a break-the-bank signing either.

Did anyone see an All-Star selection and a 7th place finish in the MVP award voting? Anyone?

Lies. You didn’t. We didn’t. We tried to predict counting stats – .280 batting, 20-25 home runs, 75ish RBI were the numbers I tossed out – wording our predictions with “If he could get here, that would be awesome!” He went above and beyond all of our expectations, while also adding that ever coveted “clubhouse presence” that was missing for the past few years. Just for kicks, he also picked up two NL Player of the Week awards. Take that!

5. Why not round out our top 5 with a little bit of silly? Every playoff run needs a theme, and this one appeared to be all about the squirrel and Torty Craig and Happy Flight. It gave fans something silly to smile about, fake Twitter accounts to interact with, merchandise flew off the shelves, and despite all the silliness the Cardinals still found a way to win.

Also, we didn’t have to deal with that ridiculous “Beast Mode” theme. So there’s that.

Make sure to check out the United Cardinal Bloggers site to catch all of this year’s top 5 countdowns.

Happy New Year Cardinal fans!

Matt Holliday: Beast or Bust?

The United Cardinal Bloggers Fall Roundtable discussions have been going on now since November 1st and are finishing up soon.  Great questions, superb insight, fun & informative reads.  You can review all the previous topics HERE.  Today was my turn to start the conversation.

“…before all this fun comes to an end, I’d like to turn our attentions back to one of my favorite subjects: Brendan Ryan.  Okay, okay…. I had to try. Come back. Let’s talk about hunky Matt Holliday.

How do you feel about Holliday’s 2011 season?  Are his contributions (to date) worthy of the biggest contract in franchise history?  Will Holliday be the producer in 2012 who helps us overcome the lack of #5?  Is he worthy of potentially becoming the new superstar face of the franchise?

Your topic:  Matt Holliday, Beast or Bust?”

I’ve heard continued grumblings about Holliday’s performance online and wondered if the UCB crew would come to his defense.  Here are their replies with everything from charisma comparisons to hunky ratings, stats and injury reports:

Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball 

That is a big question mark, isn’t it?

I think Holliday has performed well.  He has been healthy (for the most
part) and has been one of the most consistent performers in the cleanup
spot in the last few years.

As for him becoming the star…I don’t think he has to.  I think the
pressure will be on homegrown players like Freese and Molina to step into
that role and Holliday just needs to be what he has been to date.  I’m not
sure the fans will embrace anyone completely for a while, kind of like that
jilted lover that just doesn’t want to date, it may take some time.

Daniel Solzman, Redbirds Fun
To the subject of Matt Holliday, he was not a bust.  In no way was he a bust.  How many baseball players start the season with their appendix bursting?  Get a moth trapped in their ear?  Not to mention the other injuries that I can’t recall. His 2012 numbers, I feel, will be on par with that of 2010.  This was the first season since his rookie year of 2004 that he hit under .300.  I think he’ll come back better than ever and put up an MVP caliber year and be sent to another All Star Game.
Tom Knuppel, Cardinals GM

Holliday just needs to be consistent. I don’t believe “star power” is a
necessity. I think he will enjoy being a bit more free of Albert and will
be ok.

Now as far as he being hunky, methink not.

Ray DeRousse, StL Cardinal Baseball

Did hunky Matt Holliday have a bad 2011? Sure, he had a WEIRD 2011, but his season-ending numbers were all pretty typical: average around .300, homers between 20-30, and slugging around .500. His RBI’s were down a bit, but that could’ve been due to the Pujols/Berkman factor in the lineup.

Let’s be honest, though – Holliday isn’t going to “make up for the loss of Pujols.” He’s going to give you another robotic year of similar production barring injury. And that’s what he’s being paid to do.

If anything, I’d like to see Holliday be more of a leader on this team. His performance during the Series was an awful example of tail-between-the-legs surrender that we can’t afford this season. So far, Holliday has seemed aloof and distant (much like Pujols). I’m hoping Holliday steps it up emotionally with the departure of Pujols.

Jon Doble, Redbird Dugout

When I look back on Holliday’s season, I’m not disappointed by his season at all. I would have liked more games but an appendix and the tendon issue
can’t really be avoided. And only Matt knows if his back injury that nagged him a lot of the late season could have been avoided.

If you project Holliday’s numbers out to his typical playing time, he would have hit .299 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI. For me, I’m happy with .300-25-100 out of Holliday and he just about met that. He hit .316 with
RISP, better than in 2010. He hit .419 with a runner at third base, better
than in 2010. He scored 19% of his base runners, tied for the team lead
with Freese and better than 2010 (where he once again led the guys who were
on the team all season).

His lack of ability to stay healthy was disappointing, but I’m not
concerned with it yet. If he has another year of freak injuries this year,
I’m going to start questioning whether we can depend on him long-term, but
right now this is an aberration and I have no reason to believe that it is
anything else. This is the first time he’s gotten less than 620 plate
appearances since he started playing everyday back in 2006.

Going forward, it’s going to need to be a total team effort. The Cardinals
have 6 starting players who can hit .300 (Jay, Holliday, Berkman, Freese,
Craig, and Molina). They also have four guys who are capable of hitting 20+
home runs (Holliday, Berkman, Freese, and Craig). However, Holliday needs
to be the offensive leader in that 3 spot in the lineup and he needs to
step up into that role. It’s obviously one that he’s filled before in
Colorado, so I am not worried about him going overboard in his approach.

Aaron Hooks, CardsDiaspora

I’m scared about Holiday.

Frankly, I’m scared about how Cardinals team in general. Pujols was
such a staple in the lineup that not one other player on this team the
past 11 years had to worry about being THE man, they just had to be A
man. Is Holliday capable of being THE man, much like he was in
Colorado? He’s got the talent to do so, sure. But 2007 and ‘Rocktober’
was 5 years ago for a team gambling with house money.

He hasn’t had to carry a team for a while. He hasn’t had to carry a
World Series contender ever.

I think we all agree with Ray DeRousse, who called Holliday’s season
in 2011 ‘weird’. It was. But if I was to have a pejorative descriptor
for my feelings in 2012? scared.

For Erika’s sake, I hope he comes out strong.

Tara Wellman, AMF

You don’t replace Albert Pujols, no matter who you are.

That said, Matt Holliday has a chance — and the potential — to carry much of the load.

Others have already quoted his stats, so I won’t repeat them. But, his numbers are enough to conclude that his year of freak incidents isn’t the norm.

The only problem I foresee is that, as the potential “face of the franchise,” he’ll put that pressure on himself and struggle. We saw that with Pujols all the time — when he started to play like it was all up to him, he struggled (usually pretty badly). I hope none of the guys are told/feel that pressure of being the ONE to step into Albert’s role.

Just one more thing on his leadership. He’s a quiet kind of guy. You listen to him talk or give interviews, it can feel like he’s distant. However, I tend to build my thoughts of players’ personalities and their “clubhouse dynamic” by what other players say about the guy. Listen to David Freese tall about Matt, and you’ll get a pretty solid idea of their bond and the understated leadership style Holliday displays. Plus, keep in mind, he wasn’t supposed to lead this team to victory. Albert was. Now that AP isn’t there, I suspect Matt will be able to have a greater impact on the guys around him.

Kevin Reynolds, Cards ‘N Stuff

Matt Holliday’s contract looks a lot better after Werth’s absurdity in
Washington. Holliday has the ability, name, and track record to become the
face of the franchise for the next couple years…but he seems to rely a
lot on skills that could erode fairly quickly over time. Many of the hits
he gets are hits simply because he hits the ball so hard and powers it to
the wall or past a fielder. That strength and bat speed could gradually
fail him – twice as much so because skills required to make his strength
look good (coordination, etc.) will also gradually fade. And although he
catches most of what he gets to (except, apparently, in the playoffs…?),
he still isn’t an exceptional defender.

I think what I’m trying to say is that Holliday, to me, is not a “pure”
baseball player. He’s a helluva an athlete…no question…and great
hitter…but I believe guys who are athletes first and baseball players
second tend to erode more quickly than guys who seem to come out of the
womb with a bat in their hands.

Also, for whatever reason – pressure, comfort level, playing in Albert’s
shadow, quirky injuries – Holliday hasn’t been able to truly settle in as a
Cardinal. He seems to be, at times, attempting to turn his bat into paper
right there in the batter’s box. Dude just tries too hard. I love that
about him, but he has to get it under control.

Okay, all that being said…I think Matt is poised for his biggest seasons
as a Cardinal with Albert gone. Watching Holliday in Colorado, I saw a
ballplayer who would do anything it took to win…to cross the plate…etc.
He seemed to shine in the spotlight. Then, when he came to St. Louis…he
seemed less sure of himself and perhaps hesitant. I don’t know if he was so
aware that it was Albert’s team and he was just here to support the dude in
the 3 hole…or what…but I think now Holliday will have more room to
shine.

With Albert out of the way and TLR’s controlling nature giving way to
Matheny’s “go out and play” attitude, I think you will see a more
assertive, aggressive, “gimme the ball” Matt Holliday. If that’s true, and
given the player contract landscape, I don’t actually have a problem with
his contract. And for me, his 2011 season was rather remarkable considering
what the guy dealt with all season.

Bob Netherton, On the Outside Corner
I will add more later when I have the time to do this great question justice, but on the subject of “face of the franchise”, Holliday does not have the charisma for that label.  Not a problem because David Freese, Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina, Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright and Chis Carpenter have plenty :). With a catcher as a manager, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter should replace Albert Pujols as the new face of the Cardinals.  A new era of pitching led championships, just like another rookie manager led after the Cardinals won the World Series in  …… Well you know :)
Mark, Retrosimba
Matt Holliday underperformed in 2011. Injuries played a part but he still was inconsistent and subpar. The season he had in 2010 for the Cardinals established the baseline: 28 home runs, 103 RBI, .312 batting average, .390 on-base percentage and .532 slugging percentage. That’s what I expect from him each of the next 3 or 4 seasons. He’s clearly capable.

Subpar?!  Gosh, I’d hate to see what you thought of Ryan Theriot’s season…If you adjust his 2011 season into 650 plate appearances (in other words,assume health) he winds up with exactly 28 home runs.  Sure, health is not a
guarantee, but in home run rate, he was clearly even with his 2010 season.

The difference between his 2011 and 2010 batting averages is 7 hits.

The difference between his 2011 and 2010 on-base percentage is 1 hit.

The difference between his 2011 and 2010 slugging percentage is 1 home run,
or 2 doubles, or 4 singles.

His OPS+ was 10th highest in MLB among qualifiers, his OPS was 13th in MLB
among qualifiers – both ahead of a new Anaheim Angel.

It wasn’t Holliday’s best season, when compared to his own high standards,
but to say he underperformed and had a subpar season is just not accurate by
any measureable, IMO.

Dustin McClure, Welcome To Baseball Heaven

I had a good idea that Erika’s subject would be around hunky Matt Holliday.

To answer the given question in short he’s definitely not a bust. Last
season was just such a weird campaign for him. Ruptured appendix, moths, sprains, it was so unusual for the durable outfielder. I reference 2010 as a medium of what I consistently expect from Matt Holliday which is pretty damn good. I’m always surprised at the number of people I come across that refer to him as an underperformer. I just don’t get it.

As for being the “Face of the Franchise” I’m with Bob in the fact he’s not charismatic enough for said title. Lovable Lance Berkman is a good comp of someone who has the skill set and personality to attain such a title if he was in Matt’s position as far as contract and age.  This Albert Pujols wound will need some time to heal before Cardinals fans are ready to crown another “Face of the Franchise” I believe. Or maybe it’ll be J.C. Romero who knows.

Disappointing season because he struggled with injury?  Sure, I’ll go along
with that, because who knows how much the nagging injuries hampered him.
Subpar?  C’mon.

Holliday’s been worth every penny, and I don’t care if he is the face of the
franchise or ever has a season as good as Pujols does in Anaheim – so long
as he keeps posting numbers in line with his career averages.

Malcolm Pierce, Redbird Menace

History and the changing nature of the league have been kind to Matt
Holliday’s contract.  Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford inked larger deals
despite being inferior players.  And then they both busted like overstuffed
pinatas.  Meanwhile, Matt Holliday has continued to be Matt Holliday. The
only thing disappointing about his 2011 (in which he posted the
second-highest OPS+ of his career) was a series of bizarre accidents and
maladies.

Meanwhile, the remainder of his contract runs through the five years of the
newly-approved MLB CBA.  This agreement significantly limits the ability of
teams to spend money on talent beyond MLB payroll (and NPB posting fees,
interestingly enough).  Money can no longer be significantly allocated to
the draft or international free agents, especially by competing teams.  As
long as owners invest that money into their ML teams, this should have an
inflationary effect on contracts, which was probably what the MLBPA
intended in negotiations.  We’re already seeing it: from Anaheim’s behemoth
deal with Pujols to Boston turning Nick Punto into a multi-millionaire.
Holliday’s contract, which seemed like a bit of an overpayment the day it
was signed, just continues to become more and more of a bargain.

As far as what to expect from Holliday, he’s been a remarkably consistent
player throughout his career.  I think we can expect more of the same.  As
long as he doesn’t have any more internal organs burst or insects take up
residence, we can expect an OBP near .400 and a SLG a tick over .500.
That’s pretty fantastic.  While no one can replace Pujols, I think he’s
already the kind of producer who can help make up for the loss.  He was
second on the team in OPS last year–behind Berkman, not #5.

One last note: if you told me three years ago that someday I’d be trying to
decide whether Matt Holliday or Lance Berkman would be the face of the
Cardinals lineup, I’d have thought you were crazy.

JE Powell, STL: Fear The Red

Matt Holliday helped the Cardinals down the stretch to win the division in 2009 and was an integral part of the Championship in 2011. Early in the season im 2011, the Cardinals were much better with him on the field and his several stints on the DL hurt. I think that in 2012  we will see a Holliday that will have a .300+/25-30/90-95 line. I really feel that he is going to step it up next year and have one of the best years he has had in awhile.

In 2010 he had 28 homeruns and 103 RBI in 158 games and in 2011 he had 22 HR in only 124 games. Had he had a full season, he may have been able to get 27 HR and 95 RBI. As long as he stays healthy the next few years I think he will be a beast.

Chris Mallonee, Birds on the Bat ’82

Not sure the whole charisma thing matters much in regards to “face of the franchise”…Has anyone given less interviews and less intriguing interviews than Pujols?

After game 7 of the world series he looked and talked like someone had just shot his dog. Dont buy the charisma argument in regards to face of the franchise. Pujols was the face of the franchise because of his gaudy numbers, unexpected rise to greatness, and potential as the next and last Stan the Man.

I think Holliday will put up great numbers in 2011. He’s a good enough hitter not to need pujols protection to put up big numbers. Freese and berkman should be plenty of protection.

My vote is 2012 beast

Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat

There’s really not much to add here, but that’s never stopped me before.  I
do think Holliday is going to be one of those metronomes in the lineup,
that he’s going to get to his numbers but perhaps in a quiet way, in that
way when you look up at the end of the year and say, “Wow, I guess he did
it again.”

No need for him to be the face of the franchise or anything like that.  As
long as he keeps hitting, everyone will be happy.

Diane Shultz, Diamond Diaries
Poor Matt did have a crummy year.  All kinds of bad stuff happened to Matt this year.  Hopefully, he will rebound next year and have a great 2012 season.  The long shadow of Albert will be gone and Matt can shine.  He can be a big help to the younger outfielders.
Pip (Matt Philip), Fungoes

I appreciate Nick showing just how consistent Holliday’s production has
been the last couple of years and therefore how his performance shouldn’t
be seen  as anything less than beastly — unless for some reason someone
thinks that a 5-WAR season in an injury-shortened campaign connotes a
“bust.” Maybe I don’t listen to enough sports-talk radio, but I was
flabbergasted to hear someone at a recent SABR meeting propose the idea of
trading Holliday.

Are his to-date contributions worthy of the biggest contract in team
history? That question comes with some baggage — if you’re asking whether
he has been a positive value for his salary, then yes, certainly. But
that’s going to be necessary to offset the probable negative value in the
last couple of years of his contract.

I’m not sure why Holliday would actually fare better with Pujols gone, but
he’s likely not going to suddenly lose the ability to hit for both on-base
average and power. Neither is he going to magically gain out-front
leadership skills. He’s simply going to produce as he has been, which is
exactly what the Cardinals ask and need him to do.

——
Well, there you have it…
I think Hunky would be pleased.
Happy Holliday, everyone…  ;)

The UCB’s “Too Soon” Attempt at Pujols Nostalgia

Pujols is gone. We saw magic for 11 years, and now we will find new players to find that spark.

Oh ugh. It is way too soon to be sunshine-y about this one. Just shut it.

I know. Too soon. Who tries to spin some silver lining when every Cardinal fan everywhere feels like we were just collectively spit on by a man we once compared to “The Man,” a man who we felt could one day be as incredible as Stan… a lifer with the Cardinals. A legend.

He won’t be. Not anymore.

But dangit, I drew the crazy straw and landed on today for the annual United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable discussion. My options were to:

1) Mope, whine, and complain. Let everyone vent.

2) Go for the “Okay, what do we do now?” tactic.

or 3) Attempt to put a bow on the career he did have here.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I tried. I am trying. Earlier in the day yesterday I was able to be more okay with it. I was able to be Erika, if you want to spin it like that. I was okay. Then I read this. Now, if I wrote like Hooks, I would have written a piece closer to the one that Hooks posted yesterday (not suitable for my family – don’t click that mom! :)).

But here it is… the UCB’s attempt at nostalgia, including my original question out to the team:

Here’s your chance to not talk about the contract, the money, the betrayal (the venom!) that we have seen all over the internets today. Here is your chance to be nostalgic.

What is your favorite Pujols memory? The Lidge bomb? The MVP awards? A specific game or meet-and-greet or whatever you choose. What specific memory will you tell your kids and grandkids about when you talk about Albert Pujols. The fact that he’s gone stings, but it doesn’t negate how we felt when he was here.

I was not let down. I absolutely understand that many could not bring themselves to answer this one. The state I’m in currently… I’m not sure I could have either. But the news broke while I was at work, and I like my job, so I wasn’t upset about it all really until later in the afternoon/evening.

For me, my favorite Pujols memory has to be the Lidge homerun. I was in college, watching the game with 1 Cards fan and approximately 200 Astros fan. Okay, maybe only 15-20 of them. Texas kids all over the place. They were shaking hands, poking fun, having a good time, making World Series plans.

Boom. Bang. Pow.

Their jaws were on the floor. I was screaming and hugging a girl I barely knew, knowing that not only did the Cardinals have life, the also had the opportunity to go back to Busch II for at least one more game. It was beautiful. But that’s my thought… what did the rest of the UCB think?

Bill Ivie: i70 Baseball

I’m going to have to go “nostalgic” a few months ago.
Three home runs in one World Series game, no matter how far out of reach, was impressive.  I seriously do not think anyone in the crowd thought that last at bat would go differently.  It was a flash back to the Pujols of old seeing him step in and do exactly what we expected him to do.  It was a moment that I will tell my kids about, the way my dad told me that he watched Reggie do it.

Daniel Solzman: @dsolzman

Like many of us, I was in the first step of denial when I started thinking about 2005 NLCS Game 5.  I’m starting to sob as I type this because of all that I associate with that memory.  I will be forever grateful for Albert bringing the series game to Busch for one final farewell.  Even though we lost, it was one final way to say goodbye.

In May 2006, I was at a rare game.  Rolen was out with the flu.  Pujols was at the hotel with back spasms or something.  Jimmy?  Well, he had the day off.  It was the first time since the MV3 started that none of them were starting.
Game 5 stands out as a special memory as does the 3 home run game during this past World Series.  I know exactly where I was when it happened.

Daniel Shoptaw: C70 at the Bat

Favorite moment?  Wow, that’s tough.

Besides the obvious, the Lidge homer, the big game in Texas this year, I think one of my favorite memories is going to be a mid-season game in Colorado.  Pujols is on third and a ground ball is hit to the third baseman, I believe.  As soon as it was hit, I was sure what was going to happen and, sure enough, Pujols rounded third and came home, scoring the winning run.

It was pure Pujols.  Doing the little things, the heads-up things, to win a ball game.  Something we’ll sorely miss.

Aaron Hooks: Cards Diaspora

Too soon, Angela. Too soon. I’m still ready to hammer that backstabbing, St. Louis hating, money chasing, double play machine, former Cardinal.

Jesus. Former Cardinal. That sounds so weird.

Favorite Pujols Moment? I really did think hard about this. And even though it’s pretty obvious, that HR in 2005 against the Astros was so incredible. Not only was it a go-ahead homerun to put the Cards on top of a game they had no business winning, but it was sooooo top tank.

On the road, nevertheless. And it also melted a dominant closer down for years and provided us with the classic Andy Pettite “OH MY GOD” clip from the dugout. I can still watch that specific play 20 times in a row and find something new to love every time. Just wish Gus Johnson could have somehow been on the call.

Kevin Reynolds: Cards ‘n Stuff

For me, it was a couple years ago…when Albert was on his grand slam tear…a buddy (@dmbfan81 actually) and myself had gone up like a week before my wife was due to have our daughter for two games against the Cubs in Busch. We were in the right field bleachers…Albert hit a grand slam to LF so hard we never saw the ball…just heard the crowd’s reaction and saw Soriano turn and watch it go…and we started screaming and jumping up and down in the bleachers so hard that half our beer ended up all over the other bleacher goers (who were doing the same) and my buddy fell and nearly broke his ankle (swelled up the size of a softball on the way home). Was amazing to actually be present when he hit that.

Erika Lynn: You know her!

For the glory story, I’m going with being in the stands at Arlington to see Albert hit those three homeruns in Game 3 of the World Series AND at Busch Stadium for Game 7 to witness (what we didn’t know at the time would be) his final at bat as a Cardinal.  (Future grandkids may be impressed by that in a few decades.)  I have Hubby to thank for those memories.  He had to convince me to spend the money, said it was a bucket list kinda thing.  I’m so glad he did.  It was our chance to witness history.

For the personal story:  We’ve watched Albert at Spring Training for the past few years and in 2009 I remember being surprised and struck by Albert’s camaraderie with players and staff from the OTHER teams.  It was one of the final Spring Training games, against the Mets, and both before the game and after, Pujols was greeting the Mets players, coaches and managers like long lost buddies.  I was taken aback at first, but then it hit me: Pujols wasn’t just a Cardinal, he was a Major League baseball player and these were his peers.  The meaning of baseball family got bigger for me that day.

Tom Knuppel: Cardinals GM

2001- Vonachen Stadium- Peoria Illinois- Pujols hit his first home run. The scorboard flashed Jose Pujols…. he told the local sports guys, “I prefer to be called Albert” ………..from then on, he was Albert.

Ray DeRousse: Stl Cardinal Baseball

My favorite Pujols memory was Easter Sunday of 2005. Pujols ripped three home runs that gorgeous afternoon while I got completely drunk and screamed my head off with my friends. Afterwards, driving home down highway 55, the wrecked hood of my car flipped up and smashed my windshield. I was forced to drive like Ace Ventura while hoping the police never saw me. They didn’t, which only makes the memory even sweeter.

Malcolm Pierce: The Redbirds Menace

July 20, 2004.  The Chicago Cubs put up seven runs against Matt Morris and the Cardinals in the second inning in Wrigley Field.  Cal Eldred comes into pick up the pieces.

The wind is blowing out, but even the most optimistic Cards fan doubts the team can come back from this one.  This isn’t your usual sadsack Cubs squad.  This is the team that prompted Sports Illustrated to announce “Hell Freezes Over”, handing the league championship to the Northsiders before the season even began.  They’re several games back but the national media wants us to believe they’re just biding their time.  Glendon Rusch, the Cubs starter, is having a career year and the Cardinals always seemed to struggle against his wily left-handed ways.  It’s almost enough to make you turn off the game.  Almost.

In the top of the third inning, Pujols turns on a pitch to tack on a run.  7-1 becomes 7-2.  Still need to bat around to take the lead.  Still looks like a struggle, but at least the team has life.  At least you got to see a Pujols home run.  It almost looks pointless, as Eldred immediately gives the run back in the bottom of the inning when Aramis Ramirez makes a bad pitch disappear.  8-2.

Three more innings pass.  Rusch is doing what Rusch did best, changing speeds and making you wonder if Jim Edmonds should start switch-hitting to get a better look.  But there’s Albert again.  Leads off the sixth inning with a single.  Doesn’t seem like much at the time, but it’s the start of something.  Rolen and Edmonds follow him up with singles of their own.  Rusch is out, replaced by Francis Beltran who treats the strike zone like it has the plague.  He can’t touch it.  Walk.  Bases loaded walk.  Single by So Taguchi.  Giving up a critical hit to Taguchi is unacceptable.  Beltran is out, replaced by old friend Kent Merker to face Ray Lankford.  Sacrifice fly.  8-6.  The rally Pujols started made it a game, but the good guys were still losing.

Pujols smashes another solo home run, second of the day, to lead off the seventh.  Cardinals fans everywhere bemoan what Cardinals fans have been bemoaning for eleven years now: why aren’t there hitters with better OBPs in front of Pujols?  But it’s a one run game now.  Later, So Taguchi’s second most unlikely HR of his career ties the game.  The Cardinals have battled back from oblivion.  It’s a new start.  Bullpen versus bullpen, but who will give?

In the ninth, Edgar Renteria leads off the inning with a single against Latroy Hawkins, bringing Pujols to the plate.  Do I know what’s going to happen next?  Is it that obvious?  Is Pujols that amazing?  Or do I just dare to hope so much that I convince myself of such a glorious inevitability?  the ball jumps off Albert’s bat.  It sails through the sky and it doesn’t land until the Cardinals finally have the lead. Third home run of the day.  Fifth hit.  Fifth RBI.   Comeback complete.

Even Isringhausen’s bases-loaded tightrope act to get the save in the ninth can’t kill the high.

JE Powell: Stl Fear the Red

My fondest memory of Pujols wasn’t historic, but personal in a lot of ways. In September of 2009 my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Milwaukee for a three game series against the Brewers. I had never been to a full series before and it was definitely memorable. The Cardinals swept the Brew Crew and Pujols went 7-12 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI. The final game the Cardinals won 5-1 and Pujols hit two homers. We had very good seats for the series (Miller Park is a very good stadium) and it was was great to seem him hit so well and put on a power display.

Chris Reed: Bird Brained

I’m going to have to take the easy route for my memory, and then tell a little story about this year.

The Lidge Home Run in the 2005 NLCS stands out for me because I remember all the circumstances surrounding the moment so perfectly. When the game got to the 9th inning and the Cards got a couple outs, my roommate turned the channel to the Rams game (Monday Night Football, if I remember correctly) because the game was “over.” I went downstairs to our other TV and flipped the Cards back on, because I’ve learned time and again never to give up on baseball early. When Eckstein got on with his seeing-eye single, I ran back upstairs and told my roomie “Turn the baseball game back on; they’re not done yet!” He did, and we watched Edmonds also get on in front of Albert. We both scooted to the edge of our seats. And when he connected, we both yelled and jumped high enough to damn near hit our heads on the ceiling. It was such a pure baseball scene: two buddies sitting around watching the ballgame, and it turns into an iconic moment which causes them to act like kids celebrating a little league win. And I will never forget the home run or our reaction.

OK, story time. I split season tickets to Busch with three other people so my girlfriend and I go to about 20 games per year. At the beginning of each season, we “draft” our games for the year. My first pick is usually the last home game, because 1) it could have playoff ramifications; and 2) you get a voucher for a free ticket the following year. This season was no different, and in March I thought it could be an even bigger deal because who knew what would happen with La Russa, Pujols and Carpenter, let alone the team. So we were there 09/25 vs. the Cubs and did the Standing O for Pujols and everything. Then, of course, they make the playoffs. Time to draft tickets again. As luck would have it, we drew #1 for the playoff series tickets so we got the extra game (maximum possible 5 games at Busch between the NLDS and NLCS). My first pick was NLCS Game 5 on the off chance it might be a clincher/last game. The game that was left after everyone else picked was NLDS Game 4…also a possible clincher/last game. When it came time to pick for the World Series, we each got tickets to one game (maximum possible 4 games at Busch). But I drew the shortest straw this time, and we got “stuck with” Game 7. So I was present for what could have been the absolute last possible AB for Albert Pujols as a Cardinal at Busch Stadium four times this season. But each game was a winner, eventually leading to them moving on. And it turns out I did see his final AB as a Cardinal, in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. I did think about it each time, too…”Wonder if this is the last one.” My intuition turned out to be correct, but my timing isn’t as strong as my luck. That seems so long ago now…

Nick: Pitchers Hit Eighth

The photo in this post – that’s how I choose to remember Pujols.  For all his accomplishments and notable events – that’s what I want to see when I think of Pujols and his time with the Redbirds.

Thanks for all of your thoughts!

An Interesting Game

There are many beautiful things about the game of baseball. The smell of the grass. The pop of the glove. The crack of the bat. Many people have written many words about its beauty. Announcers talk about all the things that make the game great. They have to use a variety of words and probably constantly find themselves looking for new ways to describe a 6-4-3 or a routine fly ball. I think of Bob Uecker’s character Harry Doyle in Major League 2 when it comes to summing up baseball on some days…

"It's a funny game, eh Monty?"

A lot of words are flying around about last night’s game with the Marlins. I could pick out a few right now – awkward, rollercoaster-esque (okay, I made that one up), ugly, confusing – but there was one word last night that is just stuck in my mind.

Interesting. It was an interesting game.

I won’t rehash all of the issues with the Cardinals defense this year. Emily did that quite nicely yesterday. 28 errors in 31 games. I’ve seen better lines on slow pitch softball church league teams… with me in the lineup (all bat, no arm). It’s just… bad.

Yadi’s throws were scaring me last night. All the errors are terrible. No error is a good error (unless it is made by the opposition… or the Cubs), but seeing Yadi throw the ball away twice in a game just hit a nerve with me. I was good with Berkman being a less than average defender (and he hasn’t embarrassed himself totally out there). I’ve been able to make peace with second base being sub-par (although I think Dirty Danny D, with consistent playing time, could change that). I’ve forced myself to deal with Theriot at short (but that doesn’t mean I like it).

But Yadi throwing balls into the outfield? I can’t handle it. It makes me sick. I take his defense for granted, and dangit, I can’t say that about many players. I need it for someone, and I thought it was him.

More interesting, although rather unsurprising, was Carpenter’s start. I’m not going to say that Carpenter is pitching poorly this year, because he’s obviously not. Last night he threw roughly 110 pitches and 67 strikes over six innings. A roughly 60% strike rate? Not great. Fell behind in the count, walked some guys. He also fussed at a couple of Marlins after Hanley Ramirez made an interesting slide after he was already out at home, the ump called a close play at first against Carp, and when Ramirez reacted after grounding out and Carp got on him about that. Geeze. I honestly just don’t like seeing his hot-headedness come out like that. Nothing good comes of it. Some players become more effective when angry – the anger propels them to perform at their peak. When Carp gets hot-headed he doesn’t really get good results.

People compare Carp’s intensity to Bob Gibson. I hate that comparison, and that’s not a knock to Carpenter so much as it is a rather severe nod to the excellence of Gibson. Dude tried to pitch on a broken leg. He was accused of being surly, crass, and borderline rude. The words I would use to describe Carp (besides intense, obviously)? Fierce is fair, but after that… crabby. No really. When he does things like that, it seems like a hissy fit from an old man yelling at you to get off his lawn to me. I have no idea where that image of Carp came from, but it’s all I see.

This game exhausted me. Thankfully it never felt out of reach. This is a team that has the ability to come back, and they honestly almost did at the end, despite it all. It was just… interesting. I caught this tweet last night, and all I could do was agree…

Early start today – 12:45PM Central. Westbrook is on the hill to hopefully continue to forget his first few starts of the year and continue with the momentum he’s built in his last two outings. Go Cards! :)

Note: Coming up this Saturday is the UCB Progressive Game Blog. It looks like we have drawn the seventh inning, which could mean either we spend our time talking about how great the starting pitching is, how Tony is using the bullpen, hoping the team holds on or cheering for a comeback. Either way, it should definitely be exciting! Head on over to the UCB website to see the entire roster of blogs for the event!

Want To Be An On-Site Reporter?

Okay, here’s the deal – there are five of us running around here on Diamond Diaries. Five fanatic female Cardinal fans. We love our baseball and we love our boys. When the Cardinals come to us and say, “Hey, we’re having a social media night and you all have two free tickets,” we do a little happy dance.

Then we looked at the date. Tuesday, May 17. For the most part we’re all an out of town group, and it’s tough to sneak in to St. Louis on a weeknight (at least during the school year). None of us can use the tickets. Cue the sad trombone.

The good news? Our loss is your gain!

That’s right, we’re giving you a chance to be our representatives for social media night in St. Louis! You will receive…

  • Field Box ticket to the game
  • “Tweet Me In St. Louis” T-Shirt (at left)
  • Access to a Pre-Game Social Hour
  • Bill Ivie will be wandering around with free stuff, but you have to tell him I sent you.
  • You get to touch Matt Sebek’s hair. No really – he said so.

All we ask of you is this…

  • Take a couple pictures! We’re jealous that you can be there, and want to see what we’re missing out on.
  • Be willing to write up a few paragraphs on what you experienced. Did you seriously touch Matt Sebek’s hair (and did you take a picture – this really intrigues me)? Did John Mozeliak come out to give a little talk? Say so! Did you get to shake hands with Matthew Leach or Derrick Goold? Tells us about what you talked about with them! Did a foul ball land three rows in front of you? So close! All we ask is that you email us some thoughts and pictures that we can use here on the site.

How do you get these tickets? I thought you’d never ask…

Give me a story. Some story about someone that had an influence on you as a baseball fan. Maybe you got an autograph from a player after a game. Maybe your dad bought you a foam finger and taught you about how to bunt over a pretzel and nachos. Maybe the bullpen guys tossed you a ball during warmups. Maybe you just met a fellow Cardinals fan on vacation somewhere and stopped to chat for a minute about the team. These things interest me.

Leave your story in the comments section and check back Monday morning to find out if you won! Good luck!

As a more current thoughts of the team type thing to leave you with, I have two little gems. The first is from Emily, who dropped this on Twitter last night -

Also, if you missed it last night, Erika, Emily and I were on the UCB Radio Hour with Bill Ivie last night to talk a little baseball with him. Topics included the ever popular #chickcomments, a possible resurgence of the MV3 from 6-7 years ago, and me telling a story about a mean trick I pulled on Erika last summer. Check it out!

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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! :)

Stories of the Year – UCB Style!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From all of us to all of you…

When Erika came to me during spring training this year with the idea of starting a blog, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Every new opportunity that has presented itself to us over this season was new and exciting, and constantly reminded us why we had jumped into this crazy writing world. We’ve enjoyed everything, from our work with Baseball Digest and i70 Baseball to all of the fun projects that Daniel and the guys over at United Cardinal Bloggers throw our way.

We posted the UCB’s November project last week, which was the Blogger Awards. Our ballot can be found here. The results were posted over the weekend, and imagine our surprise to have picked up two different awards! We are both honored and blessed to have been recognized by the other bloggers as both the most optimistic blog and the rookie blog of the year. You can check out the entire results list here, and if you are not reading all of the other blogs that won various awards, make sure to get them in your readers asap!
It is safe to say that we are thankful for all of you. Whether you are reading our work for the first time or the hundredth, talking about the Cardinals with all of you and hearing your thoughts and responses about various posts and topics is what makes all this hard work worth it. There is no better baseball community than Cardinal Nation, and sharing that love for defensive gems, long home runs and biting curveballs is a joy.
Thank you.
Stay safe this holiday weekend, and keep watching that countdown clock!

2010 Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot

Each year the United Cardinal Bloggers put out postseason awards. Since there were four of us voting, of course we had to make it into a little roundtable back and forth between the four of us, if for no other reason than because it gave us an excuse to chatter about the boys together for a couple days over email!

 

So without further ado, here is our ballot for this year…

Cardinal Bloggers Awards
2010 Ballot

1. Player of the Year
–Matt Holliday – Erika surprised no one with this vote, saying, “Holliday, because I love to watch him. More reasons? Because he rallied back after a dry spell and played like every out mattered to the bitter end. Everyone is going to say Albert because he is Albert. But I think Matt gets a nod here too.”
Albert Pujols – Erika was outvoted. Jacqueline said it best, “Best player in the game from Opening Day to Oct. We are blessed to watch him play. Doesn’t take him half a season to ‘warm up’.”
–Colby Rasmus
–Write-in: _______________

2. Pitcher of the Year
–Chris Carpenter
–Jaime Garcia
Adam Wainwright – Did you even have to ask? Now that he has officially taken home 2nd place in the Cy Young voting, it’s a no brainer who the best pitcher was for the Cards this year… and no, I’m not saying that just because he’s my favorite. This one was unanimous! The announcement yesterday also tripped a clause in his contract that will most likely (provided he does not end 2011 on the DL – please no!!) keep Adam in the birds on the bat through 2013. Consider this our CDD happy dance of the day!
–Write-in: _______________

3. Game of the Year
–April 5 at Cincinnati–Opening Day, 2 HR from Pujols, slam from Molina
–May 30 at Chicago–Pujols three home runs
–July 18 vs. Los Angeles–Five runs in eight and ninth to win
–July 19 vs. Philadelphia–Four home runs
–August 10 at Cincinnati–Brawl, home run from Molina – Well now you know what gets our blood boiling! Erika chimed in with, “Finally we played with real passion and it finally looked like it would propel us into first and keep us there…..Not exactly.” I think all of us in Cardinal Nation had our blood boiling during that series, and to fall flat and not ride that adrenaline high or whatever you want to call it right through to October was a definite letdown after the smackdown the Cards laid on Cincy that weekend.
–Write-in: _________________

4. Surprise Player of the Year – One of the bummers with having 4 votes is that we completely split. While I tried to be the deciding vote in most of these, I couldn’t make it happen here. So here’s our tie!
David Freese – Erika and Jacqueline sat firmly in this camp, with Jacqueline saying, “Complete player. Hot bat, good glove, bad ankles.”
Jaime Garcia – Cadence echoed my thoughts with this one, “Although I knew he would be good, I wasn’t expecting Jaime to come out like this. Awesome to watch.” I absolutely felt the same way. Every time I saw Jaime pitch this year was awesome! I’m looking forward to see him and Waino taking turns shutting down the opposition for many years to come.
–Jon Jay
–Write-in: ________________

5. Disappointing Player of the Year
–Kyle Lohse - Jacqueline
–Dennys Reyes
–Brendan Ryan
–Write-in: Brad Penny – Cadence says, “I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Penny, but not seeing him again after the Grand Slam was a surprise to me. Did anyone know the injury would be that bad? Even Kyle Lohse had surgery and came back (while not necessarily good, he came back). Even better, we hear in the offseason that Penny spent his “hard earned” Cardinal cash on an engagement ring.” Disappointing. Ang agrees, and that became the deciding vote.
Erika did not vote in this one, hysterically (predictably?) saying, “I can’t even answer this one! Calling any of them disappointing would be too mean! Haha Help!!” Don’t worry – we got your back on this one!

6. Rookie of the Year
Jaime Garcia – Another unanimous vote for us. I was pulling for Jaime in spring training to snag that fifth spot in the rotation. I wasn’t exactly expecting him to hold down the third spot for most of the year! It would have been unfair to have such lofty expectations for the 24 year old who was rolling out of Tommy John surgery rehab, so we’ve chalked him up as a “pleasant surprise”… one that we hope to see again in 2011!
–Jon Jay
–Fernando Salas
–Write-in: _________________

7. Acquisition of the Year
–Aaron Miles
–Brad Penny
Jake Westbrook – Jacqueline took the words right out of my mouth when she responded with, “Is this question for real? Brad Penny won four games and spent the rest of the season Dancin with a Star. Miles really didn’t do too badly, just wasn’t a huge game changer. Westbrook could be a good acquisition if he stays a Card.” Guess what? We win!
–Write-in: ________________

8. Biggest Off-Field Story
Jaime Garcia’s shutdown without him knowing – I’m pretty sure that I knew Garcia had been shut down before he did. That’s pretty impressive. Erika’s got a point here, “Hard to pick between this and the Colby story. But the Garcia shutdown was fascinating because it involved how social media and twitter can directly affect the communication (or lack of) within a professional sports team. The fans knew before Jaime? That still amazes me. Do the players like or loathe twitter? A curious question.”
–Mark McGwire’s return to baseball
–Colby Rasmus’s trade request
–Write-in: _____________

9. Most Anticipated Cardinal – Shoot, another split vote. Daniel’s going to be maaaaaad…
Zack Cox – Cadence and Jacqueline went for this year’s number one draft pick, saying, “Supposed to have a major league ready bat. 3rd baseman who might be moved to 2nd. Bring it on!”
–Lance Lynn
Shelby Miller – Last year’s number 1 draft pick spent the year at high A Quad Cities, and Erika and I are waiting to see if he lives up to the hype, but I know we both realllllly want him to.
–Write-in: ________________

10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: C70 – The first blog that comes to mind, and Jacqueline was just kidding when she added, “Very informative-great writing. I could be sucking up.”

11. Best Team Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: PH8 – Each one of the guys over at Pitcher’s Hit Eighth gives a different point of view. Sounds kind of like us!

12. Best Media Blog
–Bird Land - Derrick Goold is probably our collective favorite scribe for the Cardinals, and his depth of research makes every piece worth the read.
–Cardinal Beat
–Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer
–Write-in: _______________

13. Best UCB Project
–Cardinal All-Decade Team
–Progressive Game Blog
Roundtables – Far and away the winner here. Cadence said it best, “While I couldn’t participate every time, I really enjoyed the banter. Cool way to get a lot of bloggers in one place.”
–Write-in: ______________

14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: C70 – We were basically unanimous here, although Jacqueline chipped in with, “We’re Card fans. Even when we’re discouraged or angry, we know it’ll get better. We ain’t the Mets or God help us…the Cubbies.” In that case, we all win this award!

15. Funniest Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: Joe Sports Fan – Is there something amusing going on in the sporting world? Do you need amusing photoshop pictures to brighten a strange situation (the Colby/Tony spat comes to mind)? Are you entertained by people obsessed with mustaches? Matt and Josh have you covered. Trust us – you’ll laugh daily!

16. Rookie Cardinal Blog of the Year
–Cardinal Diamond Diaries
i70baseball - We’ve obviously got a lot of respect for all the hard work that goes into i70 on a daily basis, from the writers to the editors to the *cough* photo gal *cough*. Those of you that read us but not i70… umm… where have you been???
–RetroSimba
–Welcome To Baseball Heaven

–Write-in: _______________
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