The top 5 Cardinals stories of 2011

It’s that time of year again – time for the “Best ____ of 2011” lists.  Below is my list on the top 5 Cardinals stories of 2011.  Your mileage may vary, so comment below if you agree or disagree.

1.  2011 World Series Championship

If you had asked me in the middle of August whether I thought the Cardinals would win the World Series this year, I would have laughed in your face.  After all that happened in the 2011 season, who would have thought they would win the World Series?  It was destiny, written in Heaven by a benevolent God who must enjoy baseball.  How else do you explain a September Cards surge/Braves swoon, or the Rally Squirrel, the dramatic comeback in Game 6, or a fortuitous rainout that allowed Chris Carpenter to pitch Game 7?

2.  Albert leaves the Cardinals and signs with the Angels

Contract talks broke off between the Cards and Pujols before the season began, which led to a season of speculation – would Albert stay or would he go?  Albert did indeed leave and signed a 10 year contract with the Angels.  There are not too many people upset about Albert leaving, however.  Not signing Albert means there is money available to sign other players such as Carlos Beltran, etc.  At least Albert will be playing in the American League, where the Cards won’t be facing him unless they play the Angels in interleague play or the World Series.  Wouldn’t playing the Angels in the World Series be divine justice?

3.  Tony LaRussa retires

Cardinals fans were still aglow about the World Series win when Tony announced his retirement.  It was like a bubble had been burst.  The Cardinals manager with the longest tenure was retiring.  Love him or hate him, you have to wish him well for the future and congratulate him on what he accomplished while managing the Cardinals.

4.  Mike Matheny named manager

Surprisingly, the Cardinals named the candidate with the least amount of managerial experience to be the manager.  This puzzled many Cardinals fans.  But those of us who remember Mike as a player know that he had a great deal of experience running the game from that position behind home plate.  He has a great rapport with players and coaches from his playing days here.  I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

5.  Adam Wainwright’s season-ending injury in spring training

Imagine how different the season might have been if Adam hadn’t injured his elbow.  The Cards could have won the division outright rather than sneaking in via the wild card.  Tony probably wouldn’t have to use the bullpen in middle relief so often.  With Adam pitching, the playoff series would have ended earlier, since he would win one game in each series.

The 2011 season was anything but boring.  I’m looking forward to the Cardinals’ 2012 season and perhaps 12 in 12?  Thanks for reading!  I wish for you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!



The St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series Collector’s Edition 8 disc DVD review and contest!

Congratulations to Mike Wald, Corey Chapman and Mary Jane Lindley, the winners of the Blu-ray 2011 World Series Champions DVD set! As promised, here is my review of the 8 disc 2011 World Series Collector’s Edition. This set is definitely for the hardcore baseball/Cardinals fan. This set is available only on regular DVD only and not on Blu-ray.

Each game of the World Series is commemorated on its own DVD.  The exterior cover for each DVD contains the length of the game, the starting pitchers, the temperature at game time, the attendance, the line score (on the front), the complete box score (on the back), and various factoids.  The interior cover contains the scoring summary for each inning.

Each game DVD starts out with an advertisement for the Hot Stove show on MLB Network.  There is a montage of World Series games.  Then the menu for the DVD appears. You have 3 options – Play Ball!, which takes you directly to the Fox broadcast, Inning Selection, in which you can go directly to the inning you want to watch, and Audio Set-Up, in which you can select either the Cardinals’ radio announcers or the Rangers’ radio announcers to call the game.  In the Audio Set-Up selection, you can also select whether you want to listen in English or Espanõl.  Once you select the audio set up, you click on main menu and then you can select Play Ball!

Disc 8 has the bonus features.  The exterior cover has the World Series line score and various factoids.  The interior cover has the World Series stats and the World Series pitching stats.  The bonus material appears to be the same as on the main DVD of the other 2 World Series sets.

Now on to the contest! The folks at A&E/MLB Productions have been gracious to allow me to give away one DVD set.  I will permit previous winners to participate in this contest.  The first person to answer this question is the winner:  Chris Carpenter joined _________, ___________, and ___________ as Cardinals pitchers to make three starts in a single World Series championship.  Fill in the blanks and e-mail your answers, name and mailing address to no later than 9 PM on 12/22/11. Good luck!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!  And may the Cardinals win a 12th championship in 2012!


2011 World Series Blu-Ray DVD review and contest!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 World Series DVD set that I reviewed in my last post!   The winners are Amy Reynolds, David Peery, Jr. and Chris Hays. I hope you are enjoying your DVD’s!

I am now in possession of the Blu-Ray version of the 2011 World Series DVD.  There is only one disc, but since it’s Blu-Ray, there are additional features that are not on the regular edition.  They include a segment from “This Week in Baseball” with Lance Berkman, and the “Prime 9” episode with Tony LaRussa.  It also contains everything from the 2 DVD set, but all is in high definition.  I note the following on the DVD case:  “These games include every pitch from the original broadcast feeds.  They may contain minor video and audio imperfections that are inherent in the broadcast-quality feeds.” So that explains the audio static in the broadcast of NLDS Game 5 that I heard in the DVD set.  This DVD has 4 hours of material on it.

My friends at A&E have graciously given me 3 Blu-Ray DVD’s to give away to 3 lucky winners.  Previous winners are not eligible.  I am in the Christmas spirit, so I will only make you answer one trivia question to win.  So here is the question – how many flags are on this year’s World Series trophy?  The first 3 people to send the answer to no later than 9 AM on December 15, 2011 will get their very own copy of the Blu-Ray DVD.  Good luck! In case you don’t win and you want one, click here to purchase one:

In my next post I will review the creme de la creme of the World Series DVD sets, the 8 disc 2011 World Series Champions Collectors Edition DVD set. Stay tuned!