2020 Winter Warm-Up Report Day 3

As Geoffrey Chaucer once wrote, “All good things must come to an end,” and so must Winter Warm-Up.  My son and I got to Winter Warm-Up on day 3 around 9:00 AM.  We stopped by Starbucks again for hot beverages and a snack.

We then went to drop off our coats at the coat check booth.  When I ran into my friend Linda the day before, she offered me an autograph ticket for Cliff Politte since she wouldn’t be there until later and he was signing at 9 AM.  I have to admit, I remembered that he played for the Cards but I couldn’t remember when he played.  I Googled Cliff the night before and discovered from BaseballReference.com that Cliff was drafted by the Cards but only pitched for them for one season in 1998. No wonder I didn’t remember when Cliff played for the Cards. My son was a toddler then and he kept me quite busy.

The number on my autograph ticket was 151.  I thought that I would be stuck at the end of the line, but the friendly Cardinals Care volunteers waved me on through, maybe because it was the last day and there were not many people in Cliff’s line.  I had Cliff autograph a baseball that I bought last year to collect autographs.  Miles Mikolas was sitting right next to him, so I got a great photo of Miles.

Our next stop was the Q&A with Jenifer Langosch, the former Cardinals beat writer who is now the MLB.com Senior Content Manager.  Jenifer gave us details on her life and how she started beat writing.  When she began a family, she decided it was time to move on to another baseball position, since beat writing can be grueling.  She is telecommuting in her new position.  Jenifer showed us the MLB.com website and discussed her job duties.  She showed us a website sponsored by MLB that I had never seen before, BaseballSavant.com. Stat geeks will love this website.  Jenifer then answered everyone’s questions and she would have answered more questions, but the Cardinals Care volunteer said it was time for the next presentation and everyone had to leave.

We had an hour to kill before the next presentation, so we went back to the food area on the second floor and grabbed a sandwich.  We then went to the Team Store again to see if there was any new merchandise and if anything had been marked down further.

The presentation at 12:00 PM is one of our favorite presentations and we go to it every year.  It was titled “2019 – A Year in Photos” and the presenter was Taka Yangimoto, the manager of photography for the Cardinals. Mr. Yangimoto talked about the photography staff and how many photos they take every year (in the thousands).  Photographs are used for ticket stubs, promotions, social media, and many other things.  Mr. Yangimoto then showed a slide show of some of the best photos taken last season.  Sadly, however, Jack Flaherty did not make an appearance like he did last year.

After this presentation, we went back to the Main Stage area.  I wanted to see Yadi and Waino.  Scott Warmann and Brad Thompson were the MC’s on the Main Stage.  Kolten Wong was onstage with Scott and Brad, answering their questions.  Kolten brought his Gold Glove with him for all to see.  He had just received it the night before at the Baseball Writers’ Dinner.  Kolten wore a gold bomber jacket to match his Gold Glove, and he also was wearing glasses, which he explained later were just a fashion statement.  Whew! Kolten was signing at 1 PM, so he went to his appointed seat.

Yadi came out from behind the curtain and everyone applauded, but where was Waino?  It turned out that Waino was still in the media room, and Yadi had to FaceTime Waino to get him to show up for duty.  The son insisted we needed to head over to Busch Stadium for the 2:00 PM stadium tour.  So we went over and got our coats, then we left.  I told the son that it wouldn’t take us that long to walk over to Busch Stadium from the Hyatt, but of course, he insisted it would.

We got to Ballpark Village around 1:30 PM. Since we had time to kill, we visited the Fanatics store and looked around.  After we were done there, we still had time to kill, so we walked through FOX Sports Midwest and went to the Team Store to look around.  I was looking for a Cardinals PopSocket for my cell phone case, but they didn’t sell them there.  We finally left and went to Gate 3, where the tour was to start.

My friend Linda and her friends were on the tour with us.  There were about fifteen people in the tour group.  There were two older gentlemen who were our tour guides (and gentlemen, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, but I’ve forgotten your names).  Our first stop was the Cardinals Club, where we could see all of the World Series trophies. Joe Medwick’s Triple Crown trophy was in a glass case behind the bar.

After that, we then walked over to the Redbird Club.  The law firm that I work at has season tickets in the Redbird Club, so I’ve been in there before.  The walls of the Redbird Club have paintings of old baseball cards, and the guide explained that the cards pictured on the walls are from Bill DeWitt, Jr.’s personal baseball card collection.

After we were done at the Redbird Club, we proceeded to the KMOX press box.  The guide explained that the press box is one of the biggest in all of Major League Baseball.  The windows in the press box are vertically cantilevered so they can be opened wide.  Mike Shannon likes the windows open no matter what the weather so radio listeners can hear the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bat.  Mike doesn’t sit on a regular desk chair during broadcasts – he balances on a large red yoga ball.

After we were done viewing the press box, it was time to go down to the first floor.  Our first stop was the Cardinals Club, for season ticket holders that sit behind home base.  Our tour guide told us the price for a season ticket in this section, that you had to buy a minimum of two season tickets, and that you had to sign a contract to purchase them for 7 years.  I would definitely have to win a big Powerball lottery in order to afford those tickets.

Our next stop was the main attraction, the Cardinals locker room. Winter Warm-Up weekend is the only time during the year where the tour includes the Cardinals locker room and that’s why we decided to take the tour.  I felt like I was walking on hallowed ground when we walked in. The tour guide gave us some information about the locker room and then we had our photos taken by a Cardinals photographer in front of Yadier Molina’s locker.  I’ll post the photo at the end of the post underneath my name.  There’s a copyright on the photo, but I hope the Cardinals don’t mind that I post the photo – it’s free publicity for them to get more people to take the tour next year.

After we were done in the locker room, we went into the dugout.  Here are some photos:

The view of the field from the dugout stairs.

The dugout.

Diane in the dugout

The finish on the dugout bench was very worn, probably from all of the players and coaches sitting on it and spilling liquid on it all season.  I would think that it would be refinished in the spring before the season started.

It was then time to go back inside.  We actually got to walk on the warning track and we went back inside via the steps next to the visiting team’s dugout.

We saw some other things and then it was time for the tour to be over. The photos that were taken in the locker room were available for purchase and of course, we purchased them.  It was a nice souvenir of our tour.  Even though it was a cold day, we really enjoyed our tour.

Now that Winter Warm-Up is over, it’s only a few weeks until pitchers and catchers report. Baseball is just around the corner! Some of the players are already working out at the spring training complex.  They can’t wait for spring training and neither can I.

I’m sorry it took me so long to post this post.  Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

My 2020 question for Mo

I interrupt my Winter Warm-Up report series to bring you the following.  Once a year, the United Cardinals Bloggers bloggers are invited to submit questions to Cardinals President John Mozeliak.  Mr. Mozeliak then selects questions to answer.  I was honored to have one of my questions answered, and here is my question and Mo’s answer: […]

2020 Winter Warm-Up Report Day 2

My son and I got on the Metrolink train on Sunday morning. I was hoping to see John Brebbia. When we reached the Emerson Park station, however, I realized that I had forgotten my lanyard with my WWU pass on it at home.  So when we got to the 5th & Missouri stop, we got off the train and went back home to get my pass.  Not a good start to the day.

We had left early enough so that even though we were late, we only missed an hour of WWU.  There were no presentations at 9 AM anyway.  We stopped by Starbucks again to get coffee. I texted the lady that had offered me the Yadi Funko Pop and arranged to meet her at 11 AM by the presentation rooms. We cruised through the vendor room again and the Team Store. My son bought an All-Star Game (the 2020 hockey All-Star Game, that is) cap for $20.00.

The only presentation we attended on Sunday was “Negro Leagues Baseball: 100 Years of History” with Dr. Raymond Doswell of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  It was a very interesting presentation.   Dr. Doswell had a movie to show, but due to technical difficulties, it could not be shown.  However, Dr. Doswell told us everything that was in the movie. I learned enough information to make me realize that a road trip to Kansas City to see the museum in person should be in our future. That would be another “Baseball Road Trip” blog post.

After the presentation, I met up with the lady with the Yadi Funko Pop.  It was not one of the gold or platinum Funko Pops but a normal Yadi Funko Pop.  I liked the normal one better anyway.  I thanked her for giving me little Yadi.  I’m not sure where I’m putting little Yadi yet.  I still have a lot of bobbleheads I need to get display shelves for.

I grabbed a sandwich at the snack bar.  After I ate it, we went into the Main Stage area and watched the Q&A with Cards manager Mike Shildt.  Dan McLaughlin and Mike Claiborne were the questioners.  Mike spoke about the cheating situation in Houston, among other topics. Mike was very open and honest and I could see where he gets the reputation for being a good communicator.

The next session in the Main Stage area was a Q&A with Cards GM Mike Girsch. I went to look at stuff at the Team Store because I mistakenly thought the Q&A didn’t start until 1:30 PM.  I got back in time to hear the last question and answer.

After that, my son wanted to go home to watch the Chiefs-Titans football game.  I really wanted to see Jordan Hicks, but my son whined enough that I gave in and we left. One year, I would really like to go to WWU by myself (and maybe just stay at the Hyatt) so I can stay at WWU as long as I want.

I told you all yesterday that this blog post would be shorter than Day 1’s blog post!  LOL!  Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

 

2020 Winter Warm-Up Report Day 1

Winter Warm-Up Weekend is one of my favorite weekends all winter, second only to Christmas weekend.  It’s a sign that spring training is starting soon and that baseball is not that far away.  At WWU, we see the players in person in normal clothes and interacting with the fans.  There are breakout sessions on Cardinals history and other baseball topics.  You can look through all the memorabilia and items that the vendors have for sale, and you can purchase items from the Cardinals Care store and the Team Store outlet store.  Plus, you can make new Cardinals fan friends.

My son and I rode on the 8:02 AM Metrolink train to St. Louis Saturday morning.  We wanted to get to the Hyatt fairly early because there is always a long line to get in on the first day.  When we got on the train, there was a man sitting across from me with a jacket with an STL logo on it.  I looked at him and said, “Has anyone told you that you look remarkably like Danny Cox?”  “That’s because I am Danny Cox,” he replied.  I had to keep my mouth from dropping to the floor.  Danny was signing at WWU at 9:00 and he said that he was riding the train to St. Louis because it was his wife’s birthday and his son was going to pick him up after his session was over so they could spend the day together.  Danny was very nice and personable.  We spoke about baseball in general and about the mess going on in Houston.  While we were riding through the Mecklenburg Forest (off Highway 161), Danny pointed out some deer and some wild turkeys (he’s an avid hunter).  We parted ways after we got off at the 8th and Pine Metrolink station.

I was amazed that there were still so many autograph tickets available for sale.  Harrison Bader’s tickets sold out on the first day they were available last year, but his tickets were still available, along with many other players’ tickets.  All the free autographs tickets were sold out, however.

Our first stop was the coat check booth on the 4th floor.  After we checked our coats, we took a peek into the Main Stage room.  We then went downstairs to the second floor.  All of the Cardinals Hall of Fame breakout sessions offered the first 50 attendees HOF bobbleheads and I remembered from last year that tickets were handed out.  We wanted to attend the 12:00 PM presentation on Ted Simmons and I wanted to see how early we had to be there to get tickets for the 12 PM bobbleheads. The Cardinals Care folks said arriving an hour before would be fine.

After that, we went into the vendors’ room. Phil picked up some Blues hockey cards and an official puck from the banner raising ceremony. I wanted to wait to get to the Team Store and the Cardinals Care store to spend money. The vendor who had the promotional item giveaways for $5.00 in years past raised his price to $15.00 or 2/$25.00.  Rawlings did not have Kolten Wong’s Golden Glove on display like they did Yadi’s last year, and the Louisville Slugger Museum booth was not there either.

We went back to the Presentation area at 10:55 and inquired about the bobblehead tickets for the 12:00 presentation.  Unfortunately, all the tickets were already spoken for.  No bobblehead is worth waiting 2 hours in line for.  We went to the lunch area on the second floor and grabbed some lunch.  We stopped by the Main Stage area and listened to the Q&A with John Mozeliak until it was time to go to the presentation.

The “Ted Simmons:  A Hall of Fame Career” presentation was by Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum historian Brian Finch.  I have reported on Brian’s presentations and if you haven’t been to one before, you’re missing a great time and you’re missing a great Cardinals history learning experience.  Brian had many slides with fascinating information about Ted that he elaborated on.  Some of these slides had photos of Ted that I’d never seen before.

The next presentation I attended (Phil didn’t want to go) was the 2020 Cardinals Marketing & Promotions presentation with Senior Vice President Dan Farrell.  Dan explained the promotions process and then took questions. I asked about whether the Cardinals would ever go to making ladies carry clear purses like the Blues do.  Dan said that that would probably not happen unless the league offices mandated it.  I was slightly disappointed – in years past, the promotional department would show samples of the promotional items that were going to be distributed and Dan didn’t bring any promotional items. There were discussions about sales of promotional items on eBay.  The Funko Pop Yadi Molina giveaway last Labor Day was discussed and I expressed disappointment that it was on Labor Day when we usually go out of town.  After the presentation, a couple of older ladies pulled me to the side and the one lady said she had a couple of extra Yadi Funko Pops and would I like one?  Of course!  We exchanged cell phone numbers and agreed to meet up the next day.

We went back to the vendor area for a while and then went back up to the Main Stage area to see hunky Harrison Bader.  Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina were on the main stage and those two could have a stand-up routine.  They were hilarious.  When Bengie saw Harrison, he greeted him and said that Harrison knew some Spanish words – tacos, burritos, etc.  The audience and Harrison roared with laughter.

Paul DeJong was supposed to be signing yesterday but he missed his flight. We left at 3 PM to go home and cook an early dinner before we had to come back for the Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals presentation at FOX Sports Midwest Live.

The movie was great.  I encourage you to watch it on MLB Network on January 28, 2020 at 7 PM CST. If you’re a 1980’s Cardinals fan, you will really enjoy it.  The Q&A with Whitey Herzog, John Tudor, Ozzie Smith, and Tommy Herr was also great.  John Tudor in particular complimented the fans, and we applauded him.  The venue, FOX Sports Midwest Live (FSML), was not great, however, and neither were the event organizers.

Tickets to the event were free.  When I clicked through on the Facebook event to order the tickets, it said that the doors opened at 6 PM and that the presentation started at 6:30, which made me assume (mistakenly, I suppose) that it was a private event.  It was not, for when we got to FSML, almost all the tables were full.  In addition, there were several tables with Reserved signs on them. I thought perhaps they were reserved for people who had tickets for the presentation. When we asked about the reserved tables, we discovered that they were reserved for the fight that began at 9 PM.  FSML could have split up the long tables and let people sit at them until after the presentation was over at 8 PM.  Instead, they sat empty the whole time.  We weren’t even allowed to sit our beer bottles on the tables.  A waiter came over to us and told us to remove our beer bottles. Our wristbands (we finally found the booth to check-in) gave us half price drinks until 8 PM  and that was the only thing our wristbands were good for.  If we had been able to sit at a table, we might have ordered more than one drink and we might have even ordered some food.   If I had known that tickets did not equal seats, we would have just walked over from Winter Warm-Up and gotten a table, or I would have called FSML to reserve a table.  My friend who came with us has a torn meniscus and she definitely needed a seat, but we had to stand from 5:50 PM until 8 PM.  This occasion has soured my opinion of FSML to the point that I may never go there again.

I have no more to report on yesterday’s events.  The Day 2 report will be considerably shorter.  LOL!  Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

 

Remember the 1980s Cardinals? Or want to learn more about the running Redbirds?

The calendar has turned to another year and the Cardinals have been busy.  In December, the Cardinals signed free agent LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim. Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment, but then he was then sold to the Rangers.  In January, the Cards traded RF Jose Martinez, LF Randy Arozarena and future considerations (read: draft picks) to Tampa Bay Rays for LHP Matthew Liberatore, C Edgardo Rodriguez and future considerations. Liberatore was one of the Rays’ top prospects.  I can see him replacing Adam Wainwright when he retires. Rodriguez will go to the minor leagues.  But the talk all week has been whether the Cardinals will trade (and who they will trade) for Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado.  The addition of Arenado would solidify the Cards’ infield.

This weekend is the annual Winter Warm-Up.  If you’re a Cardinals fan and you’ve never had the opportunity to attend, you should.  There are lots of excellent break-out sessions, and of course, you will see lots of Cardinals players live and close up.  There are auctions and presentations on the main stage.  I will post updates on the Warm-Up this weekend (Saturday’s post may be late, for reasons explained below).

Now on to the main reason for this post.  MLB Network Productions has a new movie about the 1980s Cardinals. I saw a lot of Cardinals games during the 1980s (thanks to my friend Lisa) and enjoyed them immensely. Here are all the details on the movie:

BIRDS OF A DIFFERENT GAME: THE  ’80S CARDINALS PREMIERES TUESDAY, JANUARY 28 AT 8:00 P.M. ET ON MLB NETWORK

MLB Network Presents Documentary Looks Back on How The 1980s St. Louis Cardinals Dominated the National League

Film Features New Interviews with Hall of Famers Whitey Herzog and Ozzie Smith, Plus Keith Hernandez, Bob Costas, Al Michaels, and Jon Hamm

Following a record-setting 2019 season for home runs in Major League Baseball, MLB Network will look back at how the St. Louis Cardinals played a different brand of baseball to dominate the National League in the 1980s in the latest installment of the MLB Network Presents documentary series, titled Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals. Golden Globe Award-winning actor, Missouri native and lifelong Cardinals fan John Goodman will narrate the one-hour program, which will premiere on Tuesday, January 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET. A trailer for Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals is available here.

In new interviews, Hall of Fame Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, five-time All-Star Keith Hernandez, and former Cardinals Tom Herr, Ken Oberkfell, Terry PendletonJohn Tudor and Andy Van Slyke each describe how the 1980s Cardinals used electrifying speed, outstanding defense, and strong pitching to win three NL pennants and the 1982 World Series championship.

The film highlights how the Cardinals’ style of play, which was nicknamed “Whitey Ball” after Herzog’s managerial style, saw them take advantage of the artificial turf and cavernous outfield at Busch Memorial Stadium to lead the NL in stolen bases for seven consecutive seasons from 1982 – 1987, finish first in NL team fielding percentage in eight different seasons and finish top five in NL team ERA in five different seasons.

2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner Bob Costas, 2007 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Rick Hummel, award-wining broadcaster Al Michaels, Emmy award-winning actor and diehard Cardinals fan Jon Hamm, and longtime author and Cardinals historian Doug Feldmann discuss the impact the Cardinals’ 1980s turnaround made on the city of St. Louis as Busch Memorial Stadium became a “sea of red” and fans came to the ballpark in record-setting fashion. Signature moments of the Cardinals’ run are highlighted throughout the film, including the 1982 World Series victory against the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games; Ozzie Smith’s famous walk-off home run to win Game Five of the 1985 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Don Denkinger’s infamous blown call in Game Six of the 1985 World Series that changed the course of the Cardinals’ matchup against the Kansas City Royals.

And if you can’t wait until January 28 to see this movie, I have great news for you.  MLB Network is premiering this movie Saturday night (1/18/20) at FOX Sports Midwest Live at Ballpark Village at 6:30 PM.  The movie will be shown, and then there will be a question and answer session with Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith, Tommy Herr, and my favorite pitcher from the 1980s, John Tudor. You know darn well that I will be there.  Admission is free, but you must have a ticket, and you can get them here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/birds-of-a-different-game-the-80s-cardinals-tickets-89306264441?aff=FBevent&fbclid=IwAR251hH6w-CaXU5hOZVRt_nal-8LfM0GLiHlFusoJaOFmLU4_310BxrRV4E  The doors open at 6 PM, so get there early to get a good seat! If you see me at Winter Warm-Up or at the movie premiere, please feel free to come up and say hi! I would love to meet those who read this blog.

That’s all for now! Thanks as always for reading!

Diane

 

A WWLCB visit to Santa Claus

I felt a little awkward standing in line with all the kids and their parents.  My kids have long since grown and I have no grandchildren to take to visit Santa. But surely as long as I still believed in Santa, he would listen to my gift requests and take care of them, wouldn’t he?   I was about to find out.

(I step forward to see Santa.)

Santa (SC):     Ho ho ho! Who’s next?

WWLCB (DMS):   (smiles) Hello Santa!

SC:            You’re a little tall to sit on my lap, I believe.

DMS:         (giggles) Yes, I am.  I’ll just kneel right here.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back up when I’m done.

SC:            Ho ho ho! I know about that.  My old bones and joints need a couple of days rest after I deliver all those presents on Christmas Eve.  So, what would you like for Christmas, young lady?

DMS:         Bless your heart, Santa. I haven’t been a young lady for years, but I’ll take that compliment.  Actually, I don’t need anything for myself.  I have a few requests about the St. Louis Cardinals, however.

SC:             Cardinals baseball?  We tried to play baseball at the North Pole, but the snowballs fell apart as soon as we hit them.  But I do enjoy watching baseball on TV.  I have MLB.TV and all the games are out-of-market so I can watch them all.  What are your requests?

DMS:        (pulls out a list from her pocket) Here we go.

Harrison Bader needs to learn how to hit.  He has great speed on the base paths, and he is an elite centerfielder, but his hitting needs improvement.

Speaking of hitting, the Cards’ bats have been really anemic, especially during the playoffs.  They had games where they would score lots of runs and then the next game, they would hardly score at all.  The hitting needs to be more consistent.

It appears that Marcell Ozuna will not be returning to the Cardinals next season.  I would like to request a quality left fielder as his replacement without the loss of too many prospects or money.

Matt Carpenter’s throwing arm needs a rejuvenation.  I cringe every time he throws to first base.

Carlos Martinez needs to get his shoulder strong enough to rejoin the starting rotation.  And while we’re at it, please give him the ability to not get the jitters in case of a pitching mistake.  He can be too emotional.

Santa, could the Cardinals please win their 12th World Series in 2020?  It’s been almost 10 years since the Cards have won a World Series.  We miss championship baseball in St. Louis.

Last but not least, could you please contact the Modern Era Committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame and get Ted Simmons elected to the Hall of Fame?  I wrote 3 blog posts to the Modern Era Committee and he only missed getting in by one vote last time.  I worry about Ted – I’ve seen him lately and he doesn’t look well.  He needs to be elected to the Hall of Fame before something happens to him.  If Ted does get elected, I need money to attend the induction ceremony.

(The kids in the line are starting to get whiny since I’m taking too long talking to Santa.)

SC:          (chuckles) My goodness, that’s a very long list.  And your requests are very specific. I can’t promise you everything, but I will do my very best to do what I can to make your Christmas very merry.  (Santa reaches into a basket.)  Everyone who sees Santa gets a candy cane and you are no exception.  Merry Christmas Diane!

DMS:       (gets up slowly from her knees) Wait, I didn’t tell you my name.  How did you know –

SC:           Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas! (Santa’s elf escorts me to the door and I exit.)


Would you like to be Santa’s helper for some good girls and boys?  The Cardinals will be holding their fourth annual gift drive this Wednesday, December 4, 2019, from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  You can drop off an unwrapped toy or a gift card at the ticket windows on the 8th Street side of Busch Stadium.  You can drive up and Santa’s helpers will come to your car window to pick up your toy/gift card. In reward for your generosity, you will receive a cup of hot chocolate and a gift from the Cardinals – last year, the gift was a Marty pass, which grants the recipient two free tickets to a Cardinals game from Monday through Thursday, with some exceptions. A portion of the toys and gift cards will be given out by Fredbird during Breakfast with Santa at Scott Air Force Base, hosted by the American Red Cross.  The remaining gifts will be distributed to select Cardinals Care partner agencies including Angels’ Arms, Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center, Southside Early Childhood Center, The James Project, Youth in Need and Marygrove throughout the holiday season. A win-win for you and for the kids! For more information, go here:  cardinals.com/giftdrive.

I hope Santa brings you what you want for Christmas! Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

A heartfelt letter to the Modern Baseball Era Committee, Part 3

WOMEN WHO LOVE CARDINALS BASEBALL
mlblogswomenwholovecardinalsbaseball.wordpress.com
Diane Schultz, Founder

2009 ⁘ TENTH ANNIVERSARY ⁘ 2019

November 14, 2019

Modern Era Committee
National Baseball Hall of Fame
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY  13326

Re:    Ted Lyle SimmonsSimba1
Position:  Catcher
Teams:    St. Louis Cardinals, 1968-1980
Milwaukee Brewers, 1981-1985
Atlanta Braves, 1986-1988

Dear Committee Members:

I previously wrote two blog posts to you in 2017 when the Modern Era Committee last met to convince you to place Ted Simmons on the Modern Era Committee ballot and to elect him to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  To refresh your memories, you can find these posts here and here.  Sadly, however, Mr. Simmons missed being elected to the Hall of Fame by only one vote. So close and yet so far!  I was pleased to see, however, that Mr. Simmons was one of the nominees on the 2019 Modern Era Committee ballot.

The purpose of this letter is to further convince the Committee that Mr. Simmons is a worthy candidate for immortality in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I went into great detail in my previous two letters as to Mr. Simmons’ statistics and numbers and I would refer you to those letters to review.  Those numbers are concrete and cannot be changed.

Per an article here, Mr. Simmons is in second place for the most RBIs by a catcher and first place is held by none other than Yogi Berra.  Mr. Simmons drove in more runs than Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez, who are all already immortals.   Mr. Simmons also finished second in doubles at his position, with Mr. Rodriguez in first place.  Mr. Simmons was also a switch hitter, which makes him a rarity among catchers. Mr. Simmons’ hitting prowess won him the Silver Slugger in 1980, and he was also an eight-time All-Star.

Mr. Simmons also has longevity on his side.  He played for 20 years, from 1968 to 1988.  Being a catcher is rough on a player’s body.  Just ask Yadier Molina, my other favorite Cardinals catcher, who has played for 15 years as of this writing.  Only two more catchers have played more games than Mr. Simmons – Carlton Fisk and Ivan Rodriguez.

Although not a statistic used during Mr. Simmons’ career, his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has been calculated at 50.3, which makes him one of nine catchers with a WAR over 50. All of the other catchers have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is past time for Mr. Simmons to join his fellow catchers in the Hall.  The Hall of Fame catchers’ fraternity needs a new member.

By my calculations, the next Modern Era Committee will be meeting in 2021.  Mr. Simmons is currently 70 years old.  Please induct him into the Baseball Hall of Fame while he’s still living so he can enjoy the ceremony.  If Mr. Simmons’ speech at his Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremony is any indication (you can read about that here) is any indication, his Hall of Fame induction speech will be very entertaining and exciting.

Mr. Simmons is already a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  I and Mr. Simmons’ other fans would rejoice at the opportunity to witness Mr. Simmons’ induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  I will be awaiting the results of the Modern Era Committee’s election on December 8 and if Mr. Simmons is selected, it will be one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received.  I will then start making plans to attend Mr. Simmons’ induction in person, even if I have to max out my credit cards to do so.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of Mr. Simmons for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Please accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!

                                                                                                  Very truly yours,

                                                                                                  /s/ Diane M. Schultz

                                                                                                  Diane M. Schultz

Bibliography:

“The case ‘for’ and ‘against Simmons for HOF,” Sarah Langs, https://www.mlb.com/cardinals/news/ted-simmons-hall-of-fame-case

“Ted Simmons,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Simmons

Baseball road trip: Louisville Slugger Museum

Now that baseball is officially over for the season, it’s time to do other things, like take a road trip.  Our family decided to take a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum. Since this is a baseball blog, I won’t talk about the Kentucky Derby Museum except to mention that it was very interesting. The museum is very well done and I learned a lot.

This was actually not my first visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum.  My son and I drove to Louisville in April 2018 to see Newsboys UNITED, since they were not playing anywhere near us. We decided to stop by the museum on our way to the hotel we were going to stay in.  We were short of time and money to take the museum tour, but we looked around at the rest of the museum and we decided that someday we would return to take the factory tour.  The Louisville Slugger Museum had a booth at the Winter Warm-Up in January, and if you signed up for their email list, you received a pass for two free factory tours.  This was our impetus to return, and I bugged my hubby all year to go until he finally caved in.  You can’t let a good deal like that expire.

We went to the Kentucky Derby Museum in the morning. We then went to lunch and made our way to the Louisville Slugger Museum, driving up 4th Street through the University of Louisville campus, then the Spaulding University campus, and finally, the beautiful old homes in Old Louisville.

The bat on the outside of the museum is so big it takes two photos to show it!

We parked at a private lot on 9th Street for only $6.00.  We arrived in time to get tickets for the 12:00 PM factory tour.  We wanted to add the bat vault tour, where you can see bats designed by legendary players, but sadly, tickets for the bat vault tour were sold out for the day.

Our tour guide’s name was Kate.  She was very knowledgeable. She mentioned at the beginning of the tour that we were not allowed to take photos or videos of the tour. The factory tour began with a movie that talked about the Hillerich & Bradsby Company (the parent company of Louisville Slugger)’s beginnings in 1884.  There is a forest in Pennsylvania where the trees grown there are used specifically for bats.  The tree selection process was discussed in the movie.

After the movie, we went into the factory. The selected trees are debarked and made into cylinders called billets. One tree can make up to 60 billets. Kate mentioned that less than 15% of these billets are made into bats for professional players.  Bats are made from ash, maple and birch wood. These woods have different qualities when they are made into bats. Some players come directly to the factory to select billets they want to be made into bats, including Christian Yelich.

The next step is to put the bat on a lathe, which smoothes out the surface. It takes 48 seconds to put a bat through the lathe. The bats have knobs at each end, called bat nubs, so they don’t move during the lathe process. The next step is to cut the bat nubs off of the bats and sand the ends.  You will see some bats with an indentation at the end and that is called the cutback.

The next step in bat production is the imprinting of the logo and names on the bats.  After that, the bats are finished, either by painting or staining the bats, and then putting a clear acrylic finish on the bat to give them a shiny finish.  There were baskets of bat nubs and we could take some nubs for a souvenir.  Phil and I both took a nub.

Our tour ended in a room with photos of players that used Louisville Sluggers.  One of the photos was of one of my all-time favorite Cardinals, Lou Brock.

Kate took questions from the tour guests at the end of the tour.  We then picked up our souvenir mini-Louisville Slugger bats.  After that, we went into the museum to look at the displays.  There were some interesting Lego sculptures, including a sculpture of one of my favorite places on earth, Busch Stadium.

Here’s a photo of a large glove, made of granite. Next to the granite glove is a batting cage, where you can pay to attempt to hit a baseball.

After we were done looking at all the displays, we went into the lobby where you can view wooden blocks with signatures of all of the players who have used Louisville Slugger bats, and these were grouped by decades. It was fun trying to find our favorite players.

We then went into the gift shop where I purchased yet another refrigerator magnet (my favorite vacation souvenir – they are inexpensive but useful) and a mouse pad.  My son bought some baseball cards, and in those packs were some lovely Cardinals baseball cards.  It was a nice end to a great tour.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum for anyone who loves baseball and who is interested in how things work.  If you would like to find out more about the museum, you can visit their website at http://www.sluggermuseum.com.

In other news, six Cardinals players were nominated for Gold Glove awards, but only Kolten Wong won the Gold Glove.  As you know, the fans vote for the Platinum Glove awards.  The nominees for the Platinum Glove awards are the Gold Glove winners, so you can select Kolten to win the Platinum Glove. You can vote for the Platinum Glove Award here:  https://www.rawlings.com/.

That’s all for now!  Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Diane

News and views

The World Series started this week, but as you know, the Cardinals are not playing in it.  The juggernaut known as the Washington Nationals swept the Cardinals in 4 games.  The Cards’ bats tried to get hot in game 4, but it was too little, too late.  The Cards’ bats appeared to still be in Atlanta after game 5, in which they scored 13 runs.  Like many of the series in the regular season, the Cards overscored in one game and didn’t score many, if any runs, the next few games.  The Cardinals’ stellar defense and great pitching got them to the NLCS, but the lack of hitting caused them not to get to the World Series.  I was so hoping for a St. Louis Stanley Cup and a World Series title in the same year.  Maybe next year?

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend two games during the playoffs.  As mentioned in my last blog post, I was given two tickets to NLDS Game 4.  I also was able to attend Game 1 of the NLCS in St. Louis, which is the first NLCS game I have ever attended.  I won tickets from T-Mobile, my cell phone provider.  That was a mighty cold evening, and although the box seats were great, the Cardinals lost.

I don’t feel so bad that the Nationals swept the Cards, after seeing how they are beating up on the Astros.  Speaking of the Astros, I’m sure you’ve heard about the controversy concerning now-former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman.  For those who missed it, after the Astros won the ALCS, Taubman was in a room with three women reporters, one of which was Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein. He shouted, “Thank God we got Osuna. I’m so f___ glad we got Osuna!” Osuna, of course, is Roberto Osuna, who served a 75 game suspension for assaulting his girlfriend. One of the reporters was wearing a purple domestic violence bracelet.  To make matters worse, the Astros’ front office waffled and tried to sweep the incident under the rug.  Apparently, the Astros have finally come to their senses and have fired Taubman. More details about this incident can be found in the article here.  I’m sure glad Jeff Luhnow left the Cardinals.  Now if only he had been smart enough to change his password when he got to Houston, the Cards wouldn’t have had to go through Hackergate.  This is the 21st century. Women reporters and bloggers are in locker rooms and clubhouses now and men really need to act like gentlemen and watch how they talk.  Teams need to own up to what their employees are doing and saying and take prompt action when things go bad rather than deny them and try to blame the victims.

Now for some good news!  The Gold Glove finalists were announced today and the Cardinals have the most finalists of all the National League teams.  The Cardinals’ Gold Glove finalists are Yadier Molina, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong, Harrison Bader, and surprisingly, Jack Flaherty.  This is a reflection of the Cards’ shining defense.  I think Yadi and Kolten are shoo-ins for the Gold Glove.  The Platinum Glove finalists should be announced in the next few days.

Well, I think I’ve said enough for now.  Since this is the off-season, I won’t be blogging as much as during the season.  Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

 

 

Onward and forward to the NLCS!

Since it took 162 games for the Cardinals to win the National League Central (with some help from the Colorado Rockies – thanks, guys!), I shouldn’t have been surprised that it took all 5 games for the Cards to beat the Braves and win the NLDS.  The scores of all the games were close with the exception of Game 5.  Sunday’s game was especially heartbreaking, with Adam Wainwright pitching a masterpiece but Carlos Martinez giving up a home run to lose the game.  I really thought the Cards were done.

Then came Game 4 on Monday.  The marketing director at work stopped me on the way back to my desk on Monday around 1:55 PM to tell me that she had 2 tickets to the game and asked if I wanted to go.  Free tickets to an NLDS game?  You don’t have to ask me twice!  I went back to my desk, clocked out, changed into my sneakers and grabbed my purse. Since the building our law firm is in is only two blocks from Busch Stadium, I got there just in time to see Paul Goldschmidt’s and Marcell Ozuna’s home runs in the bottom of the first.  Yadi the G.O.A.T. became Yadi the hero in the bottom of the 10th inning with a sacrifice fly to bring Kolten Wong home to win the game.  Kolten ran like his hamstring had never been hurt. What a game! Hope was renewed.

Then came Game 5. I was so hoping that the Cards would not have to go back to Atlanta to face the tomahawk chop and those annoying Braves fans.  Well, at least the Braves fans didn’t throw beer bottles at the Cardinals on the field like they did during the wild card game in 2012.  And the Braves did not give fans the foam tomahawks, thanks to Ryan Helsley’s remarks (Helsey is half Cherokee). The Cards scored 10 runs in the first inning.  Jack Flaherty pitched a great game and even nicked Ronald Acuna, Jr., who mouthed off all the way to first base even with Yadi escorting him. And in the first inning, Matt Carpenter told Mike Shildt that one of the best defensive players in the National League was sitting on the bench.  Carp told Mike to take him out and put Bader in.  What a selfless guy and a great teammate!

And now for the first time since 2014, the Cardinals will be playing in the NLCS!  They will be playing the Nationals, and it’s the first time the Nats have made it to the NLCS. Matt Adams will be in the NLCS again. Sadly, however, since the Nats beat the Dodgers, my MLB playoff bracket is busted.  I was so hoping the Dodgers would win since the Cards seem to have the Dodgers’ number in the playoffs and especially Clayton Kershaw’s number, who imploded last night.

Since the Cards won the division and the Nats were the wild card. the Cards will have home field advantage in the NLCS.  Games 1, 2, and 6 and 7 (if necessary) will be played in St. Louis. Miles Mikolas will start tomorrow night and Adam Wainwright will pitch Saturday afternoon, with Jack Flaherty pitching on Monday and Dakota Hudson on Tuesday in Washington.  Will you be attending either (or both) Games 1 and 2?  If so, here are all the details:

2019 NLCS GAMES ONE AND TWO DETAILS — CARDINALS VS. NATIONALS

St. Louis and Washington Meet in Playoffs For Second Time, First Time Since Cardinals 2012 NLDS Win

For the first time since 2014, the St. Louis Cardinals have advanced to the National League Championship Series.  The Redbirds begin a best-of-seven series tomorrow against the Wild Card winning Washington Nationals, who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in their Division Series matchup three games to two.  A very limited amount of NLCS tickets are available at cardinals.com/postseason.  Fans wishing to obtain tickets are strongly encouraged to purchase verified tickets on the team’s website or from the club’s official online marketplace, StubHub.  Fans are also encouraged to arrive early to the ballpark to allow everyone to be in their seats by the start of the games.  Below are details for the NLCS series against the Nationals.

NLCS Game 1 — Friday, October 11, 2019 — Busch Stadium (7:08 PM CT)

TV: TBS; Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

Gates open at 4:35 PM

Official Cardinals Pregame Pep Rally:

  • 4:00–6:00 PM on the Missouri Lottery Outdoor Stage/Busch II Infield at Ballpark Village

         Music, entertainment and appearances by DJ Todd Thomas, Cardinals Organist Dwayne Hilton, Fredbird, Team               Fredbird, and Cardinals Alumni with prize and ticket giveaways!

Red & Navy Rally Towel Giveaway: 40,000 fans entering with a ticket.  Presented by SSM Health.

Pregame Field Ceremonies:

  • Introduction of the St. Louis Cardinals & Washington Nationals
  • Outfield Flag by Fort Leonard Wood
  • National Anthem performed by Charles Glenn
  • Ceremonial First Pitches by Cardinals Hall of Famers Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen

NLCS Game 2 — Saturday, October 12, 2019 — Busch Stadium (3:08 PM CT)

TV: TBS; Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

Gates open at 12:35 PM

Official Cardinals Pregame Pep Rally:

  • 12:00-2:00 PM on the Missouri Lottery Outdoor Stage/Busch II Infield at Ballpark Village

         Music, entertainment and appearances by DJ Todd Thomas, Cardinals Organist Dwayne Hilton, Fredbird, Team               Fredbird, and Cardinals Alumni with prize and ticket giveaways!

Red & Navy Rally Towel Giveaway: 40,000 fans entering with a ticket.  Presented by Ameren Missouri & Ameren Illinois.

Pregame Field Ceremonies:

  • Colors presented by Navy Talent Acquisition Group – Mid-America Color Guard
  • National Anthem performance by Retired Naval Petty Officer, 1st Class, Generald Wilson
  • Ceremonial First Pitches by Cardinals Alumni Danny Cox and John Tudor

Below is the TV and radio station information for Games 3 through 7:

NLCS Game 3 — Monday, October 14, 2019 — Nationals Park (TBD)

TV: TBS;  Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

NLCS Game 4 — Tuesday, October 15, 2019 — Nationals Park (TBD)

TV: TBS; Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

NLCS Game 5 — Wednesday, October 16, 2019 — Nationals Park (TBD)* (if necessary)

TV: TBS ; Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

NLCS Game 6 — Friday, October 18, 2019 — Busch Stadium (TBD)* (if necessary)

TV: TBS;  Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

NLCS Game 7 — Saturday, October 19, 2019 — Busch Stadium (TBD)* (if necessary)

TV: TBS; Postgame: FOX Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120 AM, WIJR 880 AM (Spanish)

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane