The 2016 Cardinals Blogger Awards – my votes

voteI’ve had a while to get over the fact that the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs, and that those pesky Cubs won the World Series instead of Cleveland.  However, I walk across the street from Busch Stadium on my way to the Metrolink station every day, and seeing all the flags at the stadium put away for the winter makes me sad.  But life goes on, and on this Election Eve, it’s now time for the 2016 Cardinals Blogger Awards.  You are invited to vote for the 2016 Blogger Awards until November 18, 2016 (that’s my birthday, BTW), and here’s the link for you to cast your ballot:  2016 Cardinals Blogger Award Ballot. My selections in each of these categories are listed below, but don’t let that affect your vote. 🙂

1) Player of the Year
–Matt Carpenter
X Aledmys Diaz
–Yadier Molina
–Brandon Moss
–Write-in: _______________

Jhonny Peralta got hurt (what’s new?).  Aledmys took over and took off like a rocket. If Aledmys hadn’t gotten hit by an Andrew Cashner pitch, he may have been one of the candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year. I’m looking forward to seeing what Aledmys can do in seasons to come.

2) Pitcher of the Year
X Carlos Martinez
–Seung-hwan Oh
–Alex Reyes
–Write-in: _______________

As Adam Wainwright faltered early in the season and had a rough stretch in August, Carlos took over the position of ace on the staff.  He had a 16-9 record, the best record of the staff.  His pitches and the speed of his pitches were wicked.  I can’t wait to see how he pitches next season.

3) Game of the Year
April 8 at Braves (three PH HR)
April 14 at Brewers (Garcia 1 hit, 13 K)
 X  July 16 vs. Marlins (Adam Wainwright shutout)
July 22 vs. Dodgers (Matt Adams home run in 16th)
July 27 at Mets (snapping Famila’s save streak)
August 5 vs. Braves (Jaime Garcia 8 scoreless, 11 K)
August 8 vs. Reds (5 run 9th)
August 14 at Cubs (Piscotty tiebreaking homer)
September 9 at Pittsburgh (three HR in 9th)
October 1 vs. Pittsburgh (rally plus Gyorko winning homer)
–Write-in: ____________

The July 16 game was a magical game in a season that was less than magical. Adam Wainwright pitched one of the games of his career in front of his teammates from the 2006 World Series who had come to town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cards’ World Series win.  Waino showed he could still pitch like a master.

4) Surprise Player of the Year
–Matt Bowman
_ Aledmys Diaz
X  Jedd Gyorko
–Brandon Moss
–Write-in: ______________

I’m sure we all thought “Jedd who?” when we heard that Mo had traded Jon Jay to the Padres.  Jedd showed his grit and his moxie as he hit home runs when it counted.  The Cards got the best end of that deal, especially when Jay got injured and was out most of the season.

5) Disappointing Player of the Year
–Trevor Rosenthal
–Adam Wainwright
_ Michael Wacha
–Kolten Wong
 X Write-in: Mike Leake

I was going to select Kolten Wong, but he didn’t play enough to give a good sample size.  Mike Leake got my only write in vote instead.  There was a great deal of hoopla when he was signed, and it was hoped he would help with the team since Lance Lynn was out after Tommy John surgery, but he only had a 9-12 record and a 4.69 ERA.  Hopefully, Leake will pitch better next year.

6) Rookie of the Year
–Aledmys Diaz
–Seung-hwan Oh
X Alex Reyes
–Luke Weaver
–Write-in: ______________

Brought up mid-season, Reyes quickly impressed and ended up with a 1.54 ERA, which was the best ERA on the pitching staff.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Reyes will pitch during a full season.

7) Acquisition of the Year
–Zach Duke
–Jedd Gyorko
–Mike Leake
X Seung-hwan Oh
–Write-in: ______________

Oh was the best player that Mo picked up last winter.  Oh was originally signed for eighth inning relief, but he flourished in the closer role when Trevor Rosenthal got hurt.  “Stone Buddha” is one of Oh’s nicknames and if you watch him pitch, you see why.  There is no emotion on Oh’s face when he pitches.

8) Most Anticipated Cardinal
–Harrison Bader
–Austin Gomber
–Delvin Perez
–Rowan Wick
–Write-in: _______________

I don’t follow the minors all that much, so I don’t feel qualified to answer this question.

9) Best Individual Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: _____________

I love all the UCB blogs equally, so I don’t want to play favorites.  I respectfully decline to vote in this category.

10) Best Team Cardinal Blog
X Write-in: Cards Conclave

CC was founded by UCB head honcho Daniel Shoptaw, and he and several other writers share their thoughts about the Cardinals there.  Many different voices in one location – you can’t beat it.

11) Best Media Coverage
X Derrick Goold

–Benjamin Hochman
–Jenifer Langosch
–Bernie Miklasz
–Jose de Jesus Ortiz
X Rob Rains
–Write-in: ______________

A tie here, but I selected them for different reasons.  Derrick is great on Twitter and very responsive to followers who tweet at him.  His columns are informative and well written. Rob does a great job covering the Cardinals on his (and wife Sally’s) website STLSportsPage.com.  Rob has great analysis.

12) Post of the Year
–”Cardinals Find Perfect Timing as Playoff Hopes Crash”–Bill, I70 Baseball
XThe Kolten Wong Situation”–Daniel, C70 At The Bat
–”Lou Brock, the Lucrative Acquisition Fleet Footed All-Star Societal Difference Maker”–Josey, The Redbird Retreat
–”Not Our Year”–Diane, Women Who Love Cardinal Baseball
X Worrying What the Flash Means: How We Talk About Race in Baseball”–Chase, Double Birds
–Write-in: _______________

I will take Proverbs 27:2 to heart (Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth, A stranger, and not your own lips.), and not vote for my own post.  I found myself liking two of the other posts equally well.  Daniel’s post took Rob Rains’ interview with Kolten Wong and expanded upon it.  Chase’s post covers the race problems in today’s game and is very well written.

13) Best UCB Podcast
X Bird Seeds (video)

–Conversations With C70
–The Double Birds Podcast
–Gateway To Baseball Heaven
–Meet Me At Musial
–STL CardGals
–Talking About Birds
–UCB Radio Hour
–Write-in: _________________

Okay, I admit, I don’t listen to many podcasts, but I have watched Bird Seeds and it’s very enjoyable.  Video podcasts are the future of podcasts and Tara does a very good job with Bird Seeds.

14) Best Non-UCB Podcast
–Best Podcast in Baseball
–Cards on Cards
–Cubs Cards Cast
–St. Louis Cardinals Extras (MLB.com)
–Two Birds on a Bat
–Viva El Birdos
–Write-in: _________________

As mentioned above, I don’t have much time to listen to podcasts, so I have no vote for this category.  Sorry about that.

15) Best Podcaster
–Write-in: _________________

Another category in which I don’t feel qualified to vote.

16) Best UCB Twitterer
X Write-in: @CardinalsTales

Bob Netherton (a/k/a Big Green Bob) is my favorite UCB Twitter guy.  He doesn’t write many blog posts, but that’s okay because short-form writing is his best game.  He tells it like it is and doesn’t mince words or characters when it comes to the Cards.  If he’s in the mood, he will post what he calls Twitter Tales, where he takes a classic Cards game and posts it on Twitter, 140 characters/letters at a time.  When he’s not expounding on the Cards, he posts Twitter posts with photos of yummy food cooked on his Big Green Egg barbecue grill.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is Election Day, so go out there and do your civic duty.  And don’t forget to vote for the 2016 UCB Blogger Awards!  Here’s the link again for that, so you don’t have to scroll back up to the top – 2016 Cardinals Blogger Award Ballot.  Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

The perfect lineup (with 1 subtraction)

My fellow Cardinals bloggers and I complain on Twitter night after night Scan0004about manager Mike Matheny’s constant lineup changes.  The lineup is never the same from one night to the next.  Even the casual fan can see the lack of results that this constant changing produces.  But last night, it appeared that Mike spun the wheels on the lineup machine and finally hit the right jackpot.  Here was the lineup for last night’s game:

Carpenter 1B

Gyorko 2B

Moss LF

Piscotty RF

Molina C

Peralta 3B

Grichuk CF

G. Garcia SS

Martinez P

And lo and behold, Mike is using this same lineup in tonight’s game as well, with Waino pitching.  See how easy that was?   Carpenter celebrated being back in the leadoff spot last night by hitting a home run.  Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk hit home runs too, and the Cardinals beat the Mets 8-1.  It was a fun game and even though I was at Bible study, I stealthily looked at my AtBat app to see how the game was going.  Yadi getting caught trying to steal third, however – no, Yadi, don’t do that anymore, or I will have to tweet at your brother Bengie to get on you about that.

I think this lineup should be on the field every night for the rest of the season, and even into the playoffs, if these Cards should get that far.  The only subtraction that I would make is when Aledmys Diaz returns from the disabled list, he would go in Garcia’s spot, and of course, the pitcher varies every game.

Garcia, Matt Adams, and Kolten Wong could come off the bench to pinch hit or spell one of the regular infielders if they need a night off or get hurt (God forbid – the disabled list has been overcrowded this season).  Matt Holliday and Jeremy Hazelbaker could do the same for the outfielders.  Tommy Pham – the jury’s still out on him.

A couple of random thoughts: Could Jaime Garcia just be released now instead of the end of the season when his option is up?  It’s bad enough that you don’t know whether you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime when it’s his turn in the rotation.  Lately, however, only Bad Jaime has shown up to pitch.  Alex Reyes has shown that he’s more than ready to be a starter in the show.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but since my son and I will be going to the game on Sunday (which is Jaime’s next start), it would be really great to see Alex’s debut as a starter.

And why, with the exception of Martinez, are our pitchers not ready to pitch in the first inning?  It never fails that the other team starts scoring in the first inning.  The Cards have to start playing catch up already in the bottom of the first.  Are the pitchers not getting enough throwing time before the games?  Or are they getting too much throwing time?  Could the pitchers not be mentally ready to go in the first inning? That appears to be something that Derek Lilliquist needs to work on with them. This problem needs to be solved ASAP.

On Saturday, August 27,  Chris Carpenter, Joe Torre, Sam Breadon and Terry Moore will be inducted in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The ceremony starts at 2 PM at Fox Sports Midwest Live in Ballpark Village.  The doors open at 11 AM, so get there early to wait in line. Last year, my son and I didn’t get there until 12 noon and we had to share a table with some other folks. I told him we needed to get there earlier.  One of these days, he’ll learn to listen to me.  However, if you can’t make it, Fox Sports Midwest will show the ceremony on Sunday, August 28 at 11:30 a.m.  If you’re at the ceremony, find me and say hi – I always love to meet folks who read my blog.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Those banged-up Birds

Bandaged birdThere sure have been a lot of injuries with the Cardinals players in the last month.  Here is the list of the more recently banged-up Birds and their injuries, taken from the injury report on the Cardinals’ website:

Matt Holliday – right thumb fracture, undergoing surgery on 8/18/16

Aledmys Diaz – right thumb fracture

Seth Maness – torn right ulnar collateral ligament, undergoing Tommy John surgery on 8/18/16

Matt Adams – right shoulder inflammation

Michael Wacha – right shoulder inflammation

Tyler Lyons – right knee stress reactions

Trevor Rosenthal – right shoulder inflammation

And this short list doesn’t include the players on the 60 day disabled list, who won’t be cleared to play until 2017.  After looking at all the injuries, I think it’s a good thing that there’s a 40 man roster.  I half expect Adam Wainwright to be added to the disabled list  soon – he hasn’t looked right since he pitched that complete game last month. And pitchers need to stop throwing at our players too.

It’s interesting that three players are on the disabled list for right shoulder inflammation. Two are pitchers and the other is a position player.  That’s one of those things that make you go “hmm.” Hypothetical question – are the Cards’ strength and conditioning staff not doing their job adequately?

Another cause of injuries could be that the season may be just too darn long.  Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off every month.  There is the All-Star break;  however, if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off, except for the All-Star break. And if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Not our year

Sad baseballI have watched the Cardinals play this season, and I have come to the conclusion that this year is not our year.  I know what you’re thinking.  Diane, the 2011 Cardinals were 11 ½ games out and they managed to get into the playoffs and win the World Series.  But that was a different manager and a different team.  There are only 6 players from that 2011 team on the 2016 team – Adams, Holliday, Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and Molina. Molina is playing well.  Wainwright is starting to return to form, but Adams is only now starting to hit better and Holliday is showing his age.  It’s hard to tell what Jaime Garcia you’re going to get when he starts – Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  And Lance Lynn is on the DL for the year after Tommy John surgery.  Also, the only coaches left from that 2011 team are Derek Liliquist and Jose Oquendo.

The Cards are playing this year like teams who never make the playoffs; for example, the Phillies.  The Cubs are in first in the NL Central and they’re playing like a team who wants to win. As a Cards fan, I hate to admit it, but this could finally be the Cubs’ year.

Let’s look at an overview of the Cards’ performance this season.  Lowlights – there are many.  Ruben Tejada pitching in relief may have been when the season jumped the shark. Rosenthal is experimenting with pitches while he’s trying to save a game, like at the game I was at last Saturday.  Matt Holliday’s batting average has been sinking like a rock (although he did hit a home run today), and Mike Matheny refuses to move him from the third spot in the batting order.  Jhonny Peralta’s thumb injury put a major monkey wrench in the season, but hopefully, he will be back soon.  Jose Oquendo  has really been missed in the third base box and his absence has contributed to some terrible baserunning errors.  Michael Wacha’s mechanics are seriously messed up.  He should be sent to the minor leagues for some work. Carlos Martinez started the season strong, but he has not pitched well at all in his last few starts.  And how is it that Kolten Wong can make spectacular plays seem routine but mess up routine plays?

Highlights – there are a few.  Aledmys Diaz has impressed with his bat, but he is still making rookie mistakes with his glove.  Molina’s batting average is much better this year. Stephen Piscotty has been a shining star, making us forget Jason Heyward.   Seung Hwan Oh was John Mozeliak’s best off-season pick up.  He has been lights out in relief. Unfortunately, Oh showed he really was human in today’s game when he gave up three runs and a home run. Perhaps Oh should be the closer instead of Rosenthal?

This has not been my year either.  The presidential candidate I backed dropped out of the race, and I was passed over for a job I really wanted and was recommended for, along with some other personal things going on in my life that it’s not necessary to talk about here.  Cardinals baseball is a great distraction when things go south in my personal life, but this year, the Cards are not playing well so I don’t even have that.  Can we just turn back the calendar to January 1, 2016 and have a do-over?

Cards fans have seen their team go to the playoffs for the last few years and we are spoiled.  We’ve forgotten how to handle it when our team is bad.  So if you have the opportunity to attend a Cards game this season, go to have fun hanging out with your friends and/or family.  Just don’t expect to see winning baseball.  If the Cards do win, that’s a plus.

I realize that it’s almost the end of May and there still may be time to rescue the sinking S.S. Cardinals ship.  If the Cards can resurrect this season and make the playoffs, I’ll be happy to eat my words.  Just write them in icing on a large chocolate chip cookie, please.

That’s all for now!  Hopefully, I will have a more upbeat blog post next time.  See you then!

Diane

2016 Winter Warm-Up wrap up

WWUThis was my first complete weekend excursion into the Winter Warm-Up experience. In 2004, an attorney I worked for had his uncle’s pass, so I headed over to the hotel on my lunch hour and zipped through the whole thing.

I usually do not go to Winter Warm-Up because of the cost of the pass ($40).  My friend Kim, however, contacted me and asked if I wanted to go.  I conferred with my husband and I was able to say yes.  I couldn’t afford any of the paid autograph tickets (and neither could Kim), so we thought we’d get some free autographs and attend some of the presentations. We could also see our boys of summer and get our fix until spring training. It was a win-win for both of us. My son Phillip also came with us.

As you may know, all proceeds from Winter Warm-Up go to Cardinals Care, the Cardinals’ charitable organization that supports children’s agencies, builds youth ball fields, and funds Redbird Rookies, which is a a youth baseball development program.  There were silent auctions held all three days, as well as live auctions on the main stage, the proceeds of which also went to Cardinals Care.

On Saturday, we arrived and went to the second floor.  We enjoyed looking at some of the goodies at the Cardinals Authentics booth, which unfortunately were  out of our price range. We then went into the exhibitor hall to check out the vendor booths. There were 44 vendors in the exhibitor hall, and 90% of them were sports collectible vendors.

After we got through the vendor booths, we went to the food sales area and got a soda.  We then decided to go upstairs to the fourth floor to the main stage area to hear general manager John Mozeliak speak.  Dan McLaughlin of Fox Sports Midwest conversed with Mo, and then the floor was opened to questions.  Some of the questions were very interesting.  Here’s a photo of that (it was taken with my phone from a distance, so I apologize for the quality of the photo):

20160116_112240

After we listened to the Q & A for a while, we decided to go to lunch. We walked down the street to Hardee’s.

When we came back, we decided to attend the 1:00 presentation in the Dugout Room.  We heard Dan Farrell speak about the Cardinals’ sales and marketing strategies for 2016.  Mr. Farrell told us about the HD video boards that were recently installed at Busch Stadium.  Mr. Farrell also talked about some of the promotions and theme nights for 2015. He also mentioned that instead of 25,000 giveaway items per game, there would be 30,000 giveaways per game.  Mr. Farrell also told us about a perk for season ticket holders – you are eligible to purchase a complete set of the promotional item giveaways for the season.

After the presentation, we went back to the fourth floor and looked at the goodies on sales at the Cardinals Team Store and the Cardinals Care Store. The items at the Team Store were at least 50% off, if not more. I purchased a little travel purse, originally $24.00, for $12.00.  I had wanted this particular item last year, but couldn’t find it this year.

After we were done looking through the stores,we went to the Clubhouse Room to a 2:00 presentation with Dan Martin, who is the artist that presently draws the Weatherbird for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Most of the presentation was about the late Amadee Wohlschlager, who drew many Cardinals and sports illustrations and who also drew the Weatherbird for many years.  Dan then drew the Weatherbird on a large paper on an easel to show us how it’s done.  He then had it auctioned off for Cardinals Care.

20160116_144020

After the presentation, we then went back into the main stage area to discover Jennifer Langosch (the beat writer for the Cardinals) and Derrick Goold (a sportswriter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the president of the Baseball Writers’Association of America), being interviewed by a member of Team Fredbird. This must have been a last minute thing, because it was not on the board that listed who was going to be on the stage that day.  I then saw and briefly chatted with Lindsey Weber, the Cardinals’ social media director.  After that, we went home for the day.

Via text Saturday night, Kim and I discussed what free autographs we wanted to get the next day and what time we needed to be there the next day to get tickets.  We arrived at 10 a.m. and stood in line to get tickets for Rick Horton’s autographs.  I went to a lot of games in the 1980s and remember seeing Rick pitch.  We then went to the second floor and got a soda. We then went back up to the Team Store, where I purchased the duffle bag I had looked at the day before.

We went back to the autograph ticket line to get autograph tickets for Andy and Alan Benes. I then realized we needed something for Rick and Andy and Alan Benes to sign. We popped into the vendor area and the very first vendor we stopped at had baseball cards of that day’s players for 50 cents each.  They were in great shape and the price was right. We then went back to the lobby and got our autograph tickets for the Benes brothers, then went back upstairs to get in line for Rick’s autograph.  Rick was very nice and personable.  While in line, we listened to Mike Shannon on the main stage. There was Q & A’s about his restaurant closing.

After we got Rick’s autograph, we decided it was time for lunch. We went to Hardee’s again.

We came back and got into the line for the Benes brothers’ autographs. The line moved quickly.  After we got the autographs, we went to a presentation in the Clubhouse Room given by Brian Finch, the author of  Redbird Relics. The presentation was about Billy Southworth’s modified baseball cap that his son wore in combat in World War II, and we could see and take photos of the cap:

20160117_150238      20160117_150250

After the presentation, we went back to the Team Store to see if any new merchandise had come in.  I scored a leather steering wheel cover for $8.00.  We then headed home.

On Monday morning, Kim texted me and begged off for today, stating she had “people overload.”  I certainly could understand that.  There weren’t as many people there today, however, probably because it was Monday and a lot of people had to go back to work.

There wasn’t any free autographs that we wanted to get today, so Phil and I attended the presentation in the Clubhouse Room at 10:00 a.m. that looked back at the performance of Yadi and Waino in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, which was again presented by Brian Finch.  It was a toss-up between attending this presentation and listening to Bill DeWitt III on the Main Stage.  Brian told us what Mr. DeWitt was going to speak about, which were the names of  the 2016 Cardinals Hall of Fame nominees. There will be a formal post later with the names of the nominees.  So we didn’t really miss anything after all.

We also saw Yadi’s bat and cleats from the 7th game of the 2006 NLCS.  Here’s a photo (sorry about the flash, curators – I forgot to turn it off and I wanted to move the line along):

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At this presentation I also got to meet Josey Curtis, a fellow United Cardinals Bloggers blogger, who writes for STLSportsMinute.com.  She’s only 14 years old and she’s a great writer.  Go and look her up after you’re done reading this blog post.

After the presentation, we went back to the Team Store.  The wheel cover I bought yesterday didn’t fit my vehicle’s steering wheel and I wanted to see if I could get a refund. I couldn’t get a refund, but they let me have an exchange, so I got a nice Cardinals coffee mug that I will use at work.

On our way out, we stopped at the Tony LaRussa ARF Foundation booth.  Phil purchased a Memories and Dreams commemorative Hall of Fame Weekend Program from when Tony was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame which was autographed by Tony for only $5.00.  That was a great deal. We then went to St. Louis Bread Company for lunch since we were burned out on Hardee’s.  I ran into 2 attorneys there that I used to work for.  It was nice to see them.

This was the first Winter Warm-Up I attended and I really enjoyed it. I have a few practical tips, should you decide to attend next year:

Carry a little cash.  It is safer to carry plastic, but there is some things you will need cash for. You will need cash to tip the coat check attendant. The food sales area (water, soda, food items) and the beer vendor only take cash.  I didn’t buy any 50/50 tickets, but I would think they would only take cash as well.  Plus, if you have a budget for the day, you can carry that amount in cash, and once it’s gone, you’re done spending.

Dress in layers. Certain areas of the ballrooms are warm and some are chilly. I got warm in the main stage area on Saturday when there were a lot of people there.  The Clubhouse Presentation Room also got warm in the afternoon.  You can check your heavy coat with the coat check attendant on the fourth floor near the elevators.

Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing in line for autograph tickets and standing in line for autographs, and you’ll be walking around a lot.

Decide if it’s more important to you to get autographs or listen to presentations.  If there is a presentation on the Main Stage that’s going on while you’re in the autograph line, you’ll be able to hear it.  But the other presentations are in conference rooms on another floor. And if you want to get autograph tickets for free autographs, you may have to wait in line during times when presentations are being held.  The schedule is posted on the Cardinals’ website, so you can figure out in advance what you want to do. There are last minute autograph sessions and presentations, so keep your schedule open.

If you live in town and you don’t want the hassle or expense of finding a parking spot in a garage, you can take Metrolink to downtown St. Louis.  It’s a 5 block walk from the 8th & Pine Metrolink station to the Hyatt Regency.

Winter Warm-Up was a nice reminder that spring training, and then baseball, is right around the corner.  Hopefully, the time will pass quickly.  That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

The top 5 Cardinals stories of 2015

Top 5Where did the time go?  It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over.  In just three days, a new year begins.  It’s time for the December United Cardinals Blogger project, which is to write about what we feel are the top 5 Cardinals stories of the year.

This year was certainly an interesting but frustrating year for the Cardinals.  Here are my choices for the top 5 Cardinals stories of the year.  They aren’t in any particular order.

The hacking investigation.  This was likely the most bizarre Cardinals story of the year.  It was discovered that someone from the Cardinals organization had hacked into the database of ex-Cardinals employee Jeff Luhnow, now general manager of the Astros.  The hack was traced to a house in Jupiter, Florida, which is where the Cardinals staffers hold spring training.  Eventually, Chris Correa, the former director of scouting for the Cardinals, was fired. The FBI investigation of the hacking incident is ongoing.

Adam Wainwright’s Achilles tendon injury.  Once again, Adam missed almost a full season of baseball, although this time the injury was not to his pitching arm.  It was predicted that Adam would miss the whole season, but he made an amazing comeback and pitched a few innings as a reliever at the end of the season.  The Cardinals would have won even more games if Adam had been healthy, but his absence as a starter was most felt in the NLDS.  Adam would have likely started Game 1 and Lackey would have then started Game 2.  Garcia would have felt well enough to start Game 3 in Chicago and the Cards may have won the NLDS.

The Cards win 100 games for the first time since 2005.  Despite all the injuries and all the drama, the Cardinals managed to win 100 games in the 2015 season and won the NL Central for the third year in a row, which is a lot better record than most other teams had.

John Lackey and Jason Heyward defect to the Cubs.  I figured that Lackey would sign with the Cubs to go hang with his BFF Jon Lester.  But when Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs (and took a doggone long time to do so, prompting the Twitter hashtag #thingsfasterthanHeywooddecision), Cardinals fans felt like a bride jilted at the altar. We had hoped that Jason would stay around a while.  He seemed to understand the Cardinal Way.  In the end, however, Jason was a one-year rental. And his explanation that he didn’t want to be “the man” once Yadi, Adam and Matt retire rings hollow. The loss of Oscar Tavares stings even more now.

The early exit from the playoffs.  The Cards made the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.  However, the Cards couldn’t beat the Cubs in the NLDS, winning only Game 1, which is the playoff game I attended.  This was highly disappointing, not only for me since we had tickets to NLCS Game 7 but for all Cardinals fans, especially losing to the Cubs.  Hopefully, next year the Cards will go further in the playoffs.

That’s all for now! This will probably be my last blog post for 2015 unless something exciting happens that I just have to post about.  So I wish all my loyal readers a happy, healthy prosperous 2015 and may the Cardinals win their 12th World Series next year!

Diane

Resilience despite adversity

ResilienceI wrote a blog post earlier this season about how the infirmary was getting full of Cardinals players.   Maybe that was bad luck –  who knows?  The Cardinals have endured more than their share of injuries this season.  I’ll list them so we can see the magnitude of the injuries:

Jordan Walden – shoulder
Adam Wainwright – torn Achilles tendon
Matt Adams – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 4
Matt Holliday – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 2
Matt Belisle –forearm tenderness
Jason Heyward – hamstring strain
Randal Grichuk – muscle strain lifting weight, elbow strain
Jon Jay – recovery from off-season wrist surgery
Yadier Molina – slight tear of left thumb ligament
Carlos Martinez – strained shoulder
Stephen Piscotty – outfield collision with Peter Bourjos

(If there is anyone I missed, or if I goofed up on the injuries, please let me know in the comments section below.)

Yet despite all these injuries (and with some great pickups and call ups by Mo), the Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central with the best record in baseball.  The magic number to clinch the NL Central is 2, and if the Cards win tomorrow at Pittsburgh, it will be zero.  This will be the Cardinals’ first 100 win season since 2005.

The Cardinals have shown amazing resilience this season. A lesser team would crumble under the weight of all these injuries. But the Cardinals have not crumbled, thanks to the managing of Mike Matheny.  Mike is the glue that has held this team together through all the injuries and all the other craziness this season (hacking? What hacking?).

Now we Cards fans and bloggers may not agree with every move Mike makes, but you can’t argue with results. This is Mike’s fourth year managing the Cardinals (heck, managing a major league team, period) and the team has gone to the postseason every year for the last four years.  How many managers can claim that honor during their first four years of managing?  If you want to get some insight as to how Mike manages a team, I highly suggest you pick up and read his book The Matheny Manifesto (click on the title to find it on Amazon).

Mike deserves the NL Manager of the Year award for the way he has handled the Cardinals during this season of adversity.  However, we Cards fans all know that the NL MOY award will go to Joe Maddon, since he turned those loveable losers the Cubs into playoff contenders, and Chicago is a larger market than St. Louis too.

The Cards’ game tonight was postponed until tomorrow due to rain.  It will be made up tomorrow with a day-night doubleheader.  Game time for the first game is 12:35 PM CST.  I will be listening to the game on KMOX at my desk. I will be hoping and praying for no more injuries, and that the Cards will clinch the division.  Last night’s game made my stomach upset; I’m hoping for an uneventful win tomorrow.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane