Ch-ch-ch-changes (time to face the strange)

(With apologies to the late David Bowie.) By now, you probably know that there was a press conference at Busch Stadium this afternoon with general manager John Mozeliak and some changes were to the coaching staff were announced, along with a player move.  For those whose missed the news, here’s a recap:

  • Chris Maloney, the third base coach, will be reassigned to another position in the Cardinals organization.
  • Mike Schildt, the quality control coach, will replace Maloney as third base coach.
  • Assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller is taking a leave of absence.  Mark Budaska is being brought up from AAA Memphis to replace Miller.
  • Ron “Pop” Warner is being brought up from AAA Memphis to assist the coaching staff.
  • Kolten Wong was activated, and Jhonny Peralta was designated for assignment to make room for Kolten.

I (and a lot of others) don’t think that the cuts went far enough.  We were hoping that John Mabry would be relieved of his duties as hitting coach.  Something is wrong when a team scores an average of 2 runs a game.  When players get sent down to Memphis to retune their hitting stroke and rake there, but when they come back to the main club and go back to their bad ways, there’s a problem.  When Randall Grichuk has to go all the way down to single A to work with a hitting guru, there’s a problem.  When Matt Adams is traded to the Braves and he’s blistering home runs in their new stadium, there’s a problem.  If the team’s hitting problems continue, Mabry needs to go, even though he’s Mike Matheny’s BFF.

I have a suggestion, for what it’s worth.  How about hiring Chris Carpenter as a bullpen coach?  They are in great need of assistance as well.

Peralta’s time with the team has been over for quite awhile.  Peralta hasn’t had any RBI’s this season at all. Jedd Gyorko’s excellent playing and hitting abilities made Peralta redundant. Jonathan Broxton was also released recently.  Best of luck to both of them, and thanks for the memories.

Changes had to be made. Cardinals fans were very discouraged by the 7 game road game losing streak.  Some of those games could have been won.  If the team doesn’t start winning soon, fans will make their displeasure known via their wallets.  They’ll stop coming to the games.  If fans stop coming to the games, they won’t be spending money before, during and after the games.  Not only will it be bad for Busch Stadium business, it will be bad for Ballpark Village business, as well as for other businesses near the stadium.  I am very sad about the Cards’ lackluster play this season as well.  I really hope the Cards can get things turned around.

This Sunday is the annual United Cardinals Bloggers event when the Cardinals invite us all to Busch Stadium to a question and answer session with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWill, III, and then are treated to the Sunday afternoon game in a party room.  The Q&A session ought to be really interesting this year.  I’ll report on that in my next post.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

Diane’s excellent dugout box seat adventure (and other notes)

13321711_1165327370172374_6324672859891808381_nI have a baseball hangover today, which is a good thing. A baseball hangover is what happens when you stay until the last out of an evening baseball game and don’t get to bed until later than you normally do.  Then when you do get to bed, you can’t sleep because you’re still thinking about the game.  You are then very drowsy the next day at work, and no amount of caffeine or sugar will help. You can’t take a nap because you’re at work, unless, of course, you’re self-employed.   It’s like that Diana Ross song, Love Hangover – “Sweetest hangover, I don’t want to get over.”

The cause of my baseball hangover is last night’s Cardinals-Giants game, which the Cardinals won 6-3.  An attorney at the law firm I work at gifted me his sweet Dugout Box seats three rows off the field, on the first base side. (Our view was actually better than seen in the photo.)  He had originally given me his tickets for May 1, but that turned out to be the game for the United Cardinals Bloggers blogger event.  He very graciously switched out the tickets for last night’s game.

The gates opened at 5:05 last night, so hubby and I got to the ballpark early in hopes of obtaining some autographs.  Unfortunately, by the time we got through the gate, received our promotional giveaway (a very nice beach tote), bought a scorecard, ran into hubby’s second cousin Amy and her family and then got down to the field, batting practice was already over.  I and several other folks waited by the padded infield wall in hopes that maybe a player would wander over our way and give us an autograph, but it was not to be.

Last night’s game was on ESPN and that’s why it was a Sunday evening game.  It was originally scheduled as a 1:15 PM game.  I’m glad it was changed so I wouldn’t have to miss church.  My daughter lives in Connecticut and I wanted to bring a sign that would have read, “Hi Rachel! Love, Mom,” but hubby wouldn’t let me.

We watched several people throw first pitches, including a 102 year-old woman who not only threw very well but appeared to have all her faculties, which is incredible.  Later on in the game, Fredbird and Papa John’s brought her a pizza and several other goodies to help her celebrate her birthday.

The game finally started.  Carlos Martinez looked very good for the first few innings, until he gave up a 2 run home run.  The Cardinals’ hitting started to break out in the 6th  inning.  It seemed like Bruce Bochy switched pitchers after every batter. I couldn’t keep up, so I stopped updating my scorecard.

Did you see the diving play that the Giants’ right fielder made in the 5th  inning?  It happened on the warning track on the first base side right in front of us.  He didn’t make the catch, but as he got up, we applauded his effort, as good, sportsmanlike Cardinals fans always do.  The poor guy probably had rug burns on his stomach.

There were a couple of foul balls hit in our direction, but neither of the foul balls came close enough to our seats to attempt to catch them.  I used to have a glove, but I donated it to Carlos Martinez’ Tsunami Waves charity last year.  I’m too old to play slow-pitch softball ever again.

I really enjoyed sitting in the box seats. The sight lines were great, and the people sitting around me were civilized, unlike those I’ve encountered in other areas of the stadium.  It was sometimes hard to see around the beer vendors, however.  I hope that nice attorney will think of me again in case he has no one for his tickets.  If there is a next time, I will take my son Phillip to the game. He wanted to go this time, but I told him his father had better dibs because I’ve known him longer.

In other news, the Cardinals optioned Kolten Wong to AAA today so that Jhonny Peralta can be activated. Peralta will join the team tomorrow in Cincinnati.  Matt Carpenter will move to  second base and Peralta will move to third.  Hopefully, Kolten will make the most of his time at AAA and get his head together so that when he comes back, he will play better.  Kolten was sent down to AAA in 2014 and he played a lot better when he came back.  Brayan Pena is due for a rehab assignment soon.  Yadi look rather tired last night.  He needs more than just tonight off.  Hopefully, when Brayan comes back, he can give Yadi some regular days off.

The Cards are playing a little better but as I write this, they are 10 games out of first.  At this point, I think the Cards are playing for a wild card spot rather than a division title.  Set your sights higher, guys!

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and 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

Striking out (literally and figuratively)

Backwards KWe are two days into the 2016 season and the Cardinals have yet to win a game.  The Cardinals have had too many strikeouts in these two games.  This is not acceptable.  The Cards can’t be leaving runners on base either. In Monday’s game, there were 10 runners left on base.  It’s not just that the guys can’t hit; they can’t score either.  Randall Grichuk has struck out every time he’s come up to bat. He’s riding the bench for tonight’s game; Jeremy Hazelbaker is getting his first major league start.

The guys came close to a win last night, but as we old timers know, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and making out in the back seat of a car.  The bullpen, however, was lights out, with the exception of Seth Maness.  Jedd Gyorko hit his first HR in a Cardinals uniform.  Aledmys Pena and Jeremy Hazelbaker got their first major league hits.  There was some offense, but not enough runs for a win.  But that Stephen Piscotty has a heck of an arm.

And what’s with the bunts?  Matt Carpenter is the leadoff batter and he should not be bunting. Bunts need to be executed by the 8th and 9th place hitters, not the leadoff hitter.  And if the hitter is not good at bunting, then he shouldn’t be bunting at all.  (Yes, Kolton Wong, this means you. I’m thinking about your GIDP in Game 1.)

And to make matters worse, sadly, like last year, the infirmary is getting full again.  Here is the list of current patients and their maladies:

Brayan Pena – Knee surgery to remove loose cartilage in knee – out at least 1 month.

Jhonny Peralta – Thumb ligament tear – out at least until June

Ruben Tejada – Left quad grade 1 strain – on 15 day DL

Tommy Pham – Left oblique strain – out for at least 2 weeks

Mitch Harris – Right arm compression syndrome – on 15 day DL

Jordan Walden – Grade 2 lat sprain – out until June

I’m sure that there are fans out there who are thinking, It’s only the first two games of the season. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.  While these sayings are true, there’s some fine tuning that needs to be done.  Otherwise, this season will go by very, very slowly.  Please play better, guys; I’m tired of hearing my husband whine that I’d better get used to seeing the Cards play like this because it’s going to happen all season.

There is a bit of good news: Sir Paul McCartney will be playing a concert at Busch Stadium on August 13th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ concert at Busch Stadium II.  Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 15 at 10:00 AM CST and you can purchase tickets here.  My husband and I saw Sir Paul in concert at Busch Stadium II in 1993.  It was a very good show.  I was impressed with the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” This show should be just as good, if not even better.

Let’s hope the Cards go on a winning streak starting tonight.  I’m looking forward to seeing Mike Leake pitch.  Thanks as always for reading and see you next time!

Diane