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

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

extraThere was lots of news yesterday on the Cardinals front, some of it bad and some of it good. Where should I start – the bad news or the good news?  I believe it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Cardinals announced that Lance Lynn had undergone Tommy John surgery and would be out for the entire 2016 season.  Perhaps this explains all the pitching trouble that Lance had during the last few weeks of the season and during the NLDS.

Without Lynn, the 2016 lineup looks like this:  Wainwright, Wacha, Lackey (if signed), Martinez, and Garcia.  But what happens if one of these pitchers is injured?   Alex Reyes would not be able to be brought up from the minors for a while, since he will be serving a 40 game suspension (10 games’ suspension will be for fall league games) in the because marijuana was detected in his drug test. Tyler Lyons showed grit and determination in his starts last season and it earned him a place on the postseason roster.  I would like to see him get another chance to pitch in the majors next season.  If any of the starting rotation pitchers are injured, Lyons should be the first one to be called up.

Fellow blogger Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM) asked on Twitter and Facebook whether Trevor Rosenthal could be converted to a starter.  I replied that Rosey almost gives me a heart attack pitching in the ninth inning.  My poor heart couldn’t handle him being a starter.

Lynn’s surgery really throws a monkey wrench in the Cards’ offseason plans. Any hopes of letting Lackey go or trading Garcia are out of the question now.  I would like to see the Cards resign Lackey at the very least, even if only for a one year contract.

In other bad news, fan favorite Lou Brock had surgery yesterday to amputate his leg below the knee due to complications from an infection related to diabetes.  How ironic that the Cards’ best base stealer ever had to have part of one of his legs amputated.  I wish you Godspeed and quick healing, Lou, and I hope we will see you walk on the Busch Stadium infield with the rest of the Hall of Fame members on Opening Day 2016. Lan

Now for the good news – yes, there is some.  Yesterday evening, both Yadier Molina and Jason Heyward won Gold Gloves.  It was Yadi’s eighth Gold Glove in a row and Jason’s second. Both players are well deserving of their awards.  But the Cards should have negotiated to resign Heyward before the Gold Gloves were given out – Heyward’s asking price has just gone up.

Cards manager Mike Matheny was nominated for the Manager of the Year award yesterday.  In other years, Mike would be a shoo-in for this award for leading the team to 100 wins with all the injuries and the Oscar Tavares tragedy.  However, the other nominees are Joe Maddon and Terry Collins.  Maddon led the Cubs to their first NLCS since 2003 and Collins led the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000.  I predict Maddon will win the MOY award.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cardinals’ farm system and you’re in the St. Louis area, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for a special exhibit on the history of the Cardinals’ farm system.  Here’s some more information:

On Saturday, November 21, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit entitled “Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” which celebrates the rich history of the franchise’s minor league system. This display, which replaces last year’s special exhibition “Stan Musial: ‘The Man’ Off the Field,” will be previewed Friday, November 20, during an exclusive ticketed event with General Manager John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals developed baseball’s first successful farm system based on Branch Rickey’s concept in the early 1920s and few ideas have had a more dramatic impact on the game,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We take great pride in our farm system and the impact our homegrown players have had on our franchise history; we’re looking forward to sharing those stories with our fans.”   

“Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” features over 100 artifacts which bring to life the rich history of the franchise’s farm system from the 1920s through today. Exhibit highlights include Branch Rickey’s 1919 road jersey worn while managing the Cardinals; George Kissell’s hand-written pocket-sized coaching manual – the genesis for the club’s organizational guidelines that are still in use today (on loan from the Kissell family); a game-worn barnstorming jersey from Jim Bottomley, the first superstar from the farm system; Dave Duncan’s pitching chart of rookie hurler Bud Smith’s no-hitter in 2001; top prospect Oscar Taveras’ Carlos Martinez-model bat used during the 2014 season; an original eight-foot-by-five-foot banner featuring the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada farm team that flew over Sportsman’s Park circa 1954; and much more.

A limited number of tickets remain for the exclusive exhibit preview on Friday, November 20. With the purchase of a $60 ticket ($50 for museum members), fans receive a private, after-hours first look at the exhibit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Cardinals Museum, a farm-to-table dinner buffet and drinks in the Hall of Fame Club at Cardinals Nation, and an after-dinner Q&A session with General Manager John Mozeliak and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. For more information or to purchase event tickets, fans can visit cardinals.com/museum.

The Cardinals Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the offseason. The special exhibit, which is open to the public from November 21, through the conclusion of the 2016 baseball season, is free with the cost of museum admission. To purchase Cardinals Museum tickets or learn more about museum membership, visit cardinals.com/museum.    

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane