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

The Wong stuff

By now, I’m sure you have read or heard that Kolten Wong will be platooning at second base at the beginning of the season, which is only 6 days away.  And I’m sure you have heard that he is unhappy about it, and spread the word by spouting off to Ben Fredrickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about it in an interview.  Kolten later “clarified” his statements, which only made things worse.  If Kolten was unhappy about being part of a platoon, he should have complained to his manager about it rather than airing out his dirty laundry in a newspaper interview.  Kolten may not have found himself as part of a platoon if his spring batting average had been greater than .170.  Last year, his spring training batting average was .304.  That looks like a slump to me.

There have been efforts made to make Kolten comfortable and give him confidence. When Kolten was made the starting second baseman in 2014, Mark Ellis was signed to provide guidance.  In 2016, the Cards gave Kolten a  five-year, $25.5 million dollar contract.  I don’t know about you, but that would make me really comfortable and confident that the team I played for loved me.  That would make me want to work hard and not rest on my laurels. Unfortunately, that large contract is the reason that Kolten will not be traded like so many people have been clamoring for.  No team is going to pick up that large contract for a player that currently only hits .170. The only way Kolten gets traded at this point is if the Cardinals were willing to eat some of that contract.

So Kolten needs to put up, bat up, and shut up.  He needs to make his bat do the talking and not his mouth.  In the end, winning games is what it’s all about, not whether a player is happy or not.  I’ve worked at jobs before that I’ve absolutely hated, but I’ve stayed with those and not complained because I needed that job. Kolten needs to do the same.

You may be wondering (or not) why I am posting in the middle of the afternoon instead of being at work. I took today off to attend the visitation for my ex-father -in-law, David Peery, Jr. My mother-in-law died last month and Dave died last week.  People close to me, please stop dying.  Thank you.

My ex-father-in-law was a great guy. He was like a second father to me. He loved to barbecue, garden and listen to Cardinals baseball on the radio.  He enjoyed drinking beer as well, and he and I drank many a beer together.  When his son left me for a guy just a month after I gave birth to our daughter, he and his wife took us in and let us stay with them for over a year until I had the money put together to move out to a place of our own.  I will be forever grateful to them for that.  They also watched my daughter while I worked for a few years after we moved out.  I will miss him.

Dave was a big Cardinals fan.  We used to discuss Cardinals baseball when I visited. When I and my daughter visited Dave during her brief detour into being a Cubs fan, I asked her why she had gone over to the Dark Side and he laughed uproariously.  Dave told me once that he almost was a Cardinal.  He had signed with the team (probably in 1957, after he graduated from high school) but made an unwise decision to play a game of pickup football the weekend before he was to report.  He broke his ankle during the game and that was the end of his baseball career. Isn’t it amazing how much one bad decision can affect so many lives?  If Dave had become a Cardinal, I would probably never have met his son, married him and had our daughter. I wish I could find out whether Dave actually signed with the Cardinals or if he was just pulling my leg.  If anyone could come up with proof that he did sign with the Cardinals, I’d be eternally grateful.

Thanks as always for reading.  See you next time!

Diane

Winter Warm-Up 2017 Report

img_0155-2The first day of Winter Warm-Up was canceled due to Winter Storm Jupiter (how ironic, considering the Cardinals hold spring training there) throwing down freezing rain. The Cardinals refunded autograph tickets and then, on top of that, offered a voucher for all pass holders for two free tickets for a game in the 2017 season.  They didn’t have to do that, but I thought it was a really nice gesture. My friend Kim was unable to go with us to WWU this year (I missed you, Kim 😦 ), so it was just my son and me.

1/16/17:

On Sunday morning, we decided to stop at Starbucks in the hotel because we needed some caffeine.  I looked up and there was Jenifer Langosch, the beat writer for the Cardinals. We chatted briefly and then she had to leave.

There was a line snaking through the lobby, so we joined it. We got a program and realized that the coat check was on the 4th floor, so we decided to go up the elevators to get there. Once there, we discovered that no one was allowed into the main hall from the elevator section until 9:15. To make matters worse, there were several fans in wheelchairs and with walkers for which this entrance was the only way they were going to get to the main hall since they could not use the escalators. Even with autograph tickets, they were not allowed in. I don’t know whose bright idea this was, but it had to be against ADA regulations.  I’m unsure if this was taken care of on Monday since we got there later. Hopefully, this will be fixed next year.

Phil and I rode the elevator back downstairs and by this time, the line was not as long. In fact, it didn’t appear that there were as many people at WWU than there was last year.  I wonder if the cancellation of Saturday’s events turned some people off enough that they decided not to come at all.  We stopped at the second floor and visited the vendor booths.  Rawlings had a booth and there was a real Gold Glove trophy on display.

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We then went upstairs and dropped off our coats. It was time to go to our first presentation of the day, a history of promo items and a 2017 preview of promo items with Megan Eberhart, the manager of Promotions and Events.  Megan asked about some of our favorite promo items.  She then talked about the process about how they come up with the promo items and when they start planning for the next season, which is before Labor Day.  She showed us some of the promo items that will be given away this year, which includes a 1980’s batting practice jersey, a Bruce Sutter garden gnome, and instead of a bat giveaway for the kids, they will get a Rawlings glove instead. Here are photos of some of the 2017 promo items:

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The new slogan for this year is “There’s Only One Cardinals Baseball.” Megan took questions from the attendees and then it was time to go.

Phil and I visited the Cardinals Care store.  They were offering a 2014 Cardinals Care Broadcast Auction Wacha Fan Pack for $20.00, which included a Michael Wacha bobblehead, a replica 2013 National League Championship replica ring, and a voucher for two tickets for the 2017 season.  That was a bargain I couldn’t pass up. I also bought a  Cardinals Care bag to carry it in, since it was in a heavy cardboard box.  We then visited the Cardinals Team Store.  They had lots of merchandise half price or less.  There were lots of items from the Winter Classics and closeout Matt Holliday items.  There was also some Star Wars Cardinals items.

It was time for lunch, so Phil and I left the Hyatt and walked down to Hardee’s for lunch. After lunch, we walked back to the Hyatt.  We went to the Main Stage seating area and were lucky enough to snatch two front row seats.

I left Phil at our seats and took a couple photos of Kolten Wong. They didn’t turn out well enough to post, however. I just got an iPhone and I’m still trying to learn how to take photos with it.  I will bring my digital camera again next year.

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John Rooney had Kolten come up on stage and they had a nice discussion.  Kolten admitted that the team sucked at home last year and they were hoping to do better this year.  John and  Kolten talked about how Kolten had spent the winter in St. Louis.  Rooney asked Kolten how many coats he had and Kolten said six, but he was still cold. I guess it’s hard to get used to a cold climate like St. Louis when you grow up in a tropical paradise like Hawaii.

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After Rooney and Kolten were done, it was time for the presentation I had been waiting for all day, the 1967 team retrospective with Rooney, Mike Shannon, Orlando Cepeda, Dick Hughes and Larry Jaster.  There were some wonderful stories told about the season, Bob Gibson, and the postseason.  Shannon was the best storyteller on the stage.  Rooney’s job was to MC the presentation to keep it rolling. I only wish I would have had the funds to attend the Baseball Writers’ Association dinner that evening to hear more of those stories.

There were 2 booths, sponsored by Ballpark Village and Fox Sports Midwest where you could get your photo taken in front of a green screen and your photo was merged via computer with a background.  Here are my photos:

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I wish I could be an announcer on Fox Sports Midwest.  There are a lot of female Cardinals fans and I’m sure they would enjoy hearing analysis from a female.

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At 2:00 PM, we attended a presentation by Brian Finch, the head of the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, entitled “Ballplayers as Musicians – The Cardinals’ Mudcats Band of 1934.”  This presentation was very informative.  I knew about Pepper Martin and the Gashouse Gang, of course, but I never knew about the Mudcats.  I learned more about Pepper Martin than I probably ever wanted to know, including the fact that he went commando under his uniforms and that he wore the same 5 suits in rotation on road trips.  I am sure if the Mudcats were around today that they would be social media stars.  Brian also mentioned (and there is a display of this in the new Women in Baseball exhibit in the Hall of Fame and Museum) that the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is about a woman who wanted to go to the ballgame on a date rather than the movies.

I was really looking forward to Brian’s presentation on Stan Musial that was supposed to occur on Saturday.  Hopefully, he will save it for next year’s WWU.  Brian’s presentations are very informative and entertaining.  They are worth the price of a WWU pass alone.  Brian even sent me an email with the sources he used for his presentation, and I am passing them on to you in case you would like to read about Pepper Martin and the Mudcats:  Pepper Martin:  A Baseball Biography by Thomas Barthel and Baseball’s Greatest Hit: The Story of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by Andy Strasberg.  Click on the titles to order them from Amazon.  I am going to see if I can find them at my local library.

After the presentation, we went back to the main stage area to see Aledmys Diaz and Stephen Piscotty.   I snapped a couple of photos:

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Adam Wainwright was also signing during this time and he was very personable as always.  For those of you who love Randal Grichuk, here is a photo of him:

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We stopped by the Cardinals Magazine table and I purchased a very nice commemorative magazine about Busch Stadium II which was published in 2005, Busch Stadium II’s last year of existence.

Phil and I were getting tired, so we decided it was time to go home.

1/16/17:

Tom Lawless was the only free autograph I wanted to get in the morning on the 16th, and he was signing until 11:00 AM, so we decided to head to WWU a little later in the morning. The will call in the 100 N. Broadway building was empty, as we discovered when we went there first.  We then went to the hotel lobby to get an autograph ticket.  We stopped by the vendor with all the individual baseball cards and I found one of Tom for him to sign.  I wanted to find cards for Randy Flores and Kerry Robinson, but he didn’t have one for either player.

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Mike Leake was also signing. Mike, didn’t your mama ever teach you you’re not supposed to wear your hat inside?  LOL!

We then went to the main stage area and I got Tom’s autograph.  We then went to the Cardinals Care store and the Cardinals Team Store to see if they had any new merchandise or had marked down any items. I purchased a pennant for $3.00 to use for my afternoon free autographs. The CC store had marked down some of their items but they were still not in my price range.

At 11:00 PM, we went to a presentation given by team photographer Taka Yanagimoto titled “2016 – A Year in Photos.”  Mr. Yanagimoto presented a slide show of many excellent photos, both formally posed shots and candid shots.  He showed photos of Seung Hwan Oh when he signed with the team and when he stepped out of the dugout and onto the field for the first time. Everyone was amused by the photo of Jedd Gyorko and Brandon Moss sitting in lawn chairs on the field drinking beer next to a barbecue grill.  Mr. Yanagimoto showed us one of his favorite photos, which was taken on the roof of Busch Stadium.  He told us about how he gets up on the roof of Busch Stadium.  I’m not afraid of heights, but that’s too far up (and there are no handrails) for me.  Mr. Yanagimoto stated that the Cardinals are only one of three teams in MLB to have their own photography team.  It was an entertaining and informative presentation.

Both Phil and I were getting hungry, so we went to lunch at St. Louis Bread Company. I was pleased to discover that our order would be delivered to our table. The Bread Co. locations in Illinois don’t offer that service yet.

We went back to the hotel at 1 PM and got autograph tickets for Kerry Robinson and Randy Flores.  The sign with the ticket pick up information indicated that Yadi’s flight was delayed and he would not be at WWU to sign autographs until 3 PM.

My line ticket for Randy Flores was number 269 and they were only taking line tickets 1-50.  So we went to the food area to kill some time and we ran into Sally Rains of STL Sports Page. We had a nice conversation about some of the other Cardinals bloggers (don’t worry, I didn’t say anything bad at all about you).

Here are Randy and Kerry:

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I really wanted to stay to see Yadi, but I had to get home to put some leftover lasagna in the oven for dinner.  Maybe next year I’ll get to see Yadi.

It was great seeing all the guys.  It made me realize how much I missed baseball.  Pitchers and catchers report on Valentine’s Day. What an appropriate day!

I’m sorry it took me so long to post this.  I had to figure out how to get my phone photos downloaded where I could do something with them, and then I had to write everything up.   Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

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

Trade deadline thoughts

DeadlineSorry I haven’t posted more.  It’s really discouraging watching the Cards play.  I’m a glass-half-filled kind of gal, so it’s hard to find something to write about when your team is playing badly.  One can only complain so much before it gets tiresome, and I love my loyal readers too much to subject them to too much negativity.

As you probably know, the trade deadline is August 1 (since July 31st is a Sunday), which is exciting yet scary at the same time. So are the Cards are sellers or buyers at the trade deadline?  Despite playing badly, the Cards are currently in line for the second wild card slot and are also in second place in the N.L. Central.  A Cubs collapse/Cards surge could mean another division title.  A key acquisition or two could make all the difference to get to the playoffs.

So if the Cards are buyers, what do they have to offer in a trade?  The Cards have an option on Jaime Garcia.  When Jaime starts, you never know if you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  When Jaime is good, he’s very, very good, but when Jaime is bad, he’s awful.  Jaime should be some other team’s problem.

Kolten Wong is another player who may be better off with a change of venue.  There is a lot of pressure here for him to succeed, and Kolten appears to not handle pressure well.  The only negative about trading Kolten is the 5 year contract he signed earlier this year. It was meant to give Kolten a vote of confidence, but it doesn’t appear to have worked out that way. If Kolten is traded, the Cards may have to eat some of Kolten’s contract for the deal to work. Jedd Gyorko and/or Greg Garcia can take Kolten’s place at second, or there is another alternative, which I’ll discuss below.

Matt Adams’ shortcoming is that he only plays one position.  He would be a great DH for an American League team.  If the Cards could trade Adams to an AL team for a good player, I would be all over that trade.  Brandon Moss could move to left field and Matt Holliday could play first, which could possibly extend his career beyond this season.

The Cards do not need two center fielders.  If you melded Randall Grichuk and Tommy Pham into one person, you’d likely have a great center fielder.  However, since we can’t, one of these guys needs to leave, and I think it should be Tommy Pham.  Tommy is older and is injury prone.  If you need a second outfielder in case of injury, Stephen Piscotty can play center and Jeremy Hazelbaker can play right field.  There are a lot of fans who would like to see Carlos Gonzales patrol right field (and Piscotty would then become the CF), but he would probably bring a very high price tag.

One player whose name has been bandied about as trade bait is prospect Alex Reyes. I really don’t think the team should give him up.  A team should not give up an exciting prospect pitcher  The Cards should, however, call Reyes up in September when rosters expand to gear up for the playoffs, and get him some major league experience.

So what do the Cardinals need in order to get to the playoffs?  They need a good set-up pitcher.  Jerome Williams, who the Cards recently brought up from Memphis, is not the answer.

I have heard that Aledmys Diaz’ natural position is second base, so if Wong is traded, Diaz could move to second. Not all of Diaz’ errant throws can be blamed on rookie mistakes, perhaps. Peralta could then go back to shortstop, or a good shortstop could be acquired.  This could also help with the defense problems in the Cards’ infield.

The Cards could also use Mother Nature to cooperate and not force rain outs. Today’s doubleheader is the second in two weeks. Last week’s doubleheader was a day-night double, which gives the players a break between games; however, today’s doubleheader is a true doubleheader. The doubleheaders and game delays wreak havoc with a pitching rotation.  Calling Mike Mayers up from the minors as a fill-in ended up as a major humiliation in front of a national audience.  I sure hope he can recover from it.

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

Diane

Homestand Highlights – 6/14/16-6/19/16

Home Sweet Home.2jpgThe Cards are back home after a successful 5-1 road trip, which included a sweep of the Pirates. The weather is getting hotter and so are the Cardinals.  It’s always good when the guys are home.

It’s going to be very, very hot at the games these next two weeks. Please drink plenty of water and go to the concourses and cool off if you start getting overheated.  It wouldn’t be much fun to be going to the hospital for heat exhaustion/dehydration instead of watching the game.

Here are all the details on this homestand:

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Tuesday, June 14—Sunday, June 19, 2016)

Pooches In The Ballpark, Superhero Theme Night & Father’s Day Highlight The Fifth Homestand of the Season 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 14, 2016 – After taking five of six games on their latest road trip, the Cardinals head back to Busch Stadium for a two game series versus former NL division rival Houston Astros (June 14-15) and three games against 2011 World Series opponent Texas Rangers (June 17-19).  The all interleague homestand is highlighted by the 12th annual Purina Pooches in the Ballpark game presented by Schnucks, Superhero and Teachers theme nights and Father’s Day celebration.  Additionally, fans are encouraged to continue voting online for Cardinals players for the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego at cardinals.com/vote (#VoteSTL).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Houston Astros (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Jason Isringhausen Budweiser Bash Theme Night: Fans who purchase a special Bud Bash Theme Ticket receive a voucher for a limited edition Jason Isringhausen mini bobblehead as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2006 World Series Champion Cardinals.  VIP ticket-holders will also have access to a pregame autograph session with Izzy.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase general tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#BudBash).

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Superhero Night Theme Tickets: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superhero Night at the ballpark!  Bring the entire family out to meet your favorite comic book characters and superheroes that will be roving the stadium throughout the night.  Fans who purchase a Superhero Night theme ticket will receive an exclusive Cardinals superhero t-shirt.  Kid sizes also come with a cape!  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visitcardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

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Trevor’s Troops: Trevor Rosenthal and his Trevor’s Troops program will host a group from Angel’s Arms for tonight’s game.  The group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Trevor in the dugout to take pictures, receive autographs and ask questions prior to the start of the game.

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at the game.  The auction is a great way for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables are located at Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Houston Astros (6:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 4:45 p.m.

Teachers Night Theme Tickets: The St. Louis Cardinals invite all teachers and their families to enjoy their summer break by spending a night at the ballpark.  Fans who purchase a Teachers Night theme ticket will receive an exclusive Cardinals t-shirt specially designed for teachers.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

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Boy/Girl Scouts Night Theme Tickets: The St. Louis Cardinals invite all Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and their families to enjoy Scout Night at the ballpark.  For just $14, each scout receives a ticket to the game as well as a voucher which can be exchanged for a Cardinals scout patch.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

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Telecast For The Troops: FOX Sports Midwest presents This One’s For You, its annual Cardinals telecast to the troops.  FSM will conduct live interviews with soldiers from the Missouri Air National Guard’s 157th Air Operation Group deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar during the game.  Family members and supports of the deployed Airmen will be at Busch Stadium as well.

Honorary First Pitch: Missouri Teacher of the Year, Linda Glasgow, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.  Glasgow just completed her 31st year of teaching in the Blue Springs School District, where she currently teaches 3rd grade.  The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education conducts the Missouri Teacher of the Year program with financial support provided by the Boeing Company.

Tsunami Waves: Carlos Martinez and his Tsunami Waves foundation will host a local Hispanic group for tonight’s game.  The group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Carlos in the dugout to take pictures, receive autographs and ask questions prior to the start of the game.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

 Friday, June 17, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Kolten Wong Adult Hawaiian Print Jersey Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a specially designed Kolton Wong Hawaiian print jersey.

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Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at the game.  The auction is a great way for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables are located at Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Autograph Night: Get free autographs from current and former Cardinals players, courtesy of Academy Sports + Outdoors.  Two current Cardinals players (TBD) will sign 100 autographs inside Ford Plaza for fans 15 years old and younger from 5:45-6:15.  Former Cardinals Curt Ford and Pat Perry will sign autographs for fans of all ages from 6:15-7:00.  *Players subject to change*

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children.  For more info, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.com/5050 (#Raffle4Kids).

Cardinals Museum Artifact Spotlight: Every Friday home game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will highlight artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum.  Today’s featured items will be Hawaiian themed and includes a trophy from the 1997 Padres Paradise Series in which the Cardinals won two of three games against the San Diego Padres at Aloha Stadium in the first regular season major league game played in Hawaii.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum (#CardsMuseum).

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

Race To The Plate: At every Friday home game, fans will enjoy the Missouri Farmers Care: Race To The Plate—a mascot race featuring Captain Cornelius, Bessie the Cow, Simon the Soybean and Baconeer the Pig.  Join the conversation on how today’s food is grown and raised at MissouriFarmersCare.com (#GoFarmTeam).

Saturday, June 18, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers (3:15 p.m.)

FOX Saturday Baseball National Broadcast on Fox Sports One

Gates open at 1:15 p.m.

Cardinals Pet Leash Holder with Photo Frame Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a unique Cardinals pet leash holder with photo frame, courtesy of Purina.

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Purina Pooches In The Ballpark: Fans who purchased a special ticket are allowed to bring their dog to the game in a pet-friendly section of the stadium.  Participants will take part in a pregame costume parade around the warning track and receive a Purina goodie-bag.  All fans –regardless of ticket type – can enjoy a performance from the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team at 11:00 a.m. on the Busch II Infield at Ballpark Village (and again at 2:10 p.m. on Busch Stadium’s outfield) and see highly trained dogs compete in canine dock-diving at the Purina Ultimate Air Dogs Competition located in the parking lot north of Ballpark Village at noon.  (#PurinaPooches).

Prairie Farms Kids Run the Bases: Following the game, fans 15 and under are invited to run the bases of Busch Stadium (weather permitting).  Presented by Prairie Farms.

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals infielder Tom Lawless will be on hand to sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  In addition to having a valid admission to the museum, fans must have an autograph line ticket, which are free and will be distributed on the day of each Saturday signing.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children.  For more info, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.com/5050 (#Raffle4Kids).

 MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

Sunday, June 19, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Cardinals Adult Dress Socks Promotional Giveaway: A perfect gift for Dad on Father’s Day!  The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will go home with a pair of Cardinals dress socks.

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Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday: Starting two hours prior to the game, bring the entire family to Ford Plaza for games, prizes and free North Star ice cream (while supplies last).

Special Father’s Day Uniforms: For the first time, the Cardinals and MLB will celebrate Father’s Day with specially designed uniforms that incorporate light blue into the Cardinals’ regular logos, with caps highlighted by a dark grey crown and brim.  In honor of Father’s Day, MLB will donate its licensed uniform royalties to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer charities.

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Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children.  For more info, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.com/5050 (#Raffle4Kids).

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

 That’s all for now! Stay cool (literally and figuratively)!  See you next time!

Diane