What, me worry? Oh, yes. A lot.

On this off-day, Alfred E. Neumann is making a return appearance.  The Cardinals’ last homestand was atrocious. They only won 2 of the last 10 games.  I attended two games last week and the Cards lost both of them. That was not a good return on my investment.  In fact, the Cards haven’t looked good since the rain-delayed game in Washington on April 28.  They were swept in Chicago (how embarrassing!), and only won 1 game of each of the last 2 series.  The Cards are now tied with Pittsburgh for 4th place in the National League Central division. What is wrong with the Cardinals?  I have some thoughts and questions. 

Jose Martinez.  Don’t get me wrong; I love the guy.  He has personality plus.  He truly enjoys playing the game; however, he can’t play the field.  Batters from opposing teams know to hit to Jose because he can’t catch a ball hit to him unless it happens to land in his glove.  He certainly can hit, though.  Jose would make a great designated hitter for an American League team.  He plays better in the outfield when Harrison Bader is there to back him up, which leads to my next question –

Why isn’t Harrison Bader playing?  There is the usual “Dexter Fowler is making more money and Jose Martinez can really hit” excuse.  Although right field is not Dexter’s natural position, he plays a lot better there than Jose does.  When I saw the lineup for yesterday’s game, I almost flipped out.  Yairo Munoz was playing center field? Why?  I understand giving Dexter a day off, but why wasn’t Harrison playing?  The excuse given for yesterday’s game was that Harrison had a stiff neck.  Don’t the Cardinals have a chiropractor on staff that could adjust Harrison’s neck?  What about all the other times Harrison could have played since his return from the IL?  Is Harrison in someone’s doghouse for some reason?  He’s not hitting well when he’s being brought in in late innings, but that’s because he hasn’t been hitting in game situations.  He needs to get his timing back.  The Cards also sorely miss Harrison’s stellar defense in center field.

Where has the offense gone?  The Cards may have scored 17 runs in the May 9 game, but they should have saved some runs for the next night.  In fact, every time the Cards win games by such large margins, they don’t score well, if at all, in the next game.  Marcell Ozuna, Jose Martinez, and Paul DeJong are the only players hitting with some regularity.  Matt Carpenter claims the only place he can hit is leadoff, but he’s not hitting well at all.  It’s time to place Matt further down the lineup and find a new leadoff batter. It could even be time to shake up the lineup, perhaps start it with DeJong-Ozuna-Goldschmidt. 

The bullpen looks shaky.  I shiver every time Tyler Webb is brought into a game.  He does not have what it takes to be a bullpen pitcher.  I think he will be sent down to AAA when Carlos Martinez completes his rehab assignment.  John Brebbia showed he was human yesterday.  And poor Jordan Hicks doesn’t get to pitch much because the Cards are not winning games he can save.  Andrew Miller has more bad pitching outings than good, which is disappointing. 

It’s still fairly early in the season and perhaps this is just a minor slump. Hopefully, this off-day will give the team a day to rest and recuperate. Perhaps watching tonight’s Blues game will relax the guys. I’m looking forward to watching some winning Cardinals baseball starting tomorrow night.

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

Diane

What, me worry? Well, maybe just a little.

The cartoon figure in the clip art above is Alfred E. Neumann, the mascot of Mad magazine.  Alfred’s catchphrase was “What, me worry?”  The Cardinals’ bats are starting to catch fire, but I still have some concerns this early in the season. Let’s discuss.

The Cards’ pitchers are giving up too many walks.  The son and I were gifted with 2 free tickets to Saturday’s (4/6/19) game.  (Thanks, Sandy!) Before we left in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Cards’ pitchers had given up 9 walks.  That’s too many.  What’s especially bad is when the first batter in the inning gets a walk.  Then the next batter moves the first batter to second base, etc. What’s even worse is if the walks put runners on base and a batter hits a home run, like in Saturday’s game. The walk creates a run that didn’t need to happen and could cost the team to lose a game.  Let’s tighten it up, guys, and not give up so many walks.

What’s up with Marcell Ozuna?   The play he made in the outfield in Tuesday night’s game was truly bizarre.  He climbed the wall to try to catch the ball and the ball landed two feet in front of him.  He caught one of his spikes in the turf when he landed and he could have gotten hurt.  This wasn’t the first oddball play he’s attempted to make.  And in last night’s game, he had a baserunning gaffe.  Has Marcell had his sight checked lately?  Sure, his hitting has improved but his fielding and throwing are sorely lacking.  It makes me wonder how he was ever awarded a Gold Glove.  And he came to spring training overweight and out of shape, plus his shoulder wasn’t quite where it was supposed to be.  This is not a good look for a player in a walk year.  If he keeps it up, he may not get a contract at all, let alone a good one.

Michael Wacha.  He’s been giving up a lot of walks (7 on Saturday when we were there) and home runs (3 in today’s game alone).  Is Wacha having problems with his shoulder again?

Dexter Fowler’s hitting.  The season started on March 28, and Dexter just got his first RBI during last night’s game (4/10/19). This is not ideal at all.

Lest you think I’m a complete Debbie Downer, however, there are some good things happening this spring.  I’m glad that the Cardinals signed Miles Mikolas, Jose Martinez, and Matt Carpenter to contract extensions.  It’s best to get contract extensions out of the way early in the year, or even during spring training, I think.  It gives the players confidence that the team wants them and has confidence in their abilities, and that reflects in their performance. The players don’t wonder all season whether their contracts are going to be renewed or not.

Center fielder Harrison Bader has made some dandy plays, considering he not only has to cover his position but back up Marcell Ozuna as well.  And Kolten Wong has done a great job this season.  Having Paul Goldschmidt at first base gives Kolten confidence to make those incredible plays. Kolten’s bat is on fire this year too.  And speaking of bats on fire, Paul DeJong’s bat is smokin’ hot.

The Cardinals swept the Dodgers this week, and now they’re on a happy flight to Mexico, where they play the Reds this weekend. One word of advice – don’t drink the water, guys! Montezuma’s Revenge is painful!

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Opening Day and Homestand Highlights for Thursday, April 5 – Wednesday, April 11

2018 Opening Day

It may be chilly tomorrow, but it will seem like spring since the Cardinals’ Opening Day is tomorrow!  Are you excited?  I’ve been waiting for this day all winter.  It will be great to see the current players riding into the stadium on the back of those Ford F150 trucks, and to see the new players too.  I get teary eyed seeing the Cardinals Hall of Famers in their red jackets.  I’m excited to see Bob Gibson’s first pitch to Tim McCarver, commemorating the 50th anniversary of his 1.12 ERA, which has never been broken.  And I’m glad that the game is in the evening so I can watch the pre-game festivities from home, rather than from the window of the office across from my desk and watching them on the big video screen at the stadium (and hoping and praying I don’t get caught).  Listed below is the schedule for the Opening Day festivities and the game information, as well the information for the rest of the homestand. You will want to note that the April 11 game will only be broadcast on Facebook, but that’s during lunch time for me, so I can watch it on my phone.  Go Cards!

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Thursday, April 5—Wednesday, April 11)

Home Opener & Mystery HOF Car Parade Bobblehead Giveaway Highlight First Homestand of 2018

The Cardinals open the 2018 home slate with a pair of three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks (April 5, 7-8) and the Milwaukee Brewers (April 9-11).  The first homestand of the year is highlighted by Opening Day festivities, four promotional giveaways and two theme nights.

Thursday, April 5, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (6:15 p.m.) OPENING DAY

Pregame Schedule

12:00 – 3:15 p.m.            Opening Day Pep Rally at Ballpark Village: 

Join Fredbird, Team Fredbird and DJ Todd Thomas at the Ballpark Village parking lot for the Cardinals Opening Day Pep Rally.  This event is free for all fans to attend and will proceed rain or shine.  Danny Cox, Kyle McClellan and the FOX Sports Midwest announcers will stop by with plenty of Cardinals prizes and even some Opening Day tickets to give away.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase as well.

11:00 – 5:00 p.m.            FOX 2 Pep Rally in Kiener Plaza (7th & Market)

1:00 – 6:00 p.m.              Two other pep rallies for you to attend:

KSDK Pep Rally – Tin Roof at 10th & Clark (formerly J. Buck’s                                                     Restaurant)

KMOV Pep Rally – 4th and South Broadway, with former                                                             Cardinals Kyle McClellan and Ray Lankford

3:00 p.m.                         Gates open

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.              Cardinals Batting Practice (subject to change)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.              Diamondbacks Batting Practice (subject to change)

5:30 p.m.                          Pregame ceremonies begin with an appearance by the                                                                 famed Budweiser Clydesdales

Introduction of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger

Introduction of Fredbird and Team Fredbird

5:35 p.m.                          Hall of Famers will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade around                                               the warning track. Hall of Famers will be riding in 2018 Ford                                                     Mustang convertibles.

Introduction of 2017 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class

Cardinals Opening Day Video

5:50 p.m.                          Introduction of Cardinals principal owner and CEO, Bill DeWitt                                               Jr.

Introduction of the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals via Ford Motorcade. The players will ride in 2018 Ford F-150 Raptors.

                                   Introduction of the Arizona Diamondbacks

Color Guard and American Flag in center field, courtesy of the service men and women of Scott Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood, respectively.

6:05 p.m.                          National Anthem performed by Colleen Schoendienst, daughter                                               of Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst

6:07 p.m.                           KC-135 Flyover (weather permitting)

6:09 p.m.                           Ceremonial First Pitch by Bob Gibson to Tim McCarver in                                                          recognition of Bob Gibson’s historic 1968 season.

6:15 p.m.                           First Pitch

Watching on TV

Fans can watch the pregame ceremonies in High Definition on FOX Sports Midwest beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Live pregame coverage will start at 4:00 p.m.  The game will also be broadcast nationally outside of the Cardinals home television territory on MLB Network.

MLB Network Showcase National Broadcast (out of market only)

2018 Cardinals Magnet Schedule: All ticketed-fans, ages 21 and older, will receive a magnet featuring the 2018 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Budweiser.

Cardinals en Español: Tonight’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app. #STLCardenales

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from tonight’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050. #CardsCare5050

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Auction tables will be located by Gate 1, Gate 3, and inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community. #CardsCare

Saturday, April 7, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Mystery Hall of Fame Opening Day Car Parade Bobblehead: 30,000 fans, ages 16 and older, will be surprised at the gates when they find out which mystery Hall of Fame parade bobblehead they receive (Brock, Gibson, Schoendienst), courtesy of Ford.#CardsPromo

Ceremonial First Pitch: Former Cardinals outfielder Ray Lankford will throw out a ceremonial first pitch.  Ray will then serve as the first celebrity bartender at the Budweiser Terrace one hour after the start of the game.

Cardinals en Español: Tonight’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app. #STLCardenales

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals outfielder Ray Lankford will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Visit cardinals.com/museum for more information.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from tonight’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050. #CardsCare5050

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

Amateur Game:  After today’s game, Hillsboro High School will square off against Edwardsville High School.

Sunday, April 8, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Performance Pullover Giveaway:  30,000 fans, ages 16 and older, will leave the ballpark with their very own lightweight quarter-zip performance pullover, courtesy of Maryville University. #CardsPromo

Kids Ticket Voucher Giveaway: All kids entering with a tickets, ages 15 and younger, will receive a free ticket voucher valid for select Cardinals regular season home games in 2018, courtesy of Ritz. #CardsPromo

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 frozen treats (while supplies last).

Cardinals en Español: Tonight’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app. #STLCardenales

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from tonight’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050. #CardsCare5050

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

Amateur Game: After today’s game, Greenville High School will square off against O’Fallon High School.

Monday, April 9, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (6:05 p.m.)

ESPN National Broadcast (out of market only)

Gates open at 4:35 p.m.

College Theme Night #1: Take a break from the books and celebrate the end of the school year on College Night at Busch Stadium.  For just $20, fans will receive a ticket to the game and an exclusive Cardinals crewneck sweatshirt.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/college. #CardsTheme

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Class of 2018 Theme Night: Graduates of all ages are invited down to the ballpark for Class of 2018 Night.  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Class of 2018 t-shirt.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/graduation. #CardsTheme

Ceremonial First Pitch: 18-year-old Camille Fernandez, who received a life-saving procedure for her battle against leukemia thanks to Carlos Martínez’s Tsunami Waves Foundation, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Auction tables will be located by Gate 1, Gate 3, and inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  #CardsCare

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (12:15 p.m.)

Facebook Watch Exclusive Broadcast

Gates open at 10:45 a.m.

Facebook Watch: Today’s game will be distributed exclusively on Facebook Watch via the MLB Live show page (facebook.com/MLBLiveGames) as part of MLB’s newly expanded partnership for the 2018 season.

Award Ceremony: Before the start of today’s game, Adam Wainwright and Marcell Ozuna will be presented with their 2017 Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards in recognition of being the best National League offensive starting pitcher and left fielder, respectively, as selected by NL managers and coaches.

Amateur Game: After today’s game, the St. Louis Patriots will square off against Marshall County High School (KY).

MORE INFORMATION

Cardinals Fan Music Contest

The club has launched the first-ever Cardinals Fan Music Contest as a way for fans to share their creativity and musical talent, along with their passion for Cardinals baseball.  Fans are asked to write, perform and share an original Cardinals-inspired song/anthem and share the performance via a video or audio file.  One lucky performance will be crowned the winner and receive a trip to Nashville to have their song professionally recorded and mastered at the Shoe Box Studios.  The Cardinals will also produce a professional music video and share the artist’s work with all of Cardinals Nation!  Details can be found at cardinals.com/MusicContest.

Cardinals 2018 Hall of Fame Voting

Earlier this month, Vince Coleman, Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Ray Lankford, Scott Rolen, Lee Smith and John Tudor were revealed as the seven players nominated for possible induction into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The seven nominees appear on the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot online at cardinals.com/HOF presented by Edward Jones.  The two players with the most online fan votes after voting concludes on April 12 will be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame this August.  #CardsHOF

#BigMacFlashback

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Home Run Race that ultimately concluded with Mark McGwire establishing a new MLB single-season home run record.  All season long, we will share content on our social media channels that helps fans relive the 1998 Home Run Race; including videos of all 70 of Big Mac’s home runs, real-time updates on the home run count of McGwire, Sosa and Griffey Jr. and fan images that convey the excitement of that amazing season.  As part of the lookback, the team will be asking fans to share their photos, memorabilia, stories and experiences from the historic 1998 season as the fan perspective is an important part of this historic time in baseball.  Fans can share their favorite #BigMacFlashback memories with us using our online submission form at cardinals.com/McGwire.

Busch Stadium Food & Beverages

The Cardinals Fan Food Guide is available at cardinals.com/food and via the MLB.com Ballpark mobile app to help fans locate their favorite food and beverages at Busch Stadium.

New concession items for 2018 include:

Gioia’s Hot Salami Sandwich: A St. Louis Hill classic since 1918!  A James Beard Award winning sandwich featuring Gioia’s hot salami, Italian bread, pepper jack cheese, diced onions, sliced pepperoncini’s and deli mustard.  Served at: Concourse Stand behind Section 151 for $14.25.

Coca-Cola Cantina Street Tacos: Three tacos with Coca-Cola marinated house smoked pork, Coca-Cola infused BBQ sauce, fresh pico de gallo, toasted onions, lime wedge.  Served at: Coke Cantina at Gate 1 for $9.

Grilled Chicken Bats: Smoked chicken legs with choice of BBQ, Buffalo or Hot Honey sauces.  Served at: Terrace Grill at Budweiser Terrace for $7.

Sausage Bites: Bacon Onion Cheddar, Whiskey Peppercorn, or Mango Habanero sausage topped with spicy aioli.  Served at Terrace Grill at Budweiser Terrace for $8.75.

Jumbo Shrimp Skewer: Four Jumbo Shrimp, grilled to order, marinated with minced garlic and fresh lime.  Served at: Terrace Grill at Budweiser Terrace for $12.

Grand Slam Mixed Grill: Sampling of Grilled Chicken Bats, Sausage Bites and Jumbo Shrimp Skewer. Served at: Terrace Grill at Budweiser Terrace for $25.

Updated Prohibited Items Policy

Fans may now bring empty cups, empty mugs, empty plastic bottles and ice packs into Busch Stadium.  Fans can visit cardinals.com/security for the complete inspection policy & prohibited items list.

Busch Stadium Re-Entry

Exit stamps will be available for guests who need to exit the stadium but plan to return.  The stamps will be located at Gate 1 (southeast corner of stadium) and Gate 4 (northwest corner of stadium).

Smoking Gate Relocation

Busch Stadium has moved the Smoking Gate to outside of Gate 1 (southeast corner of stadium).  This new space includes a covered area for guest and free access in/out of the area.

Fan Information Guide

The Busch Stadium Fan Information Guide can be viewed at cardinals.com/info.

Budweiser Ballpark Pass

Following a successful launch in 2017, the popular ticket subscription service returns for 2018.  Fans can attend as many Cardinals home games as they want each month for a monthly fee of $29.99.  Subscribers will have a Standing Room Only ticket to each regular season game (except Opening Day) digitally delivered to their smartphone via the MLB.com Ballpark app.  The subscription will automatically renew each month and subscribers can cancel at any time.  To purchase the Budweiser Cardinals Ballpark Pass or for more information, visit cardinals.com/pass.

Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

The Cardinals are proud to continue to offer the Individual ($50) and Family ($85) Museum Membership options for fans in 2018.  Visit cardinals.com/membership for a detailed list of membership benefits.

This year’s new special exhibit entitled “Goodwill through Baseball: Cardinals Across the Pacific” examines how the Cardinals MLB’s baseball goodwill tours across the Pacific have helped pave the way for players to join leagues in the United States and Japan.  Additionally, the official World Baseball Classic trophy will be on display as part of the exhibit through Memorial Day.  Photo opportunities will be available on Saturday home games in April and May. The special exhibit is open to the public through the conclusion of the 2018 baseball season and is included with admission to the museum.

The Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and remains open through the 7th inning on home game nights.  Adult admission is $12, and tickets can be purchased at cardinals.com/museum. #CardsMuseum

Cardinals Magazine – New Edition on Sale Now

Always a man on a mission behind the plate, Yadier Molina was boots on the ground in his homeland of Puerto Rico this offseason as he repaired homes and delivered supplies and hope to many devastated by Hurricane Maria.  In the season-opening edition of Cardinals Magazine, Yadi and his wife, Wanda, share personal stories and photos in an exclusive story you won’t find anywhere else.

Our inside access also takes you behind the scenes with arguably the league’s top outfield trio of Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler, and inside the home of pitcher Miles Mikolas—to visit with his wife, Lauren.  Plus, Adam Wainwright’s heartfelt letter to his younger self, the debut of Tommy Pham’s monthly column, our detailed look at the promising wave of young talent in the farm system, and so much more!  Start a print or digital subscription and receive two FREE tickets to a 2018 home game.  To order, visit cardinals.com/publications or call 314-345-9000.

Official Team Media Guide

The Cardinals official team Media Guide has long been relied upon by journalists and broadcasters who cover the team.  Containing stats, photos and biographies of every player in the Cardinals organization, along with the definitive history of the club since its inception, the official team Media Guide is the most comprehensive book about the Cardinals.  The 2018 Media Guide is available for $20 at the Official Cardinals Team Store, the Cardinals Authentics Shop or online at cardinals.com/mediaguide.

That’s all for now – and it’s a lot to process!  Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

The top 5 Cardinals stories of 2017

Top 5Tomorrow is the last day of 2017! Where does the time go?  (Probably the same place that missing socks from the dryer go.)  One of the United Cardinals Bloggers projects every year is to post what we believe were the top 5 Cardinals stories of the year.  There was a lot happening with the Cardinals this year, so it was hard to select just 5 top stories.  Like the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve, I will count down from 5 to 1.

5.   The Matt Adams left field experiment. Left fielders have been moved to first base before (see Albert Pujols), but I do not remember the reverse ever happening – until it did.  Bloggers and Cardinals fans alike scratched their heads at Mike Matheny’s bizarre experiment.  Thankfully, the Adams experiment ended and Matt was traded to the Braves.  Matt was later released by the Braves and picked up by the Nationals.

4.   MLB’s punishment on the Cardinals for Hackergate. MLB finally laid the smackdown on the Cardinals for Chris Correa’s hacking of the Astros’ computer system.  All things considered, the punishment was pretty lenient – a $2 million fine and the loss of the Cards’ top two draft picks to the Astros.  It could have been worse.

3.   Bullpen meltdown. Seung Hwan Oh did not repeat his stellar 2016 season, leading to his release.  Trevor Rosenthal was injured and had to have Tommy John surgery. The Cards released Trevor at the end of the season.  The big signing of Brett Cecil was a bust.  Juan Nicasio was picked up off of waivers from the Phillies in September, too late to qualify for the playoffs, but he pitched very well and I, along with a lot of other fans, were hoping that the Cardinals would sign him.  Unfortunately, the Mariners signed Juan for a lot more money than I’d be willing to pay him.

2.   The signing of Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals lost out on Giancarlo Stanton, but that didn’t stop John Mozeliak from signing Ozuna.  I think the Ozuna signing was a good one.  Ozuna is friends with some of the Cardinals players, so he will fit in well with the team. It touched my heart when I read that Ozuna wants to make Cardinals fans smile.  Ozuna’s signing, however, led to Stephen Piscotty being traded to the A’s so he can be closer to his mother, who suffers from MLS.  And what will happen to Randal Grichuk?  Stay tuned for As the Outfield Turns.

1.    The emergence of Tommy Pham. Tommy has been in the Cardinals system for a long time.  He has battled through injury and an eye disease, but this season, Tommy upped his game and became the best player on the team. His emergence led the team to move Dexter Fowler to left field so that Tommy could play center field exclusively.

This off-season has seemed incredibly long, hasn’t it?  Mo has made a few deals (Ozuna, Mikolas) and changed up the coaching staff (welcome back, Jose and Willie – we really missed you), but there are other additions that need to be made so that this club can compete in 2018.  Hopefully after the first of the year, Mo will get out there and get it done.  The hot stove is losing its heat – and I’m not talking about the current frigid weather in the St. Louis area.

Winter Warm-Up is in 3 weeks and I can’t wait.  John Tudor, my favorite pitcher from the 1980s, will be signing autographs and I have my autograph ticket already.  You can order the free autograph tickets online to get them in advance so you don’t have to wait in long lines at Winter Warm-Up.  A lot of the free autograph tickets are already sold out, so don’t wait!  If you’re going to be at Winter Warm-Up, follow me on Twitter (check out the Twitter feed over in the right hand column) and maybe we can meet up!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, and may the Cardinals finally win the World Series again in 2018! Thanks as always for reading, and see you next time!

Diane