Worse. Game. Ever. (that I’ve seen in person)

angryLast night’s Cards-Reds game was the most horrible game I have ever seen in person. The Cards lost to the Reds 15-2.  In my last blog post, I compared the bad Cardinals to a beer league softball team, and sure enough, that’s the team that showed up to play last night.  When I played co-ed softball, there was a 10 run mercy rule (the game ends after a team scores 10 runs), but unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to baseball.  If it did, the game would have been over after the fourth inning.

My last blog post pleaded for Good Jaime to show up last night. Bad Jaime showed up instead.  He only lasted one inning. The experiment to move Jaime back into the starting rotation failed miserably. I’m pretty sure that last night was the last time we’ll ever see Jaime pitching in a Cardinals uniform.

Michael Wacha relieved Jaime in the second inning, but he wasn’t much better.  The next relief pitcher was Luke Weaver.  After Luke, Dean Kiekhefer came in to pitch. Hazelbaker, a position player, was the last pitcher of the game. We left the game after the sixth inning.  We just couldn’t take any more misery.

Yadi had a bad night too; he couldn’t throw out anyone trying to steal.  The Cards did score a couple of runs, so at least it wasn’t a shutout.  The highlight of the game was a Stephen Piscotty triple.

I always buy a scorecard and keep score when I go to a game, but last night, I stopped keeping score after the fourth inning.  The Reds’ lineup batted 1 ½ times in the fourth inning, and there’s no room on a scorecard to score a second run through the lineup (if there is a way, someone please let me know how), so I just gave up keeping score all together.

My friend noticed how empty the stadium was last night even before the game.  There was less than 40,000 attendees for the first time since 2013.  The left upper deck was completely empty.  In fact, the fans booed several times last night, and I’m ashamed to say I was one of them.  I never thought that I would ever boo my beloved Cardinals, but last night I did.  It appears the fans are getting tired of crappy baseball.  I’m glad that I didn’t pay for my tickets to last night’s game; I would have been really angry if I had paid good money for that lousy outcome. It’s a shame that the last game I got to see at Busch Stadium this season was such a debacle.  I missed going to Bible study for this?  I would have gotten more out of Bible study that that game.

After last night’s loss, the Cards are 1 game back of the Giants for the second wild card spot.  It’s still possible for the Cards to get to the wild card game, but even if by some stroke of luck they did, I really don’t think they’d win the game.  I think the guys have finally run out of steam, and Yadi especially.  Carson Kelly should have been called up earlier to give Yadi some days off, and Mike Matheny should have insisted that Yadi take more time off.  Brayan Pena was supposed to be Yadi’s backup, but he got injured.  Either the guys are totally exhausted, or there are some issues going on in the clubhouse that we are not yet privy to.  It appears they have checked out for the season.

I think it’s time for us Cards fans to start mentally checking out of this season too.  I predicted back in May that this wasn’t our year, and I was right. After the season is over, there will be some housecleaning occurring.  I think there will be some players gone next season, and maybe some coaches and perhaps a manager too.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

Diane

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Those banged-up Birds

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

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

Aledmys Diaz – right thumb fracture

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

Matt Adams – right shoulder inflammation

Michael Wacha – right shoulder inflammation

Tyler Lyons – right knee stress reactions

Trevor Rosenthal – right shoulder inflammation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Not our year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane

A love letter to the St. Louis Cardinals players – Part Deux

Dear boys,

Greetings once again from one of your loyal, loving fans.  You all may remember my letter to you last fall when the Cards were on the brink of winning the National League pennant.  You must have taken my loving criticism to heart, for you indeed won the NL pennant, but you lost the World Series once again to the Red Sox (this pattern of losing to the Red Sox in the WS is really getting old, though).

However, I am writing to you much earlier this season because I am alarmed at what I am seeing, both at bat and on the field.  It appears the team is imploding and I, along with many other fans,  are very worried.  Granted, the Cards are only 4 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central and there is still a lot of season yet to play.  But if you guys can’t right the sinking ship S.S. Cardinals, however,  everything will be going south quickly, and I’m not talking about the Braves.

Let’s talk first about the few bright spots on the team.  Our 1-2 starting pitchers (Waino and Wacha) are the best in the NL.  With the exception of the game in Chicago and the game against the Giants, we can always count on Waino for a win. Yadi is simply the best catcher in the NL.  There’s no use trying to steal off of Yadi – you will lose every time.  Yadi’s defense is stellar. And he is great at handling pitchers.

Now let’s talk about hitting.  I’m going to review what I said last time with some minor changes.  Please be patient at the plate and take some balls.  Wait for a good pitch or a mistake pitch to hit.  Make the pitcher work for the out.  The higher the pitch count, the earlier the pitcher will be taken out of the game.  And just get a hit.  Enough hits in a row will equal runs.  There’s no need to be swinging for the fences every time you’re up at bat.  This is all fundamental stuff you should have learned a long time ago and shouldn’t have to be reminded about. And don’t be afraid to bunt to move a runner over into scoring position. To summarize, you boys need to hit more to score more!

If and when you do get on base, be an alert base runner.  Watch for passed balls or wild pitches so you can advance on the base paths.  Watch and see where hit balls land to determine whether it’s safe to advance or not.  Listen to your base coaches; they will tell you whether to run or not.   And when it’s time to run, run like the wind. Also, don’t get hung up between third and home.

As for the pitching – where do I begin?  After Waino and Wacha, the rotation is the Twilight Zone.  Lynn has at least one bad inning every game, known on the Internet as the “Lynning,”  which is not a good thing.  Jaime Garcia is beginning to show promise, but he’s only had 3 starts since coming off of the DL.  Kelly has been out for over a month with a hamstring strain. Does it really take that long to heal a hamstring strain, or is there something else going on?

As for the bullpen, Martinez needs to be sent back down to Memphis to get his head straightened out.  You can’t have a pitcher that can’t get lefties out.  Choate and Maness are a mess.  Jason Motte has just gotten off the DL  Neshek and Rosenthal have been the bright spots in the bullpen.

You guys are professional baseball players and you’ve spoiled us.  We expect the Cards to be in the playoffs every year.  So get it together, boys, and play and act like a team.  Until next time (and hopefully, there won’t be a next time this year) –

Love always,

Diane

Winter Warm-Up autograph tickets on sale Monday 1/6/14!

The weather is cold outside and 8-12″ of snow is expected in the St. Louis area starting tomorrow night into most of Sunday, but here’s some news to warm up your weekend – Winter Warm-Up autograph tickets go on sale on Monday!  Here’s the scoop from the Cardinals’ front office in the press release below:

WINTER WARM-UP AUTOGRAPH TICKETS ON SALE MONDAY

Autograph donations to benefit kids in the Cardinals Community

             ST. LOUIS, Mo. (January 3, 2014) – Cardinals Care, the charitable foundation of the St. Louis Cardinals, announced today that fans may begin purchasing autograph tickets for the 18th annual Winter Warm-Up on the team’s website, cardinals.com/winterwarmup, at 9 a.m. CT on Monday, January 6th.

            Player autograph sessions are one of the most popular attractions of the Warm-Up. While some players’ autographs are free with the admission pass, others require an autograph ticket available through a specific additional donation. Every dollar donated for autograph tickets – as well as all proceeds from the Winter Warm-Up weekend – benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s community foundation that cares for kids.

            The highly-anticipated annual event takes place Saturday, January 18 through Monday, January 20, 2014 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day), at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. Fans may continue to purchase admission passes for the three-day Winter Warm-Up online at cardinals.com/winterwarmup, in the official Cardinals Team Store at Busch Stadium and at Cardinals Clubhouse stores located around St. Louis. A Winter Warm-Up admission pass is required to enter the Warm-Up and obtain autographs.

            Fans will have the opportunity to meet members of the 2013 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals including Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Manager Mike Matheny, NLCS MVP Michael Wacha and more. Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa will be on hand for the weekend event as well as two of the newest Cardinals, outfielder Peter Bourjos and shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

            “The Warm-Up is the perfect opportunity for fans to meet their favorite players and help kids in the St. Louis community,” said Michael Hall, Executive Director of Cardinals Care and Vice President of Community Relations. “We hope fans will join us in welcoming our new players and celebrating our 19th National League pennant.”

            Fans are encouraged to visit cardinals.com/winterwarmup for the most up-to-date details about player autograph dates, times and, if required, additional donation amounts. All autograph tickets will be sold online through Wednesday, January 15th at 5 p.m. CT.  Any remaining autograph tickets not sold online will be available at the Winter Warm-Up. For complete event details, schedule and frequently asked questions, visit cardinals.com/winterwarmup. The current autograph schedule follows below.

            Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the Cardinals organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field. Since it was established in 1997, Cardinals Care has invested $19 million in helping children, including providing $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 21 youth ball fields in neighborhoods in both Missouri and Illinois. In 2013, Cardinals Care celebrated the 10th anniversary of the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.

 *Dates, times and players may change prior to Winter Warm-Up. Some players may be added after today.*

Player

Donation

Signing Date

Signing Time

Adams, Matt

$20

Sunday, January 19

10am-12pm

Bourjos, Peter

$20

Monday, January 20

9-11am

Carpenter, Matt

$40

Sunday, January 19

3-5pm

Clark, Jack

$5

Saturday, January 18

11am-1pm

Craig, Allen

$40

Sunday, January 19

3-5pm

Cruz, Tony

$5

Sunday, January 19

10am-12pm

Descalso, Daniel

$15

Saturday, January 18

10am-12pm

Ellis, Mark

$5

Sunday, January 19

9-11am

Freeman, Sam

$5

Sunday, January 19

1-3pm

Herzog, Whitey

$75

Monday, January 20

11am-12pm

Holliday, Matt

$75

Monday, January 20

10am-12pm

Jay, Jon

$20

Sunday, January 19

3-5pm

Jordan, Brian

$10

Monday, January 20

11am-1pm

Kelly, Joe

$25

Sunday, January 19

11am-1pm

Kozma, Pete

$5

Saturday, January 18

10am-12pm

La Russa, Tony

$75

Sunday, January 19

10am-12pm

Lynn, Lance

$20

Sunday, January 19

1-3pm

Lyons, Tyler

$5

Sunday, January 19

12-2pm

Mabry, John

$5

Monday, January 20

12-2pm

Maness, Seth

$10

Saturday, January 18

2-4pm

Matheny, Mike

$40

Monday, January 20

9-11am

Miller, Shelby

$25

Sunday, January 19

1-3pm

Molina, Yadier

$100

TBD

TBD

Motte, Jason

$30

Sunday, January 19

2-4pm

Peralta, Jhonny

$25

TBD

TBD

Robinson, Shane

$5

Sunday, January 19

11am-1pm

Rosenthal, Trevor

$35

Saturday, January 18

12-2pm

Schoendienst, Red

$75

Sunday, January 19

10-11am

Shannon, Mike

$10

Sunday, January 19

12-1pm

Siegrist, Kevin

$15

Saturday, January 18

3-5pm

Smith, Ozzie

-pre-autographed baseball

$75

Everyday

Cardinals Care Store

Taveras, Oscar

$20

Saturday, January 18

2-4pm

Wacha, Michael

$70

Monday, January 20

12-2pm

Wainwright, Adam

$80

Saturday, January 18

12-2pm

Wong, Kolten

$15

Sunday, January 19

2-4pm

 The following players will be signing free autographs and will require a line ticket. More information will be available at the Winter Warm-Up.

Check cardinals.com/winterwarmup for their dates and times.

Current Players:

Former Players:

Keith Butler

Randal Grichuk Alan Benes Cal Eldred Tom Lawless Ted Savage
Eric Fornataro Zach Petrick Ernie Broglio Ryan Franklin Kyle McClellan Jason Simontacchi
Greg Garcia Stephen Piscotty Glenn Brummer Rick Horton Cliff Politte Scott Terry
John Costello Al Hrabosky Kerry Robinson Bill Virdon
Danny Cox Ken Dayley Mike Jorgensen Stan Royer

Thanks for reading! Until next time, stay warm!

Diane

The top 5 Cardinals stories of 2013

imageThe United Cardinals Bloggers’ December project is the top 5 stories are for the year. Here are my nominations:

1.  The death of Stan Musial. Stan was baseball’s perfect knight and an era ended with his death. It’s rare that a player spends his entire career with a team like Stan did. Much is made of the “face of the franchise” tag these days, but Stan was the epitome of the Cardinal Way. You can read my blog posts about Stan’s passing here and here.

2.  Chris Carpenter’s retirement.  Chris’ pitching led the Cards to two World Series championships.  He not only contributed with his arm, he worked with other pitchers and his larger than life personality lit up the bench.  He will hopefully accept  a position with the Cardinals’ front office.  You can read my blog post about Chris’ retirement here.

3.  Winning the National League pennant.  It was a grueling road to the pennant. It took all 5 games for the Cardinals to knock off Pittsburgh.  The Cards then took 6 out of 7 games to finish off the Dodgers.  The momentum, however, wasn’t enough to beat the Red Sox in the World Series.  But we Cards fans can still be proud of the NL pennant.

4.  Mo’s wheeling and dealing during the off season.  During the last couple of years, Cards GM John Mozeliak didn’t make many moves during the off season.  This year was an exception, however.  David Freese and Fernando Salas were traded for Angels CF’s Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.  Free agent SS Jhonny Peralta was signed to a  four year contract.  Mo finished up by picking up veteran Mark Ellis from the Dodgers to mentor and back up Kolten Wong at 2B.  And Mo did all this without having to give up any of our rookie pitchers.  Mo is a genius.

5.  The rise of Michael Wacha.  What a season it was for young Michael Wacha, one of the best of the Cards’ rookie pitchers.  After being called up, Wacha had a 4-1 record during the regular season, but he had 4 wins in the playoffs, and won the MVP award in the NLCS.  Only the loss in Game 6 of the World Series dimmed his bright rising.  It will be interesting to see how Wacha pitches next season.

The UCB mourned the loss of one of its writers last week.  Jerome “J.D.” Norton, who wrote the Bleed Cardinal Red With Me blog and later on Cards Conclave,  sadly took his own life on December 22 at the young age of 38.  Our prayers and condolences are with his wife and family.  His online obituary is here, should you wish to express your condolences. Folks, if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or any other kind of mental illness, please get help!  The life you save may be your own.

Thanks for reading!  Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!

Diane

 

As the World Series Turns

WS_FINALS_Web_MasterMiniseries were popular TV programs back in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and the 1990’s. The episodes of the miniseries were shown in prime time over several nights.  They were mostly historical dramas, based on previously published books, although some were based on fiction books.  Some of the more popular mini-series of those decades were Roots, North and South, and The Thorn Birds.

The 2013 World Series, Major League Baseball’s version of the miniseries, starts tonight.  The cast of players are the two teams that battled through the Division Series and the Championship Series in their respective leagues.  The settings for this Series are the old and venerable Fenway Park featuring the Green Monster, which opened in 1912, and the newer Busch Stadium III, which opened in 2006.  Both teams also had the best regular season record in their respective leagues, the first time that has happened since 1999.

Every good miniseries has several story arcs, and this World Series is no exception.  This is Carlos Beltran’s first trip to the World Series in his long illustrious career, and it’s Yadier Molina’s fourth trip to the Series.  This is Mike Matheny’s first trip to the World Series as a manager.  Chris Carpenter took batting practice at Fenway to fulfill a long held dream and he hit pretty well.  Maybe he should have been put on the roster on the bench?  LOL!

Will rookie Michael Wacha be as lights out on the mound as he was during the NLCS? Or will he get nervous and choke?  Will Matt Adams start hitting like he did during the regular season?  How will Allen Craig perform in a DH role?

This World Series brings hope to Boston after the terrible bombing at the Boston Marathon.  It’s the battle of the Red Sox beards versus the fresh faced Cardinals rookies.  It’s a showdown between 2 of the oldest franchises in MLB.  And of course, each team claims the best fans in baseball.

This World Series is the fourth meeting between the Red Sox and the Cardinals. The Cardinals hold a 3-1 lead in the matchups.  In the 2004 World Series, the Cards were swept in 4 games by the Sox.  Will there be revenge this year for 2004?  Only Molina, Matheny, and Chris Carpenter remain from that Cardinals team.

It would be easy to get caught up in all the drama.  But underneath it all, this is still the World Series and there is still baseball to be played.  On paper, the Cards and the Red Sox appear evenly matched.  This should be a very good World Series.  My prediction is that the Cards will win in 6, for Stan.  Let’s go Cards!  My next post will give you all the logistics for the 2013 World Series games and events.

Thanks for reading!  See you soon!

Diane