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

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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

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Report Day!

Today may be Hump Day but more importantly for Cardinals fans, today is Pitchers and Catchers Report Day! Baseball is back, baby! PCRD is a major holiday on the Cardinal calendar. It signals the end of the off-season and the beginning of spring training. Some of the Cardinals players reported to camp early, including new Korean relief pitcher Seung Hwan Oh. (Oh, the puns that will be made with that last name. Poor guy.)

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that changes the names of the calendar seasons with baseball seasons. Instead of spring, summer, fall and winter, there is spring training, regular season, post-season and off-season.  Although the winter has been pretty mild here in the St. Louis area, the grey, dreary days leave me longing for baseball.  This has been a long week this week, waiting for Wednesday.

I’m so excited that baseball is back! I hope you are too.  Here’s a poem I posted in February 2014, and it still applies today:

Ode to Spring Training

Cardinals fans cheer! The day’s finally here,
We’ve waited for all winter long,
It’s time to rejoice, so lift up your voice,
And come and join me in this song!

Pitchers and catchers report,
Pitchers and catchers report,
Four words that say spring’s on its way,
Pitchers and catchers report!

The winter’s been long and dreary,
With snow and cold galore,
And although our hearts were weary,
They’re not that way anymore!

Because today –

Pitchers and catchers report,
Pitchers and catchers report,
Four words that say spring’s on its way,
Pitchers and catchers report!

Yes, there is a tune for this, and hopefully some year, I will make a video of me singing it. Until then, however, you’ll have to enjoy the printed lyrics.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane