Won’t you go home, Old Man Winter, won’t you go home?

Snowbaseball
Photo from thebaseballbloggess.com

The title, of course, is set to the tune of “Bill Bailey.”  (And if you don’t know that classic song, well, Google it. Or ask Alexa or Siri.) Old Man Winter obviously can’t read, or he would see that today’s date is April 18 and realize that it is well past time for him to go back to the North (or South) Pole.  Snowballs and baseballs are roughly the same size, but this time of year, we would rather see baseballs being thrown than snowballs.  The weather gets warmer for a few days, fooling us into thinking that spring is finally here; then Old Man Winter returns, making the weather windy, cold and sometimes snowy.  Old Man Winter doesn’t know he’s outstayed his welcome.

Twenty-five Major League games have been postponed this season due to inclement weather, including today’s Cards-Cubs game, which was rescheduled for tomorrow.  Even closed-in stadiums were not exempt – one of the Blue Jays’ games had to be postponed due to a leaky roof.  The Cards-Cubs game that was cancelled on Monday due to inclement weather is scheduled to be played as part of a twi-night doubleheader on July 21.  It will hopefully be warmer by then.  I do recall, however, attending a Camera Night game in July at Busch Stadium II when the temperature was so cool that we were all wearing jackets.

I can’t remember a season when so many games have been postponed or rescheduled in the first month of the season due to the weather. So much for global warming!  It’s so sad to see our boys with the hooded sweatshirts under their uniforms and caps, trying to stay warm.  Sweatshirts are expected during playoff season in the fall, when it normally is cooler.  But in April?  What have we done to Mother Nature to make her hold back Spring?  There’s a reason that spring training is held in Florida and Arizona. Usually, the teams bring the warm weather up North when they return.  I will be attending both Saturday and Sunday’s games at Busch Stadium and the temperatures are projected to be in the low 60’s.  It should be in the high 60’s by now.

It’s not good for the players to play in such cold conditions. It makes the muscles tight and prone to injury. Tommy Pham pulled a groin muscle during last night’s game.  The cold weather might have contributed to that injury.  The cold weather conditions also doesn’t make the baseballs fly like they would if the weather was warmer. In addition, if the weather is cold, the fans won’t come to the stadium, and concession profits are lost.

So is this season an anomaly?  Could all these postponements/cancellations happen again next year? The weather can’t be predicted a year out, but maybe MLB could schedule games to prevent snow-outs/cold-outs/ice-outs.  How is that possible, you ask?  I’m (almost) certain that all of the game schedules are drawn up by computers by now.

Here’s my proposal:

  1.  All games in March and the first 3 weeks of April should be held in stadiums in   warmer climes or in stadiums with roofs.
  2.  The exception to number 1 would be an early April homestand for each team for   the home opener. The fans deserve an April home opener; they’ve waited six   months for baseball.  There will be a scheduled day off after the home opener, in   case the home opener is rained out, snowed out, or it’s just too darn cold to play.     The Cards already do this, but I’m not sure if other teams do.

Surely MLB can arrange the schedules so that the late March/early-to-mid-April games can be played at the stadiums located in warmer climes or that have a closed-in roof, and those teams are listed in Column A below. The teams listed in Column B are the teams that don’t have the necessary attributes for Column A.

 American League:

A                             B

Rays                      Yankees

Rangers                Indians

Athletics              Orioles

Angels                  Royals

Twins                    White Sox

Mariners              Red Sox

Astros                   Tigers

                               Blue Jays

 National League:

A                                             B

Braves                                  Mets

Padres                                  Phillies

Dodgers                               Pirates

Diamondbacks                  Nationals

Brewers                               Reds

Marlins                                 Cards

Giants                                   Cubs

                                                Rockies

You will note that there is an extra team in Column B for both leagues.  MLB will have to do a juggling act with the schedules, but that’s what computers are for.  Maybe the Blue Jays could play at the Rockies’ stadium for a quick interleague matchup to even things up.  Any other plan has got to be better than all the cancelled/postponed games this month. In addition, when it gets hot in the South and the West during the summer, perhaps those teams could visit the northern and the eastern teams and play in the cooler climes.

The Cards will be back home on Friday for a six game homestand.  Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and boot Old Man Winter back home.  I’ll have the homestand highlights in my next post.  Until then, thanks for reading! See you next time!

 Diane

 

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Preseason ponderings and burning questions for the regular season

The last game of the preseason is tonight. The reason I called it a preseason game is because last night’s and tonight’s game are not in Florida, so they can’t be spring training games. You can watch tonight’s game for free on MLB.TV – just go to mlb.com, select the Cardinals-Blue Jays game in the scoreboard section and click on the TV icon. The game starts at 6:07 PM CST, so hopefully you’re not reading this too late to watch it.

It was a little disconcerting following last night’s game on Gameday only.  The game wasn’t broadcast on KMOX or on FOX Sports or any other cable network. It felt like the 1960’s and 1970’s when very few games were televised and you could only follow the game on KMOX. But the regular season starts in only 2 days and I’ll be able to watch and/or listen to all the baseball I want! Are you excited? I am. Here’s some of my thoughts on spring training and the season to come.

Spring training notes:

Amazingly, the Cardinals escaped spring training without a major injury, such as a pitcher needing Tommy John surgery. However, Adam Wainwright and Luke Gregerson suffered hamstring strains. Both Adam and Luke injured their hamstrings in a sprint drill. Why the heck are pitchers doing sprint drills? Pitchers do not do that much running, unless they manage to get on base. A pitcher would not need to sprint to cover first base. Gregerson also suffered an oblique injury earlier in spring training. Both Adam and Luke are on the disabled list to start the season. At least those are minor injuries.

Carson Kelly, Yadi’s backup last year, was sent down to Memphis. Yadi’s stamina has improved with age to the point that he hardly ever takes a day off. Carson’s offense has suffered as a result of not getting enough playing time, and that carried over to spring training. Carson needs to be playing every day in order to improve, and not ride the bench while Yadi plays. Be patient, young padawan; your time will come. Francisco Pena, the son of former Cardinals catcher Tony Pena, will be the backup catcher.

Jack Flaherty was lights out in spring training. He is definitely one of the starters in the rotation of the future. The future is now, however, as Jack will be taking Wainwright’s place in the rotation until Waino’s hamstring heals.

Yairo Munoz, one of the prospects obtained in the Stephen Piscotty trade, was very good in spring training. His great offense helped him make the team as an infield backup. It was reported that his mother cried when he told her the news. I would have cried too if one of my kids had played baseball and I was told that he/she had been added to the major league squad.

Burning questions:

Since no closer has been chosen, will the 9th inning be closer by committee? Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons appear to be the top candidates for the closer position.

Carlos Martinez has shown flashes of greatness. Will he get it together and be the dominant pitcher we know he can be? Although some fans like Carlos’ funky hair colors, I think it’s a distraction. Save the funky colors for the off-season, Carlos.

Will Mike Matheny micromanage the team and keep Mike Maddux, Willie McGee and Jose Oquendo from doing their jobs effectively?

Will Tommy Pham have another season like he did last season? Or will his vision problems give him more trouble?

Will Jose Martinez get enough playing time? If Pham gets hurt, Fowler could be moved back to center field and Jose could play right field.

Will Michael Wacha’s shoulder stay healed? He has pitched very well in spring training. Here’s hoping he’s regained his 2013 form and will be the dominant pitcher he was then.

I have a great deal for you.  Is T-Mobile your cell phone provider? If not, you should hurry up and switch to T-Mobile – they are offering a great perk:  a free season of MLB.TV,  through their T-Mobile Tuesdays app. That means you can watch all out-of- market baseball games on your cellphone, tablet, etc. All you need is an MLB.com account. This deal is only good through April 7. I discovered this great perk in the app last Tuesday and it made me really glad that I had switched to T-Mobile from AT&T.

Thanks as always for reading! 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

Homestand Highlights September 8-14, 2017

Join4JoeThe calendar has turned and the Cards are now in the stretch run.  The Cards have won all but 2 games (not including tonight’s game, since it just started) of the West Coast road trip.  The young guys that were brought up from Memphis have invigorated this team. Despite injuries to Tommy Pham, Kolten Wong, and Dexter Fowler, the team has played well.  The Cards also picked up right handed reliever Juan Nicasio of the Phillies for minor leaguer Eliezer Alvarez.  Since the trade occurred after September 1, however, Nicasio would not be eligible to be put on the postseason roster.  This was a good pickup, since Seung Hwan Oh is a free agent after this season and Trevor Rosenthal will probably be out next season after Tommy John surgery.

The Cards will be back at home at Busch Stadium tomorrow night for the second-to-last homestand of the season.  There are some great theme night promotions during this homestand, including Rally Cat Appreciation Day. Speaking of Rally Cat, have they figured who is going to be his owner?  Here are all of the details on this upcoming homestand:

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, September 8—Thursday, September 14)

#Join4Joe Bone Marrow Drive & Grateful Dead Tribute Night Highlight Twelfth Homestand at Busch 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., September 7, 2017 – The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium in the midst of a push towards the top of the N.L. Central Division and a N.L. Wild Card spot after their recent 10-game road trip.  The six-game homestand begins with a three-game weekend set against the Pittsburgh Pirates (September 8-10) and concludes with a three games versus the Cincinnati Reds (September 12-14).  The twelfth homestand of the year is highlighted by the second annual #Join4Joe Bone Marrow Donor Drive, Rally Cat Appreciation Day and Old School Wrestling Night.

 Friday, September 8, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Adult Kelly Green Cardinals Jersey Promotional Giveaway: 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a unique Cardinals Kelly Green Jersey.  Presented by Cooper Tire.  (#CardsPromo)

Green

Country Music Theme Night: Grab your boots and head down to Busch Stadium for Country Music Night presented by Q in the Lou.  With the purchase of a special theme ticket, fans will receive one-of-a-kind country-themed Cardinals snapback hat.  Come early and enjoy a pregame concert in Riverview Corner by American Idol winner and lifelong Cardinals fan, Trent Harmon, beginning at 5:30.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme.  (#CardsTheme)

Country

2017 Roberto Clemente Award Nominee: During a pregame ceremony, Adam Wainwright will be recognized as the Cardinals’ 2017 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.  The annual award recognizes a player from each MLB Club who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.  The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2017 World Series, will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel.  Fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website.  The winner of the fan voting, which will run from October 2-6, will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel.

Roberto

Cardinals Museum Artifact Spotlight: Every Friday home game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum highlight artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum.  Today’s featured items relate to Cardinals Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum. (#CardsMuseum)

Trevor’s Troops: Trevor Rosenthal will host a group from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for tonight’s game as part of his Trevor’s Troops player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Trevor in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.  Presented by Scott Credit Union.

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Chesterfield Bears Cheerleading, Lindenwood University-Belleville Lynx Cheer & Dance, McKendree University Cheer & Dance and O’Faolain Academy of Irish Dance will perform in the Ford Plaza beginning around 5:30 p.m.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 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.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050.  (#CardsCare5050)

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 will be located by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

Saturday, September 9, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (6:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 4:15 p.m.

Adult Quarter Zip Pullover Promotional Giveaway: 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will take home a Cardinals Quarter Zip Pullover, compliments of Shane Co. (#CardsPromo)

Pullover

#Join4Joe Bone Marrow Donor Drive: For the second consecutive year, the Cardinals, in conjunction with the St. Louis Baseball Writers and Be the Match, will host the#Join4Joe bone marrow donor drive just outside the Family Pavilion in Ford Plaza from 4:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to add individuals to the national registry and honor the legacy of Joe Strauss, a longtime Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who passed away in December 2015 at the age of 54 after a courageous battle fighting leukemia.  Volunteers will be assisting those interested in joining the national marrow registry complete the short process, which typically takes about 15 minutes.  Those unable to attend can learn more about the #Joine4Joe drive and join the national registry by requesting a donor kit anytime at cardinals.com/join4joe.  I am a member of the Be the Match bone marrow registry and signing up for the registry is much easier than giving blood (which I also do).

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 2:00 to 4:00 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 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Busch II Infield outside Cardinals Nation.  Visit cardinals.com/museum for more information.  Presented by Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company. (#CardsMuseum)

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Bordeau Dance Studio, Hillsboro High School Cheer, North County Raiderettes, O’Fallon Golden Girls Dance, Ritenour High School Cheerleading and Tammy’s Tumbling will perform in Riverview Corner beginning around 4:30 p.m.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 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.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050.  (#CardsCare5050)

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3 and inside 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, September 10, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Build-A-Bear Cardinals Pup Promotional Giveaway: 12,000 kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket, will take home their very own Cardinals Pup, courtesy of Build-A-Bear Workshop.  (#CardsPromo)

BAB.png

Rally Cat Appreciation Theme Day: Celebrate everybody’s favorite new feline at Busch Stadium on Rally Cat Appreciation Day.  With the purchase of a special theme ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Rally Cat Cardinals t-shirt.  Additionally, a portion of each theme ticket sold will be donated to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation and St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/rallycat.  (#CardsTheme)

rally

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

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 Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 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.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#CardsCare5050)

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3 and inside 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.

 Tuesday, September 12, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Willie McGee Budweiser Bash Theme Night: Fans who purchase this special Bud Bash theme ticket receive a voucher for a limited edition Willie McGee mini bobblehead as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1987 National League Championship team.  VIP ticket-holders will also have access to a pregame autograph session with Willie.  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) (#CardsTheme)

McGee.jpg

Old School Wrestling Theme Night:  Grab your tag team partner and enter the ring for Old School Wrestling Night at Busch Stadium.  Fans that purchase a special theme ticket will take home a specially designed Cardinals World Championship Belt t-shirt.  Come early for a pregame autograph session and meet & greet featuring old-school legends “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Road Warrior Animal from 5:45-6:45! Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/theme.  (#CardsTheme)

WCW

Tsunami Waves: Carlos Martínez will host a group from The Venezuelan Society of Missouri for tonight’s game as part of his Tsunami Waves player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Carlos in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.  Presented by Scott Credit Union.

Suburban Journals Groom’s Cake Dive: Come witness the fun as 12 grooms-to-be dive headfirst into a multi-tiered wedding cake.  The 4th annual Suburban Journals Groom’s Cake Dive presented by St. Louis Best Bridal will take place at approximately 6:30 p.m. in Ford Plaza.  Contestants will root their way through cakes filled with special wedding-themed prizes including a honeymoon package and more.  Winners will also receive tickets to stay and enjoy the game in a party suite at Busch Stadium.

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Mehlville Pantherettes, Parkway Central High School Dance, Roxana High School Dance, St. Dominic High School Cheer and Triad Middle School & High School Cheer will perform in the Ford Plaza beginning around 5:45 p.m.

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 will be located by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Grateful Dead Tribute Theme Night: Dead Freaks Unite! Truck on down to Busch Stadium for Grateful Dead Tribute Night.  Fans that purchase a special theme ticket will receive an exclusive Grateful Dead-themed Cardinals t-shirt.  Come early and enjoy a pregame concert in Riverview Corner by St. Louis’ favorite Dead tribute band, Jake’s Leg, starting at 5:45.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/gratefuldead. (#CardsTheme)

Dead.jpg

Trevor’s Troops: Trevor Rosenthal will host a group from USO Missouri for tonight’s game as part of his Trevor’s Troops player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Trevor in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.  Presented by Scott Credit Union.

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Cardinal Ritter Spirit Squad, Natural AllStars Impact Cheer and Timberland High School Dance will perform in the Ford Plaza beginning around 6:00 p.m.

Purina Pet Adoption: Join us for Purina’s Better Together Pet Adoption Days at the Ballpark.  Head to Ford Plaza prior to the games to meet adoptable furry friends from the Animal Protective Association (APA) and the Belleville area Humane Society.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137) and Gate 3 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.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (12:45 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Career Day Theme Event: Join the St. Louis Cardinals, FOX 2 and KPLR Channel 11 for the 13th annual Career Day at Busch Stadium presented by Westminster College.  Students and educators will enjoy a special pregame Q&A/Panel Discussion with executives from each company, focusing on careers in sports and media.  Following the presentation, students can attend an exclusive College Fair with representatives from many colleges and universities from around the Midwest.  Each $15 Career Day ticket includes access to the pregame activities, a ticket to the game, as well as a voucher for a free jumbo hot dog, soda and chips.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/careerday.  (#CardsTheme)

Memphis Grizzlies Regional Caravan Tour: The Memphis Grizzlies invite fans of all ages to join them in celebrating the start of the 2017-18 NBA season from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Ford Plaza as part of their 5th annual Regional Caravan Tour.  Fans will have the chance to get autographs, take photos and participate in contests and games with team mascot Grizz, members of the Grizz Girls and the Claw Crew.

Great Clips Charity Haircuts: During the game, fans can root for the Redbirds and shape up their roots with a visit to Ford Plaza for Great Clips’ Charity Haircuts.  For a $10 donation, Great Clips—who sponsors the event every weekday afternoon game during the season—will cut your hair and donate all proceeds to Cardinals Care.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137) and Gate 3 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! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

 

Mid-season musings

It’s Thursday evening and we’re usually watching a Cards game.  However, since this is the All-Star break, there is no baseball tonight. There will be baseball again tomorrow night but until then, I’ll just put my thoughts down here and see if you agree with me or not.

At mid-season, the Cards are tied for second place with the Cubs in the NL Central with a 43-45 record.  It could be worse – the Cards could be in last place. The Cincinnati Reds are presently in last place.  The Brewers are in first place – who’d a thunk it? The NL Central is a weak division this year. Given the quality of the Cards’ play this year, it’s amazing the Cards are tied for second place.  Like last season, the Cards have been consistently inconsistent.

Some of the players we saw at the beginning of the season have departed or have been shuttled off to Memphis.  Jhonny Peralta and Jonathon Broxton were designated for assignment. Matt Adams was traded to Atlanta, where he has been hitting well. Aledmys Diaz was sent down to Memphis, and Randal Grichuk has been sent down to Memphis and brought back up.  Luke Voit and Paul DeJong have been brought up from Memphis and played well.  Tommy Pham was called up from Memphis when Dexter Fowler was injured and has played and hit very well.

There have been changes at the managerial level as well, as outlined here. And John Mozeliak has been bumped up to a new position created for him, that of President of Baseball Operations.   Mo’s assistant GM, Michael Girsch, was promoted to general manager.

The second half of the season starts tomorrow.  The trade deadline is fast approaching.  The Cubs made a major move today – they traded 3 prospects for White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.  Will the Cards be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?

There are traffic jams in the outfield and in the infield.  There are four outfielders but only 3 positions.  Tommy Pham came up from Memphis and made a big splash playing center field filling in for Dexter Fowler in his two stints on the disabled list.  Tommy grew so comfortable in center field that he has stated publicly he wants to play there all the time.  However, Dexter is not going away anytime soon.  Tommy, if you had played better in that position last season, the sight problems notwithstanding, perhaps the team wouldn’t have had to sign Dexter.  I felt so bad for Jose Martinez.  He toiled in the minor leagues for years to get the chance to play in the major leagues only to be sent back down.  So do any of the outfielders go away by the trade deadline? I think the best thing that could happen is that Pham gets moved to left field and Dexter stays in center.  Grichuk should ride the bench in case of injury or if a pinch hitter is needed.  Grichuk’s bat has been streaky, but we knew that.

The infield also has a traffic jam.  Aledmys Diaz was sent down to Memphis.  Paul DeJong was brought up and has played well.  Second base has been sort of a revolving door.  Matt Carpenter was assigned to first base, which left no place for Matt Adams. Kolten Wong has been on the disabled list. Greg Garcia and Matt Carpenter have tried playing second base but neither of them has done well at the position.  Kolten has been activated so he will be back at second base tomorrow night.  Kolten’s bat has been on fire in rehab.  Luke Voit is doing a great job playing first.  He is also batting quite well.  Carpenter is the odd man out.

The closer role has also been a revolving door.  Seung-Hwan Oh started the season as the closer, but he has proven to be human.  Trevor Rosenthal has had his ups and downs as well And the bullpen has been streaky.

Everyone is saying that the Cardinals need a big bat in the middle of the lineup.  I have another suggestion.  Perhaps the Cardinals need a new hitting coach. Matt Holliday has been working with Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ big home run hitter.  Matt would be a great hitting coach for the Cards.

So should the Cards be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?  There are so many variables in play that I hate to make even an educated guess.  All I know is that I’m glad that I don’t have to make that decision.

The All-Star Game was a lot of fun (even though the National League lost), but I’m missing Cardinals baseball and I can’t wait until 6:15 PM CST when the Cardinals play again.  Here’s hoping that the Cardinals are more consistent in the second half of the season and make the playoffs.  There’s still time for it to happen. Thanks as always 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

Striking out (literally and figuratively)

Backwards KWe are two days into the 2016 season and the Cardinals have yet to win a game.  The Cardinals have had too many strikeouts in these two games.  This is not acceptable.  The Cards can’t be leaving runners on base either. In Monday’s game, there were 10 runners left on base.  It’s not just that the guys can’t hit; they can’t score either.  Randall Grichuk has struck out every time he’s come up to bat. He’s riding the bench for tonight’s game; Jeremy Hazelbaker is getting his first major league start.

The guys came close to a win last night, but as we old timers know, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and making out in the back seat of a car.  The bullpen, however, was lights out, with the exception of Seth Maness.  Jedd Gyorko hit his first HR in a Cardinals uniform.  Aledmys Pena and Jeremy Hazelbaker got their first major league hits.  There was some offense, but not enough runs for a win.  But that Stephen Piscotty has a heck of an arm.

And what’s with the bunts?  Matt Carpenter is the leadoff batter and he should not be bunting. Bunts need to be executed by the 8th and 9th place hitters, not the leadoff hitter.  And if the hitter is not good at bunting, then he shouldn’t be bunting at all.  (Yes, Kolton Wong, this means you. I’m thinking about your GIDP in Game 1.)

And to make matters worse, sadly, like last year, the infirmary is getting full again.  Here is the list of current patients and their maladies:

Brayan Pena – Knee surgery to remove loose cartilage in knee – out at least 1 month.

Jhonny Peralta – Thumb ligament tear – out at least until June

Ruben Tejada – Left quad grade 1 strain – on 15 day DL

Tommy Pham – Left oblique strain – out for at least 2 weeks

Mitch Harris – Right arm compression syndrome – on 15 day DL

Jordan Walden – Grade 2 lat sprain – out until June

I’m sure that there are fans out there who are thinking, It’s only the first two games of the season. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.  While these sayings are true, there’s some fine tuning that needs to be done.  Otherwise, this season will go by very, very slowly.  Please play better, guys; I’m tired of hearing my husband whine that I’d better get used to seeing the Cards play like this because it’s going to happen all season.

There is a bit of good news: Sir Paul McCartney will be playing a concert at Busch Stadium on August 13th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ concert at Busch Stadium II.  Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 15 at 10:00 AM CST and you can purchase tickets here.  My husband and I saw Sir Paul in concert at Busch Stadium II in 1993.  It was a very good show.  I was impressed with the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” This show should be just as good, if not even better.

Let’s hope the Cards go on a winning streak starting tonight.  I’m looking forward to seeing Mike Leake pitch.  Thanks as always for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Spring training is over – hallelujah!

BalloonsThe Cards’ last spring training game today was a doozy and to make things even better, it was against the Yankees.  There were home runs a-plenty – 2 by Stephen Piscotty, 1 by Tommy Pham, 1 by Jeremy Hazelbaker and 1 by Brandon Moss.  Hopefully, the hitting slump is over and the team meetings the other day did the trick in getting the guys motivated.

Let’s hope the Birds will have some of today’s firepower in Pittsburgh on Sunday, despite the fact that the high temperature this Sunday in Pittsburgh is supposed to only be 39 degrees – and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. I’ve attended games in early October in St. Louis in those kinds of temperatures and I feel sorry for those poor fans who will be shivering in the stands.  When MLB assembles the schedule for next season, they should ensure that no games are played in the Northeast, the upper Midwest and Toronto in the first part of April, since there is still the possibility of cold weather and even snow. Unless, of course, the games are scheduled in Milwaukee and Toronto, since those stadiums have roofs.  In contrast, the high temperature in St. Louis this Sunday will be 68 degrees.  That’s a perfect temperature for a ball game – not too hot and not too cold.

I was so hoping that the Cards would leave spring training without a major injury.  Unfortunately, Jhonny Peralta tore the same ligament on his thumb that Yadier Molina did during the playoffs last year. Jhonny will be out at least until June.  Peralta’s injury led to the signing of Ruben Tejada.  However, Ruben left today’s game with a left quad strain. Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has been hot during spring training, is going north with the team due to Tejada’s injury. Mitch Harris will start the season on the disabled list with compression syndrome.  And Jordan Walden, who looked like he would be good to go up until Wednesday, is now on the DL with shoulder issues.  Walden’s injury led to an opening on the roster for Rule 5 player Matt Bowman, who pitched in today’s game.

But the most devastating injury out of spring training was not to a player. Third base coach Jose “Secret Weapon” Oquendo is out for the season due to a knee replacement surgery that went awry and had to be repeated.  The Cardinals offered to let Oquendo do some coaching from the bench, but he said if he couldn’t do the job he was hired to do that he didn’t want to be there at all.  Jose’s absence will be a great loss for the team, since not only does Jose work with the Spanish-speaking players, he works with the other players on base running.   First base coach Chris Maloney has moved over to third base to replace Jose and Bill Mueller has moved to first base.  Time will tell how much Jose’s absence will affect the team.

The Cards have two days off before Opening Day on Sunday.  I’m ready for regular season baseball, aren’t you?  I’m ready to come home from work and know I’m going to be seeing my favorite team playing ball on TV.  This Sunday is going to be awesome – church in the morning and then coming home in time to watch the Cards’ opener on TV.  Are you ready for some baseball? I know I am!

As always, thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane