Thursday, October 27, 2005

WHERE IS THE GAME I FELL IN LOVE WITH

Well the 2005 season is officially over and congratulations to the White Sox and their "real" fans, I'm sure both of you are happy. Screw the rest of you so called White Sox fans that jumped on the bandwagon. I saw last week on Sportscenter last week they had the Top 10 plays of the White Sox season, and one of the plays was from the first week of the season at the Cell and the announcers made mention of the fact that there was like 10 people there. It must not have been "Bring Your Dog to the Park Day." I congratulate those fans. You see there ain't too much that I hate more than bandwagon fans, and it is clear from watching the Sox the past few years and comparing them to this season, there are bandwagon fans aplenty for White Sox "Nation." Pick a team and stick with them, win or lose. In my opinion a bandwagon fan is nothing more than a prostitute selling themselves on the street corner for any Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along.

So with that being said, on to the point of my post. I see that Chris' boy Bud Selig stepped in and exerted his power over the game I love and made the Astros open the roof of the Juice Box for the World Series. Ata boy Bud, you worthless piece of trash, way to step in. Now why don't you step in and exert that same power and put a real stop to the rampant steroid problem?

You see Bud Selig is ruining the game I love. Let's review what has happened to our game under his power...a strike canceled the season and the World Series in 1994. The instituting of the Wild Card system, and Interleague play. Steroids have destroyed the games most cherished records. Players salaries have made it practically impossible for a guy to take his family to the ballpark. I mean where else can you go to pay $4.50 for a bottle of water. He has made the winner of the All Star game get homefield advantage for the World Series - not like it should go to the team with the best record or anything. Teams are holding the cities they play in hostage so they can tear down their ballparks to build bigger and more expensive parks. Yeah so we can charge $30 for a bleacher seat. All with the blessings of Chris' boy, who refuses to do anything to help the ones who really own this game, and that my friends is the fans.

In my opinion what this game needs more than anything is a Commissioner who is looking out for the best interest of the fans. One who will step in and put a stop to the drug problems. Would use his power to put a stop to the raping of the fans with unheard of prices. Not save that authority to make the Astros open their roof. As much as I hate the Astros, that's a joke. Getting to decide whether or not to open or close the roof is part of having the homefield advantage. You see the Astros had to play the Sox in the middle of a rain storm. If Chris' boy Bud was going to do that, why doesn't he make every team in cold weather cities build a dome stadium.

I guess it goes without saying that I am not a big fan of Chris' boy Bud Selig, who is looking out for one thing and one thing only, and that is the almighty dollar.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Reasons to Root against That Assembly of Thugs & Convicts…

There's quite a bit of diversity of opinion among the commentators at this blog. On the one hand, Bill is cheering for the Sox, while I am actively praying they choke and tank away the series.

One of the reasons I despise the White Sox is because of their fan base.

Crass, minimally literate, and thuggish barely begins to describe the typical White Sox fan (yes I know I’m over-generalizing, but you go to the Cell with your family and after you’ve filled out the assault report with the Chicago PD, then come back and quibble with me).

In fact, these observations are such an established fact that I think it would be near impossible to argue reasonably against them. The poster child of White Sox nation is William Ligue Jr.



And it's not just the fans - the players themselves lack class. Commenting afterward on the infamous assault on Tom Gamboa by Ligue, one White Sox player offered these compassionate words:

One Chicago player, who asked to remain nameless (off the record...Frank Thomas) was quoted as saying, "What the [deleted expletive] do I care about some Royals coach? He probably deserved it. Tom Gamboa's never done nothing for Frank Thomas." Luckily, several Kansas City players cared enough to rush to Gamboa's aid, before security and police officials could take the trash out.


And don't even get me started on Mark Buehrle and his ridiculous whining about everything from the "lighting system" at Ameriquest Field to Greg Maddux allegedly throwing balls with illegal stuff on them.

Need more evidence?

John Williams was interviewing a man identified as "the president of the White Sox fan club" just after they had clinched the AL Pennant last Monday night on WGN radio and although Williams was asking this guy how it felt to finally reach the World Series and questions related to the Sox - the only responses this guy could manage were things like: "Cubs Suck!" and so on and so forth.

The entire interview (which was ostensibly about the Sox), he had nothing to say about his own team - his only concern was to reveal his utter contempt for the Cubs.

In any event, here’s even more evidence which speaks to the character of the louts who comprise the fan base for the MLB team on the South Side of Chicago (The Astros are only beginning to learn what Cubs fans have known for a long, long time):

Biggio's wife slapped at White Sox's ballpark
Guillen issues apology to Astro, condemns fan
By JOSE DE JESUS ORTIZ
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle


Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen issued a public apology on behalf of his organization to Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, whose wife was slapped by a fan in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I feel like it's our fault, and I talked to (Biggio) about it, and he knows we're sorry," Guillen said. "He knows it was something we couldn't control. It wasn't like a fight. (The fan) hit the lady and left."

The incident occurred on Sunday night during Game 2 of the 101st World Series at Chicago's ballpark, where several members of the Astros' traveling party were harassed.

"He slapped her and ran," Biggio said of the fan who struck his wife, Patty. "She ran after him. My brother-in-law ended up putting him against the wall. That's pretty sorry."

Asked if Patty had been hurt, Biggio said his New Jersey-raised wife held her own.

"You don't slap a New Jersey girl and get away with it," he said. "That happens sometimes. It's terrible. It's over."

Added Guillen: "I wish she would have grabbed something and broken his head. If that happened to my family, it would have been a big problem. ... People should just go to the game and not bother people next to you, or you're not a White Sox fan or a baseball fan. Just enjoy the game. Drink if you want to drink; just respect the people next to you."

No criminal complaint was made against the fan, according to Chicago police.

Chicago defended

Biggio, manager Phil Garner, general manager Tim Purpura, catcher Brad Ausmus and several of the Astros were adamant that a few cowardly acts weren't indicative of the White Sox or Chicago fan base.

"The word was that the guy had been gouging her a little bit, pulling her hair and just doing some stupid things, things that are just not necessary," Garner said. "Have your fun. This (World Series) is a great thing for them and a great thing for us. Cheer and be as loud as you want to be and whatever else, but don't do that.

"I can't imagine Patty Biggio ever saying anything that would incite anything, either. I just can't imagine that. Even if she had, there's no excuse."

Despite the incident, Garner said he heard the Astros' traveling party had mostly positive experiences with the fans.

Nonetheless, Guillen did not hide his disgust at the treatment Patty Biggio received.

"On behalf of the White Sox organization, I just don't think we could control that," Guillen said. "But I think the family is a big part of my life. I think especially the kids. And when that happened in the ballpark, you feel you need to be supportive.

"When you're a man and you hit a lady, no matter whose wife it is or whose sister it is, you respect them. But it's something that's tough to control. It happened so quick."

More harassment

Although Patty Biggio was the only Astros wife who was slapped Sunday, she wasn't the only member of the traveling party who was harassed. Ausmus said his wife, Liz, endured some vulgar taunts and a few vulgar hand gestures throughout the night.

"Some of the treatment that the Astros families received at U.S. Cellular Field was a huge black eye for the city of Chicago," Ausmus said. "Now, I understand that's not indicative of all the people in the Chicago area, because I have friends and relatives there.

"I know the people of Chicago are overwhelmingly good people. But if I was from Chicago, I'd be embarrassed by the way the Astros' families were treated by the White Sox fans. My wife didn't get hit or anything, but people flipped her off and were screaming at her."

The attendance at U.S. Cellular Field was announced as 41,432 for Game 2, and the crowd was obviously overwhelmingly in support of the White Sox. With that in mind, Ausmus said there was little the Astros' family members could do in response. "You don't want to get caught in a situation where you're inflaming the masses," Ausmus said. "So I think as an Astros fan at a visiting park, you pretty much have to swallow it."

'Bring him to me'

Maybe so, but Guillen insinuated that he would have definitely defended anybody in the Astros' traveling party.

"I know the security in Chicago is doing a great job," Guillen said. "And when something happens so quick, you can't blame anybody. And the guy that did it, he should be brought to Biggio, and he's the one that can hopefully get him back.

"I told the police, 'Don't put him in jail. Bring him to me in the dugout.' But hopefully, that won't happen again."

Shortstop Adam Everett heard a little bit about the incident, but he knew more than enough to form his opinion.

"That's real weak," he said. "That's bad. I don't care where you're at, to hit a woman is not good.”


I will say this – one possible benefit of the White Sox winning the World Series: if they win there’s a better than average chance that they’ll burn down the South Side of Chicago.

At the least then it would remove what has thus far been a major black eye for the entire city.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

I see a lot in the press about how Cubs fans must be going crazy that the White Sox are in the World Series and having great success so far. Apparently it is also a good thing that the Cardinals were eliminated, otherwise we would have all hung ourselves by our jock straps before we would have allowed ourselves to be subjected to a White Sox-Cardinals World Series.

I take a different view on this. While I would certainly prefer to see my Cubbies in the World Series, I can't think of a better alternative than having the White Sox there. You see, my enemy is the ownership of the Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc. Presumably the White Sox are also an enemy of the Cubs, which makes them my friend.

The way I see it, Tribune Company, Inc is going to continue to put mediocre crap on the field until something happens that shakes their perfect little world. The world where beer in the sunshine and a mediocre team is all that is required to fill the stands every day. If the SOX can do anything to embarrass these people in to getting serious about fielding a winner I am all for it. I don't know how many Northsiders would be tempted to turn their allegiances southward, but I pray for as many as possible. Not because I hate the Cubs, but because I love the Cubs and want to see a winner on the north side before I die. And I don't want this for myself, I'm sure that most Cubs fans out there in blog land are wondering, "will it happen before I die?".

My father was an usher at Woodruff field in Peoria as a young man, and watched Phil Cavaretta mature in the Three-I league before going on to be a star with the Cubs. He wanted to see those guys he watched growing up win a World Series. Never did. Dad passed away in 1996 without every having seen it.

My father-in-law was born in 1913. Having grown up in the farm country south of Chicago he became a Cubs fan at an early age. Like many many others, he moved to Peoria to work for Caterpillar just before WWII. Somehow or other though he got tangled up with a girl from Peoria who was a Cardinals fan. Despite that Cub-Cardinal marriage, it endured for forty-six years, with a lot of jibing about the Cardinals' success, and only death separated them. Dad went to his grave last year without having seen his beloved Cubs even get to a World Series for 60 seasons, much less win one.

The suffering has to end. So I say anything that will embarrass Cubs ownership into action is fine by me.

GO SOX!!!

FROM THE RED STATES

If any of our readers are here expecting to see the picture of me wearing the Cubs hat, you were screwed. Lest any of you think I somehow chickened out, destroyed Chris' camera, or killed Chris and buried him in the basement of my house to avoid wearing the hat, I must explain...I was not the one who screwed you guys.

As I stated in a response to Chris post, where I announced that I was a man of my word and would wear the hat, I was ready and willing yesterday when I showed up to church. Chris and I went to the Notre Dame/BYU game on Saturday and we agreed that I would wear the hat at church the next day. So when I got to church yesterday I made a bee line for Chris' office, only to find an empty office. So I did the right thing and asked around if anyone had seen Chris, where I found out he was attending the first service. So I excused myself, used the restroom, and then came back to Chris' office to find him inside.

Totally ready to humiliate myself I told him to give me the ridiculous hat. The hat was there, I was ready to do it, so what happened you ask? Well Chris screwed you guys because he forgot his camera. I felt this was not my problem and we discussed this and Chris wanted to wait until next Sunday. So against my better judgement I reluctantly agreed to wait, even though I was clearly ready, the hat was there, everything was in order except for Chris and his digital camera. So I expressed great humility and will wait until next Sunday.

However, I must say this Sunday is it, if Chris forgets again, I will wear the hat and there will be no picture for you guys to enjoy. So if that happens you can thank Chris for that.

Friday, October 21, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Well, the season is officially over, and to prevent another post like the one from the other day, I thought it might be prudent to wait a couple days before posting.

My thoughts on this season...we suck. Plain and simple, there is no easy way to put it. You see from being a regular visitor of the Cardinals website and message boards, I am in the minority. Most Cardinals fans are happy about being Central Division Champs, and think this was a successful season. I disagree. I think 1 team and 1 team only has a successful season.

When I was a kid I always dreamed of playing baseball for a World Series Champion, and although winning the division is the first step in that process (or used to be, and is no more-thanks to Bud Selig and his wild card system) the season is a failure if you don't win the World Series, especially when you have made the playoffs 5 out of the past 6 seasons, like the Cardinals have done. Despite that fact they have finished the season just as another team who failed to get it done when it counted.

Contrary to what most Cardinals fans say, all we have proven the past 5 or 6 years is that we can dominate the likes of the Pirates, Reds, Cubs, Brewers, and even the Astros (who we just got beat by). Big deal.

I think it is time for the Cardinals and GM Walt Jockettey to re-load, as it is clear from the past 2 seasons that this team is capable of winning in the regular season, but not in the post season.

There are a few reasons why I think this is the case, one...we’re too old. You see in the regular season when your playing the Reds or the Pirates it is ok to have a bunch of banged up old guys that can only play 3 or 4 games a week. We are good enough to beat the Pirates in that case, but come post season, when everyone is banged up, our old guys care are incapable of producing. I think of the World Series last year, and this series against the Astros has clearly demonstrated this point. The likes of Walker, Sanders, Grudzielanek, and even Edmonds are so old that if they are not 100% they are not capable of hitting. Like I said earlier, everyone in the playoffs is banged up, so therefore they are not capable of hitting when the team needs them the most. It's time to get younger. Reload with some talented younger players that have more endurance and can still perform after a long and physical season.

Secondly, our pitching. Going into the series with the Astros I figured we would have to win the two games Carpenter pitched, which we did. Then win the two games Mulder pitched, which we didn't. I knew we were screwed in game 3 with Clemens and Morris pitching. The Backe/Suppan game I thought was a toss up and would probably decide the series. I was counting on Carpenter and Mulder winning their two games each, Mulder didn't get it done.

The key to winning a short playoff series is dominant pitching. The Cardinals have one guy in Carpenter who fits that bill. When I think of dominant starting pitching, I don't think of Mark Mulder. Sure Mulder is a decent pitcher but he is far from dominant. He is a junk ball pitcher who relies on his defense and getting ground balls. Look at the World Series Champs of the past few seasons...the Marlins had Beckett, Hernandez, and Penny a few seasons ago. The Red Sox had Schilling and Martinez last season. Even back a few seasons the D'backs had Johnson and Schilling. It clearly takes two guys. This was a good season in a sense that Carpenter has stepped up and proven that he is capable of being one of those guys, but we need another one. Mulder is serviceable in the regular season, but far from a dominant playoff pitcher.

Thirdly our bullpen is not as good as it should be. Again it is good enough for the regular season. Interestinghausen is decent, but not lights out. Our pen was decent but not lights out. King struggled all season, and clearly our most reliable reliever was Al Reyes, who blew his arm out on the last game of the season. His loss clearly hurt.

Solutions to the problems...well it is clear we need a younger outfield. Walker is pretty much all but said he is going to retire, Sanders is a free agent. Thanks for the two good years, but it's time to part ways with both of these guys. Grudzielanek is serviceable, but I think we need to find another SS and slide Eckstein over to second.

Pitching wise Marquis, is a free agent...burn the road up. Matty Mo, thanks for the good years but good riddance. The Cardinals have a possible future stud in Anthony Reyes waiting in the wings, I say bring him up and give him a shot. He was a team mate of Mark Prior at USC, and many have said that Reyes was the best pitcher on that staff. It's his time now. Suppan is a pretty decent pitcher, who we should be able to keep fairly cheap and would make a great 5th starter, I say keep him. That leaves us with Carp as the ace, Mulder, Reyes and Suppan. We need to add another ace type pitcher to win the post season.

The pen, well I have no clue what to do with this. Billy Wagner, Trevor Hoffman are both free agents this season and would look nice in a Cardinal uniform. That way we could have Interestinghausen for the 8th, and one of these two as our new closer. That's dreaming, and in a perfect world, but hey ain't that what the internet is for...dreaming.

You add all this up and it is just the wishes of one ticked off Cardinals fan who is not impressed with NL Central Champs. I want the WS championship, and we need to get younger with more dominant pitching to do that.

Then to add insult to injury I am going to have to wear a stinking, rotten, filthy Cubs hat at church on Sunday. I was hoping Chris would give me at least a week to grieve, but such is not the case. Although looking at the hat it ain't all that bad, it could be a lot worse.

Frankly after the Cardinals getting to the WS last year only to hose me, then Illinois making it all the way to the National Championship game, joining in on the hose job, then this Cardinals season I am pretty much wore out from all the screwings I have been getting from my time. Oh well I will be setting myself up again once the basketball season starts, and come opening day I will be right there ready for another hose job from the Cardinals. Cubs fans should consider themselves lucky because I am a Bears fan and knowing that they suck, and have no chance of winning anything is a lot better than watching your team win, get your hopes up, and then raping you at the end of the season. Like many a Cub fans motto..."wait til next year."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bold Men & Rash Vows…



For students of the Old Testament, you will remember the story of Jephthah and his rash vow to sacrifice whatever (or whomever) first came out of his door upon his return home after his battle with the Ammonites (cf. Judges 11:29-40). As it turned out, the first person to greet him upon his return was his only child – his daughter.

Now while there may, in fact, be a number of lessons that one may derive from this narrative – certainly the most transparent lesson is the principle of the foolishness of hasty and brash vows.

Which brings me to the point of this post…

Back on Saturday, June 4th of this year, Red States Randy (our resident Cardinals fan at this blog of the truly cursed) made the following comments, prediction, and yes…vow:

As I said earlier Lee is doing awesome, if not for him this race in the NL Central would be over already but I still take Albert any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Albert simply is the best player in the game bar none. Lee is off to a great start, no question, but let's see what the stats look like in August and September and after the season. In fact it won't surprise me one bit if Albert doesn't out do Lee in all 3 triple crown stats before the seasons end. In fact I'll guarantee it. In fact if Lee beats Pujols in AVG., HR, or RBI the next time I am home in P-town I will wear a Cubs hat to church to be laughed at by my friend and fellow poster Chris. And if Derek Lee wins the triple crown this season, well I will throw in 2 tickets for all 3 of my fellow posters on this blog to any Cubs game they want to go to. Mark it down today June 4th, you heard me say it. [emphasis added]


And there you have it.

Red States Randy confidently predicted that Albert Pujols would finish ahead of Lee in every single one of the triple crown stats - he even guaranteed it. In fact, he was so confident of this, he vowed that if Lee even won one of the categories, he would wear a Cubs hat to church and graciously give me the opportunity to laugh at him while he was wearing it.

Now, unfortunately, Derrek Lee let Bill, Camden, and I down by not actually winning the triple crown (deadbeat!) as it would have entailed 2 tickets for each of us to the game of our choice (and I think I would have picked tickets to the eventual(?) game when the Cubs finally make it to the World Series - Randy is a pretty resourceful chap and I would have liked to have given him the opportunity to put that resourcefulness to good use).

Be that as it may, there is still satisfaction to be had with regard to the final respective positions of Messrs. Pujols and Lee in the triple crown.

Here are the final triple crown stats for Fat Albert and Derrek Lee:

Lee (.335 Avg [1st]; 46 HR [2nd]; 107 RBI [17th])
Pujols (.330 Avg [2nd]; 41 HR [3rd]; 117 RBI [2nd])

So not only did Lee beat Pujols in one of the triple crown categories, but in two of the three (and if he had even the semblance of a team around him he would have finished higher in RBI’s as well).

So there you have it. Randy, my friend, that sound of the bells you now hear - they are tolling for you.

I have the perfect Cubs hat for you to wear. It is a bright blue and white adjustable hat and it has a large and gaudy “C” on the side with a bear cub marching through it and onward to glorious…

Well, marching through it and onward to somewhere.




For the rest of you, I will take a picture of this momentous event with my digital camera and then post it for everyone else to see and enjoy.

And Randy: thank-you, for giving me something baseball related to truly enjoy now that the Cubs season is (mercifully) over.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

TO OUR READERS, AND MY CO BLOGGERS,

I just wanted to apologize to those that may have read my recent post before it was thankfully edited. I am extremely regretful for the way I responded to the Cards tough loss the other night. I pray that I did not offend anyone, but knowing that whether or not any were offended is still not the issue, the issue is I was wrong and I am very sorry. I hope my stupidity does not discourage anyone from reading our posts in the future, rest asured my best efforts to control my emotions in the future is a promise.

Thank You,
Randy

Sunday, October 16, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

[edited by the owner of this site – edited words in bold]


Well I just finished watching the most ridiculous performance of team baseball, and needless to say umpiring as well. If there was ever any doubt that FOX, in the absence of the Red Sox and Yankees, want the next best thing... a team that like the Red Sox has not been in a World Series in 90 years in the second largest media market in the country, against the former Yankee media darling Roger Clemens, and his mother’s supposed premonitions of the Astros and White Sox World Series on her death bed. I say this, Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros can kiss my big fat behind and if they had a hair on their rear-end, they would at least admit that they are the beneficiary of this fix. This Astros/Cards series is an absolute fraud.

I was 10 years old in 1985 when the Dink hosed the Cardinals out of the World Series, and I am more mildly irritated about the umpiring in this series than I was when I was 10. The umpiring in the 2005 NLCS has been an absolute joke, and this series and apparent victory for the Astros is an absolute fraud. Anyone who says any differently is a homer, and biased by their hatred for the Cardinals. Because no knowledgeable baseball fan can sit there and say the Cardinals aren't playing the Astros 9 on 15.

Let's review shall we. Game 2, 3rd inning Mark Grudzielanek fouls a ball off his foot back to the mound and thrown out at first. Grudzie asked for an appeal, LaRussa went out and asked for the same thing and both were denied. Yeah how dare a player and a manager ask for an appeal. After all, a home plate umpire can surely see in front of the batter as to whether or not the ball was fouled off his foot. How arrogant of them. The umpire was proven with irrefutable video evidence that he was wrong.

Same game, Chris Burke leads off with a double in the gap. I give him credit for trying to make a hustle play and tried to advance to third base, where he was clearly thrown out for the second out of the inning. Conveniently called safe by the same umpire that called Grudzielanek out.

Game 3 yesterday...with Burke on first Molina picks him off first base. Replay showed what I saw live that he was clearly out, and really was not that tough a call to make. Interestingly enough he was called safe by the same la secousse (pardon my french) that was behind the plate today. Same game...Nunez taps a ball down the first base line, clearly Ausmus picks the ball up in foul territory yet is called a fair ball and thrown out at first.

Then don't even get me started on today’s fiasco. This somewhat confused umpire behind the plate had no clue what the strike zone was. In the bottom of the 7th inning where the Astros scored the eventual go ahead run Berkman is given a walk on a pitch up and in. LaRussa bitches and is thrown out of the game. Not a half inning later Edmonds is thrown out of the game for arguing a strike called on him on a pitch that was higher and more inside than the pitch that my good friend Phil Cuzzi just called a ball on Berkman. He gripes, remarkably similar to the way Ausmus griped earlier in the game, and was thrown out. Oh in case you didn't know Ausmus bitched about the call and was not thrown out.

If we lose to the better team who plays better I can handle that. I have repeatedly said that about the World Series, we lost to the team that played better. This is not the case. We are being raped and porked in the brown eye on national TV and anyone who says differently is blinded by their hatred for the Cardinals. This is a complete and utter f@#$ing hose job and has been all series long. If the Cardinals manage to come back and win this series it will be the greatest accomplishment in MLB history because the fix is clearly in on this series. And we are going to have to beat he Astros and the 6 idiots the National League has umpiring this fraud they like to call the NLCS.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

The Cardinals are in a little trouble, and things don't appear to be going their way. Over the past two games the Cardinals have faced two pretty tough pitchers, and pretty much gave the game away today. That having been said I still think the Cards are in good shape to take this series back to the Lou ahead 3 games to 2.

The depth of our pitching staff will hopefully be shown tomorrow when Suppan, who was our best pitcher down the stretch, takes the mound against Backe. Then Carpenter goes against Pettitte in game 5.

Of course that don't mean jack unless the offense gets their proverbial head out of their arse. Especially the likes of Edmonds and Walker, who appear to be repeating their choke job from last years World Series. Not to mention Grudzielanek can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag right now. I can't remember the last time he got a hit. The only player doing anything at all is Pujols. I am shocked that the Astros give him anything to hit. Especially since LaRussa, for some reason that I can't figure out, decided to put the 3 biggest culprits in our lack of offense directly behind Pujols in the lineup today.

In my opinion it is time for LaRussa to shake up the lineup. In the regular season you can afford to stick with certain guys when they are struggling, especially when playing the likes of the Reds, and Pirates. However, this is the post season and in a short 7 game series you can't afford to stick with guys that aren't getting the job done.

Now there is something to be said for "dancing with the one you brought to the prom", but if my date for the prom starts dancing with another guy then I say screw her and find me some one else to dance with, and right now Edmonds, Walker, and Grudzielanek are not only not helping the Cardinals, they are hurting us. Think of this stat, in 5 out of Pujols last 7 at bats he has led off the inning. So pretty much that means every at bat but his first, which is in the first inning, he has led off. So in other words he comes up with no one on base and no chance to drive in a run, unless of course he homers like he did in game 2. Absolutley no way can the Cardinals win like that.

For example, Phil Garner, realizing that his hottest bat is Chris Burke, removed Tavares and put Burke in center. Tony LaRussa needs to do the same. I doubt he does because it seems LaRussa has this sick obsessive loyalty to certain players no matter how they are doing. If I was managing the Cards my lineup would look like this tomorrow...

Eckstein SS
Rodriguez LF (excellent fastball hitter so let's put him in front of Pujols where he is sure to get
a few fastballs to hit)
Pujols 1B
Mabry 3B
Molina C (one of the few that is actually hitting)
Taguchi CF
Luna 2B
Gall RF (dead pull hitter, maybe he can get a few of those cheap 300 ft HR's in Houston)
Suppan P


Like I said I doubt LaRussa does anything to his lineup because of his inability to adjust in post season games. Which is one of the reasons his teams fail in the post season. He refuses to make any adjustments with guys that are not getting the job done. Also one of the many reasons I am not a LaRussa fan. He always plays everything by the book, sometimes a manager needs to throw the book out the window and manage with his gut.

Another thing killing the Cards right now is our bullpen. Add Al Reyes, who was by far our best most consistent reliever (Izzy included) to the long list of critical Cardinal injuries before the post season. Remember Vince Coleman getting run over by the tarp in 1987. Mike Matheny about cutting his hand off with a hunting knife he got as birthday gift. Chris Carpenter last year, and now Reyes. Throw in the injury to Sanders, and Nunez today and the Cards have alot to over come. Then again given the way our bench has performed this year, we might have the Astros right where we want them.

Another interesting topic that has been much debated the past few days is instant replay in baseball. I for one am definately in favor of it. Especially after some of the umpiring I have seen in this post season. Everyone knows about the incident in game 2 of the ALCS. The umpiring has sucked in the NLCS as well (and it seems the calls have all gone against the Cardinals), Burke being tagged out at third on his triple in game 2, he was called safe. Grudzielanek clearly fouling the ball off his foot, and yet again the Cardinals were screwed. Molina picked off Burke at first today, and in what might have been the worst call I have seen since the Dink hosed us in 1985 ,was called safe. That call was not even that difficult a play to call. Nunez foul ball as well in today's game. Frankly the umpiring has sucked. These are supposed to be the best of the best and they seem to not even be able to make the simple calls. The stakes in the post season are too high, bring in the replay and get it right.

I think it will never happen because Chris' boy Bud Selig is against it. He said the other day "Instant Replay would certainly affect the games integrity."

Oh yeah now Bud is worried about the games integrity. After sacrificing the games integrity on the altar of the Wild Card, Interleague play, a strike cancelling the World Series, an All Star Game ending in a tie, and juiced up roid freaks hitting 250 foot HR's to win post season games in glorified little league parks, now Bud Selig is worried about the games integrity. Yeah I can see how using available technology to make sure we get calls right would screw the game of it's integrity.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

As big a Biblical scholars as my co-blogger's Chris and Bill are, I know they are familiar with arguably the two most notable men from the Old Testament, Abraham and David. Maybe these two men are making a second appearance in the NLCS, because a David and an Abraham were 2 of the keys to the Cardinals victory last night in game 1 vs. the Astros.

For those that might not be familiar with the Old Testament or Abraham and David, here's a brief run down to shed some light on my comparison.

David of course was most known for being the little boy who slayed the mighty giant Goliath. A "man after God's own heart," he later fell morally, committing adultery and murder to cover it up. Hopefully the Cardinals David does not suffer the same baseball fate.

Abraham was the father of a great nation: Israel. He was sort of a nomad wandering around the desert moving from place to place at the command of God, finally settling down in the promised land, being blessed by God to father a great nation of people.

I bring this up because besides the obvious performances of Carpenter, Sanders, and Pujols, two other players also deserve some mention with their defense as much as their offense. Abraham Nunez and David Eckstein.

Is there any better comparison of David Eckstein from the Cardinals than with David from the Old Testament? The underachiever, the little guy, the guy most fans (including this Cardinals fan) looks at and says "no way can this guy get the job done." He's not big enough, not strong enough, his arm is not strong enough, he doesn't run fast enough, but the guy just flat out gets the job done.

After the Cardinals lost Renteria this past off season, many assumed we were gonna be worse off with David at SS. He hit better than Renteria, made half as many errors, and is arguably the best lead off hitter in baseball. All while getting paid a measely 3 million dollars compared to Renteria's 10 million. This move alone should win Walt Jocketty the GM of the Year Award.

Last night he just flat got it done. He scored 2 runs, had 2 hits, drove in a run with a two out hit, and kept the Astros from getting back into the game by turning a tough double play (with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning).

Abraham Nunez has been wandering around the baseball desert for 7 years, playing his entire career in Pittsburgh. Is there any worse place to play baseball than Pittsburgh, besides maybe Kansas City? He has finally found a home in St. Louis and is performing at a high level in the post season as he has done all year. He hit a career best .285 this season, and played a decent third base filling in for Scott Rolen. Last night was no different going 2-3, and making a great throw home to nail a runner out at the plate, protecting a 3 run lead in the 4th.

A great game last night, but as Reggie Sanders said in the post game press conference, "we have got a long way to go."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Well with the NLCS beginning tonight I thought I might make a few observations for the blog. I am not too big on position by position breakdowns because in the NLCS anything can and probably will happen. So what good does it do to sit here and say, "well the Cardinals have Pujols at first and the Astros have Mike Lamb, so the Cardinals have the edge at first."

Sure over the course of a full season, anyone would want Pujols, but for a week anything can happen. Pujols could go into a slump and Lamb could get Carlos Beltran hot, so if that happens in reality, the Cardinals would lose that match up at first.



The Astros took the Cardinals to 7 games last season in one of the most exciting series' ever. All while sending Pete Munro to the mound for two starts. The Cardinals will not have that luxury this year. We are going to have to beat Pettitte, Oswalt, and Clemens at least 3 times and hope to beat Backe in game 4. Not likely, but certainly possible.


In the series between the Cards and the Astros right after the All Star Break the Astros sent the big three out there in consecutive starts, and the Cardinals swept the 3 game series. Now, I grant you that that was the regular season and this is the NLCS, but we have faired pretty well against the Stros this year.


A lot of commentators ala Harold Reynolds, and Skip Bayless seem to think that Pettitte will make the difference this year, but remember the Cardinals are sending 2 guys out there this year that we didn't have last season in Carpenter, and Mulder. Carpenter has been tough this year against everyone and Mulder's best game was a 10 inning shutout against the Astros in May.


The Astros are also without Carlos Beltran, who almost single handily won that series last year. Not to mention they are w/o Jeff Kent who won game 5 last year with a walk off HR.


I guess the point of my post is that I don't have a clue what's gonna happen, but I know I am going to have a heckuva lotta fun finding out. It should be as exciting a series as last year’s epic battle. I think the baseball world will see what they missed out on last year because this year the NLCS will actually get some publicity, unlike last year when ESPN and the SOX , oops I mean the FOX Network were busy slurping up to the Yankees and Sox, both of which are watching this series on TV, all with a combined payroll of 326 million dollars this season. I guess with inflation 326 million doesn't go as far as it used to.


But since I got a pair of stones and will make a prediction I am going to go with the Cardinals in 6 games. You didn't expect me to pick against my beloved Cardinals did you.

Super Nomar

Nomar Garciaparra apparently saved two women from drowning in Boston Harbor. Maybe 2006 will see more of Nomar's heroic efforts on the field. Hopefully he can save the Cubs from drowning in Lake Michigan.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Linguistic Profile

Well there's not much to talk about from the Cubs perspective (and God forbid we even discuss the possible White Sox/Cardinals world series).

So I happened upon this linguistic profile, which interested me since I speak in public on a regular basis. Here are my results, how would "ya'all" do?

:-)



Your Linguistic Profile:



80% General American English

10% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Yankee


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Vindication from Last Year's Predictions...

I was perusing some of our archives to determine how accurately our forecasts for this year turned out, and I came across our Roundtable questions here, and here.

With the Cubs finishing fourth in the division, my extreme pre-season skepticism about this team has been fully vindicated. Here are a few of the prescient opinions offered before a pitch was ever thrown this season:

On January 30th, I made the following comments with regard to assigning a grade to the off-season moves made by the Cubs:

1) What grade would you assign to the Off-season moves of the three teams most people project to contend in the NL Central this year (Cubs, Cards, Astros) and why?

CHRIS:

CUBS: (C-) I have to agree with Graham from A Cub Fan Rants, and so I assign the Cubs a grade of C-. Signing Nomar was key of course and should be regarded as an obvious upgrade from the unrighteous Gonzalez/Martinez/Ordonez/Macias platoon that Dusty had going last year. Having Walker for the full year should be an improvement as well at 2nd. However, lest we forget, this is a team that finished third in the central last year and the blame for this cannot be squarely laid on the injury bug’s shoulders. Offensive production was the absolute number one problem of this team (exhibit A: Matt Clement’s 3.68 ERA coupled with his 9-13 record; Exhibit B: a frustrating propensity to lose games where the opponent scored more than 4 runs as pointed out so well by Steve Stone; Exhibit C: a dismal record in 1-run games). As most of you know who actually watched or listened to the games last season, it seemed as if we were often hopelessly lost in a dry and desolate desert looking desperately for some oasis of relief in the form of some walks, hits, and advanced runners – phenomena that were sadly absent for much of the season. So while the addition of Nomar for the entire season (assuming he stays healthy) is an obvious plus, the loss of the team’s leading RBI, run, and HR leader has yet to be adequately filled. This was a team that needed to be looking to upgrade offensively as the number #1 off season priority – and not only have they not upgraded, they may even have slightly regressed in this category. Added to all of this is the fact that the team’s second greatest weakness (i.e., a questionable bullpen) has not been addressed either. With no clear closer or consistently capable middle or late relievers, no offensive upgrades, and the loss of the #1 RBI, run, and HR producer - this is a team that looks like a slightly worse version of last year’s squad! Unless Hendry goes out and does what he is supposed to do (i.e., upgrade offensively by going after Magg$) this team gets a C- for a lackluster off-season. HOWEVER – I wrote all of this before the Sosa trade – and if the Cubs don’t spin off these prospects they acquired for Sosa (and they’ll probably have to include some others) for a big bat like Aubrey Huff - or unless they sign Magglio – they get an F! If they actually do the unthinkable and pick up Jeromy Burnitz they get an F-! I am disgusted with this trade as it now stands - and they better have something else in the works or this offseason will have gone from being merely sub-standard to an absolute disaster!


From that same post:

4) Who will be the closer for 2005?

CHRIS: Predicting Baker’s moves is as much of a science as reading tea leaves. I’d like to see what Dempster has or anyone other than Hawkins actually. Hawkins is an excellent set-up man (he’s probably the best pitcher in the bullpen), but when you stick him in the closers role you not only lose a top tier set-up man, but you get a moderately bad closer to boot – no thank you. Let’s see what Dempster can do, or try Leicester for heavens sake. If Borowski got back on the juice (this is a suspicion of mine) and can get his fastball to crack 90 MPH again - stick him back in there – otherwise I don’t want him anywhere near the mound in tight games. Heck, Id even be willing to give the Farns a shot during Spring Training and if he excels (which would absolutely shock me) - give him the job. However, my pessimism concerning Baker leads me to suspect that Hawkins will fill the role once again and, therefore, not only will we not have a closer, but we will struggle in middle and late relief as well.


And then finally, these comments from February 7th, which turned out to be spot-on:

And in case you missed it - Bill has a very insightful comparison to what has happened to the Cubs from 2003-2005 and what happened to them in 1969-1971. You should definitely check it out.

I think his analysis is spot-on and it portends ominously for this current Cubs lineup. As it currently stands - I believe that this team will finish third in the division (and that's assuming no injuries).

Now, perhaps that dire prediction places me in Al Yellon's "screamer" category - which is fine, I suppose. If the alternative is coming across as a paid shill for the Tribune, then I'll take the "screamer" label any day.


If you want to live in fantasy land, there are blogs that will cater to your desire for delusions.

If you want reality - you know where to come.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tracy out as Dodgers Manager...

Jim Tracy and the Los Angeles Dodgers parted ways today, which is especially interesting in light of the rumors earlier this year that Dusty Baker was interested in the L.A. job.

I would love to see Baker go.

Worst Possible Scenario...

Well the Cubs season ended as one might expect - with a loss and with the Cubs once again proving themselves to be an utterly impotent team unable to make any impact with regard to the post-season.

As the post-season unfolds Cubs fans are faced with the unhappy prospect that the wretched White Sox could end up facing the Cardinals in the World Series - and I cannot imagine a scenario that would be worse from a Cubs fan perspective.

Our season is done, and so the only thing any of us have to hope for now is the White Sox and Cardinals to share in our misery. I'm pulling for the Braves in the National League and the Angels in the AL.

What about the Cubs prospects for next year? They have major problems - they need another quality starter (Greg Maddux is now nothing better than a serviceable #5 starter), they need a right and center fielder, and the bullpen needs middle and late relief help.

Apart from that - everything is peachy. If this team doesn't make significant moves in the off-season - they will fight for 3rd place again while they watch the pitching window for this current staff close for good.

Remember - this page predicted that there was major cause for alarm with regard to this team as it was constructed before the season ever began.

Next year promises to be even more uncertain unless Hendry makes significant moves (like the Mets did last year - a team that was, unlike the Cubs, in the midst of the playoff hunt until very late in the year).

Saturday, October 01, 2005

THOUGHTS AND MEMORIES FROM BUSCH STADIUM

In just a few minutes I will be leaving with my dad to go to St. Louis for our last Cardinals game in Busch Stadium. I thought this might be worthy of a post to share some of my thoughts and memories from the hallowed ground of Busch Stadium.Frankly, I am ticked off to see the beautiful place get blown up. It was the park my dad always took me to, and where I had hoped to take my son to games.

You know I was in second grade when I knew I had a pretty cool dad. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 7 years old in the second grade, it was 1982. Early in the school year, late in the baseball season. The Cardinals were in a tight pennant race with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies came to town that night to open up a crucial 3 game series with the Cardinals.

I wa sitting in class and I looked up and low and behold there was my dad walking through the door. My second grade teacher Mrs. Matthews walked over to greet him, and he whispered something in her ear, and almost immediately she turned and said "Randy, your dad is here to take you home". I was shocked because this certainly was not an every day occurence. First of all I thought I must be in real trouble if dad is missing work to get me out of school. But I made no fuss at the day away from the second grade.

Walking out to the car was a walk of mixed emotions. Excited about getting out of school, and fearful trying to remember everything I had done in the days prior to reassure myself that I was not in trouble. When I was fairly certain I had done nothing that I had not yet been punished for I spoke up and asked "dad what's the deal"? His reply, the coolest words I have ever heard, and words I will never forget, he just simply said "I just kinda thought you would like to go to the Cardinals game tonight."

So we jumped in the car and off we went to watch the Cardinals and Phillies. I was only 7 and don't remeber too much about the game, just the fact that the Cardinals were done in by hall of famer and former Cardinal Steve Carlton. The events after the game I remember also like it was yesterday.

It is not like this anymore but in the old days the players used to exit the clubhouse and walk across the street to the players parking lot. We waited outside for players to come outside. I remember getting the autographs of Willie McGee, Ken Oberkfell, and Darrell Porter. I also remember watching Whitey Herzog being interviewed inside this window by a TV crew. We pounded on the window during the interview only to have the shades pulled shut.

One player I also remember (unfortunately) and to this day a player that I absolutely hate. One of the few things that really bothers me about Cardinal Nation is this notion that we are to classy to boo our own players. To that I say hogwash, if a player is not hustling I think he is worthy of a boo. Now I do not condone booing a guy just because he is slumping, but if he quits hustling I boo. There have been a few Cardinal players that I have not particularly cared for Gary Templeton, Tino Martinez, Edgar Renteria, Scott Rolen to name a few. This guy we saw that night is beyond these guys. I hate to say this but it borders on hatred. In fact I will say it, I wouldn't get out of the electric chair for Tommy Herr.

Tommy Herr came walking out of the clubhouse that night. Now I will say this in Herr's defense I don't really remember much about the game so he might have had a terrible night. It certainly was not good that the Cardinals opened up a crucial home series with a loss to the Phillies, but Herr's actions were inexcusable.

Herr walked out, and there was a group of maybe 5 or 6 of us kids waiting outside (it was a school night and like 11 oclock at night) anyway we all ran up to Herr to get autographs. Tommy Herr cussed us out. He didn't just refuse to sign and say he was busy, he cussed us out. I also remember my dad and a few other dad's giving it right back to him. I distinctly remember Herr running across the street, turning around, grabbing his crotch, and flipping us the bird. I think this was just before my dad yelled calling him "an arrogant piece of dog @#$%." So to this day I hate Tommy Herr. I even saw him at the game last night when the Cardinals homored the 1985 team, and it cused my blood to boil.

I have many great memories of Busch Stadium. Witnessing McGwire tie Roger Maris was certainly one. Opening day in 1995, the first game after the strike. I also was able to attend game 2 of the 2002 NLCS against the Giants, which was my first playoff game. A game against the Padres where my dad and I paid like 100 dollars to broadcast an inning of a game, and they taped it. We had a riot that day.

I have seen the Cardinals win, seen 'em lose. I saw them blow a 6 run lead in the 9th inning to the Reds a few years ago. I also saw them come back from like 7 runs down against the Giants. Winning on and Edgar Renteria HR that bounced over the fence off Barroid Bonds glove.

I have many terrific memories of that place. Even today when we drive over the lst hill on I 55 and see the arch for the first time I get excited. Coming over the bridge and see those 96 archways in the top of the stadium my heart still skips a beat. Maybe I am just a homer, probably so, but I have been to Wrigley, I have been to Shea Stadium, I have been to Comsikey, the Ballpark at Arlington, Dodger Stadium, but nothing excites me like a game at Busch Stadium. I'm gonna miss her.