Friday, February 29, 2008

Has it really been 2 weeks?!?

Seems like just yesterday pitchers/catchers were reporting. Oh, well.

Some quick thoughts as I try to get back into a regular posting schedule:

Speizio - What a sad, sad soap opera his life has turned into. I hope he gets the help he needs to get his life back on track. His baseball career is over, in my opinion. But Scott - you've got 3 kids you need to worry about, protect, and take care of. Fix yourself so you can do that well.

Rolen - Spoke with reporters but refused to bad mouth LaRussa. Rolen's been pretty consistent on that; not wanting to speak about issues he classified this week as 'personal' between himself and his former manager. I applaud that; what purpose does it serve to continue the acrimony when you've finally escaped it? His comments to the Post Dispatch this week didn't make LaRussa look good, though - especially if the manager let a personal issue with his third baseman start to cloud his professional judgement.

Reyes - Apparently threw well in yesterday's exhibition opener. I was quite happy to see the Cardinals not jettison him this past off-season. I know he's done well in spring training in previous years, and then not performed up to expectations in the regular season; I hope this year is different. We need him in the rotation, especially after the news that Clement won't be ready by opening day (which surprised me, as well as lots of folks in the Cardinal blog-o-sphere).

Hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A short break from the action....

No post today - I have 2 mid-terms in the next 7 days and need the time to study. In more happy news, pitchers/catchers start reporting Thursday!

Talk about a Happy Valentines Day.

Following a thread from last post: In my opinion Cardinals/Cubs is a rivalry in proximity only. Defining a rivalry to mean playing each other with something on the line (like a pennant), this hasn't been that since the 1930s. There will be a longer post on this subject soon, but currently (again my opinion) the chief Cardinals rival is Houston - and historically it's been the Dodgers.

Enjoy your week.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tourney of Champions Update

I've purposely ignored this topic for a while, because my bold predictions haven't held up so well. In the first round, I picked exactly 1 series correctly - I had the 1888 Browns beating the 1987 Cardinals. This should have mired me in the cellar, but two other bozos didn't pick any of the first round series correctly.

The second round has gone somewhat better. The 1943 club did indeed beat the 2005 version, and today the 1985 club outlasted the 1996 club. I almost had a third series win, 1885 over 2000, but Dave Veres was able to pitch out of a jam in the ninth (thanks to some good defense and a ground rule double that held the tying run at third). So with 3 series complete in this round I'm 2-1, and can go 4-1 if things go as I predicted. I need the 1885's to win; if that happens, and Gibson's 1968 squad comes through, 9 points should put me in third or fourth place, which would be cool.

With only 6 days left until pitchers and catchers report, there isn't much going on. The lads over at recently ran a ZIPS simulation on the 2008 Mariners; that data is here. If I get a chance I will try and do the same thing with the 2008 Cardinals and post it next week.

Something to discuss in the comments: rivalries. Are the Cubs the Cardinals rival, and by what metric do you make that claim (competitiveness, geography, trades, etc)? If not the Cubs, then who? We'll post more on this topic next week.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cardinals sign Juan Crybaby

Juan Gonzalez is a Cardinal, signed to a minor-league contract which would be worth close to $1 million dollars if he makes the big club out of spring training.

Story reported in the Post-Dispatch today.

Juan Gone. Great.

Last good season: 2003 - 24 HR in 82 games with the Rangers. Last good full season: 2001 with Cleveland. He hasn't been good since the last time the Rams won more than 10 games.

This is the same guy who, after playing one year in Detroit, whined the park was too big (his excuse for the power drop-off in 2000). Can you see Ruth whining about the dimensions of any ballpark? Didn't think so. If memory serves, Detroit moved the fences in expressly for him; he bolted for Cleveland that off-season as a free agent. I have had no respect for him since that story broke.

Just what the Cardinals need - another head case.

Nope, not too happy about this.

In other news, apparently there's a large tiff out there because Bill Belichick left the playing field with one second left yesterday. Let's re-cap the situation:

Brady's fourth down desperation heave has fallen incomplete; there :01 on the clock; New England trails by 3; a snap/kneeldown typically takes 2 seconds; a timeout doesn't prevent the game from ending; New England will not get the ball back this day.

SO, Belichick jogs onto the field, SHAKES COACH COUGHLIN'S HAND congratulating him on his victory, and heads for the locker room, with the time still on the clock.

Why is this an issue?

From where I stand, that's good sportsmanship. The game was over, people! Why prolong the agony to run a meaningless play? Let the Giants celebrate their victory; they totally deserved it. You want to make fun of Belichick? Question his play calling; question why his vaunted offensive line got shredded; question the hoodie; question why he didn't attempt a 49-yd field goal midway through the third quarter. But don't question his conduct at the end. I thought it was the height of class in what had to be an extremely difficult, emotional moment.