Friday, May 08, 2009

Cards Sweep Pirates, and Other Interesting Happenings

First things first: Happy Birthday, Younger Brother! 'Little' hasn't been the right descriptor for many moons now...

After getting clobbered in the first two games of this homestand, and swept by Philadelphia, St Louis did the same to Pittsburgh. They completed the 2-game series sweep with a 5-2 win over the Pirates today at the Stadium.

Todd Wellemeyer finally looked like the Todd Wellemeyer we've come to expect as a starter - 7 innings, 2 earned. That's a positive sign. Now, if he can turn in a similar performance against a slightly better team than the Pirates, well, that'd be great.

Coupled with Milwaukee's loss, the Cardinals lead Chicago by 2.5 games in the NL East. Only the Dodgers continue to have a better record than St Louis (more on them in a moment).

I thought I'd comment randomly on some other items of recent interest at this point:

1. Who ever heard of a 4-game home stand? There's always been grumbling about the schedule, but this is ridiculous. When the Club returns from their series at Pittsburgh, they will have, for all intents and purposes, completed a 16-game road trip. That's crazy.

2. Next thing that's crazy: today's game marked the last time Pittsburgh will play in St Louis in 2009. That's right, folks, 29 games into the season and no more Pirate games at Busch. How in the world does that make sense? They haven't played Milwaukee at all yet.

3. Rick Ankiel went on the 15-day DL today, and although that hurts my already lousy UCB League Fantasy Team, I'm glad he's still ambulatory.

4. Manny Ramirez. Got busted for drugs, and is out for the next two months. As expected, Bill Simmons posted a story about this in relation to the Red Sox, although it took a slightly different tone from what I expected.

Like a lot of people, news of the story didn't surprise me; I just shrugged. And texted my wife, who giggled malevolently (Red Sox fan). What does continue to surprise me is how many of the elite players, guys who are already good, felt compelled to cheat. Barry Bonds was a HOF caliber player before juicing. A-Rod probably would have been based on his talent. Manny is, statistically, one of the greatest right-handed power hitters in the history of the game, and was headed to the Hall based on HIS talent. Why did they need an additional edge?

And you'll never convince me that this level of cheating is confined only to the elite players. Think about it. If you're barely holding on to the 24th or 25th spot on the roster, and you watch Manny walk through the clubhouse on his way to a 'shot', what are you thinking? "Geez, if that guy needs a boost, how stupid am I for not doing the same thing." Right?

That's the insidious side of this, which never seems to get mentioned. The elite guys are doing it, so you better betcha the marginal guys are doing it too.

And ol' Bud Selig, well, he had his chance to nip this in the bud (pardon the pun) 10 years ago, when the steroid monster finally saw the light of day. Could have come out strong and stopped it right then and there. I understand the players union would have fought him all the way, but at least a strong stand acknowledging the problem might have saved the game's credibility. Instead, we were treated to 5 more years of denial before any drug testing program was put in place. Thanks, Bud.

No fan believes any player who insists they aren't on the juice.

And with A-Roid fallen, and Manny fallen, all eyes turn to the other elite players in the league. Who are they talking about now? Which player is as good a hitter as either of those bozos, and consistently puts up HOF numbers? Albert Pujols.

They think AP dopes, with absolutely no proof at all. He plays baseball, and he's really good, so he must be using. His fans are dismissed as homers for defending him. It's depressing.

AP says he doesn't dope. As an American, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

However, as I've said before on this site, if AP ever pops positive, I will walk away from being a baseball fan forever.

There are probably more important things to do besides complain about the schedule and drug use in Major League Baseball.

No comments: