First let's get to the announcements. And fun with type color.
Lou Brock talked about efforts MLB is making to combat hunger, in partnership with Bank of America. BofA created 'Hits for Hunger'; during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, Bank of America will donate $5000, for each batted ball that results in a safe hit, to the Food Bank of America. Obviously this effort will be talked about during the game.
Additionally, MLB and BofA have partnered with Feeding America, to raise more money for feeding the homeless. During the game, donations made to this organization will be matched by BofA. Donations can be made through the website if you're interested.
Next, the United Cardinal Bloggers are back, with another doozie of an event to close out the first half of 2009 with a flourish. For the doubleheader with Chicago on 12 July, the group will run a live blog courtesy of Cover It Live. You can join or monitor the discussion right here, as I will have the software on the site all that day. A number of the UCB members will be participating, and have the live blog enabled on their sites; also, the UCB home page will have it as well.
Finally, today the Cardinals defeated Chicago 8-3 in the series opener. St Louis has won the opener of all 3 games on this road trip, and eight of the 15 road series openers this season. I won't bore you with a recap.
However, in this game Albert Pujols' first 3 at bats were intentional walk, triple, and home run. His HR led off the fifth, so there was a fair chance he'd get two more at bats in the game. Which led one of my co-workers (fellow Cardinal fan) to wonder aloud, "Has Albert ever hit for the cycle?"
I did a little research, both on Albert's career and to find when the last Cardinal was to hit for the cycle.
Seventeen Cardinals have hit for the cycle. The first was Fred Dunlap, on May 24 1886, when the team was known as the St Louis Browns. The last was Mark Grudzielanek, four years ago (27 Apr 05). The list includes Hall of Famers (Stan Musial, Joe Medwick, Lou Brock, Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, and Johnny Mize), future HOFs (Joe Torre), a should be HOF (Ken Boyer), and some guys who surprise you (Lankford? Mabry?). Only Boyer turned the trick twice as a Cardinal.
Albert's hit 351 home runs, but only 14 triples, confirming (a) a triple is hard do, even for the best hitter in the game, and (b) a triple remains the most exciting offensive play in sports. Keep your HR. Give me a guy rounding second, digging for third, as the throw heads to the cutoff man and there's obviously going to be a play at third. And even though Soriano assisted a little bit today, it's still a triple.
Some facts about AP's triples. The first three he hit were in St Louis, but he hasn't hit one at home since 2004. He's victimized the Marlins three times, the Padres twice, and now the Cubs twice. Cardinals are 7-7 in games where he hits a triple, but have won 6 of the last seven.
Before today, AP had tripled and homered in the same game twice. Oddly, both games occurred within 5 days of each other in 2004.
He hasn't hit for the cycle. It's one of the few individual things Musial did that AP hasn't.
Maybe tomorrow. Although I'll settle for a statement start from Brad Thompson.
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