Tears and Transitions

I didn’t watch the game today.  After the 12-1 drubbing that I was forced to sit through yesterday, I decided I wasn’t in the mood.  I dreaded what might happen after the big news came down right before the game started that Allen Craig and Joe Kelly had been traded to the Red Sox for John Lackey.  I knew the news would not be taken well in the clubhouse (and reportedly it wasn’t) and I feared its affect on the team’s performance in the game.  I was not going to sit through another drubbing if it came to that.

It turned out my fears were unfounded.  The Cardinals won the game 6-2.

Now for my take on all that went down in the last hours of the trade deadline.

The trade deadline is a tough period for fans (for the team as well, no doubt).  One would have to be pretty dispassionate not to get attached to players on your team who you have cheered for over a long period of time.  Even when you know that getting new players can energize a team for that push to the playoffs, when getting those new players involves losing old ones, that can be very tough to handle.  I completely understand and feel myself the sadness that can come over you to say goodbye to a loved player.  I don’t want to seem dismissive of those feelings in any way.

However, baseball is a business just like any other.  Sometimes very tough decisions have to be made to ensure the long term success and viability of that business.  Anyone who is a baseball fan has to know that most players do not spend their entire careers with the same team.  Players come and players go.  It is the nature of baseball.

We all know this team has been under performing all season.  The offense has been sluggish to non existent.  The pitching has been good, good enough to keep the Cardinals in the race, but it has had its issues as well.  The improved defense has worked well for the most part, though there have been times where it has completely fallen apart, like in the first two games of the Padres series.  This team has problems, problems that needed to be addressed.

I have been convinced for some time that at least part of the problem lay in that clubhouse.

I think that in the clubhouse was an atmosphere of smug complacency, and a “veterany cliquishness” (I made that up, but it fits what I am trying to say).  Long time veterans felt they were entitled to all the playing time they wanted, regardless of their individual performance, and felt that their manager had their back in this.  I believe they wanted to win, but win on their terms and in their own time, with no sense of urgency.  One by one, younger players were introduced to the roster, only to get limited playing time and then sent on their merry way back to where they came from when they couldn’t produce on demand.  The one exception was Oscar Taveras, the prized #1 prospect.  He came up once, but was soon shown the door like the others.  Then he came up again, and this time he stayed.  He stayed and he threatened the playing time of veterans.  Veterans like Allen Craig, and to a lesser degree Jon Jay.  (Peter Bourjos is more of a threat to Jay, and we all know what has happened to him as well).

Because of this, the manager wouldn’t put him in the lineup on any kind of regular basis.  He would play, and then he would sit for days while the struggling Allen Craig continued to play.  Taveras could not put together any consistent time at the plate, and his performance suffered.  There also had to be a mental aspect to this as well, when you know that one mistake, one unproductive game, and you would not play for days.  It might have all been different if Craig had been producing as he had in the past, but he wasn’t and showed no signs of doing so.  Yet he continued to play.  Mike Matheny, when asked about this, would make glib responses like “we’re not in the development business”.  Did anyone truly think that Matheny could possibly have Taveras’ best interests at heart when you heard something like that?  I thought that comment was extremely telling about Matheny’s attitude about the young prospect.

You could read between the lines in interviews with Mozeliak during this time that he was very frustrated with the Taveras playing time situation.  Reports of a “rift” between Mozeliak and Matheny were made by the local media.  Well, it all came to a head apparently because Mozeliak fixed the problem.  Craig is now playing for the Boston Red Sox, and Taveras is still here, playing RF.

It was reported that the clubhouse was shocked and stunned at the news.  I bet they were.  I am sorry that Joe Kelly had to be the collateral damage in all this, because I like the guy, but these things happen.  It was said that Craig and Kelly found out about the trade from TV and social media;  that’s unfortunate, but in this day and age of instant news and the race to get the latest tidbit out before your competitor, it’s not surprising that it happened that way.  Mozeliak was engaged in last minute negotiations, this thing happened pretty fast, and the opportunity to let the team and the players know about the trade before the media announced it was probably not there.

Regardless, this trade needed to happen.  The clubhouse needed a shakeup.  These guys might be a “family” as both players and the manager have so stated, but this family was dysfunctional.  We all saw the dysfunction played out on the field, time after time.

I know that people are sad.  I specifically have avoided watching the interviews with the players in question and their teammates because I am not an automaton.  I know it would upset me.  However, someone needed to look at all this objectively and dispassionately and I elected myself.

It is after all a business and the players are paid employees.  They are paid to win baseball games.  The team is not a boy’s club or a fraternity.  While it is good that they all get along and have chemistry, the ultimate goal is results.  This team was not getting them.

While it hurts to lose your friends in the clubhouse, that hurt would be ameliorated by a championship.  These guys are big boys and they can take it.  If they can’t, then they should look for another profession.

At the end of the day, John Mozeliak did what he is paid to do.  He can’t afford the sentimentality like the rest of us can.  This organization has a goal and a stated method to get there.  If the manager and the players can’t be on board with that method, then maybe they need to be somewhere else.

Hopefully a message was sent, and the results will be better.  We will see in time.

 

Thank you for reading.

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Three Truths About Baseball Losses

1.  The team does want to win.

2.  Any player who messed up didn’t do it just to piss you off.

3.  It’s just a game.  If your happiness depends on the outcome maybe you should consider therapy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groans and Facepalms

Last night’s game was unsatisfactory.

Lance Lynn wasn’t that bad really.  He only gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, which is a quality start.  No, the rest of the field, on both offense and defense, were the culprits here.  The Cardinals made 3 errors, 3.  The offense managed only 6 hits, only one of the extra base variety (a double by Matt Carpenter).  They struck out 11 times, 2 each by Matt Adams, A.J. Pierzynski, Allen Craig and Jon JayJason Motte gave up his 7th home run in 21 innings pitched this season.

The worst offense in baseball outplayed the second worst offense in baseball.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.  The Cardinals’ much vaunted powerhouse with RISP in 2013 has become a pathetic shell of its former self.  The cause of its demise is unknown.  Allen Craig has been replaced by a pod person.  Highly touted offensive prospect Oscar Taveras has hit sluggishly with playing time allotted in fits and starts.  Kolten Wong has been streaky.  Matt Holliday has had his usual slow start but is showing signs of his also usual second half resurgency.  However, his propensity to hit into a lot of double plays has not waned.  Jhonny Peralta‘s power has disappeared, and Matt Adams’ power comes and goes.  Matt Carpenter is the same, and so is Jon Jay (his inability to hit his way past first base has remained the same as well).  The ingredients for an offense to be proud of just aren’t there or are in hiding.

To ice the cake with flourish, the Cardinals have a bad manager and a general manager who appears to be enabling the bad manager.

How have the Cardinals managed to stay in contention, you ask?  Pitching and improved defense (though one wouldn’t have known it last night).  The defense would be even better if part of that improved defense wasn’t pulling splinters out of his backside on the bench, but I digress.  The pitching has begun to falter some, what with the injury to Michael Wacha, and the unexplained regression of Shelby Miller.  There is hope for an addition to the pitching in the next few days, and Shelby Miller’s last start was much improved.  The pitching and the defense (the part that actually plays) will have to knuckle down and kick it up a notch in the remainder of the season if the offense doesn’t come around soon.

The bad manager we’re stuck with.

It’s put up or shut up time.  The Cardinals have an opportunity to really make a mark on this season this week, but their performance last night doesn’t bode well.  The NL Central is a three horse race (maybe four) so the kind of playing the Cardinals exhibited last night is not going to cut it.  No more errors by the defense.  Pitching has to maintain or get better.  I can’t say whether there is any hope for the offense, we have been waiting all season for it.

It shouldn’t be that hard.  It’s the Padres for Pete’s sake.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

The Week That Could Be

After the initial disappointment on Friday of losing to the Cubs, the Cardinals regrouped and took the last two games of the series.  Sunday’s game was a nail biter to the end.  Despite a bounceback showing from Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright (following his worst start of the season against Tampa Bay), the Redbird offense didn’t give him much help.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was the only scoring the team accomplished.  Once again the offense looked flat, as they have over and over again throughout this season.

The Cardinals are off today and start a three games series tomorrow in San Diego against the 46-58 Padres.  The vast spaces of Petco Park are always a challenge; it’s a whole lot of ground to cover for a less than stellar outfield defense (the Cardinals 2013 outfield of Holliday, Jay and Beltran/Craig was the third worst outfield defense in baseball).   For an offense, Petco is not a home run friendly venue.

With the Cardinals a measly 2 games back in the division, feasting upon the Padres is a must.  The Brewers start a series with the Tampa Bay Rays today; though the Rays lost yesterday against the Red Sox, they have been red hot in the month of July.  A good showing in San Diego (and the Brewers obliging us by losing to the Rays), will put the Cardinals in excellent position to take over first place when they come back to St. Louis this weekend to take on the Brewers.  One could venture to say that this week is a pivotal one for the outlook on the remainder of the season.

The Cardinals send Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Shelby Miller to the mound against the Padres in this series.  Tyson Ross (9-10 2.65 ERA) , Jesse Hahn (6-2 2.12 ERA), and Odrisamer Despaigne (2-2 1.66 ERA) go for the Padres.  The pitching will be a challenge for the Cardinals, as no one on the team has seen either Hahn or Despaigne, and only a handful have a tiny amount of ABs against Ross (Peter Bourjos and Matt Carpenter each have one hit against Ross, Mark Ellis has two).

The Cardinals have been operating with a four man rotation for the last few series (multiple off days have permitted this).  That will have to come to an end this weekend, as a fifth starter will have to be employed for the Brewers series.  It could be Carlos Martinez, or Tyler Lyons or Marco Gonzales could be brought up from Memphis.  The trade deadline is on Thursday, and it is possible John Mozeliak could make a deal for a starting pitcher before this weekend.  However, based on some of his recent comments concerning the difficulties of making trades in this market, I really doubt that will be the case.  I believe A.J. Pierzynski may be the totality of the acquisitions made by the Cardinals in July.

However it all shakes out, the Cardinals have the opportunity this week to really turn things around for this season.  I hope they make the most of this opportunity.  After the lackluster season the Cardinals have had thus far, the fans deserve it.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

John Mozeliak Goes Trolling

After the Cardinals lost their 4th game in a row last night to the Chicago Cubs (of all teams), it was announced that the Cardinals were working on a deal to sign veteran free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.  Pierzynski is a 13 year MLB veteran and is 37 years old.  Several hours later it was announced the deal was done and Pierzynski would be in Chicago today.  Recently acquired catcher George Kottaras was said to have already packed up and left the team.  The exact nature of his departure was not announced.

The news was taken on Twitter with much angst by Cardinal Nation.  You see, Pierzynski is not known for his, ah, people skills.  Pierzynski is fairly universally referred to as “The Most Hated Player in Baseball”.  Given the close, fraternity like atmosphere that the Cardinals clubhouse is known for, the addition of Pierzynski to it is more than a little odd.  As one member of the media put it “It’s a curious fit, for sure”.    My first thought was that this was a giant troll by GM John Mozeliak.  It’s like introducing a punk rocker to a boy’s choir.

And to be a fly on the wall in the Cardinals clubhouse after this became known would be a dream come true.

How this all plays out will be interesting to see unfold.  Will Pierzynski’s addition strike a match to the Cardinals seeming lethargic play?   Or will he sow the seeds of discord in the clubhouse and cause further damage to the already struggling team?  I don’t know the answer.  I wonder though if Mozeliak isn’t behaving a little desperately with this move.  The suddenness of the move along with the abrupt, unexplained departure of Kottaras is puzzling, to say the least.  Perhaps we will learn more in the coming days.  I must admit part of me feels bad for Kottaras.  Buddy, we hardly knew ye.

Baseball wise, the addition of Pierzynski, who was released by the Red Sox just recently because of lack of offensive production, (and the move resulted in much celebration in Boston, from all accounts), doesn’t gel with the need for more offense in the Cardinals lineup.  Pierzynski’s batting line since June 1 is .194/.230/.226.  That’s Daniel Descalso territory.  His defensive production is also down from previous years.  Is Mozeliak thinking that the Cardinals coaches can fix him, or is this just a temporary move to jolt the Cardinals clubhouse?  I can’t imagine that Pierzynski is going to add any significant offensive production to this lineup.

I must admit I am baffled and intrigued at the same time.  What exactly is the point behind this move?  Are there several more moves coming, and perhaps this is just a setup?  Or is Mozeliak just throwing crap against the wall to see what will stick?  So many questions.  I hope to get answers soon.

If this is just one big troll, it’s a doozey.  Joe Strauss would be proud and envious at the same time.

Goodness gracious.

 

Thank you for reading.

The Titanic Hit The Iceberg (Metaphorically)

So Waino was terrible.  That makes me incredibly sad.  I really, really, want Waino to win the Cy Young award this year, but he isn’t going to do it pitching like that.  I hope the tendonitis hasn’t come back.

Controversy abounded prior to the game when the lineup came out.  Oscar Taveras was not in it.  Allen Craig was.  Allen Craig, he of the .651 OPS (it’s .648 now, due to an 0-3 night with 2 strikeouts in the game last night).    To make matters worse, Mike Matheny was quoted in the media as saying some incredibly stupid things about why Oscar wasn’t playing and Craig was.

Exhibit A:

 

 

Now the basic concept about needing to win as opposed to being in the development business is true.  The problem with this statement is that the player Matheny plays “to win” isn’t helping the team win.  So when faced with two players who play the same position and are both struggling, but one is a young prospect with upside who needs major league playing time and the other is a veteran who has looked lost at the plate for 3 1/2 months, who should play?  Most of Cardinal Nation (including me) believes it should be the former.  Oscar got a base hit in a pinch hit role in the 9th inning last night.  It made no difference in the outcome, but maybe it will spur Matheny to at least play Oscar tonight.  Not that one hit is that big of a deal, but we take what we can get when it comes to Matheny Logic.

Now along with the Taveras controversy, there were a few of us (not many) who believed Peter Bourjos should have gotten to start last night as well.  He didn’t, of course, Jon Jay started as usual.  Peter had an incredible night Sunday night, hitting a home run off the best pitcher in baseball, stealing two bases and making an incredible catch in center field.  He came into the game in the 6th inning last night, but struck out in both of his ABs, so I guess he is now back to being a bum again in the eyes of Cardinal Nation; I can’t keep track of all the fickleness and I don’t want to.  Bourjos not playing doesn’t invoke the same outrage that not playing Taveras does in Cardinal Nation, because he isn’t a hot prospect being benched in favor of a struggling veteran.  He also is not a home grown player, but a recent transplant, and so Cardinal Nation doesn’t have the emotional attachment to him that they have for Taveras and Jon Jay.  Jay is also not struggling at the plate, though plenty of playing time has certainly helped him in that regard.  I could write a whole post on the Jay v Bourjos issue, but this isn’t it.  Suffice it to say that I have insisted, and will continue to insist, that overall Bourjos is the better player.  I know Bourjos can hit given enough playing time, and he certainly can play center field far better than Jay can and he can run circles around Jay, and he has a better arm.  Despite all this, I have resigned myself to Jay getting the bulk of the playing time and am at peace with it.  Perhaps Bourjos will get his chance with some other team in the near future.

However, this issue leads to a larger question and one that I have alluded to in the past.  Why is Taveras (and to a lesser extent Bourjos) not getting the playing time from Matheny?  My theory is that Matheny is incredibly loyal to players he has a longstanding relationship with.  So loyal, in fact, that he puts that loyalty ahead of doing what’s best for the team as a whole and putting the best lineup he can out on the field everyday.  He wants to play Jon Jay and Allen Craig because their success is important to him, more important than the success of Taveras or Bourjos.  I also think he wants to play them because he trusts them and because they are comfortable.  I could go so far as to say Matheny sees Taveras and Bourjos as a threat to Jay and Craig, though that is probably more a subconscious thought than a conscious one.  Yes, I am really reaching into the realm of unsubstantiated speculation, but it is my blog and I am allowed to do that.  I’m not a journalist after all, and I don’t play one on TV.

Mike Matheny is likely to continue to irk fans with his lineups and his excuses and explanations for such lineups.  The possibility of some trades being made from the major league roster may change things one way or the other, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.   Whether Oscar gets more playing time, or gets traded, or even sent down to Memphis is yet to be determined.  What John Mozeliak thinks about all of this is unknown and not likely to become known.  The only thing I know is that I am not happy with the way this team is being managed, nor up to this point, how the roster has been constructed.  I simply have been unable to become invested in this team for this season; I hope that changes.

In the meantime, we will see whether Oscar plays tonight or continues to sit on the bench.  It’s all a mess that makes for unneeded and unwanted controversy and unhappy fans.  Not that Mike Matheny appears to care.  He’s doing what he wants to do unfettered.

And the band played on.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Weekends And Baseball

I missed the game on Saturday.  I was in St. Louis but did not have tickets for the game.  I went to Ballpark Village for the first time with a friend, it’s a cool place.  I wanted to watch the game there, but it was so crowded that there was no place to sit, and I was not going to stand up for 3 hours.  We ended up driving around the city while my friend (who is a St. Louis native) showed me his childhood home and reminisced about his boyhood haunts.  We then had dinner and went out to a place in West County to watch Men’s Roller Derby.

I did watch Friday and Sunday.  Sunday night baseball is always a chore for me, waiting all day to watch the game and having to put up with ESPN and their biases.  I mostly watch the games on mute now, but I do turn on the volume when there is something going on for which I need an explanation.  I figured out ahead of time that there would be plenty of drooling over Clayton Kershaw, so the mute button was pushed at the very beginning.  I like Clayton Kershaw very much, it’s not his fault that the media drives people crazy with their incessant yammering about how great he is.  The Dodgers get more than their share of attention as it is, big market teams always do.  When you combine the best pitcher in baseball with one of the biggest TV market teams, it is a recipe for media overload.  For me it’s easier to mute, then I won’t be tempted to complain about the bias like other fans do.

Sunday night’s game was quite the roller coaster ride.  Controversial hit by pitches,  a home run off Kershaw from an unexpected source, and the usual WTF moments about Mike Matheny‘s decision making.  Why anyone by now would expect Mike Matheny to go beyond his comfort zone is surprising.  Matheny is nothing if not predictable.  Some people like that about him.  Most I would surmise are like me and find it tedious, boring, and infuriating.

Peter Bourjos had a good night.  As a fan I couldn’t be happier.  Of course, it won’t likely mean anymore playing time for Bourjos, because Mike Matheny has to play his favorites.  I have come to expect it all, as I have come to expect everything about this season as it has unfolded.  Like I said, Matheny is predictable and Cardinals fans for the most part are too.  They have their favorites and their whipping boys, their strict adherence to the Code of Batting Average, and other dinosaur stats that don’t really tell you much but they are comfortable standards.  The Eye Test and the Small Sample Size are alive and well and flourishing in Cardinal Nation.  Mention things like WAR and FIP and BABIP and ISO and most Cardinals fans get glassy eyed.  It has always been that change is difficult and slow.  I get it.

I enjoy my good moments and cherish them.  The bad ones I just forget and move on.  It is the cycle of baseball.   The next game, the next series, is coming.  The trade deadline is approaching.  We wait for what is to come and react accordingly.  At the end of it all we look back and analyze.  We debate and we talk about the changes in the offseason.   Then we wait for the new season to arrive.  The cycle begins again.

It is the life of a baseball fan.  It has its ups and downs, its excitements and disappointments.  We won the series against the Dodgers and that is a good thing.  We failed to sweep and that is not a good thing.  We rail at the actions of the media and the opposing team and fans.  We complain about the manager’s tactics, and individual player performances.  We agree and disagree.

Despite everything the Cardinals are in a good place.  Not the best place, but it is acceptable, for now.  There is still plenty of excitement and disappointment ahead.   Changes are coming to react to.  Never a dull moment for the baseball fan.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Beware The Dusk of July

Open your ears, for which of you will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth.
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.
—-Henry IV, Part 2

 

People like to pretend they are baseball GMs this time of year.  I guess they consider it fun.  It’s not my thing, because I am not arrogant enough to believe that I know what players are worth on the trade market.  So I won’t propose my own trades, but I do believe I know when someone else proposes a stinker, or a trade that is just unrealistic.  The thing about trades is that you can’t use the trade market to get rid of the players you don’t want, unless you are willing to get mostly nothing back for them.  If you want to get value, you have to give up value.

Want to get Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki or David Price?  Be prepared to give up Oscar Taveras, just for starters.  Unproven prospects, no matter how much they are hyped, are not worth as much as elite, proven major leaguers.  So you start with Taveras, and add on.

Now if you are going for something less than the Stantons and Tulowitzkis of the world, then you don’t have to give up your best prospect.  So if you are not willing to part with Taveras, better set your sights lower.  Pitchers like Cliff Lee or Ian Kennedy can be had for lesser prospects than Taveras.  You could get Ben Zobrist without Taveras in the mix as well.  There are a number of other targets that are more realistic, while keeping Taveras.

While I wouldn’t completely rule out Mozeliak going for broke in a trade, I think it is highly unlikely Taveras gets moved.  I could see Mozeliak going after Ian Kennedy, for instance, if starting pitching is his goal.  The Padres are essentially in rebuilding mode, so any number of the Cardinals’ B or C prospects could be attractive to them.

As for current major leaguers in the trade mix, that would more likely occur with a team that is on the edges of contending, and are looking for someone to give them a boost.  Players like Daniel Descalso, and Mark Ellis aren’t going to be sought after by these clubs.  Peter Bourjos has some trade value for defensive purposes, but not a whole lot, and is not likely to garner a worthwhile return.  Allen Craig has low trade value right now, but a team that believes he still has something left in the tank might be interested.  The contract is pretty team friendly, but selling low on Craig is not something I see Mozeliak doing.  Jon Jay has trade value, but only to a team that is looking for a bat and doesn’t care about power coming with it.  Matt Holliday has a no trade clause, and a waiver by him is not likely.  That leaves Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta with the highest trade value, and I don’t see Mozeliak trading any of them, without a strong option to replace them.  Infield prospect pickings in the minors are pretty slim.

So what, if any deal do I see Mozeliak doing?  I don’t know, quite frankly.  There have been rumors and speculations abound, but none with any kind of substance to them.  It may depend on whether Mozeliak is looking for starting pitching, or offense.  If it’s starting pitching, again, I think Ian Kennedy is a target to look at.  I am not particularly sold on the idea of Cliff Lee.  Lee is 35 years old and is starting to show signs of decline, not to mention the contract the Cardinals would be taking on if they can’t get the Phillies to eat a portion of it.  I would be interested in Cole Hamels, but the word is the Phillies are not interested in trading him.

I plan to just wait and see what happens.  There may be circumstances at play that we are not aware of.  Without knowing what Mozeliak is looking for, I can only speculate, and as I said, that is not something I care to do.  I do know that getting worked up about unsubstantiated rumors is a waste of time.  GMs say and do all kind of things during trade time that need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Posturing during trade season is as common as breathing, so don’t be so easily fooled.  Do not fall for the unsubstantiated rumors that abound at this time of year.

What happens, happens, and when it does, we can all opine about it to our heart’s content.

 

Thank you for reading.

Twitter Behaving Badly: All Star Edition

Twitter is a mine field in the best of times.  A morass of humanity unfiltered and unplugged, expounding in 140 characters or less on whatever topic is on their mind.  When you combine Twitter with a national sporting event, where emotions are high and inhibitions are low, you need a haz mat suit to survive.  It should be no surprise that many professional athletes avoid it like a case of ebola.

Last night during the MLB All Star game, Twitter really outdid itself in behaving badly.  In the first inning Adam Wainwright committed the mortal sin of Pitching While Not Being Clayton Kershaw, and giving up 3 runs to boot.  This was a rare feat not committed since two years ago when Justin Verlander gave up 5 runs in the first inning of the All Star Game.  That Wainwright had the temerity to do this in an exhibition game “that counts, dammit” because MLB decided it did or otherwise the players wouldn’t take it seriously, was the match that lit the Twitter fuse.  Did I mention the part about how MLB doesn’t really want the players to take it that seriously, because it’s supposed to be fun?  Being both serious and not serious at the same time must be exhausting.

So National League Twitter got mad and Non Cardinal National League Central Twitter got nasty and Dodger Fan Twitter was all like “I told you so you morons”.  Then Media Twitter went to play Gotcha with the harried and recently showered Wainwright and then all hell broke loose.  Our hapless starting pitcher tried to be humorous with Media Twitter, OH THE HUMANITY, and Media Twitter made him pay.  That’s what he got for not being serious at the wrong time…..or was it being serious at the right time…….or maybe it was…… never mind.

Hating the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans has become the national pastime in the National Pastime for the last several years.  This used to be the honor bestowed on the New York Yankees but times have decided that being a baseball powerhouse in the largest TV market in the country is to be expected and hating them has become passè.  No, the hate must now be bestowed on the Cardinals, that small TV market in that podunk city in flyover country, that just keeps winning and making people ANGRY.  The anger is multiplied by the media labeling Cardinals fans the best fans in baseball, which moniker has now been modified by eliminating the middleman media and calling it “Self Imposed Best Fans in Baseball”.  Neat, how that is done, huh?   It’s pretty easy when you are motivated enough and you have either a short or convenient memory.

In any event, as luck would have it, both All Star Cardinal pitchers (Pat Neshek pitched later in the game) were responsible for all 5 runs scored by the American League.  As perfect storms go, this was the most perfect for Cardinals haters everywhere.   Shangra-La as it were.  Twitter didn’t shirk it’s Cardinal hating duty, no sir, as this gem so aptly demonstrates:

 

 

It was a Cubs fan, granted, but work with me here.  I understand that Reds, Brewers, and Dodgers fans were in rare form as well, but I didn’t want to go searching for any of those tweets because I have already showered this morning.

Honestly, I think this is all pretty hilarious.  I’ve learned to accept and embrace the Cardinal hate, because it means it was earned by continuing to win.  When it all stops is when I will be sad.

I just hope Waino doesn’t take it too hard.  A nicer, kinder man couldn’t be found anywhere.   He may have to reserve his humor in the future for those of us who understand it, however.

We still love you Waino.  Don’t ever go near Twitter.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

There Is No Poetic Justice In Baseball

So I missed two games in a row.  Couldn’t be helped.  They would have to be these two games.  Well, barring anything unforeseen I will be watching tomorrow.  On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t, they have scored 17 runs in two games with me not watching.   Hmmmm.

Kolten Wong hit another home run.  This is getting to be a habit.  Tony Cruz had a good game too.  Despite what people who don’t seem to understand the concept of small sample sizes think, Cruz is not a bad hitter.  He’s never going to tear up the league, but he was a decent hitter in the minor leagues.  He just needs to play to hit.  Gee, what a concept.  Too bad a lot of people don’t seem to understand that one either.

I missed the Gabe Kapler Incident, too.  It’s too bad that a guy with so much promise as an announcer (he understands sabermetrics, which is a first), wasn’t more careful.  I doubt he meant it as a slight against Molina, but it wasn’t very professional.  What annoys me more, though, is how so much is made of playing in the All Star Game.  Like it is some prestigious award or something.  The whole thing is a farce.  I mean, why should anybody care whether Jonathan Lucroy or Bugs Bunny starts the freaking All Star Game?  Is Jonathan Lucroy going to be less of a player if he doesn’t start?  He’s had a better offensive 3 months than Molina and all of a sudden it’s a matter of national pride that he didn’t get voted in over Molina?  Give me a break.  I would expect homer fans to be outraged that their guy didn’t win,  but a professional on a national broadcast?  Do better Mr. Kapler.

Unfortunately, the only thing that all the complaining on Twitter will do is make sure we all wake up to another “Let’s Trash Cardinals Fans, It Gets Us Mucho Page Views” article from Deadspin.  This is another of my pet peeves.  What fanbase doesn’t get upset when someone disses one of their players?  Anybody think if Gabe Kapler had said the same thing about some other player, that that player’s fanbase wouldn’t be outraged?  Yet, many act as if  Cardinals fans are unique to being protective and defensive about their players, as if it was some kind of monstrous disease that only they had.  That whole “Best Fans in Baseball” nonsense probably contributes to it, but still, it’s just ridiculous to suggest Cardinals fans are any dumber or sillier than other fans.  People really need to grow the hell up.

Being tied for first place is nice.  Being there all by our lonesome would be better.  Too bad the All Star break is coming up, it might slow down this offensive momentum.  I was so happy that Adam Wainwright got all this run support, it was about time.  I wish he hadn’t had the two runs scored, because he is going to have to be twice as good as Clayton Kershaw to get any consideration for the Cy Young award.  That is too much to ask for any pitcher, but when you don’t get the recognition that Kershaw gets you are fighting an uphill battle with the voters. I’m not knocking Kershaw, I love the guy, but let’s face it, he gets extra points from the media just for being Clayton Kershaw.  Waino is usually just an afterthought, like “yeah, that guy is pretty good too”.  However, Waino has to out-pitch Kershaw, and so far it’s pretty dang close.  Kershaw’s next start is likely to be against the Cardinals, so our guys need to step it up and whup up on him.

Get out the brooms tomorrow folks.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

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