Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thanks, Lou

Lou, thanks for the memories over the years. Your presence as the Cubs manager will be missed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ozzie Smith backs Sandberg

As much as I hate the Cubs, I hold a tremendous amount of respect for a Hall of Famer such as Ryne Sandberg. I agree with the Wizard of Oz on this one.
Smith says the Cubs are looking at a no-brainer decision when it comes to hiring a manager to replace Lou Piniella. The obvious selection, he says, is fellow Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who has managed at all three minor league levels for the Cubs.

"To me, there's one guy," Smith told the Quad-City Times. "He has paid his dues. He has been a standup citizen. He is a Hall of Famer. I don't know exactly what it is they are looking for, but I think it should be a no-brainer."

Smith and Sandberg never were teammates, but Smith said, "We have always had a great relationship. We had a chance to play in a lot of All-Star games together."

But while Sandberg may be headed back to Wrigley Field, Smith says he doesn't anticipate ever returning to the dugout to manage.

"People ask me if I want to manage, and I just never really have had that bug," Smith said. "Maybe it will hit me at some point in time, but at this point, it has not."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the Week

"We win the right way and we lose the right way. We’ve received a lot of compliments over the years that when we lose we tip our caps and when we win we keep our mouths shut. That’s my comment...I don’t think that will go over well in his own clubhouse. Phillips is ripping his teammates — Scott Rolen, Miguel Cairo, Russ Springer, Jim Edmonds — all the ex-Cardinals over there. He isn’t talking about this year. He is talking about the way we’ve always played and those guys are old Cardinals. Tell him he’s ripping his own teammates because they are all old Cardinals.”
--Tony La Russa in response to Brandon Phillips' comments

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

David Freese Out for Season

The sad news comes from Matt:
The Cardinals received very bad news on David Freese on Tuesday, learning that the rookie third baseman requires surgery to repair tendon damage in his troublesome right ankle. Freese will miss the remainder of the season.

Freese, 27, was a valuable member of the Cardinals' offense when he was healthy, and it appeared he was close to a return to active duty. But while playing in a Minor League rehabilitation game at Double-A Springfield on Monday, he re-injured the ankle. He was removed from the game and returned to St. Louis. According to general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area as the one that landed him on the disabled list in the first place.[...]

Freese last played on June 27. He hit .296 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .404 slugging percentage this year. Felipe Lopez has been manning third base for the most part in his absence.
Here's to a safe recovery for the promising ballplayer.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Jake Westbrook excited

Jake Westbrook is excited to be coming to the St. Louis Cardinals organization. I don't blame him. St. Louis is one of the best baseball cities in all of the country.
The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals were the prime players in a three-team trade today, getting pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego.

"I'm excited to go to a club that's contending for a playoff spot and pitch in some meaningful ballgames," Westbrook said. "That's why you play the game, to get a chance to play in the playoffs and I look forward to doing that."

Westbrook was scratched from his start today in Toronto and headed for a flight to St. Louis. He said he was sad to leave Cleveland, his major league home since 2001.

"It's tough because this is all I've known other than about a week in the big leagues with the Yankees," he said.

The deal was announced about three hours before the non-waiver trading deadline.

"Any time you're trading a veteran guy at this point in the year it's a difficult thing to do," Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said. "With Jake, it's even more difficult because of his contributions on the field for almost a decade or longer.

"This guy epitomizes professionalism. I'm not sure there's a classier act anywhere in baseball."[...]

A 2004 All-Star, the 32-year-old righty was 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA in 21 starts this year. He is 69-71 overall in 10 major league seasons.
Here's to hoping Dave Duncan can help with his customary magic that he's known for.

While one era begins, the Ryan Ludwick era came to an end Friday night.
Shortly before games, outfielder Ryan Ludwick would get so adrenalized, so frothing to play that some other Cardinals coined a nickname for their wired teammate and his contagious energy.

They called it the "Luddy Launch."

There was no Luddy to launch Saturday even when one was needed to shake a stunned clubhouse and its subdued reaction to a three-team trade that landed a starting pitcher but cost a favored teammate. Ludwick, a former All-Star, was sent to San Diego to acquire a prospect used to get righthander Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians. A year ago, the Cardinals' clubhouse was buoyant and energized by the addition of Matt Holliday via trade.

This year, any enthusiasm was tempered by disbelief, and many players chose their words carefully, pausing sometimes to find acceptable answers. Asked if he was surprised by the deal, Chris Carpenter waited 12 seconds before responding.

"The loss of Ludwick is something that surprised me," the ace eventually said. "In turn, you have to give up something to get something. Unfortunately it was Ryan. ... I can only speak for myself and not for everybody else. It's nice to acquire a guy like Westbrook, and it's hard to lose a guy like Ludwick. There's no question."[...]

"You're always excited when the front office is trying to make moves, but today we lost a pretty key piece of our lineup from the last few years," Adam Wainwright said. "In return, we get a really, really quality starting pitcher. You have to give to get. ... We'll definitely miss Luddy. No doubt."

Whitey Herzog's 24 retired

Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog was in St. Louis this weekend to see his former jersey number, 24, retired by the St. Louis Cardinals.
On Saturday night at Busch Stadium, the stage was all Herzog's, even though he tried to share it with members of his 1985 National League championship team. The Cardinals retired Herzog's No. 24, with numerous notations of that act on the Busch Stadium message boards, with the number to be permanently applied to the left-field wall, alongside the other retired numbers, in time for the start of the next season. A No. 24 also was affixed to the dirt behind second base Saturday.

Herzog said the retirement ceremony was tantamount to his entering the Hall of Fame. And that's the way it seemed, too, to a sellout house that accorded him a lengthy standing ovation after he and wife Mary Lou rode into the yard on a two-horse Clydesdale hitch.

In the dugout, current manager Tony La Russa and his players also applauded, and Herzog said having his number retired "is right up there" with his Hall of Fame honor.

Later, Herzog would say, "This really means a lot to me. Not that the Hall of Fame didn't. I know they kind of go hand in hand. You don't get your number retired unless you get into the Hall of Fame. But it actually means just as much to me. They're both honors that you never dream of that ever happening."

A proclamation from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's office declared Whitey Herzog Day, and the Cardinals gave Herzog a framed baby blue jersey with his 24 on it.

A dozen or so members of the 1985 team felt a part of the moment. Almost as much as Herzog.
With Herzog's 24 being retired, Rick Hummel raises the question: What about Joe Medwick? The Commish does raise a good point. Outside of honorary numbers such as Darryl Kile's 57, anyone that gets inducted into the Hall of Fame usually sees their jersey retired.
Of the Cardinals numbers we see today, enjoy seeing No. 5 and No. 10 because those numbers probably won't be worn by anybody else but Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, both of whom someday also may be headed for the Hall of Fame.

But there is one other former Cardinals star whose number older fans would like to see retired. Hall of Famer Joe Medwick wore three numbers for the Cardinals - 28, 7 and 21 - in two tours here. But he wore No. 7 for eight seasons, from 1933-40, the first seven of which were the best seasons of his career.

From 1933-39, Medwick hit .306, .319, .353, .351, .374, .322 and .332. In 1937, he had 31 homers among his 237 hits and drove in 154 runs while hitting .374. That was the last time a hitter won the Triple Crown in the National League.

Besides satisfying a small but vocal group, the Triple Crown might be enough to merit retiring No. 7. Of course, they might have to tear it off the back of current star Matt Holliday, who plans to be here seven years.
With Medwick, it is more of a question of which jersey number would be honored with his wearing 3 different numbers.