Monday, December 12, 2011

Breaking news!

I've accepted an opportunity to join Redbird Rants as a staff writer. I would wager to say that a lot of my Cardinals-related writing will be done over there from here on out. Other baseball stuff will be posted here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pujols introduced

I know, I know. I don't get it either. If he's trying to win the PR war, he's not selling it correctly. Just read this line right here.
"I know people back in the city of St. Louis think it's all about the money and are upset about that," Pujols said. "I have all the offers out there for a lot of money. They're calling me 'liar' and all that stuff. That's all good. I went through that when I made the decision. It was tough. I know what they're going through. They're losing somebody that has been part of the community. And I feel for that. My wife and I felt that pain, too."
Pujols says he wept after the Cards initially offered 5 years. To be honest, a five year deal is not so bad when you factor in age and injuries. When a ballplayer is between 25-32, they are usually in their prime. Albert is going to be turning 32 before the end of 2012 and we saw this year that his numbers fell off his career averages. Was that because of the pressure on him in a walk year? I don't know. I just don't know.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Other Cardinals news...

It appears that Rafael Furcal will be a Cardinal for at least two more seasons.
The Cardinals will finalize a two-year, $14-million deal with shortstop Rafael Furcal early next week.

The deal has been agreed upon pending a physical, the shortstop's agent Paul Kinze confirmed to The Post-Dispatch on Saturday afternoon.

Furcal, 34, returns to the team that acquired him at the July non-waiver trade deadline last season. Furcal solidified the team's defense with his play at shortstop, and he took over the leadoff role until struggling at the plate in the World Series. Furcal hit .255 with a .316 on-base percetnage and a .418 slugging percentage in 50 games with the Cardinals in 2011. He added seven homers and 29 runs scored as the team's everyday shortstop.
Defensively, resigning Furcal for two years is a great move. Offensively, he needs to work on getting on base once more.

Asking who the face of the franchise is with Albert now an Angel is a really good question. My vote goes to Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright.

Derrick got the quotes that BJ was unable to provide the other day.
"I wouldn't say that I was shocked. I was sad," Holliday said. "But the cupboard isn't bare...It is going to be very different. But it's exciting. We've lost a Hall of Fame manager and one of the greatest players of all time in the same offseason, and a lot of organizations would be sent reeling by that. We're in pretty good shape. We have a team that can win."[...]

Pujols took him through some of the things that happened on the way to his decision, and the two decided to try and get together before Pujols leaves St. Louis. Holliday kept a pulse on the Cardinals' pursuit of Pujols and said he remained "hopeful" through this week. Now he looks ahead to possibly being the team's first new No. 3 hitter in years and definitely being the focal point of the offense.

"We've got a big hole to fill," Holliday said. "That's going to take all of us to fill it. I think it feels different. It obviously feels that way now. It will be even more glaring when we get to spring training and look around and Tony's not there and Albert's not there. It's a new look. It's a new era in Cardinals baseball."
Bernie gets a quote from Bob Costas on Pujols' decision.
So what does the always fair-minded Bob Costas think about the Cardinals' offer to Pujols and our town's reaction to the defection? Costas offered his take Friday on the MLB Network. After explaining why the Angels and their owner Arte Moreno were in great financial position to take on the enormous Pujols contract, Costas said:

"The Cardinals made more than a fair offer, and they went about as far as their economics would allow. All of those things might have made sense for Arte Moreno to go to a number that the Cardinals couldn't reach. But the Cardinals certainly put out a fair number, which is why you won't find in St. Louis a lot of anger directed at the Cardinals. They're not saying the Cardinals screwed up. Their reaction is disappointment, sadness. And if there's any resentment at all, at least at this point it's directed at Albert Pujols. They believe their devotion to him, and their appreciation of him, in the end, was not reciprocated."

Stan The Man: Book Review

I'm just over halfway through Stan The Man by Wayne Stewart. Published in 2010 by Triumph Books, this book is one of a few released recently about the Cardinal great.

It's a good read. At times, I feel as if Stewart is giving us too much information about Jackie Robinson or Branch Rickey.

The first chapter deals with his childhood in Donora, PA. Some anecdotes relate to Ken Griffey, Jr. as Musial played with Sr.'s father, Buddy in high school.

The next few chapters, we learn just how he became The Man, why he treats his fans the way that he does, etc.

Stewart not only interviews family and friends but he does his research with quoting former ballplayers that wrote books.

Rick Ankiel was not the first Cardinal to be converted from pitcher to hitter. Stan started out as a pitcher but he was a good hitter at the time. An injury to his throwing shoulder and next thing you know, he's asked to play in the outfield. We know what happens next.

The book covers the great decade of the 1940s for the Cardinals, a decade that took the Cards to 4 World Series, winning 3 of them. Stewart discusses how Stan was robbed of a triple crown.

After finishing the book, I can say that it's definitely more of a linear biography moreso than anything else. Wayne Stewart talks with friends and family of Stan and most of Stan's quotes in the book, I feel as if they came elsewhere from press in the media rather than The Man himself. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But we do find out interesting things though. During the memorabilia craze of the early 90s, Stan the Man, Inc. was formed and even though the goal was to SELL memorabilia, Musial had no problem with giving away autographs for free. I should know...I'm the owner of one of those free autographs.

It's a fast read, too. When one works and has to find time to read, you shouldn't have a problem. It's not like some other books that take forever to read because we're reading about one of the greatest guys of all time to play the game.

Stewart does go into detail on why he's not beloved nationally as say a guy like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, or even Ted Williams.

It's highly recommended.

Ryan Braun tests positive

While I am very disgusted with the fact that Kentucky blew an opportunity to foul in the final seconds against Indiana, let's turn our attention to Ryan Braun.

ESPN is reporting tonight that 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The report from ESPN states as follows:
National League MVP Ryan Braun, who last season led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and faces a 50-game suspension if the initial finding is upheld, two sources familiar with the case told "Outside the Lines."

Major League Baseball has not announced the positive test because Braun is disputing the result through arbitration.

A spokesman for Braun issued a statement Saturday: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."[...]

To affirm the results and strengthen its case, MLB asked the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal, which conducts its testing, to perform a secondary test to determine whether the testosterone spike resulted from natural variations within Braun's body or from an artificial source. The test indicated the testosterone was exogenous, meaning it came from outside his body.
There's more in the article but this is a huge blow to the Milwaukee Brewers as they possibly lose star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency.

Friday, December 09, 2011

DeWitt talks Pujols

Bill DeWitt spoke earlier this morning on the subject of honoring Albert Pujols. This is from the transcript from ITD Morning after.
Doug: Speaking of the Pujols legacy, you suppose the club will do anything to honor him, will someone else be wearing number 5 this year. Have you had any time to think about that kind of thing?

DeWitt: I can’t imagine we would do that. That would be pretty good if you were really pissed about it. That’s not how it happened. I think we’d hold off on things like that. As far as honors in the future, I don’t rule anything out, you never know in this game what is going to transpire. You try not to burn bridges, I’m sure we’ve burned a few, but you never approach any negotiation with that as the end game, if you don’t end up with the player. We owe Albert, the memories aren’t going away, he’s been great for the Cardinals and the St. Louis community. At some point there will be an opportunity to honor that legacy, right this second it doesn’t come to mind how we’re going to do that.

Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals?

There's just something about former Houston Astros players and the St. Louis Cardinals. There's currently talk that the St. Louis Cardinals are pursuing Carlos Beltran, which makes you wonder what's going to happen with Allen Craig's future.

Craig will be recovering at the start of the season from off-season knee surgery.

Jim Bowden tweeted:
Cardinals express interest in Carlos Beltran, Jimmy Rollins (will end up w/Phils) &Rafael Furcal as they begin to work on life after Pujols
I think Rollins will ultimately stay with the Phillies.

Jon Morosi has also tweeted with regards to Beltran and the Cardinals:
Carlos Beltran fits the #STLCards in so many ways. Jimmy Rollins does, too. The irony: They have the same agent as Albert Pujols.

A Letter from Albert Pujols

The Pujols family took out a full-page ad in this morning's St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It reads as follows:
To the City of St. Louis and Cardinal Nation,

I want to thank each and every one of you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for the love and support you have me and my family for the past 11 years. In my time with the Cardinals, I have been fortunate enough to play on championship teams, and in front of championship fans. This community has reached out and embraced me, and for that I am truly humbled and grateful.

My decision to leave has been incredibly difficult, and your support is the biggest reason why. While I am excited about this new chapter in my life, it was very important to me to let you know that St. Louis has been, and will always remain, in my heart. I have been honored to be able to wear the Cardinal uniform the last 11 seasons, and I want to thank the entire Cardinal organization, my teammates, coaches, managers and staff for everything they have given to me as well.

We call St. Louis home and my family and I are so blessed to have made lifelong relationships in St. Louis that we look forward to continuing for many years to come, and words cannot fully express our gratitude to you all.

Thank you and God bless,
Albert and Deidre

Thursday, December 08, 2011

More reactions...

BJ Rains has reactions from some of the players. Here is how Skip Schumaker felt:
"I was shocked," Schumaker told "I'm used to seeing No. 5 hit in the three-hole for the Cardinals. That's what a lot of people are used to seeing. It's going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform. I think the only different uniform I've ever seen him in is an All-Star uniform. It's going to be different.

"I always assumed that he would come back to St. Louis just because of all that he's done for the community and the team and the organization. I just assumed he would come back. But that might have been wishful thinking."
Meanwhile, you can read Rob Rains' article here.

What really makes it a blow to the gut is this article here by Matt back in 2009.
"Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course," Pujols said. "Because that city has opened the door to me and my family like no other city is ever going to do. I don't want to [go to] any other city, but if that time comes I'm pretty sure wherever I go they are going to do the same way -- hopefully, open the doors. But I don't think it's to be anything compared to St. Louis.

"People from other teams want to play in St. Louis and they're jealous that we're in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 or $4 more million a year? It's not about the money. I already got my money. It's about winning and that's it. It's about accomplishing my goal and my goal is to try to win. If this organization shifts the other way then I have to go the other way."

In Pujols' eyes, the organization has not yet "shifted the other way." He expressed support for the franchise's course in recent years, while also emphasizing again that a new contract is not a big priority.

"When that time comes, then we're going to figure it out," he said. "And I told you, I'm not going to lie to you, it's not about the money all the time. It's about being in a place to win and being in a position to win. If the Cardinals are willing to do that and put a team every year like they have, I'm going to try to work everything out to stay in this town. But if they're not on the same page of bringing championship caliber to play every year, then it's time for me to go somewhere else. Where? Somewhere else that I can win.

"But we don't have to worry about that because I still have a couple of years. As long as they bring in talent and they keep drafting guys and doing moves here and there, then I don't have to worry about that. I'm happy with what I got. I play one year at a time and when that time comes we'll figure it out. But it's not always about how much money can I get. It's about winning. I've already told you guys. I've got 10 fingers and I've nine plain that I can fill up with World Series rings. I want to win."

Commish on the news

Rick Hummel had two very good articles on the news today.

The first was Bob Gibson and Whitey Herzog's reactions to Pujols' leaving for Anaheim.
Bob Gibson, the Cardinals' Hall-of-Fame pitcher, said today he would have liked to have seen Albert Pujols stay in St.Louis, but with the kind of money being offered, it's hard to turn down the kind of offer that the Angels made.

"I hate to see him go, I really do. He should have been a Cardinal for life," Gibson said. "It's tough to turn that (kind of money) down."

Will it be a hard day for St. Louis fans?

"I would think it's got to be a hard day for Pujols, too. Aside from the fact that you're making a lot of more money, there's got to be a lot of emotional things there.

"He's got a lot of ties in St. Louis -- his family, his friends, so many organizations ... "[...]

Herzog said he was "worried" last spring when the Cardinals didn't re-sign Pujols. "That was big," said Herzog. "I thought at the time they should have come to a deal. Maybe say, ‘You'll be Cardinal for life and you'll get ‘x' amont of dollars till you're 65 years old.'

"But still I thought a deal might be worked out. I thought he could come back because of his ties to St. Louis and that it's a great place to play.

"What it boils down to again is that money talks.

"I don't blame the Cardinals. They made a helluva offer although I don't know how they would have structured it.

"I'm sure a lot of people in St. Louis are up in arms and calling the Cardinals cheapstakes. I don't think that's true. I think they negotiated a very fair contract."

But, said Herzog, "You can't deny what Albert did. He had a gimpy leg and a bad elbow and played every day. He was the Cardinals."
The second article was showing where Pujols stands in St. Louis compared to Stan "The Man" Musial.
If Pujols' next 10 years would have been anything like his first 11, the Cardinals' first baseman legitimately could have challenged, at least statistically, the revered Musial as the Greatest Cardinal of Them All."

Now, with Pujols fleeing to the Los Angeles Angels, Musial, as he has had for the last 50 or 60 years, will hold that title in undisputed fashion -- for our lifetimes and those of many others.

Pujols would have had to step it up a bit to catch Musial for career batting average as a Cardinal. He finished three points behind at .328 and 1,557 hits behind at 3,630-2,073.

Home runs would have been no contest. Musial wound up his 22-season career with 475 homers as a Cardinal. Pujols already has 445 on his way probably to 700 or more.

Runs batted in, the third part of a hitter's trifecta, also would have fallen to Pujols. Musial ended with 1,949. Pujols already has 1,329 and would have had to average only 70 or so RBIs a year to pass Musial there.

Cards statements on Pujols

Cardinals Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr.:
“We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Albert is a great champion and we will always be thankful for his many achievements in a Cardinals uniform, as well as his contributions to the St. Louis community. I have the highest regard for Albert both personally and professionally, and appreciate his direct involvement in this process. I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen.”

Cardinals Sr. Vice President & General Manager John Mozeliak:
“Albert has been a special player in this organization since the moment he was drafted over 12 years ago. His accomplishments on and off the field have been spectacular. I wish him well in the next phase of his career.”

Pujols leaves Cards, goes Hollywood

Albert Pujols has decided to leave the greatest baseball city in the world to head west to Los Angeles, where he will play for the Angels.

Reports are that it is a 10 year deal for $250 million. I'm also hearing reports that there is no opt-out contained in the contract.

It cements the fact that Stan Musial remains the greatest Cardinal of all time. If there is one thing that fans appreciate the most, it's the guys that put their heart and soul into the organization and don't care about how high their salary is.

Mark McGwire fell in love with the city and the fans--he gave the club a hometown discount.

Ten years at a quarter-billion dollars, honestly, is too much to pay especially when you look at the age factor and injury factor.

Could St. Louis still be a contender for the playoffs next season? It's hard to say. We're losing a lot of offensive production in Albert Pujols' departure for Hollywood.

Albert Pujols is one of the once-in-a-generation players and will surely be a lock for the Hall of Fame but I don't place him in the same category as Lebron James but this is one of those that will take some time to really digest.

Curt Schilling says Pujols would do better in St. Louis than Hollywood.

The legacy factor is where one must really think about things. Pujols could have been the greatest Cardinal of all time but as of now, he is in second place to many of Stan's numbers.

2012 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

The candidates on the ballot this winter for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame next summer include:
Jeff Bagwell
Jeromy Burnitz
Vinny Castilla
Juan Gonzalez
Brian Jordan
Barry Larkin
Javy Lopez
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Bill Mueller
Terry Mulholland
Dale Murphy
Phil Nevin
Rafael Palmeiro
Brad Radke
Tim Raines
Tim Salmon
Ruben Sierra
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker
Bernie Williams
Tony Womack
Eric Young

Of that list, those appearing on the first time are Williams, Mueller, Sierra, Castilla, Salmon, Lopez, Womack, Mulholland, Radke, Burnitz, Jordan, Young and Nevin.

Returning candidates: Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, and Lee Smith.

At some point over the next few days or weeks, I'll look at their stats and tell you who I would vote for.

Jeff Luhnow set to take over Houston Astros

According to sources, Jeff Luhnow has been named as the new General Manager of the Houston Astros. This now makes two GMs in the NL Central that have come from the Cardinals organization.

Someone tweeted the information, then went ahead to delete the tweet before making their account private. When dealing with social media, it's important to remember that actions have consequences. The tweet was made and the damage was done. We offer our congrats to Jeff Luhnow nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Mark Buehrle

The Cardinals are shopping either Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook to possibly make room for pitcher Mark Buehrle. I like the idea that this could very well happen. I've been wanting Buehrle to join the Cardinals for several years now. He's a hometown kid. The question is: What kind of hometown discount would he take?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Ron Santo inducted to HOF

Ron Santo has finally got his due. Too late in my opinion as he is not alive to see it. I may be a die-hard St. Louis fan but I know HOF-caliber ballplayers when I see them.
Santo was the lone candidate among a ballot of 10 men, whose greatest contributions were realized between 1947 and 1972, to receive the 12 votes necessary to earn 75 percent and election to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee. Santo received 15 votes from the 16-member electorate and will be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 22nd in Cooperstown.

"The numbers of are there," said Committee member and Hall of Famer Billy Williams. "Everybody saw the numbers, the home runs, the Gold Gloves. And I think everyone looked at it with a different view saying, 'This guy should be in the Hall of Fame.'"

Santo died on December 3, 2010, but his wife believes he is celebrating today.

"I am sure he is smiling down on this day," she said. "I am a believer in what's meant to be. I believe he was meant to be in the Hall, unfortunately it couldn't be during his lifetime. But I think the message is to never give up. This was always his dream."

Santo becomes the 12th major league third baseman to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first elected at the position since Wade Boggs in 2005. Including three selections from the Negro leagues, there are now 15 third basemen in the Hall of Fame. In 15 major league seasons, Santo compiled a .277 lifetime batting average, with 2,254 hits in 2,243 games, while totaling 1,331 runs batted in and 365 doubles.[...]

Santo played for 14 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and one with the Chicago White Sox and was a nine-time All-Star. He hit 342 career home runs and won five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for his defense at third base. He was honored by the Cubs Walk of Fame, becoming a member of the inaugural Class of 1992 and was selected to the club's all-century team in 1999. He was also a Cubs broadcaster for 21 years.[...]

"[During the voting process], some people brought out more than the numbers of Ron Santo," said Williams. "And talked about what he did for the community."
Here's how the voting went down:

Results of the Golden Era Ballot (12 votes needed for election): Ron Santo (15 votes, 93.75%); Jim Kaat (10 votes, 62.5%); Gil Hodges (9 votes, 56.25%); Minnie Minoso (9 votes, 56.25%); Tony Oliva (8 votes, 50%); Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant each received less than three votes.

The 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

McLaughlin's future

Count me in as one that is pulling for Dan McLaughlin to return to the broadcast booth next season.

Holliday on WS win

All winners in the DVD promotional giveaway have been notified and should expect to get their DVDs this week.

Matt Holliday speaks about winning the World Series.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “It was heartbreaking to get to a Game 7 of a World Series and to realize that I had no chance to play.”

So, how did the Stillwater native balance the disappointment and the delirium?

Holliday insists it wasn't that hard. Maybe he's being modest about that. Maybe celebrating on the field and smiling in the clubhouse and spraying teammates with champagne and riding through the streets of St. Louis during the victory parade were some of the most difficult things he's ever done.

Or maybe the way he handled all of that is further evidence of why he's known as one of the good guys in baseball.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 World Series Highlight Film Review

You know, I had this crazy feeling that if we won the World Series that Mad Men star Jon Hamm, a Cardinals fan, would narrate the DVD film. He was not as well known in 2006 when we won seeing as Mad Men would not air until 2007. In any event, his voices provides a nice feeling while watching the highlight film.

The set comes with 2 DVDs. The second one featuring the complete instant classic that we call Game 5 of the NLDS--the winner-take-all duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay. It's interesting that that game is included as it's the only game that I didn't record due to Yom Kippur and now I have the chance to watch it in it's entirety thanks to this set. Now, if you are so inclined to get the bluray, it's all on the same disc and that comes out on December 6, 2011.

The first 15 minutes takes us from Spring Training's new hope up until the start of the World Series. It's Jon Hamm's narration that truly does serve as a bridge between the highlights. I really credit the writer (senior writer Jeff Scott) in this instance because they did a damn fine job.

Throughout the film, there are numerous interviews from the players, coaching staff, and those that cover baseball such as Bryan Burwell, Tom Verducci, and Ken Rosenthal. I didn't mind the media interviews as I felt it added to the narrative.

After Game 1, Jason Motte gets his own film crew prior to Game 2. No telling how much he actually paid for his meal.

I love how it shows a press clip just before the Game 5 coverage where Tony La Russa gets asked about the phones 6 days before Game 5. Talk about great editing!

Game 6 alone gets comments from several players describing the whole weirdness of the first several innings with each team capitalizing on the other team's mistakes. Even the final few innings, we hear the calls from all of the broadcast crews especially during the David Freese triple in the bottom of the 9th, the 10th inning when Jon Jay helps take the lead for the Cards, and finally the walk off by David Freese to save the series in the 11th inning.

Following Game 7 and the celebration footage, we're treated to footage from the parade and rally. As a sidenote, the editing and interviews were finished after Tony retired.

While I'm watching this, the premiere is going on at the Peaboxy in St. Louis. From what I am reading on twitter, and I have to echo the thoughts of some of my fellow Cardinal bloggers in the fact that MLB Productions will did outdo themselves this time around. This comes from someone who owns the 2006 highlight film. I'm not sure if it's the writing, editing, or both. Plus, it has Jon Hamm narrating and right now, that's the actor you want to narrate a film about the Cardinals.

The exclusive interviews included in the film really take it to a different level. I might add more to this post as I watch the bonus features but the film alone is worth the purchase.

Every game really does get it's justice so if you have a tight budget and cannot afford the 8 disc collector's set, I can say that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this 2 DVD set without reservation.

PICTURE: I'm watching on a bluray player that upconverts standard DVDs to 1080pi and it is just as if I were watching the HD broadcast on TBS or FOX of the actual games.

AUDIO: President in Dolby 5.1

*This Week in Baseball - Dave Duncan
*This Week in Baseball - Lance Berkman
*Prime 9 - La Russa segment
*NLDS Game 5 Last Out and Celebration
*NLCS Game 6 Last Out and Celebration
*World Series Game 3 - Pujols 3 Home Runs
*World Series Game 6 - Freese triple to tie
*World Series Game 6 - Berkman single to tie again
*World Series Game 6 - Freese Walk Off Home Run
*World Series Game 6 - Freese and Berkman Presser
*World Series Game 7 - Freese double to tie
*World Series Game 7 - Last out and celebration

The running time is 4 hours total, most of which is Game 5. The highlight film itself is closer to 90 minutes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 World Series Highlight Film and Giveaway

Through A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions, the 2011 World Series Highlight Film is due out this week.

Redbirds Fun will be giving away 3 DVD sets in a promotion sponsored by A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions. This will be run through twitter and facebook. I'll pick winners at random. The deadline will be 3 PM on Black Friday.

The trivia question: Other than Tony La Russa, who is the other manager to have won two World Series rings managing the Cardinals?

Here's the press release for the set:

In the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM, the annual, crowning program from Major League Baseball Productions, St. Louis native and narrator Jon Hamm (Mad Men) delivers the redoubtable Redbirds championship run, from first pitch to last in a pulse-pounding documentary format. Providing comprehensive highlights, exclusive access and interviews, plus breath-taking footage and sounds captured by MLB cameras and microphones throughout the series, this DVD is a perfect way to relive the epic battle against the Texas Rangers.

The OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM will be released as a 2-disc set, featuring an exclusiv bonus disc containing the complete NLDS Game 5 vs. the Phillies, a taut 1-0 pitcher’s duel which propelled the Cardinals to the NLCS and, ultimately, the World Series. Additional extras include behind-the-scenes interviews and bonus programming. Just in time for the holidays, the OFFICIAL 2011 WORLD SERIES FILM 2-Disc DVD will be available on November 22 and will also be available in the crystal clarity of a single Blu-ray disc on December 6, both currently available for pre-order on

Bonus Material: This Week in Baseball - Dave Duncan n This Week in Baseball - Lance Berkman n Prime 9 La Russa Segment n NLDS Game 5 Last Out and Celebration n NLCS Game 6 Last Out and Celebration n WS Game 3 - Pujols 3 HRs n WS Game 6 - Freese Triple to Tie n WS Game 6 - Berkman Single to Tie Again n WS Game 6 - Freese Walk-off HR n WS Game 6 Postgame - Berkman and Freese Presser n WS Game 7 - Freese Double to Tie n WS Game 7 - Last out and Celebration n WS Parade
The premiere is November 22nd at the Peabody Opera House. The trailer can be viewed here.

Wild Cards: Book Review

Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals' Stunning 2011 Championship Season from Rob Rains is currently in stores and being sold online following the Cardinals' World Series win.

This book relives not just the three postseason series but also various parts of the season. All in all, it's 128 pages but it's a really fast 128 pages.

I'm not sure if it was because of the very quick press time but I feel that it could have been proofread another time since the final night section appeared twice, word for word, and with the same picture. Moreover, a lot of punctuation was missing. That's personal nitpicking on my part.

However, this was the first book out following the World Series win but it's a good one nonetheless.

From the press release:
While the 2011 World Series capped arguably the most exciting season in team history, injuries, off-field distractions, and poor play contributed to a lackluster start; by mid-August the Cardinals looked dead in the water. Then, an influx of new talent and rejuvenated stars – along with rally squirrels, happy flights, and an irrepressible never-say-die attitude – propelled St. Louis into the playoffs, where they defeated the favored Phillies and Brewers. The season culminated with a fantastic seven-game, roller-coaster World Series triumph against the Texas Rangers. Wild Cards celebrates the highlights of this championship season. Packed with full-color action photos, detailed accounts of every postseason game, and profiles of Albert Pujols, David Freese, and other stars, this commemorative keepsake is sure to be treasured by every Cardinals fan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book now for sale

While I have several review copies to get through, I have my own book now available.

I just finished writing this other day, and it concludes a whole chapter on sports. You can now buy it online at Create Space or Amazon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mike Matheny: The New Manager

It will take some time getting used to referring to Mike Matheny as the newest Cardinals' manager but that's what he is.
The Cardinals announced it this evening and will be hosting a press conference at 11 central.
Former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny manager will become the team's new manager, the club announced Sunday evening.

He will be introduced at a Busch Stadium news conference on Monday at 11 a.m. CT.
Here's to the very best of wishes for next season.

The word from Joe Strauss is that Matheny has a two year deal with a club option for 2014.

B.J. Rains has some quotes from the team.
"I know everyone is excited, I know that for a fact," said third baseman David Freese. "Anyone that thinks Mike Matheny won't be a winning manager has another thing coming.

"He soaks everything in. I've noticed him the last few years soaking everything in when guys are talking – coaches, players everybody. He's a guy that loves baseball. He's a leader. He has a certain presence where you know Mike Matheny is in the room. It's going to take him a long way."[...]

"It's definitely going to be different than playing for Tony, that's for sure," said infielder Dan Descalso. "I'm interested to see how Mike handles it and what he brings to the table. I saw the type of player he was and how much of a leader he was on the field as a catcher and I'm sure he will be the same in the dugout.

"I think he's a great guy for the job. He seems like a natural leader. I can't wait to play for him."[...]

"Mike has helped me through a lot of things I have dealt with over the years," Freese said. "It's weird because he's a very good friend of mine and now he's my manager. That's the coolest part about it."
Meanwhile, Matt offers more right here on the 49th manager in club history.

Cardinals in 2012

Joe Strauss offers an outlook of what the Cards could look like in 2012. We'll see what happens first. The Cards HAVE to resign Albert Pujols first and foremost. What does the second base situation look like?
Pujols' return is considered Plan A. If the three-time NL Most Valuable Player ultimately signs elsewhere, the Cardinals are prepared to transfer Berkman to first base and anoint Allen Craig starting right fielder.

Mozeliak says he has no plans to tinker with a rotation that regains 2010 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Adam Wainwright and has five members under contract through next season. "As of now, I don't see that as an area of need," Mozeliak said.

Acquiring a second lefthanded reliever to complement Marc Rzepczynski and clarifying a vague situation at shortstop are more pressing.

Mozeliak projects Daniel Descalso as next season's starting second baseman with incumbent Skip Schumaker ticketed for a 'super utility" role should the club avoid arbitration. The plan may leave Theriot, last season's opening day shortstop, a nontender candidate in search of a more robust role elsewhere.

Descalso appeared at second base in only nine of 63 starts last season. He started 53 games at third base — most of them while David Freese recovered from a fractured hand — and was solid enough to receive consideration for a Gold Glove.

Descalso's arm and glove are "plus" tools; however, his range at second base was considered no better than average during his time with Class AAA Memphis in 2010. Promoted to the parent club that September, Descalso played 73 of 74 innings at third base, not second.

Mozeliak explained succinctly: "I think he's a very good baseball player who can handle the position."
I like Skip and he makes a great addition to the club. Whether Theriot remains a Cardinal does not bother me one bit but Skip can be starter or a defensive replacement.

Mo and La Russa, however, appeared to have some differences regarding that of Tyler Greene. While Mo works to bring back Furcal for next year, he had this to say:
Mozeliak won't confine his projection for Greene to a reserve role, saying, "I would have no problem with him and Descalso as our middle infield."
The article mentions bringing back Nick Punto.

There's even talk of using one of the catching prospects to backup Yadier Molina--either Tony Cruz or Bryan Anderson. Hey, I have no problem there. Sure, they won't be a regular starter but I don't mind someone that is tearing it up in the minors to get a chance with the Cardinals. Matheny seems to be a fan or Cruz and Anderson backing up Molina so there's an incentive.
Mozeliak endorses Jon Jay as an everyday center fielder rather than the lefthanded half of a platoon. With Schumaker as more of an extra outfielder than an infield regular, Greene could become available for spot center field duty against some lefthanded pitching.

The Cardinals apparently are ready to also break with a long-standing tradition of having veteran backup catchers as Mozeliak envisions Tony Cruz and longtime prospect Bryan Anderson competing for the role next spring.

Cruz, 25, bypassed Anderson, 24, on the organizational depth chart last summer and earned praise as a capable pinch hitter and mature backstop. Anderson, without options and considered a potential candidate for release last summer, never earned La Russa's confidence. However, Mike Matheny, one of the candidates for manager, offered positive reports on the lefthanded-hitting Anderson's defensive development in his role as a roving catching instructor.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot

The following is how I vote for the 2011 Cardinal Blogger Awards. Fans can vote here.

Award 1 Cardinal Player of the Year: Albert Pujols

Award 2 Cardinal Pitcher of the Year: Chris Carpenter

Award 3 Regular Season Game of the Year: September 28 at Houston (Carpenter shutout on last day)

Award 4 Post-Season Game of the Year: WS Game 6 (two rallies with one strike left)

Award 5 Surprise Player of the Year: Lance Berkman

Award 6 Disappointing Player of the Year: Ryan Theriot

Award 7 Cardinal Rookie of the Year: Allen Craig

Award 8 Pre-Season Acquisition of the Year: Lance Berkman

Award 9 Mid-Season Acquisition of the Year: Rafael Furcal

Award 10 Most Anticipated Cardinal: Shelby Miller

Award 11 Best Individual Cardinal Blog: C70 at the Bat

Award 12 Best Team Cardinal Blog: Viva El Birdos

Award 13 Best Professional Cardinal Blog: Bird Land

Award 14 Best Rookie Cardinal Blog (began December 1, 2010 or later): STL: Fear The Red

Award 15 Post of the Year: C70: Happily Ever After

Award 16 Best UCB Project: Roundtables

Award 17 Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog: Not sure.

Award 18 Best UCB Podcast: UCB Radio Hour

Award 19 Best UCB Twitterer: Does all of them count? Honestly, I have a list of Cards related twitter accounts, including fans, and I try and follow them as much as possible.

Award 20 Best Fake Cardinal Twitter Account: SirGloveAWilson

Mike Matheny for Manager?

I'm hearing that the St. Louis Cardinals could be preparing to announce Mike Matheny as the next manager as early as Sunday, possibly as late as Monday. We shall see. Honestly, given the whole Boston Red Sox collapse in September, I would rather have Matheny at the helm then Francona.

In other news, the Miami Marlins made an offer to Albert Pujols but there have been no details released.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Book of the Week: Commish & The Cardinals

This weekend's reading consisted of reading Commish & the Cardinals, a collection of articles written over the years by Hall of Fame sportswriter Rick Hummel.

As Bernie Miklasz writes in the opening, you heard Jack Buck's call, now read Rick's article. They go hand in hand.

I knew that DK's death was hard on the time but I did not realize that some of the players just were not able to play at all the day after in Chicago.

I got to relive the closing days at Busch Stadium in 2005, a night that kept getting postponed, kinda like Albert's alleged last at-bat at Busch this past year.

The book is technically out of print but you might find a copy on sale through the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website for $5.99 plus shipping.

For a Cardinals fan, it is a must have for your bookshelf.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Is Feliz the new Lidge?

Is Neftali Feliz the new Brad Lidge? It's posssible.

Joe and Derrick have more on the interview with Mike Matheny.
"I believe we had a positive discussion, and I was able to answer all their questions — all they had for me," Matheny said Friday afternoon. "It's really going to be up to them to sort through all the things they're looking for in that position and who fits it best."

Matheny, 40, has less managerial and coaching experience than any of the six known candidates to succeed a man who managed more major-league games than anyone in the game's history other than Connie Mack.

However, he possesses the leadership qualities, presence and organizational bloodlines the Cardinals might favor in determining their next field boss.

Matheny described his lack of managerial experience as "the elephant that walked in with me" to the interview. However, Matheny was made to feel the issue is of less significance than even he had hoped.
Rick Hummel offers more on the sudden passing of Bob Forsch.

Friday, November 04, 2011

RIP Bob Forsch

The Cardinals have announced the sudden passing of Bob Forsch, the third winningest pitcher in team history.

Press release sent out by the St. Louis Cardinals:
The entire St. Louis Cardinals organization was saddened by the sudden passing last night of former Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch at the age of 61. Forsch spent 15 seasons with the Cardinals and is third all-time in franchise history with 163 victories.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bob Forsch,” Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said, “Bob was a one of the best pitchers in the history of our organization and a valued member of the Cardinals family.”

Forsch, who was known for clutch performances in crucial games, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 7 of the World Series on Friday night in St. Louis.

“Having been with Bob just last week, we are all stunned by this news,” DeWitt said, “The entire Cardinals organization extends its sincere condolences to Bob’s wife Janice, his two daughters Amy and Kristin, and his countless friends.”

Forsch was part of all three Cardinals World Series teams during the 1980s, including the 1982 World Championship team. Forsch is one of only 28 pitchers to throw multiple no-hitters. His first came on April 16, 1978 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies and his second was on April 26, 1983 vs. the Montreal Expos. The two no-hitters were the only two ever thrown at Busch Memorial Stadium, where he won more games and pitched more innings than any other pitcher.

Throughout his sixteen year MLB career that included a stop in Houston, Forsch won 168 games. Forsch was selected by the Cardinals in the 26th round of the 1968 amateur draft and broke into the big leagues with the Cardinals on July 7, 1974. Over his career, he amassed 1,133 strikeouts, a 3.76 ERA and a .533 winning percentage.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Bob Forsch.


Derrick wrote the latest on the interview with Chris Maloney.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Interviews started today

The first round have interviews have begun today according to Joe and Derrick.

Terry Francona will be interviewed on Friday while there will be some more rounds on Tuesday.

Hall of Fame Golden Era Vets

We found out today who the ten candidates are for consideration with regards to the Golden Era veterans. It's my hope that at least someone from this class gets inducted because when it comes to players, the veterans committee has been getting stingy.

Gil Hodges and Ron Santo are the most notable candidates that have not been inducted yet even though they should have been elected while they were in their first 15 years.

The members of the committee that will, G-d willing, vote in a candidate are two are:
Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton and Williams; Major League executives Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael, and Al Rosen; and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck.
Those with ties to the St. Louis Cardinals organization include:
Ken Boyer played 15 Major League seasons as a third baseman with the Cardinals, Mets, White Sox and Dodgers. He was named to seven All-Star teams and won the 1964 NL MVP Award while leading the Cardinals to a World Series victory.

Jim Kaat pitched 25 seasons with the Senators, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games, the third-highest total for those eligible but not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He was a three-time All-Star and part of the Cardinals' 1982 World Series championship team.

Minnie Minoso played 17 seasons with the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals and Senators, winning three Gold Glove Awards and being named an All-Star seven times. A native of Cuba, he was one of the first great Latin American players in the 1950s.
Voting takes place on December 4th in Dallas just before the annual meeting is set to take place. Twelve votes are needed for induction. Canidates elected for inducted will be announced the next day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Interviews to start soon...

Joe Strauss reports that interviews are set to begin soon. The only manager amongst those that managed in the majors last season is Terry Francona.
The committee today holds the first in a series of face-to-face interviews with a pool of "less than 10" candidates including former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and longtime Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo. The Cardinals also have received permission to interview Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs second baseman and current Philadelphia Phillies minor-league manager Ryne Sandberg.

General manager John Mozeliak on Wednesday confirmed only that the interview process would formally begin today. Mozeliak declined to comment on specific candidates, including Sandberg, whose involvement represents something of a surprise to many due to his ties to the Cardinals' chief rival.

Francona, who steered the Red Sox to the 2004 and 2007 World Series championships, is the only one of six known candidates with prior major-league managerial experience.

Mozeliak plans to also interview Memphis manager Chris Maloney, minor-league instructor and former Gold Glove catcher Mike Matheny and Chicago White Sox coach Joe McEwing, according to sources familiar with the process.
For a bulk of the last 46 years, with rare exception, the Cards have been managed by Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, Joe Torre, and Tony La Russa. All of which are in the Hall of Fame or will be inducted in 2014.

In Albert news, C70 offers some thoughts as to why Albert will stay a Cardinal when all is said and done.

Cardinals reach out to Ryne Sandberg

While the Chicago Cubs have fired manager Mike Quade, they have have made it very clear that they are not interested in hiring Ryne Sandberg. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have expressed an interest in bringing in Sandberg for an interview. Sandberg is one of the few Cubs players that I respected while growing up. You know a Hall of Famer when you see one. When the Cubs originally hired Ryne to manage in the minor leagues, I thought that they would be grooming him for the big league. I guess that was not the case.

Joe Strauss reports that Dave McKay saw Tony's retirement coming.

Rick Hummel reports that Tony La Russa could still manage in the All Star Game next year. Outside of winning the World Series, you could not send him off in a better way. This way, the fans would be able to say goodbye. Bobby Cox had his farewell tour so fans could say goodbye to him. With La Russa, we assumed he would come back.

Albert Pujols issued a statement on Tony's retirement.
"I'd like to congratulate Tony on his amazing Hall of Fame career. He's been like a father to me and in my opinion, is one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. I've been blessed to be able to learn from Tony for the past 11 years and I wish him well on his retirement."

I haven't really had a chance to write about what Tony thought about Moneyball but Mike Bauman wrote an article over at
"I think Brad Pitt is a great actor," La Russa said of the actor who played Oakland general manager Billy Beane in the movie. But the thrust of his remarks was not in the direction of praise.

"Good acting," La Russa said in his evaluation of the movie. "I'm serious. Good acting. I mean, I was offended because of what the book represented, and I know a lot of those guys [who] were portrayed. I knew a few of those guys as scouts. It strains the credibility a little bit.

"[The A's] won 20 in a row, [in 2002], qualify for the playoffs, go two [games] up on the Yankees [in the AL Division Series], and there wasn't anything in the movie except a brief about Miguel [Tejada] and Eric [Chavez], the three starters [Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson] and [closer] Billy Koch.

"It was about a couple of trades and turning Scott [Hatteberg] into a first baseman. That club was carried by those guys that were signed [and] developed the old-fashioned way. That part wasn't enjoyable, because it's a nice story, but it is not accurate enough."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Gold Glove Awards

The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards are being presented on ESPN2 and were delayed thanks to a high scoring football game.

C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (4th award)
1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (1st)
2B: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds (3rd)
3B: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies (3rd, 1st at 3B)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (2nd)
CF: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd)
LF: Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks (1st)
RF: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st)
P: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st)

C: Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles (1st)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox (1st)
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (2nd)
3B: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (3rd)
SS: Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels (1st)
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox (1st)
LF: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (1st)
RF: Nick Marakis, Baltimore Orioles (1st)
P: Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (3rd)

Wild Cards

Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals' Stunning 2011 Championship Season from Rob Rains is due out this week following the Cardinals' World Series win. It is being published by Triumph Books and hits stores on November 2, 2011.

From the press release:
While the 2011 World Series capped arguably the most exciting season in team history, injuries, off-field distractions, and poor play contributed to a lackluster start; by mid-August the Cardinals looked dead in the water. Then, an influx of new talent and rejuvenated stars – along with rally squirrels, happy flights, and an irrepressible never-say-die attitude – propelled St. Louis into the playoffs, where they defeated the favored Phillies and Brewers. The season culminated with a fantastic seven-game, roller-coaster World Series triumph against the Texas Rangers. Wild Cards celebrates the highlights of this championship season. Packed with full-color action photos, detailed accounts of every postseason game, and profiles of Albert Pujols, David Freese, and other stars, this commemorative keepsake is sure to be treasured by every Cardinals fan.

Freese's popularity rising...

David Freese is a rising star. Jaime Garcia is #4 on the list. Via the press release I received:
St. Louis Cardinals’ third baseman David Freese has earned the top spot on Brand Affinity Technologies’ monthly ranking of Rising Sports Stars with an 84 percent popularity gain. Hitting the game-winning home run in Game 6 of the World Series, Freese secured a Cardinals win and forced Game 7 of the World Series in arguably one of the most exciting baseball games in history. Freese continued his great performance into Game 7 with two RBI’s, leading the Cardinals to their 11th World Series championship and earning him the World Series and league championship MVP honors.
In other news, Next Media Animation, the animators over in Taiwan have honored the St. Louis Cardinals.

Buzz Bissinger, author of Three Nights in August, offers his thoughts on Tony La Russa.

Finally, Rob Rains notes what all Mo must do during the offseason.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tony La Russa announces retirement

After 16 seasons as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Tony La Russa retired following 33 years managing in the big leagues. La Russa retires as one of only two managers to win a World Series in both leagues.
There isn't one [factor] that dominates [my decision]," La Russa said. "They all just come together, telling you your time is over.

"We went through the season, and I felt that this just feels like it's time to end it, and I think it's going to be great for the Cardinals to refresh what's going on here."[...]

For the time being, La Russa does not have a next job in line. He does not expect to return to the organization but indicated that he had some interest in continuing to work in baseball.

Mozeliak acknowledged that he has a preliminary list of people in mind to be the Cardinals' next manager, but he made it clear that he expects that list to change in the coming days. Mozeliak did not rule out any possibility for the next skipper, from internal candidates to managers not currently with a team to coaches or managers with other teams.
As Matt notes, La Russa joined Billy Southworth as the only Cardinal managers with more than one World Series championship.

In 16 seasons with the Cardinals, La Russa won 1,408 games, and led the Cards to 9 postseason appearances, including winning the NL pennant in 2004, 2006, and 2011. La Russa retires with 1,408 wins over all, good enough for second place behind Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). While many of us Cardinals fans thought the skipper would have decided to manage to the point where he would finish second all-time, it was never in La Russa's plans as Matt notes here:
La Russa said that he did not consider continuing in order to get the 36 wins he would have needed and pass McGraw on the all-time list.

"I'm aware of the history of the game," La Russa said. "But I would not be happy with myself if the reason I came back was to move up one spot. That's not why you's not something that motivates me. Wherever you finish, you finish."
La Russa finishes with the following numbers:
Postseason wins: 70 (2nd)
Games: 5,097 (2nd)
Losses: 2,365 (2nd)
Years: 33 (2nd - tie)
Wins: 2,728 (3rd)
Playoffs: 14 (3rd)
World Series titles: 3 (6th - tie)

You can send a note of thanks to Tony La Russa here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Hey, why not?"
--Albert Pujols when asked about repeating as World Champs next year, Victory Celebration, October 30, 2011

The Cardinal Way

Derrick covered it in his book but Dan O'Neill had a great article in the P-D on how the "Cardinal Way" is the foundation for this team.
The Cardinal way was pioneered by Branch Rickey, Rogers Hornsby and Frankie Frisch. It's been adopted by Gas House Gangs, Coopers and Deans, "Country" and "Cha-Cha." It is muscular like Joe Medwick, imposing like Bob Gibson, dynamic like Lou Brock and acrobatic like Ozzie Smith.

It has had oracles like George Kissell and Red Schoendienst, keepers like Billy Southworth and Whitey Herzog, deities like Stan Musial and Albert Pujols.

The Cardinal way covers 11 World Series championships and 24 playoff appearances, more ground than any other franchise in the National League covers. During Tony La Russa's 16-year tenure, the Cardinal way has averaged 88 wins and advanced to nine postseasons. In the last eight years, it has included three World Series appearances and two championships. The only franchise with a more illustrious trail is the New York Yankees. The Pinstripe way has led to 27 World Series championships, 47 pennants and 50 playoff appearances. The Pinstripe way has lots to brag about.

The Cardinal way boasts a fraternity of red jackets and Hall of Fame names, congregating at home plate on special occasions, closing ranks around "Baseball's Perfect Knight." The Cardinal way is a code La Russa embraced when he came to St. Louis in 1996. He experienced it as a young player, he espouses it as a Cooperstown-bound skipper. He believes in it.

"There is something to the history and the tradition of the Cardinals that as soon as you sign on you feel," La Russa said. "And those guys remind you. During my first year, they came into spring training and they're there, and you know they're pulling like hell for that year's edition to add something.

"I think it helps year in and year out. I think our guys feel it and they want to live up to it as best they can. So that's what it is here."

Meanwhile, here's Joe Strauss' gamer from Friday night.

Postseason Award Predictions

My preseason picks can be found here.

Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Most Valuable Player: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays
Most Valuable Player: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

It's interesting to note that Kershaw and Verlander both led their leagues in Wins, Strikeouts, and ERA. It's the first time since 1924 that two pitchers have won the Triple Crown in their league respectively.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 World Series Champions

What a ride it has been for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. Due to Shabbas, I could not tweet, facebook, or any of the social media type stuff but we had our TV on Fox. I DVR'd SportsCenter and ESPNEWS for postgame highlights, etc.

David Freese earned the World Series MVP by saving our season not once but twice on Thursday and getting the game-tying RBI with a double in the first inning last night. After Allen Craig hit the home run to take the lead at 3-2, I thought we're going to need some more runs. I did not think those runs would come by way of a Texas Rangers meltdown by walking in the runs or hitting players to bring runs in that way. It was in the 5th inning when all that happened and I started to think that we're destined for the championship now.

For this team, it's destiny. A year when we were not supposed to win the World Series, let alone even try to contend for the series, we won it all. Down 10.5 at the end of August, what a wonderful ride it was. Watching the Braves collapse and looking at the standings, I thought maybe we make it in and get crushed by Philly. We made it alright. Thank you, Atlanta.

Carlos Marmol of the Cubs should be thanked as well for blowing a save in the bottom of the 9th on a Saturday afternoon game.

In my lifetime, the Cards have won the NL pennant 5 times: 1985, 1987, 2004, 2006, and 2011. We won it all in 2006 and 2011.

What a marvelous ride it has been.

FSN Midwest will be live-streaming the parade online along with It should have been earlier in the day but blame the Rams game for that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Freese and Berkman on Edmonds

Via Tim McKernan
Freese: "As I was rounding the bases, I was thinking of Edmonds, because he did that same thing. I remember that." Berkman: "So do I."
Is it ironic or pure coincidence that Freese was acquired for Jim Edmonds?

What a game!

David Freese saved the St. Louis Cardinals twice tonight. In the bottom of the 9th inning, he tripled to bring in Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.

In the 11th, he scores the game-winning walk-off home run to win the game for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Freese joins postseason lore with Kirk Gibson, Carlton Fisk, and Joe Carter with a walk-off home run to end the game.

This is an unbelievable season. Down 10.5 at the end of August, the Cards were thought to be out of the postseason. Nope. Atlanta started losing while the Cardinals started winning.

Like in 2006, I'm not getting any sleep.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting ready for Game 6

I'm watching ESPNEWS and Tony's presser was just on. He commented about Moneyball, and all he really said was "good acting." One has to remember that the movie really leaves out much of the star players on the Athletics such as Tejada and Chavez.

Tonight's St. Louis lineup for Game 6:
1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Skip Schumaker, CF
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Lance Berkman, RF
5. Matt Holliday, LF
6. David Freese, 3B
7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Jaime Garcia, P

I don't have problems with that. It's obvious Jon Jay has struggled as well as Matt Holliday.

I'm with every P-D writer in that Chris Carpenter has to start on Friday if the series goes to 7 games. Carp says he is ready to start.

Aaron Boone just called the Cardinals to win tonight.

Redbird Roundup

Jon Heyman writes why he thinks Albert Pujols will stay a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
One person who knows Pujols well suggested he could not envision the superstar leaving St. Louis for even $20 million more in total dollars. Pujols, who attended high school and community college in the Kansas City area, has his home and his foundation in St. Louis and perhaps most important of all, he has his legacy wrapped up in being a Cardinal. (He also wants to win and couldn't reasonably make the case he's going somewhere else to win more, as the Cardinals have more postseason wins than any National League club since he arrived.)

"If he stays, he's Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst all wrapped up in one," one National League executive said, naming four other Cardinals icons. The person who knows Pujols agreed, saying he's not giving that up for 10 or 15 percent more money, which could only amount to $1-to-2 million dollars more per year after taxes.
Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter has called himself available to start a potential Game 7 for the St. Louis Cardinals. It's amazing just how many fans prayed for a rainout for the sole reason to see Carp start a Game 7.

Bernie writes that the delay has a mixed effect.

Albert Pujols has defended the botched hit-and-run play.
"I don't have a problem with that play," Pujols said during an impromptu news conference at his locker. "I know there was a lot of discussion about 'If he put the play on why didn't he swing?' Look at the pitch. It was high and away and I wouldn't have been able to touch it. If I would have been able to put the bat on it, I would have swung at the ball.''

Pujols called the play on an 0-1 pitch and recognized that flailing at it would have left him in an inferior count.

"You don't want to be in that situation with a great pitcher on the mound," he said. "It was one of the things that didn't go our way. If he had thrown the pitch down, I probably would have put a good swing on it and it would have been a different story."
Dan O'Neill notes that there are a number of Cardinals who may not be playing for the team next season.
Albert Pujols stands foremost in a crowd with an uncertain future, a shadow that has been discussed at length, a topic that will get more attention in the days ahead. Pujols' pending free agency also is integral to a conversation regarding the rest of the group.[...]

Besides Pujols, the Cardinals will make hard decisions on whether to retain or abstain on pitchers Edwin Jackson, Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel and Kyle McClellan, infielders Rafael Furcal, Nick Punto, Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker, catcher Gerald Laird and outfielder Corey Patterson. If a 25-man roster is the denominator, and Pujols is included, that represents a 44 percent slice of the pie.

The particulars involved vary from player to player. The Cardinals have options to honor contracts on some, such as Furcal, Rhodes and Dotel. They can choose to tender or non-tender arbitration offers to others, such as McClellan and Schumaker. They would have to negotiate new deals with others, such as Jackson, Punto, Theriot, Laird and Patterson.[...]

"But with that said, our rotation should be intact. You have two young pitchers that might look to compete for a spot, with (Marc) Rzepczynski and Lance Lynn in the rotation. In terms of just dramatically reshaping this club, I think we're pretty fortunate as we look to 2012 that we have a lot of the key components that we can just put into play."

Mozeliak made preemptive strikes to extend veteran pitcher Chris Carpenter and slugging outfielder Lance Berkman before winter arrived. The Cardinals are sure to have Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, David Freese, Allen Craig, Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs and comeback-minded Adam Wainwright aboard. Reliever Jason Motte is first-year arbitration eligible, but his salary scale will not be prohibitive.[...]

Dotel, who turns 38 in November, is completing his 13th big-league season with his 12th big-league team. Only 29 of his 695 major league games have been spent as a Cardinal but they have been some of the most rewarding games of his career. He'd like a few more.

"I do want to come back," said Dotel, who was 3-3 with two saves and a 3.28 earned-run average for St. Louis. "I love it here; it's great. I feel good that I helped this team to be where we're at now. It makes me proud."
If I'm Mo, I'd want to field the best possible team to contend next season. I would pick up the option on Furcal and Dotel for sure. Dotel has shown that he can take care of Ryan Braun.

Whether or not they do play for the Cards next season, I especially thank them for their time spent wearing the Birds on the Bat. Especially this past season, which has taken one of those turns that nobody saw coming. Not with Wainwright out for the year.

Adam Wainwright looks back on the past and looks ahead to the future.
"I feel like I'm the guy who only has one job and that is to make sure the bench doesn't go silent," Wainwright said Wednesday, a few hours after Game 6 had been postponed to tonight because of the threat of rain. "I have to make sure we're up for every moment of the game. I haven't had to do that much because everybody was top-stepping (standing at the dugout rails) the entire time.

"I've tried to be a motivator," he said. "I've tried to be inspirational."

During this postseason run, the Cardinals officially notified Wainwright and his agent that the options for 2012 and 2013 on the righty's contract have been exercised. The promised move recently became an official move, general manager John Mozeliak confirmed Wednesday, and it will pay Wainwright $21 million over the next two seasons. The club expects Wainwright to have a normal offseason and be cleared for full workouts come next spring training.

Must read article

Tim McKernan wrote a must-read article on what it is all about. If it does not bring goosebumps to your body, then you must have some sort of problem getting goosebumps. Seriously though, you need to read it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

That answers that question....

This answers why Lance Lynn came in to walk a batter intentionally.
"Well, what happened was that twice the bullpen didn't here Motte's name. they heard Rzepczynski and they didn't get Motte. I looked up there and Motte wasn't going. So I called back for Motte and they got Lynn up. That's why he wasn't supposed to pitch today, so I wasn't going to let him throw to that hitter. He just threw the warmups and walked him and Motte was ready. I don't know if it was noisy, probably real noisy. They just didn't hear the second time.

"They heard Rzepczynski and they didn't hear Motte and when I called back I said Motte, they heard Lynn. So I went out there, wrong guy. He's not going to pitch today. I said, 'Go back, get Motte ready.' We'll walk the guy because I don't want Lynn to -- he's not supposed to pitch. I didn't want to hurt him. And then Motte came in. That's why -- it must be loud. I give the fans credit."
Dan Caesar thinks that Holland's Harry Caray was a hit. I beg to differ. His Caray was more of Will Ferrell's Caray than the actual legendary broadcaster.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I'm into tradition. I want to see Pujols remain with the Cardinals. I think he's a great, an all-time great. They have Stan the Man and they have Gibson and he's in the class of Hornsby. He should stay a Cardinal."
--Reggie Jackson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 23, 2011


The morning after...

It's the morning after. Like many of you, I couldn't exactly fall asleep last night after watching something historic. Pujolsian as it may be, we may never see a performance like that ever again. To the guys in the press box, it was a chance to be there to report on history. It's amazing how social media like twitter has changed that. I don't get FSN Midwest where I live. The Saturday FOX games mean keeping my TV on FOX for 25 hours because of Shabbas.

Even then, nothing makes a game better than looking at twitter and seeing what my fellow friends in Cardinal Nation are saying.

Matthew Leach did justice to what happened last night. Others covering the historic night: Joe Strauss, Bernie Miklasz, Bryan Burwell, Reid Laymance, and Dan Caesar. Meanwhile, Derrick Goold covers Ron Kulpa's mistake.

In other news, Tony La Russa is not commenting on next season. Not yet, anyway.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pujols sets World Series history

Albert Pujols has had hits in four consecutive innings to set a new World Series record.

Meanwhile, the 16 runs are a new St. Louis Cardinals postseason record.

With his home run in the 9th inning, Albert not only tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson with his third home run in a World Series game but he became the first player since Paul Molitor to have a 5-hit game in the World Series.

As for the 6 RBIs tonight, Pujols became only third player in World Series history joining Bobby Richardson in 1960 and Hidecki Matsui in 2009.

Pujols set a new record with 14 total bases.

A weekend recap

The New York Daily News profiles the role that Jason Motte is playing in the World Series.
Motte has become one of the more recognizable faces of this baseball postseason, his furry mug getting close-ups on national television as he's closed out games during the St. Louis' Cardinals run to the World Series. But when he played at Iona from 2001-03, Motte wasn't a pitcher. He was just a college kid who always got his uniform filthy, who loved catching and hoped to make it to the big leagues, but wearing a mask instead of a Grizzly Adams-beard.[...]

Brian Beyrer, the sports information director at Iona who attended the school at the same time Motte did, says in the postseason he's been "getting texts from college friends asking, 'Were we in school with this guy?'" Al Zoccolillo, the longtime Iona coach who ran the program when Motte was there and retired in 2005, says he's been watching Motte in every game this October.

"I knew he would succeed because of his determination in this game," Zoccolillo says. "You have the talent, go for it. He had the drive. He was Mr. Baseball. This kid was meant to play baseball, he really was."

Just not as a catcher, at least in the major leagues. He was terrific at Iona, so good that opposing coaches would come up to Zoccolillo and ask, "Where did you get that catcher?"

Zoccolillo clocked Motte's throws to second as low as 1.76 seconds – most major leaguers do it in 1.9-2.0 seconds. His arm was so strong that when Iona trained a radar gun on Motte's throws from his knees, he threw 85 miles per hour.[...]

Motte excelled behind the plate in the Cardinals' system, throwing out 49% of the runners trying to steal against him over four seasons. But he didn't hit enough – his career OPS in the minors is only .453, and he struck out 205 times in 614 at-bats. A thumb injury also helped push the Cardinals toward asking him to pitch, and he converted to the mound during the 2006 season, though he hadn't pitched since he was in Little League.

Two years later, Motte made the majors and he's been a key cog in the Cards' bullpen, even taking over some closing duties this season, though, despite saving Game 1 of the World Series with a perfect ninth, he got the loss in Game 2 when he blew the save. He's now the first Iona pitcher to appear in the World Series since the Royals' Dennis Leonard - a three-time 20-game winner - did in 1980.
Bernie offers his thoughts on the Cubs' hiring of former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.

The NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth has all the bets made for the World Series.

The USA Today covers the playoff beard.
"I have a beard," says Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs, "because I hate shaving every day. My facial hair grows at an incredible rate. It's easier to deal with."

Indeed, what chafes the players more than a dull Gillette blade is the notion that there is some metaphysical connection to their beard and their success. St. Louis closer Jason Motte says he tires of outsiders remarking on "his playoff beard."

"Well," he said, "I've had a beard since 2008. People on this team have never seen my face."

Another simplistic reason for why ballplayers rock the beard: Because they can.

Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn says minor league players in the organization aren't allowed to grow beards, so it's seen as a bit of freedom.[...]

Motte acknowledges he's let his go a bit in the postseason, but won't soon be achieving Wilson-esque length or color. "That's a little too long. I'm au naturel, man," he said. "I've got reds, grays, browns. I'm good with right where I am."

100 Things...

If you have not read Derrick Goold's book, 100 Things Cardinal Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, you really should.

By the time I finished, I did not have a dry eye. I laughed, I cried, I cheered.

Published in early 2010 by Triumph Books, Goold covers just about every important player and event in St. Louis Cardinals history be it the Stan Musial Society or all the numbers retired in team history.

One of the things I plan to do over the offseason is read some of the books that Goold mentions in the bibliography, starting next with Rick Hummel's book, Commish and the Cardinals: The Most Memorable Games, as Covered by Hall of Famer, available via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch store.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The experts are wrong

Remember that sign from the 2006 postseason? Guess what? They're back!.

Of all the ESPN experts, very few have the Cardinals winning the World Series. Only Matt Meyers and Eduardo Perez have the Cards winning in 6 games. Both Karl Ravech and Gene Wojciechowski have the Cardinals winning in 7.

Everyone else has Texas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10 reasons...

Paul Sullivan writes 10 Reasons why a Cardinals World Series win is good for baseball. Check it out here.

A World Series Poem

This was written by Jason Motte's glove, SirGloveAWilson:
Twas the night before the World Series, when all through the clubhouse
Not a player was stirring, not even a Lohse.
The championships were hung by the flagpoles with care,
In hopes that Bud Selig will soon put another one there.

The mascots were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of 3 run homers danced in their heads.
And La Russa in his glasses, and I on Jason’s hands,
Had just settled our minds for all the Cardinals Fans.

When out on the field there arose such a clatter,
It was Albert Pujols, our team’s best batter.
Away to the dugout I flew like a flash,
Made sure I was not where one of those balls crashed.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen sod
Gave the lustre of mid-day of this Glove’s great bod.
When, what to my two eyes should appear,
But a great ballclub who the Rangers should fear.

With Big Mac as a coach, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he can still swing the stick.
More rapid than eagles his hitters they came,
And he flexed, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Descalso! now, Freese! now, Berkman and Craig!
On, Holliday! On, Punto! on, on Theriot and Jay!
To the top of the stands! to the top of the wall!
Now smash away! Crash away! Blast away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild Adron Chambers flies,
When they meet with an obstacle, harder Don Tony tries.
So up to the ballpark the balls they flew,
With the bucket full of seeds, and and Cracker Jacks too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the speaker
Shannon and Rooney calling each Cardinal squeaker.
As I drew in my mitt, and was turning around,
Down the steps Fredbird came with a bound.

He was dressed all in feathers, from his claws to his head,
And his jersey was white with birds in Cardinal Red.
A bundle of Bats he had all in his hand,
And he looked like Stan Musial, or Stan the Man

His eyes-how they were round! his beak so yellow!
His hat was huge, his demeanor not so mellow!
His pointy little beak was drawn up like a gasp
In awe of the Machine’s sky scraping blasts!

The stump of a tree is what Pujols swings,
And when he hits one out, Shannon always Sings.
Get up get up, get out of here ball!
Out of the stadium, see you later, over the wall!

He was happy and jovial, a right jolly old man,
And I laughed when I saw him, because I know he’s a fan !
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Means a pickoff by Yadi, runner’s caught dead.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his room,
A sweep of Texas and we’ll bring out the broom.
And laying his hand on every ball game,
This manager is going to the Hall of Fame!

He sprang to his step, to his team gave a shout,
Game 1 is tomorrow; LEAVE NO DOUBT.
I heard him exclaim, yelled in all of his might,
"The World Series is ours, and it starts tomorrow night!"

Don't talk free agency

There's a key subject that Pujols does not want to talk about. It's free agency.

USA Today:
"Lets talk about something else," said Pujols, bristling from beneath his backward Cardinals cap as news reporters asked him about his future with the team. "I don't think about (being a) free agent right now. Let's talk about the World Series and how I can help the Cardinals to win it. That's my main goal."

The Cardinals have won the World Series four times since 1946, and Pujols in his his prime helped bring the title back to St. Louis in 2006.[...]

"Last week, I was able to rub on him and (ask) him to give me some of those postseason hits he's still got left in him," Pujols said. "I don't think anyone in this organization is ever going to be compared to him. Stan is 'The Man.'"[...]

USA TODAY has reported Pujols spurned a nine-year offer for roughly $195 million last offseason before ending negotiations with the club during the season.

"When our season ends, we'll touch base with all our free agents," general manager John Mozeliak says. "I'm not really prepared (to discuss it). Right now, he's still very much a part of this organization.

"If we end up at a point where (he's) not, I think we have a very high quality of core players in place."

Arrive early!

Fellow fans, if you are attending Game 1 tomorrow night, make sure to arrive early!

Things to note, via the MLB press release:
The gates open at 4:00 p.m. Central
On-field ceremonies begin at 6:20 p.m. Central[...]

Do not bring anything that you would not be allowed to bring on a plane.
The rules for what items you can bring into the ballpark will be the same
as TSA restrictions which you can find at as gov. Any items
surrendered at the gates will not be returned.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

That's a winner!

That's a winner! 2011 World Series, here we come! Go Cards! It's time to mess with Texas!

Magic Number: 5

The Cardinals' magic number this season is 5, as that is the number of wins remaining to take home the 11th World Series championship.

They have a chance to win their 18th NL pennant this evening in Milwaukee, where they have won 5 of their last seven at Miller Park.

Bernie notes:
The Cardinals were, and are, the top-hitting road team in the majors this season. They rank first in MLB in runs per road game (5.14), road batting average (.277), road on-base percentage (.341) and extra-base hits. They rank second in road slugging percentage (.443) and fourth in homers per road game (1.15.)

Moreover, the Cardinals have a respectable starting-pitching ERA of 3.98 on the road, which puts them sixth in the NL.

The Cardinals became a more formidable road unit after GM John Mozeliak acquired significant bullpen help in the trade that sent outfielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski came to St. Louis as part of the deal, and Mozeliak later signed free-agent reliever Arthur Rhodes.

Mozeliak's in-season bullpen makeover was extreme.

When the Cardinals opened the season, the bullpen had five righthanders: Ryan Franklin, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Bryan Augenstein and Miguel Batista.

Today their six-man righthanded relief group consists of Motte, Boggs, Kyle McClellan, Dotel, Fernando Salas and Lance Lynn.

The early-season lefthanded relievers were Trever Miller and Brian Tallet; both were shipped off in the Rasmus deal and replaced by Rzepczynski and Rhodes.[...]

The restructured bullpen has made a tremendous difference in the Cardinals' road form. Before the Rasmus trade, the Cardinals' bullpen had a 4.73 road ERA and allowed an average of 1.58 runners per inning. After the trade and the Rhodes signing the bullpen's road ERA is 2.41. And there's been an enhanced strikeout rate and fewer runners allowed per inning (1.26.)
What a difference a trade makes.

Joe Strauss takes a look at Edwin Jackson's past performance this season against the Milwaukee Brewers.
ackson has seen the Brewers four times since the Cardinals acquired him from the Chicago White Sox on July 27. Since surrendering 14 hits and 10 runs in a take-one-for-the team setting Aug. 3, Jackson has allowed the Brewers five earned runs in 21 1/3 innings. The Cardinals have won his last seven appearances, including a ninth-inning cameo against the Houston Astros on Sept. 27 and two postseason starts. Jackson stopped short of saying familiarity with the Brewers works in his favor.

"There's neither an advantage for a pitcher or the hitters," he said. "There's no secret what I have. There's no secret what they can do. It's just a matter of execution. I'm not going to change up my game plan. I'm going to go out and attack the strike zone and take my chances with them putting the ball in play."
Skip Schumaker plans to be available for the World Series.

As for the ratings? St. Louis wins them in a knockout.
St. Louis beat Milwaukee in NLCS television ratings for the fourth consecutive time, with Game 5 on Friday being seen in 28.9 percent of area homes with a TV according to The Nielsen Co. The Milwaukee rating was 21.4. The overall number for the series now stands at 29.4 in St. Louis and 24.5 in Milwaukee.
Chris Narveson has praise for the Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rally time

I just got word of this so I thought I would share it:
The Cardinals will host the Milwaukee Brewers for Game 3 (Wednesday), Game 4 (Thursday) and Game 5 (Friday). Each game will start at 7:05 p.m. CT and the gates will open two hours before the game.

Before each game, fans can enjoy a pre-game rally at Clark and Broadway outside Busch Stadium starting at 4 p.m.

Fans will also have the opportunity to take photos with the 1982 and 2006 World Series trophies and meet former Cardinals players such as Mike Matheny and Jack Clark. And of course, Fredbird and the Cardinals Rally Squirrel will be in attendance.

A pre-game ceremony will start at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday prior to Game 3. The Budweiser Clydesdales and Cardinals Hall of Famers will be part of the ceremony and former Cardinal pitcher Jeff Suppan will throw the first pitch.
Word has it that Jim Edmonds will be honored before Game 4.