St. Louis Cardinals and the Memphis Redbirds have their struggles, the
Springfield Cardinals are rolling. On
Friday, they clinched a playoff appearance with a 10-2 win over the Tulsa
Drillers. On Saturday, I traveled to Tulsa to check out this hot Springfield team
there’s something you don’t see every day” -Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)
approached the park, I saw something strange in the neighborhood:
not sure what the Ghostbusters car was all about. It drove around the field playing the
Ghostbusters theme song. It stopped
behind homeplate and guys got out armed with proton packs. I was really hoping for a Stay Puft
Marshmallow Man sighting. But, there
were no ghosts to bust and no one got slimed.
On a Roll…
Springfield Cardinals picked up where they left off the night before, although
the Tulsa Drillers were given hope when their starter Keith Weiser struck out
Cardinals lead-off hitter, Antonio DeJesus.
Peter Kozma, came to the plate. Kozma’s
hometown is a few miles north of Tulsa, so the local boy always gets a
few cheers. Kozma singled.
Drillers were worried about Kozma, a base-stealing threat.
As well they
should be. Kozma swiped second.
fellow infielder, second baseman Daniel Descalso, who is hitting .329 and
slugging .532, knocked a double to score Kozma.
He did it so quickly that I did not get a picture until he was on second
Hill, who is listed as a catcher but was playing left field, flew out to right. Tony Cruz, who is listed as a catcher and was
playing catcher, reached on a error.
Descalso scored from second as the Drillers first baseman chased down
the missed catch.
behind me made the comment that “an error is like a can opener”. It is probably a common expression, but I had
never heard it. In this case, it turned
out to be true.
James Rapoport, singled quickly (i.e. no pic).
That brought to the plate, big first baseman, Matt Arburr. How big you ask? 6′ 4″, 260 pounds. Mike Hamilton was called up to AAA Memphis, so Arburr is getting his
chance. He did not miss this one: 2 RBI Double.
In the seventh, he would also have a solo home run.
baseman, Mike Folli, ended the inning with a fly-out to right.
damage was done. Cardinals lead
4-0. They had another four run inning in
the third, but Kozma’s first run would be all the Cardinals would need, as
starting pitcher, Ryan Kulik, pitched a beaut.
Eight shut-out innings, five hits, one K, no walks. Twelve groundouts. Eleven flyouts.
Norrick came in to pitch the ninth. The Missouri native was un-hittable, but not
necessarily in a good way. He walked the
bases loaded AND struck out the side.
minor league parks, you will find a between innings food race. You might think if you have seen one, you
have seen them all. I must give a tip of
the hat to the folks at Drillers Park that flirt with heatstroke to
dress up as QuickTrip food items.
Taquito and Egg Roll are very creative in mixing up the race and coming up with
gimmicks to make it interesting. In the
latest installment, Egg Roll came from behind with a snow shovel, knocked Hot
Dog down with a sharp blow to the back.
As Taquito attended to his fallen food item friend, Egg Roll crossed the
Everything is Coming up
pun was a stretch. As I drove home from Tulsa, I tuned into MLB Homeplate on XM Radio. When they said they had a breaking story on a
Cardinals trade, I held my breath.
Trades make me very nervous.
Perhaps, I get too attached to Cardinal players. I usually hate to see them go.
the trade rumors had been about a rental deal for Matt Holliday. In all the scenarios I heard, the price
seemed too high. I did not make sense to
me to trade the second best power threat (Ludwick), plus a pitcher, plus a
prospect just to have Holliday for a few months.
breath held, I listened to the news:
Mark Derosa for Chris Perez and a “player to be named later”. I exhaled in relief. I can live with that. In fact, I am excited about it.
went into high gear, considering all the defensive alignment options. That was followed by all the offensive
line-up options. The possibilities are
DeRosa is such a good fit. I have
secretly always liked this player, even when he was a cub. Not that I liked playing against him, but
next to catching, utility players are my favorite. DeRosa can play anywhere, and by all accounts
he is a class act, a great guy to have in your clubhouse.
doesn’t it feel like we stole him from the cubs? That may be the thing that puts a rather evil
smile on the face of Cardinal Nation.
The cubs traded him to the AL, so DeRosa could not hurt them. They signed our utility player, Aaron Miles, out
from under our nose. Ironically, Miles has
not played nearly as well as a cub. That
made payroll room for the cubs to sign Milton Bradley, who has been nothing but
a blight. Now, DeRosa is back in the NL
Central, in the clubhouse of a division rival and posed to do damage to his
former team. Score a coup for the
said, I will miss the flame-throwing, Chris Perez. And, he may come back to haunt us, as traded
players often do. I wish Perez all the
best. I hope he has a great career, and
stays in the American League. Here is
Perez warming up in San Francisco:
there is a list of potential “players to be named later”. I do not know who is on this list, and that
makes me nervous. But, for today, I look
forward to seeing DeRosa wearing the ‘Birds on the Bat’. He is the type of player that was born for
in Memphis – Marc Cohn
on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Actually, the shoes are brown suede.
There is no plane.
And, it better not rain.
Walking with my feet ten feet off of the Beale
Walking in Memphis
Do I really feel the way I feel
There is no doubt I feel the way I feel.
And, what I feel is excited.
So, excited that I could not go to sleep last
Something I will be paying for later.
got catfish on the table
They’ve got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven’t got a prayer
But you got a prayer in Memphis
Love me some catfish. Love me some gospel.
If I have a prayer, it’s for Joe Mather and Chris
The final cuts, sent to Memphis.
I don’t disagree with the decision. An injury interrupted Perez’s preparation, so
he is not ready. Mather has been inconsistent
at the plate. The only way to fix that
is to get at bats every day. He can do
that in Memphis.
But, I would love to see Mather go 4-4 and Perez have a three up, three
down 9th inning. Just ’cause.
Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would —
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
And she said —
“Tell me are you a Christian child?”
And I said “Ma’am I am tonight”
I doubt Muriel is going to ask me to sing at the Hollywood. But, at the Auto Zone Park, I will be cheering with
all my might. There is something about being
at the ballpark that feeds my soul. So,
yes, tonight, I am definitely a Christian child.
on my brown suede shoes
And put the car in drive
Road into the land of the Delta Blues
I have never felt more alive.
The winter was long, dark and cold. The hotstove was not so hot. Some old friends moved on. Some new faces moved in.
We sat in the dark in anticipation of the dawn. The dawn that comes todoy. Finally… (cue the violin music)
At last….. my love has come along
my lonely days are over
and life is like a song
Oh yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
-Mack Gordan/Harry Warren
While other girls are hoping for roses, chocolates or jewelry from their Valentines, I only want diamonds….baseball diamonds. So, this Valentine’s Day, My Love is coming through for me. Yes, my Cardinal pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training today in Jupiter, Florida. The off-season is over. Winter is over. My lonely days are over….
There were many heralds of spring this week.
The deadly tornados that ripped through my state. (See photos here.)
The crocus in my mom’s yard….
(No, you are right. That is not a crocus, and it is not in my mom’s yard. That is last year’s daffodil from my yard. Mom’s crocuses did bloom this week, but they croaked before I could shoot a picture.)
The sandals that would not stay in my closet on a 70 degree day.
(Fine. I am busted. AGAIN. I wore sandals, but I could not find these in my closet. I might have accidentally left them at Neiman Marcus since they cost more than my house payment)
And, finally the words, “Pitchers and Catchers: Report Today”. And, the “card” telling me my Valentine’s gift had arrived. It is not “Play Ball”, but it is close.
Spring is here. Baseball is here. And, life is like a song.
Here is little overview of some of the guys reporting today.
Yadier Molina (C) – Actually, he’s now Gold Glove Catcher, Yadier Molina. At only 26 years of age, he has 4 1/2 years of major league experience. He gets better every year. Last year, he had a break out year offensively, but did not throw out as many runners. The young and unfamiliar pitching staff may have contributed. What will be better this year? More pop in the bat? More runners caught stealing? I can’t wait to see.
Jason LaRue (C) – Most teams struggle to field one solid defensive catcher. The Cardinals have two. LaRue is everything a team could ask for in a backup catcher. He is a veteran who understands his role and is always ready to go. He does not hit for average, but he has a bit of power.
Adam Wainwright (RHSP) – In the absence of Chris Carpenter, Adam has been the staff ace. Oh, what 2008 might have been, if not for the “pop” in his finger that kept him out of the rotation for roughly two months. Having Waino healthy for the whole season is one of the keys to Cardinal success.
Kyle Lohse (RHSP) – Hopefully, “this year’s” Kyle Lohse will be as good as “last year’s”.
Todd Wellemeyer (RHSP) – Welly rounds out the rotation’s top three. However, he has stated that he would love to pitch in the All-Star game, so this pitcher is not satisfied to be part of the rotation. He wants to be the best.
Chris Carpenter (RHSP) – The big question mark. He proved last year in the few innings he pitched that he still has the stuff. Hopefully, his body is healed, rested and healthy enough to support that deadly arm. If he can return to his previous form and make his starts, he makes this rotation lethal.
Joel Piniero (RHSP) – Piniero had his ups and downs last year. When he pitched well, he got no run support. When he had run support, he sometimes self-destructed. The potential for greatness is there.
Brad Thompson (RHRP/RHSP) – Last year, Thompson was a valuable spot starter and long reliever. He is one of the few guys still around that was with the Championship 2006 team. (Pujols, Molina, Wainwright, Carpenter and are the others.)
Kyle McClellan (RHRP/RHSP) – The role of last year’s Cardinal Rookie of the Year is uncertain. If Carpenter is not healthy, he is likely to be in the rotation. If not, he will be in the bullpen.
Mitchell Boggs (RHSP/RHRP) – Boggs made six starts and two relief appearances for the Cardinals last year. He won three and got the crap beat out of him in two. I will probably be watching him pitch in Memphis next year. I challenge him to prove me wrong.
Ryan Franklin (RHRP) – Sometimes he closes. Sometimes he sets up. But, with Russ Springer gone, he is the veteran of the bullpen. I am thinking setup guy in 2009.
Jason Motte (RHRP) – This catcher turned pitcher came up in September 2008 throwing fire. Eleven innings, five hits, one earned run, .82 ERA. This guy has a legitimate shot at the 9th.
Chris Perez (RHRP) – Perez’s arm is another flame thrower. He got some very valuable experience last year in the closer role. He saved 7 out of 11, with a 3-3 record and a 3.46 ERA. Not bad for a rookie. He is another contender for the 9th
Josh Kinney (RHRP) – Kinney came back in September 2008 after Tommy John surgery. He pitched seven innings, walked one, struck out 8, gave up 3 hits and NO runs. People are not talking him up much as a closer, but he is in running.
Jaime Garcia (LHRP) – This young leftyspent some time in St. Louis last year. Got his first save. Got his first win. Got his first loss. Sixteen innings, 8 walks, 8 strikeouts and a final ERA of 5.63. Great potential. Tony will probably want two lefties. I am betting on Garcia and Miller.
Trever Miller (LHRP) – If the Cardinals had passed on Miller, Ryan Franklin would have no one in the bullpen that could discuss the 70s with him. Miller could sing the Johnny Cash song, “I’ve been everywhere, man.”, but his last tour of duty was with the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays. His numbers do not give Cardinals fans a warm fuzzy feeling, but he will most likely be on the opening day roster.
Blake Hawksworth (RHP), Charlie Manning (LHP), Royce Ring (LHP) and Matthew Scherer (RHP) round out the 40-man roster. It will be interesting to learn about these guys. Also, on the guy to watch on the list of non-roster invitees is Jess Todd (RHP). Last year, He won the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award.