Blogging About Baseball

162 games, even more blogs. From college to the minors to the pros. It's all here.

Posts Tagged ‘st. louis cardinals

Sometimes all you need is a ‘lil shot in the arm…

leave a comment »

Or maybe, in this case, it should be shot in the ass.

I’ve spent a month away from blogging. In that time, I’ve started a new nine-to-five job and a brand, spanking new roommate moved in. Needless to say, it’s been hard to find the time to write. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to. So, with that said, pardon me if I’m a little rusty…

Mark McGwire. That’s who we’re here to talk about. Today, his admission to using steroids was the lightning bolt that came out of the sky, hit me right in the ass, and made me fire up Blogging About Baseball once again.

Maybe I’m ahead of the curve, but I believe I discovered Mark McGwire was juicing sometime in 1998. And if it wasn’t in ’98, then it was sure as hell in 2005 when, during his testimony in front of the House Government Reform Committee, he famously and repeatedly stated, “I’m not here to talk about the past.”

Still, I’m truly shocked about the upwelling of genuine emotion his heretofore inevitable admission has brought out of me.

I’m amazingly pissed. I mean really, really, really, f’ing pissed.

And there’s one reason: McGwire, along with fellow cheat, Sammy Sosa, broke Roger Maris’ decades old record for most homeruns (61) in a full season in 1998. And they didn’t just break it. They pulled their pants down and defecated on it. And then they set it on fire and put the fire out by urinating on it. In essence, they opened the door for Barry Bonds (who I will only dedicated this one sentence because I just might lose it) who put that crap in a flaming paper bag and put it on Roger Maris’ doorstep in 2001.

That’s disrespect. If you know you’re doing something questionable and that something could possibly ruin everything the very game you supposedly love and revere stands for, you just don’t do that.

The integrity of the game. Tarnished.

The legendary records of the game. Tarnished.

Now, I’ve come to the realization that the game I love has never been played perfectly. Through the centuries we’ve seen pitchers throw spitballs. We’ve seen signs getting stolen in the most ridiculous of ways. We’ve seen batters cork their bats. We’ve seen guys hopped up on greenies. If there’s been an avenue to exploit, baseball players have found it.

But this is my generation of baseball and I’m entitled to all the tunnel vision I want. Except that I don’t truly think this is tunnel vision.

I don’t think we will ever look at those cheating tactics with the same disdain as we do steroids. And I don’t think future fans will be able to turn the same blind eye as we did to amphetamines and corked bats and scuffed balls to steroids.

The gains that both pitchers and hitters earned from sticking needles in their ass was (and possibly is) so exponentially and quantifiably higher than any of those other means of one-upmanship.

Brady Anderson hit 50 homeruns in 1996. Before that season, his season high was 21. After that season, he never hit more than 24. He was the team’s leadoff batter. Just think about how f’ing mind boggling that is.

And then we can think about guys like Luis Gonzalez (57 homeruns in 2001) or Greg Vaughn (50 in 1998) who are a little less glaring.

Every statistic from the 1990’s is skewed…or is it screwed?

If Bonds, McGwire and Sosa had not set any records in the 1990’s or 2000’s, we would be able to forget this whole catastrophe. In 15 years, it would have been like none of this had happened, another greenie epidemic, another stolen sign debacle. If only Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa had done exceptionally well, given all of the records a spirited chase and fallen short.

If only…


Mark DeRosa among the game’s top free agents?

leave a comment »

According to the media, the most coveted free agents of 2009’s relatively thin market are outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason Bay and pitcher John Lackey. But versatile infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa might very well be sought by more teams, many of which could contend in 2010.

Mark DeRosa is a free agent in 2010.This past season was a bit of a let down for DeRosa. A Cub’s fan-favorite, DeRosa was surprisingly traded from Chicago to the Cleveland Indians last winter for three minor league pitchers. When Cleveland finally called it a season, he was then sent to St. Louis for future closer Chris Perez. Shortly after coming to the Cardinals, DeRosa partially tore a tendon in his wrist. He spent a stint on the disabled list but fought the injury throughout the remainder of the season.

The surgery to repair DeRosa’s wrist was done shortly after the Cardinal’s quick exit from the post season. While his limited time in St. Louis was mostly uneventful, DeRosa was a valuable asset to a team during its hunt for the National League Central Division championship. He shored up a troubled position and brought leadership to a clubhouse that relied solely on Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter.

DeRosa’s flexibility and versatility made him a perfect match for Tony LaRussa. And LaRussa and the Cardinals paid dearly to get him. Even as the veteran manager handed the ball to flame-throwing Jason Motte on Opening Day, many fans speculated that the impressive Perez would be the team’s closer before the season ended.

But that was well before Ryan Franklin dominated the job during his All-Star season.

The trade was welcome in St. Louis. The fans knew that third base was a huge issue for the club with Troy Glaus’ return undeterminable. The rumors and call for action began early. DeRosa was wanted by the fans. The front office, knowing that their fans are among the most knowledgeable in baseball, listened.

DeRosa ended his season with a .250 average and 23 homeruns. For the Indians, he hit .270. With the Cardinals that production dropped to .228. While the tendon injury hampered DeRosa’s bat, it didn’t prevent him from playing the field like the veteran he is. His attitude about the situation, upbeat and even apologetic, showed the team and the fans that there was more to the Cardinals than just one or two players.

Any team that lands DeRosa gets a better than average ball player. He’s incredibly versatile, a natural second baseman that can also start at third and play the outfield. He can hit anywhere in the line-up. He will give his manager 100%, no matter what. He’s also a leader.

DeRosa will join any team with the intention of making the best of the situation. He will greet his teammates. He will talk and chat. Then he will lead them onto the field and in the clubhouse. That makes him more valuable than Holliday’s bat or Lackey’s arm.

Written by LS Murphy. Mrs. Murphy is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and is a consistent contributor to Cardinal’s Mix. She can also be followed on Twitter.

Brendan Ryan, a.k.a. The Boog

leave a comment »

When the St. Louis Cardinals began Spring Training, they did so with Khalil Greene as their projected starting shortstop. The team acquired Greene in an offseason trade with the San Diego Padres. Whether it was poor scouting or lack of disclosure about his condition, it wasn’t long before Greene went into a slump and then onto the disabled list for social anxiety disorder.

Brendan Ryan stepped in and the Cardinals never looked back.

Ryan was drafted by the Cardinals in the seventh round, 215th overall, in 2003. He battled his way through the minors and on June 2, 2007, he made his MLB debut against the Houston Astros. He finished 2007 with a .289 average in 60 games played at 2nd, 3rd, and shortstop. In addition to his versatility, Ryan became known for another skill: pranking.

A rib cage injury sidelined Ryan during Spring Training 2008 and the first month of that season. In 80 games, his average dipped to a paltry .244, but his flexibility in the field was a good fit for Tony LaRussa. His seriousness about the game was the only thing stopping him from being a complete player.

This season, Kyle Loshe and Joel Pinero talked the pitching staff into growing mustaches for team unity. The rest of the team soon joined in. And when everyone started shaving them off, Ryan’s ‘stache was the last one standing. True to form, he started growing it longer towards the end of the season in order to curl up the corners a’la Rollie Fingers.

And this time, his goofy attitude was welcome. He was the starting shortstop. He was making great plays. He was hitting well. He’d found his way.

The 2009 season started with a lot of changes from “The Boog,” a nickname Ryan’s father gave him. He came in more determined and slightly more serious. By June, Ryan was starting every day at shortstop. The position isn’t easy but it’s made even harder when the fans remember seeing one of the greatest of all time there, “The Wizard” Ozzie Smith.

Ozzie’s fielding percentage was .978 career. When Smith was 27, the same age Ryan is now, his fielding percentage was .984. Brendan‘s fielding percentage was also .984 but in 105 games. Only Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies (155 games/.990) and Troy Tulowitzki (151 games/.986) of the Rockies were higher than Ryan’s this season. A full season at the position could see Ryan’s number improve.

Ryan’s batting average improved to .294 in 2009. He had 114 hits, 19 doubles, 7 triples, and 3 homeruns, one of which was his first career grand slam. A newfound discipline at the plate made him a valuable hitter for LaRussa. Ryan could be stuck anywhere in the lineup, and he normally was. Dependability with the bat, and speed on the bags, makes him more valuable to a team that uses flexibility and versatility on a daily basis.

Ryan may take the game more seriously but that hasn’t stopped his joking nature. As teammate Jason LaRue said during a pregame interview, “He’s just looking for attention.” The reason for LaRue’s comment? A pair of scissors sneaking into the frame, pretending to cut LaRue’s long locks. The camera panned out enough to show Brendan smiling widely under that ‘stache.

And it didn’t stop him from playing wiffleball with Joe Mather at Busch either.

Or acting in the St. Louis Cardinals “Play like a Cardinal” commercials.

Even LaRussa got into the pranks. After Ryan had been removed, Tony convinced his shortstop that there was a special rule that a player could reenter the game once on the last day of the season. Ryan, never one to miss an opportunity to play, grabbed his batting helmet. It didn’t take long for him to realize he’d been had.

The 2010 Cardinals will be back with a vengeance. Some players will be gone. New ones will be ready to show devoted fans what they can do. And Brendan Ryan will be there at shortstop making great plays, getting on base, and pranking whomever he can when he’s not in the lineup. The Boog will be there in all his glory. Take it or leave it.

Written by LS Murphy. Mrs. Murphy is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and is a consistent contributor to Cardinal’s Mix. She can also be followed on Twitter.

After Cardinal’s elimination, a new battle begins.

leave a comment »

The Cardinals have been eliminated.Now that my beloved St. Louis Cardinals have made their not-so dramatic exit from the postseason, a new battle begins. The Battle of the Remote.

I watch baseball, any baseball, whenever I can. When the MLB Network shows classic World Series games, I’m there. When the College World Series runs on ESPN, my eyes are glued to the television. I’ll even watch the Little League World Series.

But not my husband. He’ll watch the Cardinals with me, but often he flips the channel if I walk out of the room for a mere second. Any other team, he could care less. And he certainly doesn’t want to hear about the Dodgers right now, no matter how brilliant my analysis might be.

With the American League and National League set to crown their respective champions, I’m totally captivated by the remaining teams.

The Angels and the Yankees could be an exciting series; or not. It’s really going to depend on how the Angels play and if they let the mighty Yankees just steamroll over them. The Dodgers and Phillies could be a classic National League battle. Joe Torre is a master strategist, but the Phillies certainly don’t want to end their reign as champions.

As for my allegiance, I’m almost unbiased this year.


As a die-hard Cardinals fan, I don’t want to see the Angels win. Closer Brian Fuentes snubbed his nose at my team this past offseason when the Cardinals offered him a pretty sweet salary.

The Yankees are the reason that Major League Baseball needs a salary cap. Small market teams can’t compete for well-known free agents, especially if the Yankees are interested. The Bronx Bombers outprice everyone else and jolt ordinary, average players’ paychecks way too high.

And the Dodgers, well…two words: Manny Ramirez. Regardless of their ousting of the Cardinals, I don’t want Manny to get another ring. He disrespected the game. And himself.

That leaves the Phillies. I have nothing against them. And the bonus is slugger Ryan Howard. When in doubt, I’ll cheer on a hometown hero. It’s the closest St. Louis will get to the World Series this year anyway.

As for the Battle of the Remote, no problem. My husband can regulate himself to the small, non-HD television while I lounge on the couch shouting at the umpires as they continue to blow obvious calls.

That is a win-win situation.

Written by LS Murphy. Mrs. Murphy is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and is a consistent contributor to Cardinal’s Mix. She can also be followed on Twitter.

Card’s Pujols, Phil’s Howard erase legend Kiner from record books.

with one comment

This past week wasn’t a good one for Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner’s legacy.

In the course of one week, two records set by the former Pirates/Cubs/Indian’s slugger were surpassed, making him more a footnote than a standard bearer.

First, Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard became the fastest to 200 home runs, accomplishing the feat in 658 games compared to Kiner’s long-standing 706 games. And last night, the Cardinal’s Albert Pujols padded his already-superb resume by toppling Kiner’s prodigious mark for home runs spanning the first nine seasons of a career, clubbing numbers 352 and 353.

Howard: quickest to 200 home runs.Pujols: most productive through nine seasons.

And while his records may be gone, Kiner will never be forgotten.

Dad, do you have this card?Kiner’s Baseball-Reference page is peppered with bold marks- a litany of single season records that are a testament to Kiner’s dominance during his injury shortened ten-year career. From 1946 to 1952, no one in the National League hit more home runs than Kiner; of his nine years in the senior circuit, Kiner led the league in home runs seven times. He hit 50 home runs twice; 51 in his sophomore season and 54 during his Most Valuable Player campaign in 1949. And speaking of MVP campaigns, Kiner had seven of those too, his best finish coming during that 1949 season when he finished fourth. Kiner’s best seasons were as a Pirate and from 1946-53 he appeared in the All-Star game donning that uniform each time.

Kiner spent part of 1953 and all of the 1954 season with the Chicago Cubs before being dealt to the Cleveland Indians, where a back injury promptly ended his playing career in 1955. He was 32-years-old.

In 1961, Kiner started broadcasting with the Chicago White Sox. The following year, he began announcing for the expansion New York Mets.

In 1975, Kiner was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 13th and final vote. He received one more vote than needed for election. In 1984, Kiner was elected to the New York Mets Hall of Fame for his illustrious broadcast career. In 1987, the Pirates retired Kiner’s #4.

There are few players that I wish I could travel back in time to see. And on that list, there’s no Jackie Robinson, no Willie Mays, and no Joe DiMaggio.

There is, however, Ralph Kiner.


with 5 comments

Mark DeRosa

Mark DeRosa

Cleveland trades former Chicago star Mark DeRosa to St. Louis for middle reliever and player to be named later.


Move sure to add fire to already heated National League rivalry!


CLEVELAND — In what has to be considered a lopsided trade, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired super utility man and developing slugger Mark DeRosa from the Cleveland Indians for middle reliever and touted prospect Chris Perez and a player to be named later.

DeRosa immediately adds fuel to an already bitter rivalry in the National League East between the St. Louis Cardinals and DeRosa’s former team, the Chicago Cubs.

DeRosa, who was traded by the Cubs after his career year in 2008, was hitting .270 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI while with the Indians. DeRosa is on pace to replicate last year’s statistics and hitting in a lineup with the National League’s best hitter, Albert Pujols, almost certainly guarantees he will.

DeRosa adds depth to a team plagued with injuries. After being penciled in as the Cardinal’s starting third baseman prior to the 2009 season, Troy Glaus has yet to return from off-season shoulder surgery. Shortstop Khalil Greene has been bruised the entire year and was recently sat due to an anxiety disorder. DeRosa can play almost any infield and outfield position so he could prove invaluable to the team in that capacity.

Cleveland rooters have to be scratching their collective heads with this one. If DeRosa had left the team as a free agent following this season, as he was likely to do, the team would have gained two draft picks. Instead, the Indian’s acquired a middle-of-the-line righty and an unknown player.

Chris Perez was expected by St. Louis fans to take over Jason Isringhausen’s closer role a few years ago. Upon each call up, however, the 24-year-old was consistently wild and never flourished in the role. He features a mid-90’s sinking fastball and a power slider. Perez’s stuff profiles him as a classic closer, but it’s expected that Cleveland will ease him into the team’s setup role, behind Kerry Wood.

The only way this deal works in the Indian’s favor is if the player to be named later is 2008-draftee and quick-riser Brett Wallace or right-handed pitcher Jess Todd. The Indian’s are desperate for bullpen depth, as evidenced by this hasty trade.

DeRosa should be in St. Louis today.

Rick Ankiel missed the bag and was called out. I love it.

leave a comment »

There is so much going on during a baseball play that you can’t possibly keep track of it all.

A shortstop shifts towards second base to cover a steal attempt. A sure-fire out goes through that newly created hole for a hit. A pitcher throws a high-and-tight fastball and, later in the count, strikes the batter out on a low-and-away breaking ball. The batter moved back in the box half an inch after the brushback and now he’s out. Baseball is like a well-produced album; there’s always a small sound, an intricate moment, a something, that you missed.

Last night, one of those little plays happened.

The St. Louis Cardinal’s Rick Ankiel reached base last night on an error by Red’s first baseman Ramon Hernandez. The following batter, Jason LaRue, crushed a line drive to centerfield. Ankiel believed it would land as a hit so he was off to the races. The ball was caught and Ankiel, who had already rounded second, made his way back to first. He appeared to make it back safely.

The thing is, Ankiel never re-tagged second base on his return trip. Even though Ankiel made it back safely, the Reds threw to second and Ankiel was called out.

Baseball is serious about touching the bases. Even if you’re sitting in the dugout after scoring a run, you can still be called out if you missed third. Just ask the Met’s Ryan Church.

It’s a finicky rule and it’s ludicrous that something can hold such significance, but it’s one of the great “little things” of baseball.

The best part about this situation is that’s analyst completely screwed up the play (fast forward to 1:10), saying “Rick Ankiel did not make it back to first base in time.”

He probably doesn’t know the rule.