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Excellent analysis! That is what I expect when I buy the hard copy of the annual, rather than the horrible essay that accompanied the Redbirds player comments in this year's annual.
As much as I hate to admit it, I think my beloved Birds won't have a playoff chair when the music stops in early fall. I see the Cubs, Mets, and Dodgers in, with the D-Backs and Nats in the play-in game. I'd love to see playoff baseball in the Lou to commemorate the 10th anniversary of our first world championship in Busch III, but don't think that'll be the case.
As a long-time (30 year) REM fan, I totally agree.
RIP Oscar. Baseball and Cardinals Nation grieves.
Bottom line: Kershaw made a mistake and Big City capitalized. Donnie Baseball has done a remarkable job dealing with gigantic egos in that clubhouse. Name another manager (maybe Buck) managing currently who could run that team with the cast of characters they have, plus ownership who believe they can buy a championship. I don't envy Mattingly.
Great analysis - as a Romo fan, I thought this article was spot on. The amount of his new contract totally hinges on whether his new team sees him as a closer or a shut-down set-up guy.
Having lived in Evanston for 21 years, I haven't seen Paulie as often as I've liked, but, I was glad he was in Chicago when I was. He has long since joined the pantheon of Sox greats - Thomas, Appling, Fox, Baines, etc. An easy guy to convince you to root for the team, despite the owner and the general inept operation of the franchise. Thanks for running the bio capsules from each year - cool to see the BP annual covers too!
Best of luck, Professor! Will toast your new endeavor with a shot of Blanton's. The Cubs aren't worthy.
I grew up, as many Midwestern Cards fans did, with Jack Buck and Mike Shannon. Summertime meant hearing their voices on an AM radio in the car or transistor radio on the porch or in the boat. Buck's humor and brevity contrasted well with Shannon's goofy style. Shannon is still going strong, with John Rooney. I miss Jack, though.
Living in Chicago for over twenty years, I agree about Pat Hughes. He takes some getting used to, as his style is more formal. As he says, "Pat Hughes reporting." He is overly visual, but he's also got a humorous side. Working with Harry Caray and Ron Santo, Hughes had to be the straight man to blend well with their almost overbearing personas.
Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson are on the other end of the spectrum. I'd guess they help Sox fans fall asleep during West Coast games faster than hearing the Hawk and Stoney on TV broadcasts. Steve Stone is another great broadcaster, however.
Thanks for the chart, but please change the second "Pittsburgh" to "St. Louis."
Safe travels! Great writing - you give us a sense of what the minor leagues are all about, including the biz side of it.
I think Escobar signed an extension with the Rays, not the Dodgers.
Great addition to the fantasy coverage at BP! Makes me glad I re subscribed last Saturday! As an owner in three leagues (one 8-team NL only, one 8-team OBP 5x5 mixed) and one 10-team OPS 5x5 mixed H2H) with a bunch of veteran owners, this column is sorely needed!
Benoit is with San Diego now, not Detroit. (At least I hope so, I'm targeting him for my NL-only draft tomorrow!)
Thanks, Mike! Will check out the article.
Professor, well done as always! Quick question: how can the Cubs rate as the second-best system since you have only two or three pitchers among the top 15 prospects? Are the bats so far off the charts that they outshine the arms in the system? Say that most of the offense pans out; my concern for the Cubs is that they won't be able to compete with the Cards and Bucs due to an inability to sign the free agent pitchers they'll need. For example, I don't see anything in Chicago like Cole and Taillon or Wacha, Miller, Martinez, Rosenthal, et al. Thanks!
Mike, much appreciated! For those of us who play in a league with fewer owners, how much should we adjust the values? For example, I play in a eight-team NL-only league, so I'm guessing I'd adjust player values higher, but by how much? 10%? 20%? I know that PECOTA can adjust the values based upon input, but, as you wrote, some of the values seem really high, such as for Sliding Billy Hamilton or even H-Ram. Thanks for the hard work!
Sam, great idea for a story, but I think the article misses an important point: what type of prospects did the GM get for trading off the team's desired assets? How does BP's Top Ten Prospects list look now, compared to the start of the season? I'm not objective in this case, since I wish that the 'Stros had never left the NL and I detest Jim Crane, but, as both a Cardinals fan and a BP fan, I root for Jeff Luhnow and Kevin Goldstein and want their efforts to pay off.
I think Gammons makes an important point: a team can tank a season for a high draft pick, the reason I believe MLB should allow draft picks to be traded.
I never would have guessed that Houston outdrew Tampa Bay and Cleveland in attendance - wow!
All in all, great piece, Sam!
Want you guys (and/or gals) to know that this continues to be one of my favorite parts of BP. Thanks for the hard work you put into it!
Good job, Ben. But, why wouldn't the Redbirds go after Profar? Do the Rangers value him more than Andrus?
Sorry, Ben, but I agree with buck gunn; Ben C's references to the Cards are critical in both paragraphs. I'm subjective in this regard, granted, since I'm a Cardinals fan, but I thought those paragraphs were one-sided and didn't catch the ribbing of the Dodgers. I missed when the Cards added Brian McCann to the post-season roster.
As much as I want the Cards to clinch the Central, I don't believe they have. The magic number for the division is 4.
Great flashback! Hard to believe Craig was a SS at one time.
Didn't know about the Jered Weaver quote - he's what you would want in a teammate.
Great job, BP crew, in collecting and editing the quotes! Always read this section.
Really liked this article, for fantasy purposes, and a "reality check" on both prospects and organizational depth. Well done!
This is must reading, both from a reality and fantasy perspective. As usual, kudos to you and your team, Jason!
This was a fantastic article! Baseball may be boring at times, but this article certainly wasn't. Great job.
Great work as always, Professor! Will toast your #honesty with an Manhattan tonight after work as I share the intro to the Twins chapter in BP 2013 with my friend (she's a Rand disciple, I'm a reformed Marxist) at dinner.
Another reason I renewed my subscription. Jason, thanks!
Professor: thanks for the recon on these young arms. By the way, heard you on WGN's Cubs Weekly program yesterday afternoon - outstanding job! They should book you on WGN more often.
Fantastic job, Maury, both concerning data and historical perspective.
Fantastic job, Jason! Hope no one in my leagues see this!
Fantastic article! Made me think of The Baseball Gospels, a book I love. Many thanks for writing it!
You made my day, Jason! Thanks!
Professor, what about the Cards' minor league scouting/administrative staff post-Luhnow? Do we have the people in place to carry on Luhnow's success in rebuilding the Redbirds' farm system? Maybe an idea for a good article to not only rank each team's prospects, but also their staffs as well. Thanks for the awesome work on each team - great for fantasy and reality also!
As for the Mel Allen excerpt, wow! I think the only offensive term he didn't mention was squaw. Even in the 40s, he actually spoke about the reservation!
Most of the comments miss the point: the nickname isn't offensive, the logo is. As someone who proudly has Native American ancestry, I'm OK with the Indians, or the Braves, or the Illini. I do draw the line at images that demean others. I think (not sure) that the Braves did get rid of Chief Nokahoma - even they got how offensive that was.
I do like the Spiders, though, or the Fellers.
As for the Redskins, Snyder will never get rid of the nickname, offensive as it is. He is the stereotypical fanboy owner who's clueless.
I've played NL-only for 25 years and mixed for only five. I prefer an AL/NL only league for all the reason stated above, plus being in a NL-only league helps me better focus on the players on the teams in the NL who compete against my favorite team, the Cardinals. However, a couple of guys in our NL-only league whine that it's too difficult, that there too many players to keep track of. Before last season, we shrunk the rosters, deleting an OF and C position, and creating an extra UTIL position. This off-season, one owner left, and the Astros left, creating a league of eight owners with a player field of 375.
But, also being in a mixed 5x5 league of 10 owners (OBP instead of BA), gives me a chance to keep track of players in the AL, like Trout, Cabrera, and Pujols.
One of the best eulogies I've read this weekend. I'm old enough to have lived on the North Side of St. Louis when the Man played his final season, but never saw him play. Your column really captured how important Stan was to our town, our state, and the Midwest during and after his career. Great work Bradford.
Thanks, Larry, for the story. Yesterday was a sad day in St. Louis, Baltimore, and throughout baseball.
OK thanks for the response. Second the comment on the Replacements; keeping fingers crossed they reunite and tour in 2013.
Good article (especially enjoyed the XTC reference), but I think you became too esoteric and got bogged down in your comparison. Did enjoy
comparing baseball to other mainstream culture sports, though.
Also, maybe because I'm cranky, but are we obligated to use tweets as definitive thoughts on any subject? Not familiar with this woman - is she a rock critic?
Excellent article, Maury.
Thanks for the great analysis. As a Redbirds fan, I'm excited about these two young pitchers potentially coming into the rotation, especially since the jury is still out on Garcia's health and Carpenter's return to greatness.
Love the video as well.
Maury: great article! One other possible location (after the Castros die/leave): Havana? Or would Loria block a relocation?
Great article, Derek. It shows a lot of class to show why you or anyone else was wrong about a player's future performance. I used your advice for this season, and wound up tied for second in a NL-only nine-team 5x5 league, so thanks. You've been an awesome addition to BP, and worth the subscription fee.
Excellent piece. Thanks for suggesting it, John.
Knowing that Mike's son is working for the Sox made my day.
Professor, I'm with you about the shark tank - put an aquarium in any NFL stadium concourse and the number of fools losing an appendage would be doubled. Nice call, and thanks for making me chuckle aloud on the El at 7 o'clock this morning, soliciting stares from my fellow riders commuting to downtown Chicago.
Interesting note in your article about Wood's success in the AFL, Professor. Seven years after his terrific run in Arizona, how much stock should MLB scouts and pro personnel, as well as baseball junkies like me, place in a player's performance in the AFL? Don't we get overly excited about a A/AA player's performance in Arizona, and shouldn't fans simply say to themselves: "I'm a Cardinals fan, and I'm happy Kolten Wong is playing in the AFL, but I need to restrain my expectations until he produces at AAA, then I can dream about him playing second base in St. Louis?"
As an aside, a good friend of mine is putting together a road rally next summer through the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Recommendations on stops to sample product and car to rent to compliment the experience of savoring said liquor? Or, is this question more apropos for your advice column?
Go get 'em, Professor! The prospect portion of BP is in great hands.
Best of luck, Kevin!
Great writing and analysis, as always, Jason.
Quick question: what, if any, responsibility would Ozzie Guillen have in Beckham's non-fulfillment of his potential? I don't recall Ozzie being overly critical of any aspect of Beckham's game. I agree with you that Beckham is a gamer, and Ozzie prizes #want above all else, but would there have been another type of manager would have been able to bring Beckham's skills to the level experts predicted?
Great opening line, Jason!
Great work, Jason.
Which bourbon is at a 80? For me, it's Woodford Reserve.
I live in Chicago, and I miss Ozzie, along with 99.9% of the print and electronic media here. Where is Presidente from? is it any good?
I think "head" is the apropos word in this case. Does the Rangers organization have a sports psychologist that can work with Perez? If so, are they already doing so?
Also, with young non-native-born Latino prospects, I wonder if there's more of a reluctance to want to consult with a sports psychologist, compared to young Anglo or Hispanic-American prospects.
Finally, Professor, another talent of yours emerges: conducting interviews in Spanish! Seriously, good job, Jason.
Excellent piece, Jason. This may have been the best article you've written for BP so far. It takes bravery to dig down deep - my best to you as you continue to look within as well as outside yourself.
Also, as a Redbirds fan, I second the motion on Shelby Miller.
Just finished it a couple of days ago. Brilliant!
Thought I'd mention Robert Coover's The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J Henry Waugh, Prop; Brad Snyder's A Well-Paid Slave (about Curt Flood and his fight for free agency); and Sam Walker's Fantasyland. All worth owning in hard copy.
Way to start off a Monday morning - one of my favorite features @BP is back, plus with tweets! When will Tony Plush make his first appearance? Thanks to all for bringing this back!
Excellent writing. The article puts Wood's career in perspective, faults his mechanics as well as overuse. I think the Nationals learned valuable lessons on how to use Strasberg from how Wood was handled by the Cubs.
Tommy, fantastic article. It should be required reading for every major league player. As a Redbirds fan, I'm especially proud of McCarver, Torre, and Simmons (who should be in the Hall of Fame) and their leadership not only to improve the working conditions of their colleagues but also to improve the playing career and post-playing lives of pro athletes in the past 40 years.
Another great piece, Jason. Other BP scribes should follow your lead.
This article is a reason why I renewed my subscription. Great
As an urban planner, that's probably my favorite description of sub/urban sprawl I've ever read. I want to kidnap planners and urbanologists who think they can write and forcibly make them read the first three paragraphs. "his pants were higher than my irritation level" is classic.
Mr. Parks, you're beginning to grow on me, and you need to leave Arizona soon.
Loved this story.
One of the best articles on BP for a long time!
Good job Jay!
The Cardiac Cardinals! The Miracle Cards! The Comeback Cardinals! I can remember '82, '85, '87, '04, and '06, and this is the sweetest pennant and championship of them all!
Kevin: I saw the movie this afternoon, and mostly agreed with your review. But, this article was superb, since it gave me a post-movie/book update on how Beane and his colleagues have had to compete with the other 29 clubs after their revolutionary steps in player evaluation.
Good article, Jason. Very helpful.
Seriously, Peter, Paul, and Mary and Kenny Rogers (the Gambler, not the pitcher) over arguably the best American rock songwriter? Who said you couldn't pick "Centerfield?" Songs from an overrated folk trio and one of the worst "country" singers ever over John Fogerty's classic? At least someone on staff picked a song from Dylan. Also, thumbs up to the Zevon song.
great story, larry.
+1 on having Rob be a frequent contributor to BP, and being a Cardinals fan who wants the Bucs to finish over .500, but in second place.
really good article - please write another one about the Astros post-Richard, including the '86 NLCS and the Killer Bs.
Great to have you at BP, Derek! Loved your work at THT, and your initial column here continues that quality.
best of luck, Marc! I'll miss the gaming advice, too!
excellent article, Larry. I learned a lot of my math skills from early '70s Topps cards. I think you're onto something; our early impressions of how statistics are used definitely influence our perception of a ball player's worth decades later, whether we want to admit it or not
Alex, thanks for compiling these every week. It's one of my favorite parts of BP, and is one of the reasons why I'm a subscriber.
Emma, I think you missed some important parts of the TLR/Dusty rivalry. When Baker was the Cubs manager, the rivalry really began - I don't think the two managers liked each other then. Now, with Dusty working for TLR's old boss Jocketty and the Reds arguably a better team than the Redbirds, there's even more of a rivalry now.
One other note (full disclosure - I'm a Cardinals fan living in Chicago for the past 18 years): Dusty seems much more approachable/less testy with the local and national media than LaRussa, and I think that the media casts TLR in a much less favorable light due to his prickly personality, even though he does have some redeeming qualities, including his advocacy for treatment of animals. He's not seen as likable compared to Baker for that reason, IMHO. The Cincinnati, St. Louis or Chicago media aren't as demanding as the NY or Philly beat writers, columnists, etc., so both managers have it easier than Girardi, Collins, or Manuel.
Neil, great article, especially concerning the Cardinals' dilemma with Albert. Hopefully Bill DeWitt has figured investing in Albert brings a nice ROI. But, my one hestitation with the Cubs signing Albert has been my assumption that the Ricketts can't afford such a large contract and still pay annual payments for the purchase of the team and Wrigley. Can the Cubs afford to pay Albert $30 million annually, with what they owe for the team and ballpark?
Ben, good job. I don't mind the new format, either.
Jeffery Loria makes Marlins fans, the few of them that exist, cry every day. IF MLB is really considering getting rid of the A's (a historic franchise) and the Rays, maybe they should eliminate the Marlins first, just to rid us all of Loria.
tremendous job - thanks! I checked out the Phillies page, and there's going to be a big red cross next to J-Roll's name on my auction sheet!
Great article, Steve. Thanks for covering a player's life with verve and feeling.
now that's the type of fan fiction article that's funny! i guess it helps to be a huge fan of Adams' work.
Jay, writing like yours keeps me a BP subscriber. I knew your article would be a great synopsis of the Duke's career and HOF case, and I wasn't disappointed. While new additions to BP contribute goofy articles about fan sexual fantasy writing, your great analysis and writing style is the standard the new hires should aim for. Looking forward to your review of Jim Edmonds' career (if you haven't already posted it) and his HOF chances. Does Jimmy Baseball's CV mirror the Duke's?
Couldn't a base stealer like Bourn, Crawford or Pierre be "Quicksilver" from the Avengers or "Johnny Quick" from the Justice Society of America? Although, "Quicksilver" seems like a 19th century steampunk nickname for somebody like "Sliding" Billy Hamilton. It's also the title of a Neal Stephenson novel.
Damnit - Nick stole my thunder! The reason I picked up Freeman for my fantasy team last year is because he shares the name of Captain Marvel Jr's alter ego.
Agreed. I love Edmonds for everything he did for the Redbirds, but TLR lost some of his older veterans during the off-season, and had Mo begin restocking.
thanks for the clarification and research!
Jeff, really good analysis. As a Cards and Pujols fan, I hope he'll give the Redbirds a hometown discount, but, if I read your analysis correctly, even with a discount down to $22.5 - $24 million annually, I don't think St. Louis can afford him at that level without the team salary total going way north of $100 million. I worry about the Cubs signing him, but I think the Ricketts can't afford him either, due to the carrying costs on their loans when they purchased the team, their interest in upgrading Wrigley, and the big contracts they still will have for a couple of years (Zambrano, Soriano, etc.).
Really good analysis, Christina. I like the Renteria idea - never thought of that one. I wonder, though, if he's got one more year in the tank, but, with B Ryan on the bench, you can afford to rest Renteria 1-2 games a week.
Unfortunately, Phillips has/had a good agent - that's why 85% of the analysts on ESPN wind up on the air. Why talk show hosts' producers book so-called "experts" like Phillips is another question entirely.
Ozzie is MLB's Herm Edwards. Salty's quote is priceless as well. Great job as usual, Alex!
Great quotes this week, Alex!
1.Can someone tell Lastings that the Bucs are notorious for NOT signing their free agents to long-term deals (see Bonds, Barry; McLouth, Nate; Bay, Jason, et al.)? He should step away from the black-and-gold KoolAid.
2.Jeffery Loria makes the Pirates' past and present ownership look like the Steinbrenners (sorry, no spell check). Loria is such a waste of protoplasm - remind me how he continues to run a MLB franchise?
I echo everybody above - we'll miss your writing, Joe. Best of luck!
Growing up in St. Louis, I'm biased concerning Costas, who I heard call Spirit of St. Louis games in the ABA in the mid-70s, so I believe he's a good "conscience" of the game. But, by all that's holy, why would Bud put George Will on the committee? This is a man who wrote a recent column celebrating the fact that he's only purchased one pair of jeans in his life! He's supposed to represent the common fan? Is his claim to fame and reason for membership on this committee that he wrote an overhyped "Men at Work?" Roger Angell or Peter Gammons he is not. I actually don't mind having Scioscia, TLR, et al. on the committee, but, Bud, put a former superstar like Ripken, Gwynn, Biggio, or Brett on the committee instead of Will.
What do others think?
David - great job! One of my favorite active pitchers, and he's coming back to the NL! God knows how much $ my fellow owners in my auction league will bid him up, knowing I'll want him on my fantasy roster. Billy's a craftsman, and hopefully he'll get a ring before he retires. I'm just happy he is coming back.
Alex, how could you neglect the quote in the Chicago Tribune in Saturday's edition from the Cubs' skipper on Friday night's game, when the Marlins PR staff led a goat onto the field:
"Tasteless," (Piniella) said. "When we come here they always have some gimmick that basically doesn't make any sense. I don't know who dreams of these things ... When they come to Chicago, we don't have fried marlin.
"Just play baseball."
Seems like Sweet Lou would have problems managing for Bill Veeck.
Heal up fast, Will, and +1 on your comment about Steve Stone, the antithesis of Hawk Harrelson. Stoney's great ability to pass along his knowledge of the game to the listener without being pejorative ALMOST makes up for the Hawk's ultra-homer play-by-play.
Me too, Will.
If you ask Alex Ross very nicely if you run into him at either the San Diego ComicCon or at Wizard World Chicago this summer, he may do a commissioned sketch of both Freddies together - the minor leaguer and the Fawcett version of Superboy (although Cap Jr. may predate young Clark Kent). Alex probably would think it's pretty cool. It is a very uncanny likeness!
terrific article! smoltzie's been one of my favorite pitchers for a long time. He'll have a much better start than the one last night.
Cardinals fans everywhere rue that trade! A-Ram scares me everytime he comes to the trade against the Redbirds!
BTW, good article, but perhaps the crowning achievement in recent Bucs history is PNC Park. Affordable, great food and micro-beer selection!
Thanks for the interview with "Slick." He's one of the only major leaguers I ever met, and he's a funny guy. I think his Obama comment was probably tongue-in-cheek, albeit not my political leanings as a progressive. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Christina, well written. My prayers and thoughts are with Nick's family, friends, and the Angels organization, as well as for the other Angels staffer killed in the accident. Let's remember them both in our prayers during this Easter and Passover season.
Keep on keeping on. Springsteen's been therapy for me since 1979, when I bought Darkness on the Edge of Town from Columbia House Record Club! He's one of my heroes, and his music has been a gift in my life.
As readers of the Viva El Birdos site know, "Crab Man" has a special place in the heart of the readership. He's a brilliant person, a hustling player that Cardinal fans love, and, if not for Rasmus, would be on the roster when Opening Day comes. I hope he stays in the game after his playing career is over, either in the Cardinals' front office or in MLB corporate offices.
Thanks, David, for the great interview. I'd totally welcome a longer piece later in the season, especially if Brian gets called back up to St. Louis.
This interview is why a BP subscription is worth it.
He and his family are in my prayers.
Assuming that you've already figured out that having Jenn next to you will be a major distraction for the other owners (I'd wear a white tux a la James Bond in Casino Royale with Jenn in a slinky evening gown), here's my advice:
1.) in a mixed league, there's no way you pay for saves. Use your own insights that you share with us to get SPs with low injury risk, plenty of Ks, and good WHIP/ERA. Wins will take take of themselves. There's plenty of saves to be had in that format, and I'd go after set-up guys like Putz, Nunez, Gregg, and Madson. Jason Motte is a must, if you feel you have a to have a cheap closer.
2.) I partially agree with the comments above about certain position cats. In my NL-only league, 2B is at more of a premium than 1B, SS, or 3B. I'd concentrate on getting a top-tier 2B initially. SS and OF would be my next OFF priorities.
3.) Don't drink and draft, but be hydrated with plenty of water before you start.
Gary - good article(not as good as the fantastic article in BP 2009), but, if I understand your premise, most consumers at recreational locales (theme parks, sporting events, movies, casinos, etc.), are captive consumers, with limited choices related to food, drink, souvenirs, et al., so the vast majority of them don't care that they're paying $6.50 for a keepsake plastic cup of watered down soda, $8.00 for lite beer filled with preservatives, or $7.00 for stale popcorn, since they care more about the experience than the stuff they purchase. In my mind, the stuff I eat, drink, or purchase at the ballgame is a major part of the overall experience.
Perhaps I'm the rare exception to the rule, but, when I attend a game at Wrigley, the Cell, new Busch, Miller Park, or PNC Park, I do care about how much stuff costs, for two reasons. If possible, I'll take public transit, unless I'm tailgating. For sustainability reasons, I'll pay $2.00 to take a bus or light rail rather than pay $15-$30 for parking. I grant that places like Dodger Stadium are not accessible easily by public transit, but, if i'm meeting friends at Busch, Coors Field, or Wrigley, I'll propose we meet either before or after the game at a nearby bar or restaurant where the food and drink are probably a little cheaper, there're more choices on the menu, and we can choose which establishment to patronize.
Secondly, almost all the parks I've been to in the past five years have made great strides in providing a a better variety of beer and food. In PNC, for example, I'll pay a buck more and walk farther within the park to buy a micro-brew on tap than a crappy Miller or Bud. At Wrigley, I'll go down to the first level and buy a brat rather than a hot dog. The White Sox, overall, have better public transit, food, and drink options than Wrigley, and that's why the overall experience, including the ballpark architecture, is better on the Southside.
Perhaps I'm a snobby old urban dweller, but the experience definitely includes quality food, drink, customer service, and transportation.
Will - great job. The article's the best analysis of Carp's odyssey the last couple of years that I've seen in print or on the web. After reading it, I'm no longer cautiously optimistic that Carp will be a league-average starter in '09. Is Carp and the Cards' medical staff blazing new ground, attempting to be/have the first pitcher to successfully come back (be league average or better) from two major operations on separate areas of the arm?
I also agree with Joe Sheehan's comment in his chat today that in his lifetime there's been only a handful of starting pitchers that he'd sign to five-year deals. I think that the Cards' front office have been "thinking outside the box" regarding Carp due to the large investment the team placed on him after the 2006 season.
What I don't like is LaRussa's continual refusal to use either Perez or Motte as the closer. First he stated in the winter that Carp could be the closer. In another BP article today, the Cards considered Pedro Martinez to close. One thing I learned in reading the Prospectus the last couple of years, teams can easily turn to young pitchers to close, rather than "established" closers or veteran starters. Yes, there's the exception to the rule (John Smoltz), but a key to the Cards making the playoffs in '09 will be LaRussa's acceptance that he's got young pitchers like Perez, Motte, Kinney, and McClellan who can step forward and assume vital roles in the bullpen.
Great job - though I\'m bummed to see the Cards projected to be sub-.500. Didn\'t see Jason Motte in the Cards\' depth chart. Do you think that LaRussa will not use him significantly this year? I think he\'s a sleeper for the closer position in St. Louis.
Maybe the beer stand I remember is no longer at PNC, but when I was there four years ago, there was a micro-brew stand with Penn Pilsner and Yuengling (spelling off, sorry) ales. Outstanding! This stand was on the first base side, up a level. Crappy beer in the Steel City area is Stoney\'s, not Iron City.
In St. Louis, Ted Drewes\' frozen custard. Two locations in the City - it\'s possible to get a concrete (similar to a Dairy Queen or Culver\'s Blizzard but 100 times better) on a hot and humid July evening after a Cardinals night game, if the game\'s a quick one. The friendly staff will hold the concrete upside down to show you how thick the custard is. Many local flavors not duplicated elsewhere in the nation, including the Dutchman (I remember it to be butterscotch and chocolate). Cards fans can chime in with other flavors. It\'s better than Fitz\'s root beer (though the root beer is pretty good).
In Chicago, Pita Inn. Three locations in northern Cook County, including one a five-minute car ride from the Skokie Swift station on Dempster. When departing the Friendly Confines, take the Red Line El north to Howard, switch to the Yellow Line at the Howard station, then take it to the last stop on Dempster, pick up your car, and head east on Dempster. The best meal would be a large serving of baba ghannoug (mashed egg plant with tahini, yogurt, parsley, with olive oil and spices - the best I\'ve ever had), extra pita bread, and a beef shawarma entree (similar to gyros), with rice pilaf and salad, with their lemonade. Super cheap, and beyond delicious!
Good reads this year include: \"Anathem\" by Neal Stephenson, \"Final Crisis\" by Grant Morrison, Bob Verdi\'s column in the Chicago Tribune, and of course BP 2008.
I like UTK Interactive - it would be extremely helpful prior to fantasy draft day - worth 1/4 of the annual subscription to BP.
I \"get\" UTK Wrap. I read it along with the daily post.
Good call on Cueto, and I\'m leery of Volquez in \'09 also. Not the best news on Carp for me as a Cards fan.