Some quick hitters…..
….USC Coach Steve Sarkisian just put himself on the hot seat….with his drunken display that used foul language at a pep rally he a) probably became a student hero b) was pulled off the stage by USC AD Pat Hayden c) gave Hayden great leverage …. Likely scenario…He calls in Sarkisian….hey bozo….after that display ya gotta win 8-9 (take your choice) games this year or we’re going review your contract at the end of the year
….Matt Carpenter has changed…..once a true leadoff man (drew plenty of walks, seldom struck out, was a “doubles” guy) now he’s an old-fashioned 3B hitter (leads team in HR, strikes out rather often, many swing & misses, hitting mid .260’s)…we saw it change right in front of our eyes….which do you want? Right now, I think the Cards need the power.
….I realize Jeff Fisher’s slow approach to exhibition games but… really….can’t the offense look like it’s quick off the ball, open a couple holes and drive down the field with runs and passes at least ONCE a pre-season game?
….as of today…Miguel Cabrera is still hitting .367—WOW
…so Joe Buck blasts Silent Stan several tweets as he “sticks up” for St Louis while Stan is wearing a new “Rams” hat in Oxnard….while StL folks appreciate Joe’s support…it really doesn’t matter much
….David Wright must feel like he’s landed in heaven…languishing for years on the inept, hopeless Mets teams that were close to the bottom of the heap…he’s injured most of this season but returns to find the NYM in 1st place…no David this isn’t Iowa…it’s 1st PLACE
…on the other side of town…the NYY lineup today didn’t have ONE player hitting more than .276 in its lineup…..oh…how the mighty have fallen
….I must admit I’m really impressed with Stephen Piscotty..whoops get up off the floor after that rare Cardinal compliment….I was always skeptical about him since he was the last one of the hot prospects to move up to the Big Time but he’s actually hitting for a higher average in the MLB than he did in the minors…but…..I always withhold any real judgement on rookies until they’ve played 6-8 weeks …i.e. until MLB pitchers learn more about him and decide how they want to “work him”….final thought on Piscotty…anyone graduating from Stanford has to be a good learner so he has that in his pocket also
…the passing a few days ago of Bob Nordmann brought back many memories…blessed with one of the best all-time nicknames—the 6-10 “ Bevo” Nordmann played for St Louis U basketball team from 1959-61 as the center. He played 4 years of NBA basketball bouncing around between 4 teams.. He later became as Asst Coach at SLU and Michigan State….I recall listening to Harry Caray on radio doing Billiken games at that time and raving about “Bevo”…Bob’s younger brother, Bill, also played at SLU…both attended SLUH.
…Former NFL WR and now announcer, Chris Carter was called in to an NFL symposium in 2014 to advise rookies….listen to his advice “that if they were to get into trouble off the field, it was important to have someone to step forward to take the blame”…great, heh?…..well, a year later he’s apologizing….so it’s taken him a year to figure out it was wrong or he couldn’t find anyone else to take the blame in a year?
….I’ve noticed as Sept 1 approaches and MLB rosters can be expanded that many…at least more than I recall in the past …or releasing veteran players NOW rather than waiting until the end of the season…all the MLB teams coffers are bulging saw I guess it’s easier to release him now, pay for a month of his salary, and move on….
…. A football axiom is that you must have a “deep” threat for your passing game and offense to succeed…the NE Pats receiving corp is Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola and now ancient Reggie Wayne….who’s their deep threat?…they all look like possession guys to me…maybe the “deep threat” idea is another NFL myth…does a 4.4 timing in 40 yards make you significantly better than a 4.7 time…. .3 of a second in 40 yards…come on….over analysis….does he have body control, can he cut at full speed, can he recognize the coverages, can he actually catch when he’s going to be hit..those would be my concerns if I was a GM..heck, Carl Lewis reportedly ran a 40 in 4.67..is he slow?
Looking in rear view mirror…..
Prior to much of our sports interest transitioning to NFL football….oh sure, we’ll still be on the Cards every day but our overall interest in MLB will wane as some teams slide into oblivion….let’s take a look at some of the biggest disappointments in 2015 in MLB prior to shoving these teams aside until next April…..yea…and we worry because we’re only in first place by xxxxxx games…take a look at these dismal performers….
- Florida….last off-season, the Marlins added veterans Michael Morse (hot off a solid post-season @ SF), Mat Latos, Martin Prado and Danny Haren…there were hopes were that these vets would stabilize a youthful, talented team….poof….it all blew up… Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s bat got so slow that he needed a whiffle ball bat to swing quickly; ace Jose Fernandez out for half of season, next best in line in the starting rotation-Henderson Alvarez ALSO misses most of season. Morse flopped and was traded at deadline; Marcell Ozuna aged quickly…or his true age may not have been known; Danny Haren was moved along to the Cubs; Mat Latos was another trading deadline casualty as he went west to the Dodgers; the GM Dan Jennings made himself the manager….he probably should have made himself the bat-boy; the closer Steve Cishek stumbles and is peddled off to Cards to become a 6th inning stop-gap guy; this train wreck has seen the Marlins become one of the 4 worst NL teams in 2015…but with GM’s Dan Jennings tendency to drive the Marlins car wildly and without a definite destination….it’ll likely end up as a crash
- Washington Nationals….they’re like that promising young player…seems to have all the tools but just can’t get it done…that’s the Nats….ever since they screwed up the heavy inning load of Stephen Strasbourg a couple years ago, this contender, just can’t quite seem to get over the hump…the signing of St. Louisian, Maz Scherzer was tremendous early but he hasn’t won a game since July 30 and now holds a mediocre 11-10 record..without a late surge to make the playoffs, the Nats might have a major reshuffling prior to 16 since their crop of free agents-Ian Desmond, Doug Fister, Denard Span and Jordan Zimmerman—will probably all be wearing different uniforms next year…..
- Detroit Tigers…after 4 consecutive AL Central championships…this veteran team seems to have aged..all about the same time..the sharp bite of the Tigers became a long tooth….with the month-long loss of Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers tanked….he’s returned with his usual booming bat but it’s too late…the Tigers are 15 games out as they play out the season…that’s a huge drop—AL Cen champs to 15 games out by Sept 1…this club is in a tight spot…many key players (Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez and Ian Kinsler), who all are receiving large contracts through 2017 and all who will add another year to their 30+ current age…you may see some of these seasoned players “moved along” in the winter
- Cincinnati Reds—continuing their slide…it’s like they’ve moved to Wet Willy’s…the Reds are 51-70 right now, they were 76-86 last year, in 2013 the Reds were 90-72, 2012 saw the Red were in the NL Div Playoffs with a 97-65 record (lost to Giants 3-2 games & SF went on to become the World Champs)…anyway…you can see the slide..maybe more like a free-fall from 10000 feet…the everyday lineup includes well recognized names—Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier (having a wonderful HR/RBI year), Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Zach Cosart….the lone new starter on opening day-Marlon Byrd fizzled by July 4th and has since been sent off…there was a significant drop-off when bench players appeared on the field…hence the expected absences due to injuries…both minor and major…left deep scars in the production …this team can score –especially in the comfortable Great American Ball Park …when Jason Marquis made the starting rotation as the season opened…you had to know that Cincy had no pitching….except for Johnny Cueto, who was dealt (mercifully) to KC at trading deadline; the #2 starter-Mike Leake was also peddled to the Giants….can’t quite figure that out….they aren’t good enough for the last place Reds but both end up on very good teams IN their starting rotation; a 9 year starter supposed-slugger Jay Bruce hasn’t hit over .262 but one time and had a dismal 66 ribbies last year and is on the same track this year. Meanwhile much-maligned Joey Votto is actually having a decent year—23 hr and a .310 average but he’s criticized for taking too many walks and not swinging often enough;, LF Marlon Byrd was oft-injured and didn’t perform—he was shipped out recently; SS Zach Cosart has been on 60-day DL list….this team may have to really pass GO and start over again. Walt Jocketty may be on the move himself!
- Other anchors in this race to the bottom include—San Diego, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers & Seattle Mariners
Special AWARD—Team Getting the Least for the Most
LA Dodgers have a $300ish million payroll and are 67-55 as I write this on Sunday. If they were in the Cards division, they would be in 4th place, 10 games out! Clearly the Dodgers are overpaying for some mediocre+ players now so as to protect their future promising players including a healthy crop of International players. The Dodgers find themselves acquiring Alex Wood & Mat Latos (who’s already in the pen) at the deadline instead of Hamels, Cueto or Price. They pick up Chase Utley..a guy who had lost his starting job for arguably the WORST team in baseball-the Phils (they didn’t make my list because it wasn’t a disappointment…it was expected J With still high performing vets like Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner, Andre Ethier surrounded by talent-laden youngsters like C-Yasmani Grandel, OF-Joc Pederson & Yasiel Puig. Alex Guerrero and Scott Van Slyke can’t poke a permanent hole in the starting lineup. The Dodgers, with all their $$ floating around like Monopoly money, just reduced their starting rotation to a 4 –man rotation…actually, they really only have a TWO-man rotation—Greineke and Kershaw….funny, how you can spend millions and still not have pitching…only disappointment