Behind Closed Doors by Bob Ryan

Behind closed doors…insiders share info with their REAL feelings and speculations on why actions/moves have taken place in the sports world.. .. is usually done without any PC talk… talking behind closed doors it was heard that…..

…behind closed doors the talk was about the Cards pushing their win total upwards ….there are a couple ways that the Cardinals can move their win total upwards ….1st…clearly the most fun for fans… is to improve the team..fill it with sluggers, starters, decent set-up corp, a lock up closer and defense or… the other option is for the other divisional teams hold “fire” sales to begin the slow, arduous process of rebuilding…. Code word for ….we’re losing  badly for the next few years with the hopes that we’ll be a contender in 4-8 years….that’s a looonnngg slow trip…take for example the Cincy Reds…they’ve been won 2 divisional titles since 2000 in their “rebuild”…well….now Pittsburgh has now bought a ticket for this ride to the bottom… this will clearly enhance the Cards win total dramatically…the Cards win total should push upward 3 or 4 additional wins due to the ineptness of the Pirates…of course some may argue that the Pirates have ALREADY started this titanic-like trip to the bottom…Pitt won 98 in 2015; 78 in 2016 and only 75 wins in 2017.

….talk behind closed doors turned to the Cards trading Grichuk for a set-up man, Dominic Leone and a “prospect”….Grichuk was squeezed out here in the Lou….Ozuna WILL play every day.. Pham hopes to play every day and Fowler likes to play every day for about a month…then he gets some type of pain that doesn’t require DL but does require him missing games…more on him later…Leone had a “break out” year last year….65 appearances; 70.1 inn, 2.56, just 51 hits permitted.. Cards like those numbers they DO look good…only concern for me…this is his 4th organization that he’s been in since signing professionally in 2012….seems like a lot of changes for a quality player…let’s hope it’s the “right time” for the 28 year old to be at the top of his career…back to Fowler…he played in 118 games last year and 125 in 2016….I believe only once on DL… he seems to have many “small ailments” that require 3-5 days off…watch for that this year!! Btw…I didn’t see or hear about Fowler at the winter warm up this year ?? What does that show the Cards? 

….talk behind closed doors went back to the Pirates….. when   Pitt sent RHP Gerritt Cole….arguably their ace starter …to the Houston Astros for 4 “prospects”… RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP  Michael Felix, 3B Colin Moran and OF  Jason Martin…Musgrove is expected to move into the Pirates rotation…he started 15 games last year with a 4.77 ERA. Moran is a 25 year old .290 hitter in minor leagues but claims to have “adjusted” his swing. Feliz is a hard-firing pitcher with control issues…. Martin hit .278 last year in Class A… that doesn’t sound a dynamic foursome, does it?a day or so later…the Pirates also traded the long-time face of the franchise—Andrew McCutheon …and his salary($14.75m)… to San Francisco…while McCutcheon isn’t at the apex of his career any longer…he’s still an improvement for the Giants in the OF. In return, the Pirates acquired Kyle Crick who appears to be headed towards being the Pirates set-up man…and prospect Bryan Reynolds AND $500,000 of  international signing bonus money…

 ….why now?….well…the Pirates came to the conclusion that this set of players had missed their time table for the post-season play over the last 3 years AND the Pirates had manipulated their very tight budget of $90m to its max…with these moves…and now more expected…the Pirates budget would be in neighborhood of $82 for next year….. btw…the Cards 2018 budget is $139m…in mathematical words…that means Pittsburgh is spending 59% of the Cardinals….gee….I wonder which team has a better chance of winning…2nd btw….Cards are still on the hook for $17m for Mike Leake …that would be 20% of Pirates overall salary structure!! ….ugh

….”Is Pittsburgh done dumping?” ….Of course not!…the Pirates want to dump multi-talented Josh Harrison …teams want these type of players who can fill multiple positions…cuts down on the number of bench players required…one who  hits  fairly well and is a high-energy player….Harrison carries a $10.25m price tag…most contending teams just have to find the “right price” for Harrison to get a deal done. Another possibility is middle-man Daniel Hudson…proven…not spectacularly. But generally OK as a 6th/7th inning man…by May….. many teams will be looking towards him & his $6m  salary..

…..”is this all the Cards want to do”was heard behind closed doors …..certainly!….when Bill DeWitt & MO both use the expression, “opportunistic”…that’s nice verbiage for…if another team decides  to dump their stars…or former stars with good years still remaining….at a discount….we’ll pick off the low hanging fruit as an “opportunity”

..talk behind closed doors went to New England, Tom Brady & Bill Belichick.  Jacksonville was really controlling  the game throughout the 1st half…they had the chance to really take a dominating lead late in the 1st half…the Jags had a 3rd & 7…called a time out…then ….inexplicably…were  called for a delay of game penalty…NEVER….NEVER… should that happen… a time out then a delay game…it became 3rd & 12….Jags punted….and punted away all their momentum…from that point on it was all Brady, Belichichk and the Pats…going to their  10th Super Bowl…love em…hate em….they get it done

…. the talk behind closed doors of changing Matt Carpenter to the 3rd spot of the batting order….on one hand, for whatever reason …his career numbers point towards much more success hitting 1st in the order…on the other hand….if Fowler leads off, Pham #2, at #3 Carp takes a lot of pitches so Pham would have good opportunity to steal bases…maybe Carp would return to the line-drive hitter with men in scoring position and cut down on his prolific strikeout rate…his OB% last year of .384 was the 2nd best of his career in that category despite a woeful average .241…lowest of his career… maybe…. maybe… the Cards are trying to “restart” Carp while keeping same basic lineup….or maybe….and this is  my thought….when Fowler was “brought in” to be told he was no longer the CF for 2018…Fowler likely came back with the “I’ll still be leadoff man, right”…you aren’t taking that away too are you ….. compromise…he won’t last long as a regular leadoff man…I’m guessing June 15

…barely heard was the talk about Marcus Williams (New Orleans safety) who will always be remembered for the “missed tackle” that cost the Vikings a trip  to the Super Bowl..didn’t anyone tell him….let them catch it and then tackle them…duh….then game over and you win!

….hockey talk behind closed doors was heard from one corner as it was heard that Kevin Shattenkirk of the Rangers wasn’t living up to their expectations…43 games into the season…he has 1 point in the last 10 games and 3 points in the last 16 Ranger games….he’s a -14 for the season….good non-signing by the Blues!!  Shatty just went on the DL…funny how that happens in pro sports when a player isn’t performing..he goes on the DL.

….talk behind closed doors turned to JoJo White..everyone praising the former St. Louisan on his death…..JoJo had a tremendous Pro career…a few highlights…7x NBA All-Star, has his #10 retired by the Boston Celtics, 1976 NBA Finals MVP….but I knew of him long prior to the Kansas U & Boston Celtic days…my high school played the McKinley Goldbugs….JoJo was the star…as I watched him compete against our team….it seemed like JoJo was preparing for the NBA…he involved all his teammates until the 4th quarter…then he took over….and won the game…but sticking in my mind even more than that ..is the cheering of the McKinley cheerleaders….I mean who has a cheer with a players name in it?…well…McKinley HS did….it went something like this….it WAS a long time ago….so…this is my best  memory….”You  got spirit  …  you got pep…..but we… got …..Jo .. Jo”….and they were right. He was not only a legendary player but a legendary person.

….btw…JoJo’s #10 Celtic # is up in the Boston Gardens rafters along with players like  # 6 Bill  Russell  #14 Bob Cousy #15 Tom Heinsohn  #16 Satch Sanders   #17 John Havlichek  #18 Bill Cowens  #21 Bill Sharman  #23 Frank Ramsey #25 KC Jones  #32 Kevin McHale  and #33 Larry Bird…..obviously most of these retired numbers (there are a few more retired numbers) date back to the Celtic dominance of the 50’s & 60’s…they won 8 STRAIGHT NBA championships during that era.

….saw the SLU Billikens in person this week….it was an impressive 76-63 win over Duquesne(13-6)…the Bills played  transition ball in many parts of the game that seemed to “free up” some of the play of their better athletes…running all those set plays …at times…constricts the flow for these wonderful athletes… particularly for Jordan Goodwin….he had a triple double and clearly was the best player on the court.. AJ Foreman played the best game of his collegiate career…and a tip of the hat to Coach Travis Ford who used a 1-3-1 zone in the 1st half that seemed to befuddle the Dukes of Duquesne….I was really happy about the win until I scanned the “Dukes” schedule….the W-L record looked good but included on the schedule was a loss to SIU….an 11-9 team that the Billikens also beat…it seems like the Dukes have been “beating up” lots of cupcakes..meanwhile…intheir next game…the Bills go on the road for a convincing win over UMass…happy to see Jordan Goodwin played 37 minutes….let your best player on the court!

…talk .behind closed doors turned to a different type of SLU court issue… a SLU issue reached a different level with the suspension of 3 players  (18 months-2 years) and the expulsion of another….an expression of my mother-in-law about disputes between husbands & wives comes to mind…she says, “there’s her story… his story… and the truth someplace between”….in this SLU situation there are many involved…of course it pitted the men vs the women…how many different stories were there with 7 or 8 different individuals?….. WHO knows what really happened? …and probably….the truth is someplace in-between…. I do know that it took from September to mid-January  to reach a decision…. the longer this situation festered…. the worse SLU looked to the public..SLU will come out of this dispute with a black eye…now…..under the SLU regulations… a decision that took 5 months to reach may be appealed ….. According to the appeal procedure, the appeal decision will be made in 3 days… after a 5 month investigation how could it be reversed in 3 days?  I would think that the length of time that it took to reach a decision should match the length of time for the appeal….ugly mess

…..talk behind closed doors turned back to the Blues….to this date…. the number of “off” days between games…with back-back games (no rest in-between) Blues are 6-2-2; with 1 day rest 12-12; 2 days rest the Blues are 5-2-1; 3 days rest 2-2 and 5+ days of rest 3-0…the most striking feature to me is the number of times that the Blues have 0 or just 1 rest day between games…the Blues have played 33 of 48 games—68% of their games with this 0-1 day rest….boy…ya gotta be young…see last week’s blog…Blues have 9 players over 30 years of age

…talk behind closed doors turned to HS basketball….at 16-0 and barely known ….are the Hillsboro Hawks…the Hawks just climbed into the top 10 of StL’s Large school rankings at #9..competing in the Jefferson County Large School Division…Hillsboro was 25-4 last year, 21-7 in 2015-16.  8th year Head Coach Don Johnson took his team to the STATE sectionals last year before bowing to Sikeston. Sr Gaven Pinkley leads the team in scoring with a 18.9 mark. Pinkley had already piled up 1447 points and 771 rebounds PRIOR to his Senior Season. Pinkley has plenty of strong support with Seniors Isaiah Martin and Tyler Isaacson and Junior Michael Brewer. This week the Hawks compete in the tough  Parkway West tournament…. Soooo…. many folks will be watching the results.

….talk behind closed doors turned to announcers of the past….particularly Keith Jackson who died soon after the Rose Bowl that he attended @89 years of age …he was another icon in the broadcasting sports business…he’ll be missed…in my opinion…. maybe I’m just an old guy…but…many of these “newer…younger” sports pbp announcers seem to be too concerned about “them” being the show with their hip lingo, judgmental interpretations, smugness….give me the old time guys who set the table for the play then  tell you what happened in a clear, concise way….e.g .Keith Jackson.

…behind closed doors a debate sparked up….it was over the question …if you were Jalen Hurts (Bama starting QB all season…who was replaced in NCS championship game)…would you return to Alabama?   Easy….. vote Yes or NO….on the website below the article….or send your vote to me via email or facebook…..hope you all vote …you may or may not give a reason for your vote….only 1 vote per person…we aren’t in Chicago .

….the talk behind closed doors turned to the  Pittsburgh the Steeler fans  who are upset with Head Coach Mike Tomlin…according to “insiders” it  seemed that Tomlin looked right past the Jacksonville Jaguars …and focused on the NE Patriots…in fact….a couple other times in the season, Tomlin has made known his desire to beat the Pats and his players talked incessantly about it…it’s being called a “circus” in Pittsburgh…not what a football coach wants to hear…..and …of course….Jacksonville upended the Steelers last weekend in the playoff game……The Steelers have ALWAYS stayed with their head coaches a long time…and they have lots of talent….lots…it’s said that only 3 Pats would start for the Steelers….staggering thought—would Belichick EVER lose with the Steelers roster?…..but this type of disregard for quality opponents and then losing to them  doesn’t sit well…. Nor should it.

….the talk behind closed doors tuned to Cards TV…..I’m sure that the Cardinals took notice….the Cubs are considering beginning their OWN network..with Disney buying out Fox and the local Fox networks soon….  could a Cards network be far behind?

…the talk behind closed doors became quiet….it was time to leave….C U next week … Pls vote—

Yes…Soph Jalen Hurts IS leaving Alabama      NO—Soph Jalen Hurts is staying @ Alabama

 

Turning the Tide by Bob Ryan

Sure…it’s a week ago…but it’s still the talk….just how did Alabama rally to beat the #1seed-Georgia in the 2nd half. There isn’t any one play, strategy, or factor that changed the outcome by itself but there were a few combinations of factors that had some impact on the final Tide surge…..
….in the 1st half…the Bulldogs “had their way” totally…domination of the line….the Tide was back on their heels..the Bulldogs built together 2 long drives but came up with only 2 FG until the last second TD made it 13-0. .. it could have easily been..actually… maybe..should have been… 20-0 at half.
…in the 2nd half, the Tide made a key change…going to Frosh QB Tua Tagovailoa..some “experts” argue… was it panic or wisdom on Saban’s part….well…now question that TT (I’m not typing that long name every time ) has a stronger, more accurate arm that Hurts AND he did lead the team to victory but he clearly made some frosh blunders…e.g. the 2nd last play of the game …the long, long sack that TT didn’t throw away the ball…had Bama NOT won on the next play…that sack would have been pointed out as a horrible freshman blunder.
…TT gained the confidence of his teammates when he scrambled 27 yards…from that point on…it looked like a totally different Alabama team…so he deserves high praise for turning the Tide
….Georgia’s 1st half success was passing on early downs with long runs on 3rd/long situations by their two tremendous running backs.
….It seemed to me that the Bama “hurry up” offense employed in 2nd half tired out those huge Georgia defensive lineman…hence…TT had more time to throw the ball.
…While he was confident looking in the 1st half, Frosh Fromm (GA’s QB) looked tight in the 2nd half
…lets’ not forget that Mizzou lit up that Georgia secondary (253 yards, 4 TD’s) in their game…Bama was able to isolate their receivers better in the 2nd half against the Bulldog secondary….especially the last TD strike…there wasn’t another sole in sight as the winning catch was made over the cornerback.
….in the 2nd half, Bama loaded the defensive box on 1st down…yet Georgia kept trying to run on that down putting themselves in 2nd & long repeatedly….the Bulldogs were far too conservative in their play calling in the 2nd half…just as OU had done the week previously
….Georgia started playing the clock WAY TOO EARLY…keep moving the ball..keep the off rhythm
…how is it that Nick Saban….as great a evaluator as he is….can NEVER recruit a kicker….If Bama had lost I was afraid that there might be a lynching in Tuscaloosa.. you can imagine who’d be facing the wrath of the Tide fans….I can’t remember Bama EVER having a superb kicker…..usually it doesn’t matter when you outscore the opponents by 4-5 touchdowns every week though, does it
…all in all…. what a great Championship game… great plays, weird plays, momentum changing right before our eyes, superior athletes on both teams, great entertainment. Kudos to both teams and of course …special praise to Alabama for “Turning the Tide”

The tide has turned in other sports areas…
…has the tide turned in the Cardinals brass evaluations of starting pitching free agents? Now we hear Jake Arrieta is on the radar..why would the Cards look in that direction when they’ve bypassed Lance Lynn….who will be signed for far less that Arrieta..check their comparative numbers for last year
Age W-L ERA WHIP INN K probable “signing” area
Arrieta 31 14-10 3.57 1.218 168 163 4 years-$105m
Lynn 30 11-8 3.43 1.229 186 153 4 years-$70m
Now for their career averages
IP W-L ERA WHIP INN K
Arrieta 203 15-10 3.57 1.169 203 188
Lynn 193 14-9 3.38 1.288 193 182
Or….has this become a one-on-one matchup between the two General managers in a game of “gottcha”…which team signed the last player from the other team …it started with Lackey & Heyward…then Fowler…come on…if Lynn didn’t fit in..fine…but Arrieta isn’t the answer.
….the tide turned in Columbia, MO…on the basketball court…Coach Martin …realizing that his Frosh Center, Jerimiah Tillmon, was constantly getting into very early foul trouble and sitting on the bench for most of the game as a result….started Frosh JonTay Porter in the last game…and PORTER guarded the opposing center thus keeping Tillmon out of foul trouble. Bravo Coach!!
….It really didn’t turn the tide for anyone else but the team and the Coaching staff….but…Director of Athletics at Central Florida, Danny White, held a parade for his 13-0 team and rewarded the coaching with bonuses as IF they had won the national championship….it’s really amazing when you consider that the Head Coach AND the entire staff are moving to Nebraska for next season. White’s reasoning….if a team wins every game, they MUST be the national Champions. What else could they do?
…Mizzou basketball shows signs of improvement but the lack of a strong ballhandling guard really hurts them late in the games as the opposition increases the pressure and the Tigers can’t quite handle it… hopefully…they’ll turn the tide soon
…the Great Lakes Valley Conference Basketball conferences (Men & Women) have really turned the tide in their “conference rankings” for the season. It’s no longer ….just wins-losses… as commonly done. The new plan now uses a scale listed below that awards more points for road wins than home wins and more points for teams with better records than wins over those teams with lesser records…here’s the breakdown.
GLVC POINT RATING BREAKDOWN
POINTS SHALL BE AWARDED FOR EACH CONFERENCE CONTEST PLAYED:
7 POINTS – WIN OVER A .750 OR BETTER TEAM ON THE ROAD
6.5 POINTS – WIN OVER A .750 OR BETTER TEAM AT HOME
6 POINTS – WIN OVER A .500 OR BETTER TEAM ON THE ROAD
5 POINTS – WIN OVER A .500 OR BETTER TEAM AT HOME
4.5 POINTS – WIN OVER A .250 OR BETTER TEAM ON THE ROAD
4 POINTS – WIN OVER A .250 TEAM OR BETTER AT HOME
3.5 POINTS – WIN OVER AN UNDER .250 TEAM ON THE ROAD
3 POINTS – WIN OVER AN UNDER .250 TEAM AT HOME
2.5 POINTS – LOSS AT HOME OR ON THE ROAD TO A .750 OR BETTER TEAM
2 POINTS – LOSS TO A .500 OR BETTER TEAM AT HOME OR ON THE ROAD
1 POINT – LOSS TO A .250 OR BETTER TEAM AT HOME OR ON THE ROAD
.5 POINTS – LOSS TO AN UNDER .250 TEAM ON THE ROAD
0 POINTS – LOSS TO AN UNDER .250 TEAM AT HOME
….in the NCAA Mens Basketball National Rankings..the tide definitely has turned….the usual names found at the top aren’t there…none in the 5! The usual blue-bloods hanging out at the top of the poll have dropped… Duke is #9, Kansas #12, N. Carolina #20, Kentucky #21. Can you imagine?… a Missouri Valley Team…Wichita at #5 .. over these perianal powerhouses. That’s not to say that by the end of the season that we’ll see our “ol friends” in the thick of March Madness…btw…Villanova is #1 in both major polls.
…..I wish the tide would turn for the Blues…a scoring drought…especially on the power play makes each and every goal by the opponents magnified…..recently, I’ve noticed the opposition is getting clear open shots on our net…it’s 3 on 2 or 4 on 3…the Blues can’t guard them all….I can’t determine if our wingers can’t get back….or in too deep when they lose possession….or whatever…but these professional hockey players ARE going to score when there isn’t a defender in front of them. Somehow I’ve thought that the Blues were young….well…they have 9 players 30+ years old on their 21 man roster…that’s 42% of the roster….and how many are “stars”? here they are–Bouwmeester, Brodziak, Gunnarson, Hutton, Sobotka, Stastny, Steen, Thorburn and Upshaw…ur call…how many?
….I wish the Cards would turn the tide and try one of my suggestions….either go to a 6-ace rotation…i.e that is your ace goes every 5 games and everyone else 6 games….it’d look like this..
12345 16234 15623 14562 13456 ..repeat….12345 …give those starting pitchers more rest OR use one or two pitchers as “bridge” men…they come into relieve in the 6th inning with the expectations of pitching 2 or 3 innings…these bridge men could pitch with 2 or 3 days rest…again shorten the work and the depth…of the setup & closing part of the bullpen
…while we’re in the bullpen….is Yadi still here….ooops….NO-sorry, He’s catching today….. anyway….the “closer” tide has turned…it now appears that Luke Gregerson will be the closer at the start of the season for the Cardinals…he’ll be 34 years old in May…for most of his career he’s been a good…to very good…set up man…does that mean that he can’t close out games….NO…he did it in in 2015…31 saves for Houston..but then Houston pushed him back into a set-up man for their last 2 seasons?….last year, Gregerson struck out 70 while walking 20…good ratio….he also faced 263 batters in 61 innings….that’s only 4.3 batters/inning…that looks good too…..but for the 1st time in his career… his Hits/Inning exceeded 1.00…those marks looked like this–62 hits in 61 inn…this was a 1st in his career….also, Gregerson surrendered 13 HR in 61 IP…that also was the most that he’s allowed in his career….bit worrisome to me…I’m afraid that we’ve reacquired a pitcher that we traded away 8 years ago and now is approaching the twilight of his successful career. From my observations….older closers like this start the season fine but wear down my July-Aug days…let’s hope that isn’t the case here
….not having to turn the tide but just keep it rolling are the Parkway Central Colts Basketball Team… generally, under the radar somewhat in the StL HS Boys Basketball scene. Coach Ric Kirby’s teams play tenacious defense, smart but not flashy offense and make sure that their best players get the ball at key moments of the game. Kirby is a story in himself. He Coached Pk Central for 18 years the stepped away in 2005 with a 337-167 record, won 2 conference titles, 4 district championships and reached the final four 3 different years. He returned to the same head coaching position in 2012. Last year he took his Colts back to the Final Four @ Mizzou Arena. His leading scorer from last year DeAndre Campbell returns as a Senior and is scoring 26+ppg while the Colts are piling up another successful season @ 11-3. Congrats to Coach Kirby and his Pk Central Colts team for keeping the tide rolling.
….In the Nearly Forgotton League…the tied turned back and forth all weekend in games that really mean something…quick run-down…I actually enjoyed the games over the weekend
…New England dominated Tennessee….the impeccable game plan of B&B punched so many holes in the Titans defense that the game was never in doubt..
…Case Keenum is going to the Divisonal Championship…can you believe that?..He’s the 3rd string QB of the Vikings….who whatta believed that he’d connect on a long…albeit wobbly…pass down the sideline omn the last play of the game…the New Orleans defender only had to let the receiver catch the ball and tackle him…instead the defender puts his head down…I guess to deliver a “big blow”…he misses the man…and Stefon Diggs raced into the end Zone for the winning points as time expired…. needlessly…the referees cleared the field for a meaningless PAT..why? I know I can’t expect logic or reason from the Nearly forgotton League.
…Jacksonville jumped way ahead of Pittsburgh…it was 28-7 Jax in 2nd quarter…28-14 @ half…it was still 42-28 with 4+ min remaining in the game….the offenses were dominating in the 4th quarter when Pittsburgh scored @the 2:01 mark left in the game to cut the lead to 42-35.. Head Coach Mike Tomlin decided to go for an on-sides kick…it failed…Jax recovered the KO … had a short field and kicked a FG to make it 45-35….it wasn’t over…the Steelers scored again with just :01 left to close the gap to 45-42 but no one has ever onsides KO AND recovered it and ran it in for a TD….
….well the tide of this blog is turning….it’s finished!

 

Alexa … find me … by Bob Ryan

OK…I received a new toy…or program, for Christmas…ask Alexa….so I thought that I’d put it to work…here we go..

Bob…thx  Alexa……ya know I hear a lot about that WAR stat…find me what that means and who were in the top 10 of the MLB for 2017.

Alexa…OK…let me check….well I’ve found the definition of WAR…it says “Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is an attempt by the sabermetric baseball community to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic.. now…WAR offers an estimate to answer the question, “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer or a AAAA player from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?” This value is expressed in a wins format, so we could say that Player X is worth +6.3 wins to their team while Player Y is only worth +3.5 wins, which means it is highly likely that Player X has been more valuable than Player Y….that’s your 1st answer….now let me find the top 10………there…I’ve found it…. the top 10 in the MLB in 2017..#1 was Jose Altuve-8.3; #2 Aaron Judge-8.1; #3 Giancarlo Stanton-7.6,#4 Joey Votto-7.5; #5 Nolan Arenado-7.2; #6-Andrelton Simmons (Angels SS)-7.1; #7Jose Ramirez (Clev OF)-6.9; #8 Mike Trout-6.7; #9 Mookie Betts-6.4  #10 Tommy Pham-6.4`

Bob….Alexa find me some concerns about the Mizzou 2017 football team

Alexa…OK…let me check…well I’ve found these worrisome stats about Mizzou 2017 football..in no particular order..Mizzou was a -8 in turnovers=worst in SEC; Mizzou committed 96 penalties this year=12th in USA..not Conference USA…the entire country; in Coach Barry Odums 2 years as Head Coach, he is 11-14 but only 2 wins were over teams that finished over .500; and I don’t know exactly what this means but in the 2 games that Coach Odum had the longest to prepare (MO State & Texas), Mizzou went out and played their two worst games.

Bob….Alexa find me the cost of the tickets if I wanted to attend the NCAA Football Championship game..

Alexa….I’m looking…..these prices are from the TicketCity Web site…..the lowest priced tickets are $1277…I imagine that you’re behind a pole  ….the highest listed are $12,605…per seat

Bob….Alexa find me the hottest scorer for the Blues in recent games…

Alexa….OK…I’m looking……….I’m still looking…………….I’m looking……………………I’m still looking

Bob…all right, all right….let’s go here……Alexa..find me… Mizzou’s best scorers this season?

Alexa….OK…I’m looking….the leading scorer is is SR Jordan Bartnett @ 15.9 ppg….Bartnett played 2 years @ Texas. Right now Bartnett is the best player on the team. Next in scoring is a 5th year SR transfer—Kassius Robertson 15.4ppg #2. Robertson is really “out of position”…he’s a shooting guard but being forced into playing point guard.

Bob….hey wait a minute…all I heard about in the off season was these new recruits…now I know the best one Michael Porter Jr has been injured…but Alexa find me these other hot recruits?

Alexa….OK….I’m looking…Frosh Jerimiah Tilmon is at 18.4min/gm & 9.0ppg….and Frosh….Jontay Porter does 22.7min/gm while scoring 8.3ppg. Two other Freshman recruits have left the team.

Bob….recently I was listening to a sports talk radio show…the guest was Marv Levi…most famous for losing 4 straight Super Bowls….not famous for MAKING 4 straight Super Bowls…no one else has EVER done that…. anyway…he was very enjoyable to listen to as he recalled many anecdotes in his career…despite being 90+ years old….it got me thinking…recently it seems to me that  Buffalo turns over coaches frequently…find me how many coaches that the Bills have they had since 2001

Alexa….I’m checking…whoa…. Bob….you’ve got  a handful….the Buffalo Bills have hired 9 different Head Coaches starting with the year 2001…that’s right 17 years—9 coaches….only 1 coach has been over .500…the current coach..Sean McDermott 9-7…and he made the playoffs….uh…Bob…it seems that many of these coaches had NO prior head coaching experience…what did they expect @ Buffalo?

Bob:  I can’t help myself Alexa…on Sunday I found myself watching the Jacksonville-Buffalo playoff game…..it reminded me of ol’ time football….not much offense (Jax won 10-3)….the Jags QB had more yardage running than passing so that says a lot right there…the Bills QB got injured on their final drive…which turned out to be futile…backup QB threw an INT….punters were played a bigger role than any running back in the game….Tony Romo….”expert” commentator…weaved back & forth between a skilled analyst reading the defenses and a fan….”ya gotta do this now….etc”  kind of refreshing.

Alexa….what do you want me to find? A Coach?  QB? Punter?  Announcer? What do you want?

Bob…hey, hey.. Alexa..I’m supposed to ask the questions…not you….anyway I’m curious….Mizzou has lost their Def & Off Coordinators that started the 2017 season….how does that impact their pay scale for assistant coaches….

Alexa…OK…I’m looking…..ur right Bob….DeMontie Cross (DC) had a $600,000 & Josh Heupel (OC) $700,000 contracts and now both are gone…..the Mizzou football coaching staff (not counting head coach)was the 20th highest paid football staff in the USA in 2017..with the two highest paid assistants now gone…it should drop some

Bob…soo…staying along that line…which team had the highest paid jobs for their assistant coaches

Alexa…..reeeally?   Come on Bob….of course it was Alabama followed by Clemson, Michigan, Florida and Auburn..btw Bob….the SEC had 10 of the top 20 spots in highest paid assistant football coaching staffs

Bob….Alexa let’s stay in the college mode….St Louis U won Saturday so they are now  1-2 in the A-10. Alexa find me the chances  of SLU popping into the top tier of that league…

Alexa…..OK…I’m checking…Well Bob…ur right, SLU is 1-2 but of the 14 conference teams…eight of them are 1-2 in conference …Duquesne & Rhode Island are 3-0, Va Tech 2-1…I don’t know if they can crack into the top 3 but clearly the league is very “even” below that top echelon….but…. But Bob…the Billikens are 0-4 on the road…they’ll have to win SOME games away from Chaivetz Arena in order to to make any mark at all.

Bob…..yea…yea…..but now…..Alexa find me the Cardinals rotation as of July 1, 2018?

Alexa….OK….I’m looking ….uh…Bob that isn’t available…all I can find is the starting rotation for the start of the year…it shows Carlos Martinez; Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Luke Weaver…. But Bob I do find a footnote that Anthony Reyes is available around May 1..

Bob…Alexa….I’m going to turn the tables…I’ll give YOU the starting rotation on July 19(1st game after all-star game—Martinez, Reyes, Weaver, Jack Flaherty & another pitcher not currently in their system or on their team—Wacha will be a “bridge man” –long reliever/spot starter; Wainwright will have arm issues of some sort; Mikolas will be in the pen…trying to keep his arm upright after being used…maybe abused…in 1st half appearances

Bob…Alexa….find me more about this Miles….what’s his name…  Mikolas?

Alexa…..OK…I’m looking….here…he’s 29 years old…he pitched in the majors for 3 years…2012, 2013, 2014. The first 2 seasons at San Diego, he worked as a reliever and the last season @ Texas as a starter. His lifetime MLB stats are 4-6, 5.32 era, .267 avg against him, whip 1.42…..but Bob….wait…I just found that he pitched the last 3 seasons in Japan…he was 31-13 there, 2.18 ERA in 62 starts (21 starts annually),WHIP .994, 378 strikeouts, 69 walks and 28 HR permitted in those 3 seasons.

Bob…Alexa…assuming everyone around here knows about these outstanding collegiate QB’s– Baker Mayfield (OU), Sam Darnold (USC), Drew Lock (Mizzou), Trace McSorley (Penn St)…find for me the “Other” best QB of 2017 that have been overlooked by many fans…

Alexa…OK…I’m looking….well Bob…popping up immediately is Lamar Jackson (Louisville)…he won the Heisman last year as a Soph in 2016  but had better numbers(better passing %, less INT, higher avg per run) this year…why the disappearing act…Louisville barely won their first 2 games then got crushed by Clemson, were upset by Boston College….the short of it…the team didn’t attract as much attention…thus Jackson “got lost” by national media…oh.. they won’t have to worry about his Senior  year…Jackson just declared for the draft

Bob….the Blues are struggling to score goals…find me some pertinent stats for December…too early in Jan to arrive at conclusions in 3 games….

Alexa…OK…..I’m looking…here are some stats for the month of Dec for the Blues…Blues were 7-9 for the month… Vladimir Tarasenko played in all 16 games, avg 20m/gm—scored 4 goals all month…he did have 64 shots on goal but only 6.3% were goals…Alexander Steen & Paul Stastny each scored 1 goal for the month…Steen was a -3 and Stastny was a -11 for December..Brayden Schenn was the offensive leader….he had 7 goals, 4 assists for the Blues last month. The Blues are 28th in the league in power play proficiency with 14.8%…the defense is still strong….4th in the NHL in goals permitted. Maybe  GM Armstrong can pull off another steal like he did with Schenn and add an offensive threat for the Blues.  It’s a weird schedule…the Blues have played 3 games against Calgary, Edmonton & Dallas and have yet to play San Jose, Washington & Boston..

Bob…Alexa…. find for me Carson Kelly’s future?

Alexa…I’m looking….well..my reports say that he just about “ready” for the MLB but Yadi’s extension now takes him through 2020….so…..my reports seem muddled….he can’t sit there for 3 more years….it looks like he’ll try camping out in the bullpen like Yadi taught him to do when you don’t like what’s going on…..and…it’s becoming clearer now….looks like he’s not going to be a Cardinal much past this year…if he makes it that long

Bob….Alexa…find me the top NL rookies for 2018 according to MLB.com

Alexa…OK….I’m checking….Bob they are listed in this order… Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves’ No. 1 prospect; Lewis Brinson, OF, Brewers’ No. 1 prospect; Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect; Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals’ No. 3 prospect; Victor Robles, OF, Nationals’ No. 1 prospect

Bob…..let’s get off the Cardinals….Alexa…find me which MLB  had the best off-season thus far?

Alexa…OK…I’m checking…..well, Bob …it’s the LA Angels…they have been rated with an “A” for their off season moves..they resigned Justin Upton…so they’ll have him for the full year, acquired a new ..if not young…middle Infield in Ian Kinsler & Zach Cosart, signed an exciting talent in Shohei Ohtani…but Bob….I don’t see much for their woeful bullpen

Bob…don’t worry Alexa…they’ll pick them up when they start to win…but…I’m wondering why did the Cards give up Mag Sierra in the Ozuna trade?  Would you find that out?

Alexa….sure Bob….I’m checking….oh here it is….apparently the Cards didn’t feel that he’d hit enough to carry a starting position

Bob…but Alexa …he hit .317 in 22 Cardinal games in 2017….

Alexa….easy Bob….I’m just following the data…he is projected by three different baseball sites to hit between .250 & .258… in 2018….but…wait a minute…surprisingly to me Bob…they only project 3-11 stolen bases for the year …. Mags has the wheels and should steal more than 4 bases but CAN he put the ball in play….Cards didn’t think so!

Bob……forget about him Alexa…he’s been exiled to Miami…where players go to fade into anonymity while catting around late in night clubs …Alexa lets go back to college football…find me which team did the best in the early signing period..which is going to be called the Blue Chip signing period… at some point…all the others….the white chippers will be signing in the following February

Alexa….OK..I’m checking with different sources…..the top schools are ranked a bit differently in each one….so….here they are without any specific rankings….Georgia, Texas, Miami, Penn State, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and of course, Alabama…

Bob….yesterday, the KC Chiefs lost another round game….it seems like that is always happening to Coach Andy Reid…so Alexa…find me data of the coaching Career of Andy Reid

Alexa….OK…I’m checking…Andy Reid has been a head NFL coach 19 years (14 @ Philly, 5 @KC)….before moving to the pros in 1992, he was an Assistant Coach for Mizzou under head Coach Bob Stull (89-91)…the Tigers went 2-9, 4-7, 3-7-1 during that time.  Reid has only had 3 losing seasons in 19 years…and one was his 1st year..has made the playoffs 3 consecutive years but has been knocked out in the 1st round each of the last 2 years…his lifetime regular season record in NFL as a HEAD Coach is 183-121-1 in regular season…in the playoffs (13 of his 19 years)…he’s 11-13..so for his career he’s 194-134-1-.593….that puts him as the 9th most winningest coach in NFL history…btw… as a point of interest…the top 5 NFL coaches in the win category are: #1 in NFL wins is Don Shula 347-173-6 – .665; #2 George Halas 324-151-31-.671 ; #3 Bill Belichick  276-128-.683; #4 Tom Landry  270-178-6-.601; #5 Curly Lambeau  229-134-22-.623…so Bob….Reid is “up there” in the rarified air of NFL coaches. But…Bob….keep in mind that the NFL seasons, post-seasons were much, much shorter through until the mid-60’s.

Bob….thx  Alexa…well…..I’m worn out…asking all these questions is “tough”on me …. Alexa…find me an ending…

Alexa…..Thanks for reading….goodbye! Print your responses right here on the Prepcasts site below article….or…if you prefer…email them to Bob and he’ll print them with your initials….no one is right …or wrong…it’s YOUR opinion.

 

Christmas Gifts Under the Sports Tree by Bob Ryan

Gift opening is over….hopefully all enjoyed a terrific Christmas…now lets’ take a look at some of the gifts that our sports heroes and sports teams received….
…. Shohei Ohtani …newly singed LA Angel…received a “one of a kind” gift…. he’ll be the 1st MLB to be listed TWICE in fantasy baseball leagues…once as a pitcher and once as a hitter…could it ever happen that he’d be traded for himself (pitcher for hitter)?
….Dexter Fowler received the “Jimmy John” award for quickness….he’s last in and first out of the clubhouse on a regular basis
…City of Miami has received the Barnum & Baily Award (a sucker born ever minute)….the Marlins indicated many years ago that they needed a new stadium… publicly funded…Miami approved it.. the stadium opened in 2012 with the expectations that the Marlins would be an entertaining team. The total cost of the stadium was $515m , Marlins paid $155m, City of Miami $13m and other $347m was handled by Miami-Dade County. So….after having invested $360m, the Miami area expected the Marlins to reciprocate and give their best effort (money) to field a decent to good team…..not so….right now, the Marlins fire sale is shipping off quality players quicker than any pizza delivery due to the financial limitations of the new ownership group.
….with the above info fresh in your mind….it’s easy to see why Derek Jeter opened up the “Stran Kroneke” Award for Miami this year.
…winning the David Copperfield Award for his disappearing act is Carson Kelly…. always seen pre-game, Kelly disappears after the game begins and isn’t seen again throughout the next 3-4 hours on most nights
…receiving the “Rookie of the Half-Year” Award in the NHL is the Las Vegas Golden Knights…firmly implanted in 2nd place with 46 points in 33 games (22-9-2). Thus far the Golden Knights have kept their players motivated by reminding them that their former teams didn’t’ want them…and…we hear that many NHL teams spend 2-3 nights in Vegas on their trips to Las Vegas….maybe…the visiting teams had their minds distracted a bit, heh? …that’s my hockey word
…receiving the award for winning the battle of the “Best of Early Signing” Award is Clemson. The Tigers signed 4 of the top rated 10 players in the country.
….The Blues found a ‘jump” on their offensive battery… Tage Thompson & Patrik Berglund have recharged the team..at least a bit… at a time when their offensive battery was dead
….finding under his tree the Waterman Trophy for spitting is Jeff Gyorko….it’s not so much the quality but the quantity of the spitting …generally while he’s in the batter’s box
…Tampa Bay Rays received the “Florida Clone” award….following the example of their buddy south of them in Miami…Tampa has indicated that they also would like to “move” high quality players… reason…..cut payroll…..so….Evan Longoria ends up in San Fran….closer Alex Colume has been listed often in trade talks and highly touted starting pitcher Chris Archer sees his name bandied about…so….now BOTH of the MLB teams in Florida will be fielding AAA type teams…ugh!!!
…opening up the “Bob Gibson Interview Award” is Tommy Pham…like Gibson, Pham’s interviews were very direct, blunt, spoken in clearly understandable words and without even the smallest concern for anyone who may be offended by his remarks.
….Aaron Rogers found a watch under his tree so he can determine if he’s seen more on the football field or on commercials
…receiving the “Highway to Heaven” award is Matt Adams…..Adams left the 72-90 Atlanta Braves as a free agent and now has signed with the Washington Nationals 97-65,1st place, most key players are returning for the Nats…no rebuild around him… he’s gotta feel like he’s in heaven now
…receiving the” Johnny Manziel” award for college players totally wrapped up in themselves are the 4 U of Texas players who refused to play against Missouri in the Texas Bowl because they were intending to play pro football…and with 3 more Longhorns suspended for the game…the outcome is looking much brighter for the Tigers.
..the city of Detroit opened up the “you did it again” package….Detroit is the only city to win in one year all three of the major sports titles…in 1935 the Lions won the NFL Tile, the Tigers the World Series and the Red Wings the Stanley Cup! …many baby boomers opened up plenty of positive memories under their tree when they were reminded of Tim McCarver’s entry into the Cards HOF this year. McCarver made his first appearance as a 17 year old in 1959 when he played in 6 games. He was the #1 catcher all through the 60’s….primary catcher of all 3 of the Cards World Series seasons in the 60’s….was part of the “CBC” connection of the 60’s Cards….he and teammate Phil Gagliano graduated from CBC HS in Memphis and Mike Shannon from CBC StL…btw.. Gagliano died in December 2016
…Mizzou & Illinois each opened up an AED device after using it to recusitate the Bragging Rts Basketball game last week…the crowd of 21,000+ enjoyed the 70-64 Illini win. Illinois has now won 5 straight in this streaky series that began in 1980…Illinois currently has won 9 in a row and won 8 in a row another time. The Tigers have winning streaks of 4 in a row twice. Illinois leads Braggin Rights series 32-16. In the 4 years prior to the Bragging Rights game in St. Louis…the Show Me Classic found the same two teams going back & forth between Columbia & Champaign.
…the Harpo Marx award for all of his public words was found under the tree of Mike Girsch, GM of the St. Louis Cardinals…when will he talk?
…picking it up …then dropping it… the “Goose Egg” Award is the U of Missouri Football Staff for their successful recruiting of any of the top 10 St Louis players listed by the StLTODAY staff ….if you’re thinking that these players aren’t good enough…think again….2 players signed with Ohio State, 1 each with Oklahoma, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas.
…John Mozeliak received an updated thesaurus to continue his pattern of using “fresh” words when describing the same ol’ ideas….be good enough to get 3m fans but not good enough to be the very best of the National League
….jointly opening a gift…the Blues & Cards each received a gold star for their production of the Winter Classic…held way back on January 2nd…it drew 46,000+ fans, Blues won 4-1….great memories for all
….belatedly finding the BOB Award for a HOF announcers was Dick Enberg….Enberg passed away earlier this week….like many of the HOF announcers in my personal HOF…. Enberg didn’t use slick sounding language or the latest buzz words that may have pointed to him being the star….he let the excitement of the game speak for itself….his famous expression, “Oh My” after a great play….often said it all
….Drew Brees opened a “born again” envelope as he and his Saints look to be rejuvenated to the point that they almost resemble the only Saints Super Bowl Championship team of 2009
…found under the tree of the Cardinals PR division is the book on Public Honesty by Richard Nixon … Cards have maintained for years of the superior strength of their minor league system….well… if so….the last Cardinal Rookie of the Year was Albert Pujols in 2001. Prior to that award, the Cards won back-back Rookies of the Year in 85-86 with Todd Worrell and Vince Coleman. The Cards do produce plenty of “good” players ….but…not so much when considering developing “stars”.
….for the 3rd consecutive year, finding under this tree as the Winner of the “StL Horses’ Petunia” Award is Stan Kroneke…for most of us…not seeing him at all …is a blessing
….Carlos Martinez found a stack of 400 small paper cups under this tree so that maybe he’ll resume his “splash” after his teammates hit round trippers…. as he did in 2016 but not much in 2017.
…Bob Ryan received a STOP sign under his tree…so…… Happy New Year to all of you….Wishing you all the best in 2018…. YOUR responses are always terrific….respond to any part….If you don’t want your name listed, use your initials..or send it to me and I’ll use your initials to post it… in case you missed some of the most popular articles of the year…..here are a few to consider…

Jan 30 Brady or Belichick ? http://www.prepcasts.com/brady-or-belichick-by-bob-ryan/
Mar 5 BOB Awards http://www.prepcasts.com/bob-awards-by-bob-ryan/
Apr 9 Missing the Goal http://www.prepcasts.com/missing-the-goal-by-bob-ryan/
May 27 Sports Jeopardy http://www.prepcasts.com/sports-jeopardy-by-bob-ryan/
July 3 A Sports 4th of July http://www.prepcasts.com/4th-of-july-by-bob-ryan/
Sep 3 Turning the Page http://www.prepcasts.com/turning-the-page-by-bob-ryan/
Nov 6 World Series Wrap UP http://www.prepcasts.com/world-series-wrap-up-by-bob-ryan/

Trade Sparks Life in Fans by Bob Ryan

The Cardinals acquired heavy hitting, smooth fielding Marcell Ozuna last week….suddenly…it seemed as if the fans were excited …..real excited….again…it was like fresh new life about the Cardinals. Why so?  The Cardinals had six different players with 20+ HR last year, two more with 18….but…none were viewed…at least by the fans… as a “true” power hitter.  Maybe it’s the lingering effect of Mark McGwire who in his two best years in the Lou hit 70 and 65 home runs. He banged out an OPS of  1.22 and 1.12…there was a buzz in the park as he approached the plate…will it be that way now?  Ozuna  banged out 37 dingers last year with 124 RBI’s….a really strong season….it was his “breakout” year.  In the previous 3 years, he slugged 23, 10 and 23 Home runs….rather mediocre…but….it’s said that he disciplined himself more at the plate…laid off pitches out of the strike zone. Another consideration is that Ozuna upgrades our defense.  He was a gold glove player last year and is recognized as a “good” defensive player.  Ozuna has 2 years remaining on his contract. All in all….it appears to be a strong move by MO and his crew.  What about the other Cardinal Moves this winter?

….Acquiring LF Ozuna  and moving Tommy Pham to CF shoves Derrick Fowler to RF.  He’ll be able to cover the ground but his weakest part of his defensive game is his arm.  The RF setting will accentuate that weakness. Last year, runner after runner challenged Fowler on the bases….I can see it happening again…and more often since the throw from RF to 3B is the longest.

…The bullpen may…or may not…need a closer…Tyler Lyons was the 13th best pitcher in the MLB in the 2nd half last season…that surprised me and probably many of you…But…how do we limp our way to the 9th ? Cards Bullpen still requires some attention…Luke Gregerson you say… Gregerson ranked #193 for 2nd half performance last season. He’ll turn 34 in May, had his highest ERA of his career last year with a 4.57 mark.  He did strike out a man per each inning of work… that’s good. ..but what’s around him….. Matt Bowman was #177 & Brett Cecil #180 for the same 2nd half rating. Swing when OH is gone, Rosey is gone. How about bringing some…OK…I’ll settle for 1 or 2 ….of these “Starting prospects”.  Put them in the pen…bring them in every 3rd/4th day to pitch 2-4 innings.  It’d help their arm (less innings expected), help the bullpen (Manifesto can’t keep running 4 different guys out there every day). Make them…or even….him..a steady, regular performer. Eventually I think Waino & Wacha will be swapping roles with these “prospects”.

…A question about the every day lineup….well…we know from 6 years of observation of this manager..the “every day” lineup is the same about 2 days in a row and then is changed..anyway..

As listed now by many “sports sites”….Matt Carpenter is back @ 3B with Jose Martinez @ 1B. Somehow I was under the impression that Martinez had developed in the Cardinals system. Not so..take a look at his career…

February 16, 2006: Signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent.

November 3, 2012: Granted Free Agency.

November 13, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.

November 5, 2013: Granted Free Agency.

June 20, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.

November 4, 2014: Granted Free Agency.

January 28, 2015: Signed as a Free Agent with the Kansas City Royals.

May 25, 2016: Purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Kansas City Royals

Last year was outstanding for Martinez—14 HR, 46 RBI, .309 average in 274 AB….can he match it again is the question. Three franchises have already “given up” on Martinez ?!? I really think that he’s an AL type guy…a DH…his fielding is in the lowest echelon of the MLB…

….so what’s next….the talks continue with Tampa Bay…Colume is the primary goal as our closer but I think….nothing except inferences between the lines…the Longoria could be obtained also….Tampa Bay seems to squeak by annually on one of the lowest payrolls in the MLB. With that in mind….can’t trade Carp to them (too costly)….a package of Gyorko (become 3B),  Martinez, 2 or 3 pitching prospects and maybe Carson Kelly(He can’t caddy Yadi again for another year can he?). Kelly’s value drops the longer he sits on the bench.

…Comparisons  of Gyorko & Longoria were interesting…Gyorko will 30 years old this year; Longoria ia 32.  Most would concede that Longoria is a better fielder…due primarily to his wider range.  However.. Gyorko did surprise many with his defensive play in 2017.  Using the small sample size of last year, here’s a snap shot comparison of the two…

                        GP    AB     R    H      2B  3B  HR   rbi  BB  SB   avg   OBP  slug   OPS

Longoria       156   677   71  160   36   2     20    86   46   6   .261  .313  .424  .737

Gyorko          125   426   52  116   21   2     20    67   47   6  .272   .341  .472  .813

 Comparing salaries is amazing close also..

                           2018                2019                2020                2021              2022                2023

Longoria      $13.5m            $14.5m            $15m                $18.5m         $19.5m          $13m

Gyorko          $9m                  $13m                $13m                —-                  —–                 —

Frankly….conceding Longoria has better defense ….his numbers are NOT markedly different when one considers the difference in the number of AB….his long term financial obligations are usually not of the Cardinals ilk…granted, Gyorko wasn’t the same hitter in the 2nd half…..it seemed that the opponents fed him a steady stream of breaking balls to get ahead in the count and then threw him those same breaking balls outside of the strike zone that he chased…on the other hand, Longoria hasn’t been in an All-Star game since 2010….Longoria has the name but is he worth it?

…a team that has really “gone all in” is the LA Angels…..the Angels really changed their team….it used to be Michael Trout, Albert and a bunch of “no names”….not any longer…they picked up Ian Kinsler-2b and Zach Cosart, who will be the 3B….they resigned their clean-up hitter– Justin Upton & his 30 HR.. Andrelton Simmons is a terrific SS and hit .278 last year…Kole Calhoun is solid …of course Michael Trout anchors the lineup. Angels are much improved defensively now and some additional veterans who maybe thinking that this is their last real “shot” at winning…could be fun for the Angel fans.

…another team worth noting is the Philadelphia Phillies….no….I didn’t have some type of “attack” ... the Phillies who feel like that they have a good-enough young starting rotation(2nd half ratings starting pitchers after name-Aaron Nola (#15) Jerd Eickhoff (#91) Ben Lively (#101), Nick Pivetta (#113) Vince Valeasquez (#122) have now solidified their bullpen with the signings of Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter. Adding Carlos Santana…middle of the lineup bat….will permit Rhys Hoskins to play daily in the OF. The daily lineup should score some runs….I look for this team to be much improved…..now…don’t go out and bet the farm but  the NL East…other than the Nats.. is wide open…when these “weaker” teams improve….wins become much tougher for the better teams.

…but…the only team that StL baseball fans ask about …outside the Cardinals..are the Cubs… Well.. Chicago has leaned heavily towards the pitching side of things this off-season…SP Tyler Chatwood was signed…Chatwood had been a starter for the Rockies…his numbers away from Colorado were markedly higher than those in Denver…that convinced GM Theo Epstein to sign him.  Cubs headed next to the bullpen where they lost closer Wade Davis to free agency….why won’t they resign Davis?  Epstein doesn’t believe in any contracts for bullpen pitchers for more than 2 years …Davis is asking for 4 years, $60m…. thus… Epstein moved on….Brendan Morrow & Steve Cishek were brought in for the pen …Morrow best known now for his iron-man imitation in the 2017 post-season while Cishek is a veteran relief hurler ….Also purchased was starter Drew Smyly…Smyly is a long term investment…he’s out in 2018 with Tommy John so he’s not even on the back burner. Smyly will be 29 years old when he returns in 2019. His lifetime ERA (5 seasons) is 3.74…myself….I’m doubtful of Morrow’s arm “holding up” after such a strenuous and LONG 2017 post-season…I think Cishek will evolve into the better of the two bullpen acquisitions for our friends in Chicago..btw…the Cubs farm system has been wiped out with trades to assist them in their World Series championship. As a result…not too much help coming up soon that will substantially improve the Cubs.

…Blues time…

…. Some seemed surprised that the Blues are struggling….really?….Schwartz (#1 offensive player on Blues in my book ) and Pietrangelo (#1 defensive player) and Boumeester are out….hockey is different than baseball…these players are on the ice for about 1/3 of the game….Schwartz @ 19:12/game; Pietrangelo for 25:46…baseball you bat 4x in a game (generally) with the average number of plate appearances around 38 per game for a team…probably not the same…but when hockey stars are injured… they’re replaced the 16th/17th best player on the team….you bet that there will be a drop-off…this could be a very rough next 30 days…but….looking at the big picture…it’s all about being at your peak in the playoffs..the REAL NHL season.

….On the High school scene…

….basketball season is in full force…one program that has been unbelievably good for over 60 years is St. Francis Borgia. The Knights success began in 1950 when Coach Ray DeGreef took over the reins of the basketball program. He retired in 1982 with 700+ wins.  5 years later, Dave Neier became the Head Coach. Neier has won 5 State Titles, been in the Final Four 10x and won 21 district championships.  Neier, still leading the Knights, is just 4 wins away from reaching the 700 win plateau himself….so….since 1950…except for 5 years when Neier was assistant coach…. ….three has been only 2  Head Coaches over 67 years (save 5  years when Neier was an Asst Coach) and each coach will have chalked up 700+ wins…what a tribute to them and the school. I’ve never heard of such a legacy..congrats!

….Congratulations to Gabby Blossom…named the StL High School Sports.com Volleyball player of the Year.  Gabby starred at St. Joseph Academy s the Angels won the State Championship… again.  Gabby was recognized for her leadership skills as well as her v-ball skills…not surprising…her Dad is Jay Blossom, the long-time, highly successful boys basketball coach at Webster Groves HS…Everyone who’s seen Jay coach on the sidelines knows that he’s a leader and an “all in” type of guy. I’m thinking that it was probably a lot tougher for him to be in the stands watching his daughter compete for STATE instead of being on the bench as a coach!

…No champions are crowned in December but there is a great deal of excitement on the SouthSide.  The St Mary’s Dragons are 9-0 as we approach Christmas. The Dragons, ranked #1 in small schools by the Post-Dispatch were also ranked #7 by USA-Today-Midwest region.  St. Mary’s will compete in the Coaches vs Cancer Tournament (formerly called the Meramec CC Christmas Tournament) over the Holidays.

…more and more I’m seeing the very good teams compete against each other in non-conference games.  Why not?  EVERY team goes to district…it doesn’t matter if you are 25-0, 24-1, 20-5…the tougher competition that you’ve faced should prepare you for the very tough games in district and beyond.

…..college basketball…

….Cuonzo Martin has piled up a 9-2 record.  Some wins look good…wins over W. Virginia, Iowa St, St Johns & U Cen Florida are worth noting.   Wins over cupcakes Wagner, Emporia St, Long Beach St, Green Bay & N.Florida are just padding the win column so that your team may look better to the NCAA committee in march…..generally, the NCAA doesn’t “fall for it”…btw… why even have a chair behind Coach Martin….have you seen him sit down yet…once? Hopefully, Martin will “sit” in Columbia for a while ….after his 2 predecessors each went only 3 years apiece.

….even Duke has a slip-up now and then….after blasting a cupcake, St. Francis 124-67, the Dukies fell to Boston College 89-84 in their ACC opener. Boston College is now 9-3 for the season.

….College football…

The newly instituted “early signing” period—Dec 20 to Dec 22 begins this week.  It’s the first year of this “early signing”.  Doesn’t seem like it really matters when they sign…Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and a few others will claim most the Blue-chippers. Sometimes these highly touted players live up to the hype…it seem like D-lineman & QB are the best bets….other times…it’s the lesser heralded player who become a star…often O-Lineman, D-Backs develop later…let’s watch it closely.

Well…as the excitement continues for Cardinal fans…lets also enjoy the excitement of the Christmas Season with family & Friends….Merry Christmas!

 

$tanton $weepstakes $aga by Bob Ryan

The past couple weeks all the buzz about the Cardinals has centered around their effort to procure GianCarlo Stanton from the Marlins…as you all know..it went south….some thoughts…

…I actually think the Marlins actually tried “pushing” $tanton a bit to accept the trade by trading their outstanding 2B Dee Gordon to Seattle ….indicating to $tanton the road that they are traveling…any player with a substantial salary will be removed….so….Miami was saying to $tanton …you better agree soon because there won’t be any other players around you…how much fun will that be….clearly he got the “hint” and out of nowhere…it seemed…$tanton was going to be a Yankee.

…$urprising? …not really..so $taton made it clear that he wants to play on a winner…a big winner… he’s NEVER played on a .500+ team, much less go to the playoffs….and he wants to live on the  coast….originally, we thought it was the west coast…it  sounded like the LA Dodgers were his goal?  After all.. Who else wins “big” on the west coast … none of the AL west coast teams are big winners… or even .500 these days…Why didn’t the Dodgers want to play in the $sweepstatkes ?…well… LA has spent $237m in each of the past several seasons…if it happens again next year, LA will have to pay an extra 45% surcharge tax and their top draft pick of 2018 (#30 overall) will drop 10 spots….LA’s stated goal is to sink to the measly low level of $208m…and that’s without ANY potential additions and clearly not playing in the $tanton $weepstakes…soooo..Stanton swaps coast lines and uses the same criteria to sign with another financially healthy team….the Yankees. The Yanks have bought $uperstar for decades.they   began their purchases of $uperstars way back in 1920 when they procured a guy named Babe Ruth.

….I was a bit puzzled why the Cards REALLY  felt like they needed $tanton in the middle of the lineup…I think it may have been the Aaron Judge phenomena….look at the buzz that he brought to NY this year with his prodigious blasts…the Cards were/are looking for that buzz.  Now NYY will have a Ruth/Gehrig look with Judge & Stanton back-back in the lineup…impressive.              

…on the other side of the deal……the early joy of Derek Jeter being an owner in Miami has also gone further south….one Miami newspaper said, “Jeter’s two months at the helm have been tone-deaf, incompetent, and callous, and Rob Manfred may need to save him from himself” Jeter had a low bar to jump over the previous owner…besting the weak efforts of Jeffrey Loria who ruined Montreal & Miami as baseball cities…now Jeter has fired everyone associated with the old front office and refusing to replace them with new people to save on payroll, is constantly shopping around for new investors to help him stay solvent, shops around is best players ($tanton & Gordon) for financial reasons, and now according to Jeff Passan, fired a scout who requires a kidney transplant while the guys is still in the hospital recovering from colon cancer surgery…. everyone knows that baseball is a big business…but Jeter’s indifference to fans and people in general has been extremely sad… in fact, MLB baseball may be forced to act on him as Bowie Kuhn did to Charlie Finley as he wanted to ship off ALL of his stars in Oakland years ago.. Kuhn did not allow Finley to unload Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi and Vida Blue for not much more than handshake and some cash….maybe MLB will need to step into Miami with the same “big stick” clause ?

Where does this signing…or lack of signing… leave the Cards?

…So the Cards open the $igning $eason by signing relief hurler Luke Gregerson to a 2 year contract. This one-time Cardinal prospect has been in the MLB 9 years as a relief hurler. Last year as a 33 year old he was 2-3, 4.57 ERA, 65 appearances with a WHIP of 1.344…the ERA & WHIP numbers were the highest of his career. Clearly the Cardinals are expecting him to work the 7th or 8th inning. I’m luke-warm on Luke…his numbers from last year concern me….but….it’s a start.

…I’ve even heard rumors of Evan Longoria….his numbers are just a bit above Jeff Gyorko…yes …he can field better..but …is his larger contract worth  the small difference of play?  …not to me…

…I also have heard interest in Alex Colome (closer Tampa Bay…I would suspect we’d have to send them some type of relief hurler, a top OF prospect (Tampa had NO starting batter over .275 in their lineup last year) and another player (probably an OF or pitcher)

…I DO think that the Cards ownership wants the buzz mentioned above…I think Many Machado of Baltimore is the most likely candidate….it’d take 4 players….at least 2 very high quality & pitchers.

…outside the $weepstakes $aga…

….Mizzou football loses 2 key assistant coaches(Heupel & Elarbee)….I would assume that most assistant coaches want to become Head Coaches….when the opportunity presents itself to become a Head Coach or a better Asst job…”better” has many possible considerations.. generally after you’ve coached a winning team…move on….that’s the business….Barry Odum seemed a bit upset with Elarbee (offensive line coach) decided to join Heupel’s staff @ U Central Florida…..I should remind him….this is the time that coaches often move….Odum fired his defensive coordinator after 2 games of the season and seemed comfortable doing it at that very awkward time for a coach to land another job…that door swings both ways big boy..

…The Heisman Trophy winner was Baker Mayfield.  Generally, it is won by a very successful, nationally recognized team. In recent years, it generally goes to the best player on the one of the best team of the country….Mayfield had some very impressive statistics in leading OU to a banner season…in his acceptance speech, he recognized former winners…especially from OU…his competitors, his coaches, his teammates…it touched all the bases….nice approach however….I guess that they don’t teach public speaking in schools any longer….he gave his speech with the hands in his pockets…ugh…. and…now I’m nit-picking …he used the same couple phrases over and over again…come on…pay someone else to write the speech if you have a limited vocabulary…no one will remember the speech unless it’s  not good .

…speaking of the Heisman’s….since 2000, there have been 18 Heisman winners….15 have been QB! As recently as the 90’s (10 winners) there were 5 QB and 5 non-QB….The game HAS changed…passing is the primary staple of the offense for most teams…as indicated by the choice of so many QB. For many, it was the end of their notoriety as star football players… Chris Weinke (2000,Florida St), Eric Crouch (2001-Neb),  Jason White (2003-OU), Matt Leinart (2004-USC), Troy Smith (2006 the Ohio State), Tim Tebow (2007, Florida), Johnny Manziel (2012-Tx A&M)..the 3 running backs since 2000 ….what a great trivia question…2005 Reggie Bush-USC -later removed for the scandal under Pete Carroll; 2009 Mark Ingram –Bama; 2015 Derrick Henry-Bama. Lamar Jackson (Louisville) won it last year….had another terrific season (3000ish passing yards & 1000ish rushing yards) but was 3rd in the voting this year ????  Btw…Mayfield is the 1st Senior to win the Heisman Award since 2006 (Troy smith-Ohio State)

…a special treat on Saturday for me….watching the Army-Navy game….it was snowy…cold…windy…a great game to watch on TV….the two teams…based on discipline both utilizing run offenses since these teams aren’t built around players hoping to go to the NFL…these offenses are designed to chew up the clock with short, consistent gains…e.g. each team had the ball ONCE in the first quarter!..these men still view it as a game…. their real  training is in learning to defend all of the rest of us. You may not like the styles of football offense…I actually do….but you have to admire their supreme efforts, skill, timing and discipline…that word again, I must be following the Baker Mayfield school of writing  ….the camaraderie at the end of the game with both teams moving from one end of the stadium to the other to stand and listen to the school songs of each academy…what entertainment…oh…btw…it was a super game…Navy led going into the 4th quarter, Army marched down the field in a typical long play drive(10-12 plays) .. to take a 14-13 lead….with 3 minutes left..Navy moved back down into FG range…but inexplicably had not 1 but 2 motion penalties so the their kicker had a 48 yard FG attempt…his kick was long enough and high enough…but the wind blew it just wide…. Army wins 14-13…but I felt like the winner as it was a real pleasure watching our academies represent themselves so admirably.

…Baseball HOF idea…

…sure…the voting isn’t until January but….I’d like to again…as I did it about year and a half ago .. raise the awareness of Ted Simmons for the MLB HOF.   This isn’t based on being my favorite player…as he was for my brother…but simply comparing him to the current catchers in the HOF.  In the past 2 years, the HOF added Mike Piazza & Ivan Rodriguez…two tremendous and certainly HOF worthy catchers… the HOF now has 15 catchers… If Simmons was to be voted into the HOF in January, Simmons would become in the comparison of him to the other current catchers in HOF—2nd in HITS (2472), 2nd in RBI (1389), 7th in HR (248), 5th in RUN (1074)tied for 8th in Batting Average (.285), 9th in OBP .348, 14th in Slugging% .437….he hit over .300 in 7 seasons; his best year was 1975–.332, 18 HR, 100 rbi’s OBP 396 slug .491 ops .887…but incredibly….he didn’t make the all-star team that year. He was in 8 All-Star games but a guy named Johnny Bench dominated the voting for NL catchers throughout Simmons prime years. It seems to me that the HOF would be overlooking a player that belongs in their midst.. downsides….some say he was weak defensively….well…he was clearly better than Piazza..to name just one … and one voted in recently.  Others say that he wasn’t on winning teams…well he was on 2 Milwaukee playoff teams but not a World Series teams…many players fit into that situation of no post season heroics …poor Ernie Banks pops straight into mind and I’m sure that there are many, many more HOF who didn’t play in any post-season.

…Travis Ford is already showing signs of extreme frustration with his early, strong reactions to officials during games and his comments during media interviews…poor guy….it’s been a long season for him as we hit mid-December..ugh

….btw…why is Lovie Smith getting a “pass” at Illinois? He’s 5-19 in 2 seasons at Champaign.  His last winning season of any kind was 2012. He DID have strong successful seasons in 2005, 2006 and 2010 in the NFL as a HEAD Coach. Coaching College is a different animal…the Head Coach not only has to be a good on the field coach but…more importantly.. he needs to recruit….and recruit the top athletes. Apparently his NFL days are buying him “stay out of jail…oops…or stay employed” cards.

…in the Nearly Forgotton League..

….I know many of you don’t follow the NFL any longer….bear with me…I watched the Rams-Eagles game yesterday. Both teams had young, talented QB that could really throw the ball. Both defenses had strong pass rushes and both offenses  could…and did…move the ball… it was a high scoring, fun game to watch. There were 5 lead changes and the finalscore of 43-35 was a bit misleading.  The Eagles kicked a FG with 0:01 second left to take a 37-35 lead. On the Eagles kickoff, the Rams were trying to lateral the ball to keep the game alive…one of their laterals were intercepted and ran in for a TD by Philly..no PAT attempt was taken…hence 43-37. The only real downer …. To me… was the injury to the tremendous Eagle QB Carson Wentz..bummer…he’s a real talent…

 …on the other hand…..I watched part of the Steelers-Bengals game last Monday….it was vicious.  It appeared to me that the players were deliberately attempting to injure their opponents….winning the game seemed secondary….now I’m all for hard hitting ….and these athletes are incredibly strong, fast, aggressive  and agile men  but hard hitting can be done fairly without taking shots at the opponents  body that will severely hurt him. Of course the $20b man-Roger Dumbnall probably didn’t see it…he was counting some of his money from his newly signed  contract. I didn’t watch it long.

…Well the $tanton $weepstakes is over but the Cardinals hunt for a Red October continues. Have a fun week.

 

 

 

It’s all Blue(s) by Bob Ryan

The Blues have now played just a bit more than a ¼ of their season….there’s a lot of good going on with the “Note” but there are some sports fans “blue” because of recent or long-time ailments…take  a look first at the Blues…

…In the revamped rules of the NHL , scoring has increased…as it was intended to be.  It’s imperative to have scoring now in the NHL….yes defense still has to be solid…particularly in playoff time…but….you have to score to win to be a true contender.  Playoffs are a different matter…less penalties makes defenders stronger.With that as the premise… the St Louis Blues are moving in the right direction.  As of Sunday night the Blues had 84 goals… at #2 in goal scoring in the NHL..but…they had the most points & most wins…. The Blues were a +21 in goals vs goals against… Tampa Bay is #1 in goals ..2 more than the Blues. Meanwhile….if you’re wondering about the best defensive teams….San Jose has given only 50 goals..but have scored just 58..their record? 12-8-2….it seems clear to me that a NHL team must score to be a contender in these days. Some of key the scorers for the Blues  have been obtained in trades…but clearly not all… Jaden Schwartz was the #1 choice in 2010.…but….in 2009, the Blues drafted @#17 in the 1st round and selected David Rundblad…Rundblad was sent to Ottawa on June 25, 2010 for the 16th overall draft pick…and that choice was Vladimir Tarasenko. So the Blues in that year, chose Schwartz @ #14 & Tarasenko @ #16…WOW what a draft!  Now…I might add as I scoured through the Blues drafts in recent years, I seldom recognized ANY NHL players from the later rounds …that is…past round 1…that’s not so good…. Recently acquired Braden Schenn was drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 draft with the #5 overall pick by the LA Kings.  He was moved to Philly and now lands ….at the height of his career (26 years old) in my mind…in the Lou. The Blues sharp drafting in recent years with their 1st choice– 2014-Robby Fabbri; 2015-Vince Dunn; 2016-Tage Thompson; 2017-two 1st rounders-Robert Thomas & Klim Kosten look very solid… now I’m not a hockey expert…some would say that I know very little…but…I’m thinking on my gut from what I’ve read (haven’t seen him play yet) is that Kostin will be a good…maybe very good… player for the Blues.  Obviously…wise draft picks are the lifeblood of any team….take a look at the names that I recognize that have been Blues contributors from pre-2009 drafts….

2008-1st round-Alex Pietrangelo; 2nd-Jake Allen                 two good to very good Blues

2007—1st-Lars Eller; 2nd-Ian Cole;  3rd-David Perron        Perron is the best of a weak crop

2006-1st Eric Johnson; 2nd-Patrick Berglund        

2005-1st-TJ Oshie; 3rd-Ben Bishop; 5th-Ryan Reaves        solid  players with lengthy careers  

2004-6th-Roman Polak                                                                

….while we’re on the ice…it’s good to see that the Blues have found a suitable location for a new practice rink…apparently the area in Maryland Heights will have many other attractions, stores and places of interest to draw spectators to the area…if I understand it correctly, the facility will be kept in use by floods…maybe a poor choice of words in Maryland Heights… of youth teams –practices and games.   

But…some people are “Blue” or wear Blue…

…in Columbia, MO…many are really “Blue” with the latest medical news on Michael Porter Jr…the excitement of the 17-18 bubble burst with the announcement that he was undergoing back surgery and out for the season.   As I mentioned last week…something just didn’t seem right with the lack of news about Porter…this injury may or may not cause Porter to skip his college career and go directly to the NBA. While we’re on it…fans are clamoring for the NBA to abolish the current rule of “1 year” in college…as we all know…it really isn’t a meaningful year….those “1 & done” players…take the lowest, simplest courses in the 1st semester and then register but barely attend any classes in the 2nd semester … to me…it’s makes a shame of the word “student”.  For years the NBA did allow HS graduates to try to go directly to the NBA…some stars “made it”…Kobe, LaBron and a few others….but many, many others tried and were way over their head, failed and then floundered around aimlessly…and very BLUE…not only in basketball but in their life…..sooo…the NBA “thought” that the year of maturity would help them…I agree but don’t use the sham of being called a “student”…it’s an insult to the real students….how about trying to draft them out of High school but…have their developmental league expand and assimilate these youngsters into the pro basketball world in the D-League.. a mild version of the MLB minor league system…..sure some will still fail…but at least they will have experienced a year..or two.. of maturity on and off the court.

…The Blue & White of St Louis U basketball are really blue after dropping a 72-70 game to D-II Detroit-Mercy. The Bills shot 6 of 24 from the 3pt range against the Titans zone, played just 7 players(depth?), and shot 12 of 20 from the free throw line…all in all…good reason to feel blue. I suspect the Bills will be seeing many more zones until they prove that they can score against it consistently.

…the Blue & Gold of Pittsburgh stunned #2 ranked Miami U with their 24-14 victory. The “U” …when at their best …are highly energized and very emotional but not on this day.  They were meticulously, methodically beaten by Pitt. The game was actually much, much closer than the final score. Pitt scored a TD in the last 2 minutes of the game on a QB bootleg.  The Panthers used a balanced attack 192 passing yards & 152 rushing yards.  On the other side of the ball, Miami had just 41 rushing yards so with only the passing dimension available-it was stymied at 171 yards.

…in the Nearly Forgotton League…Denver is suffering through the most  “Blue”….given strong pre-season ratings…the Broncoes are 3-7 and getting worse…of course…like almost always in the NFL…the problem begins and ends at QB…Trevor Siemian led Denver to 3 wins in first 4 weeks…but after the bye week, the wheels fell off and then Siemian was injured…. now Broncs have lost 6 in a row…ugh… could they lure the venerable Payton Manning away from his hundreds of commercials these days….hmmmm?….NO

…in the midst of success on the field, Mizzou Tigers football program is a bit blue about recruiting…. not on the same public scale as MPJ’s injury… but impacting the future  nonetheless…James Foster, one of the 1st Tigers 2 recruits of 2018, is “going back” on his commitment.  Foster is the 3rd of the 3 Alabama recruits who have all recanted on their commitment of last fall to Mizzou. Foster is a highly rated QB and with Drew Lock now appearing to… at the minimum…considering entering the draft THIS year (his Jr year)… a solid QB replacement is vital for the Tigers immediately. …We can’t leave Mizzou football without recognizing the tremendous turn-around. As I pointed out last week, the Tigers still haven’t beaten a +.500 team…but….7 wins is 7 wins…congrats to Barry Odom for keeping his team together…..personally, I can’t see Drew Lock coming back for his Senior year next year….why take the chance of injury?

…football fans of the Blue & Gold of Michigan U are a bit blue as rumors circulate about Jim Harbaugh….Harbaugh has been on 4 year cycles as a head coach…4 years @ U of San Diego, 4 years @ Stanford and 4 years @ 49’ers…3 years are now under his belt now @ Michigan and rumors about returning to the NFL make the Wolverine fans concerned …many thought that he’d be a lifer like Bo Schemblacher .

…an accepted…but probably grossly underappreciated commodity takes the snaps for the Blue-Clad Detroit Lions….QB Matthew Stafford who entered the league in 2009 as the 1st overall pick of the draft was the fastest QB to reach 20,000, 25,000, and 30,000 passing yards in a career…now he has passed for more yards than any QB under 30 years of age…he passed up Payton Manning and broke the record of 33,189 yards this past weekend…without post-season play and wins…recognition is scant… sooo.. Stafford remains rather anonymous.

…the NCAA football committee is anything BUT blue…the committee now will have the conference championship games to whittle their field down to 4 teams for the NCS bowl games.  The winners of these championship games should  be in the NCS  Bowl  games—1) ACC champ-Miami or Clemson; 2) the SEC champ; 3) Big Ten Champ  4) the Big 12 champ. From my own view, I don’t see any conference that deserves two teams. At this particular moment, I’d have as my Final Four…who cares who’s #1, #2, #3, #4…each of these teams is good..very good..their only benefit of a higher seed is to wear white uniforms….who cares…my  top four are Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn. It’s becoming increasingly clear that losses in the first 3 weeks of the season don’t matter as “much” as losses late in the season.

…on the High School level….

Some very familiar teams competed in the Championship again…Why is it that the same schools are “always there?” Most of these smaller schools don’t usually have many…if any… high level D-1 players…it’s  the superb coaching that leads the team diligently though the off season work, staying current in their football schemes, evaluating talent, building a football culture around the school  and making in-game adjustments. Congratulations to all  the of these outstanding teams for great seasons… even those that lost Championship games.

…the Blue & White of Ladue fell to the Webb City Cardinals 14-0. For the Cardinals it was their 14th state football championship.  Defense and terrific line-play were outstanding for both teams as the score was an ol’ fashioned-like 7-0 until the last 0:58 when the Cardinals scored their 2nd TD of the game. It’s really incredible… I must say I was a bit blue when I read that the Ladue team had left the 2nd place trophy “rest” on the turf after it was presented to them.  I’ve always thought sports was about working your hardest to win but accepting defeat graciously when you fall short.

…the Lamar Tigers had made most…if not all of their opponents “blue” in recent history… Lamar won its 7th straight Class 2 championship over Lafayette County 37-20. The game was close ..16-14…at the end of the 3rd quarter as Lamar held onto a narrow lead. AT the 7:24 mark of the 3rd, it all changed.  Trevor Medlin (5ft 6 in) galloped 48 yds for a TD…on the ensuring KO, Lamar recovered a fumble…3 plays later..another Lamar TD…party was over…Congrats to Head Coach Scott Bailey! Lamar has won 49 straight games, the Tigers graduate 17 seniors but don’t expect a huge dropoff @ Lamar next year.

…”title town” is the description that the Monroe City players used in referring to the Blue-clad Valle Catholic Warriors. Valle has won 14 state football championships. Valle has players whose fathers, uncles and other relatives won state titles…it’s seemingly in their blood.Their tradition goes all the way back to 1966 (2 years before Missouri had HS state championships). Valle not only won every game…they shut out every opponent!  But…here in 2017…the Warriors fell just short…. Monroe City fell behind 7-0 in the 1st quarter, then scored in the 2nd quarter but missed the extra point and was still behind 7-6 until the 3rd quarter when they scored again  and held onto the 12-7 win.

I hope YOU aren’t blue because of the blog….have a great week!

 

Seriously? by Bob Ryan

You know how it is…you say something that another person believes is “way out” or totally unbelievable and they respond “seriously”….

Cardinal Baseball….

….Soooo…MO flys out to talk personally with Fowler to make sure that he’s OK with not being the CF….seriously??  Who’s in charge here…who’s running the asylum? These are professional athletes…paid handsomely to perform whenever and wherever they are directed to do so by their management people…. and…what if he’d said NO?

….MO also says that we don’t need starting pitching….seriously? the Cards were 6th in the NL in ERA @ 4.01….the 5 teams ahead of them were all playoff teams….look at our rotation …. it’s Martinez, the W crew (Wainwright, Wacha, Weaver)  and Flaherty.  Flaherty started 6 games last year, ERA of 6.33, batters hit .284 against him and he had a WHIP (walks& hits per inning) of 1.55….hopefully he make the necessary improvements to be a productive pitcher…..Wacha & Wainwright both struggled through arm issues and up & down performances throughout 2017….will that change? Reyes won’t be a full time starter until 2019. I read that the Birds are looking for a seasoned, inexpensive 5th starter….my gut says that our choice may come from this foursome…. Miguel Gonzalez, Miles Mokolas, Jason Vargas  or Michael Pineda…Vargas was good in 1st half of 2017, bad in the  2nd half…he’ll come around $9m/year…. count on the same thing happening in 2018 and then..in my view… bring in Reyes for the 2nd half of the season in his rotation spot. The other 3 pitchers are far less expensive…and probably… less effective.

….firing someone who isn’t current… Seriously? so when we heard that Derek Lilliquest was not being rehired, there was all this talk about “not staying current”, “doesn’t use metrics”… seriously??…so the Cards hire former Washington Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux….what happens to Lilliquest…he gets hired by the Washington Nationals!!  I guess that they don’t use metrics there or they view it differently. I think the message of all these pro coaches … pitching or hitting…becomes stale after 4-5-6 years and a change is useful.

…we’ve been hearing about the great Cardinal  pitching  on the way up….seriously?  The only Cardinal rookie to show up on the top 40 rookie pitching numbers in the MLB in 2017…. pushing aside the hype was John Brebbia. The only fans that knew about HIM prior to this season were his family ….so when will these other starters begin to shine?

…the Cards won’t miss Lance Lynn…seriously?  In 2017 Lynn was 2nd on the team in innings, had the lowest ERA of any starter @ 3.43 (Martinez was 3.64) had the lowest batting average against him of any starter 2.23.. Martinez 2.32.. and Lynn was 2nd in WHIP of the Cards starters with a 1.23…Martinez was #1 at 1.22. 2017 was the last “cheap” year for the Cards with Martinez..it was $3.7m….next year it jumps up to $11.7m

Basketball….

….hiding game 1 injury? Seriously? come on… sooo…Michael Porter “tweaks” his hip in warm ups prior to the 1st game…plays 2 minutes in that game and doesn’t play the rest of  that game or any of  the next game…or the one after that….Seriously??  Sounds more like he hurt himself long before the game but didn’t want to dampen the spirits of the packed house  @ Mizzou Arena by announcing his injury….now he’s still sitting on the bench with the same  baffling  injury … whatever it is…it sounds much more severe than a “Hip tweak”….it seems like Mizzou has gone to the same “injury disclosing” policy as the Cards.

…SLU basketball will be better than last year..seriously? This team is already FAR better than last year..the stunning win over Va Tech…an NCAA tournament team last year As they finished 7th in the ACC…the Billikens controlled the tempo throughout the game with a continual, yet , long possession that often ended up with VT rebounders outside & their guards inside….the Bills got back on d  to take away the layups of a fast break team that had scored over 120 points in each of their 1st 2 games, fought off the late charge by the Hokies (do you cringe when you hear that name)..and…a big one…by knocking down enough late  FT. The next night SLU didn’t have the depth, legs or emotion to compete with Providence but .. nonetheless .. it was a successful 2 game tournament…beating one good team on the road.

…all W’s are the same…Seriously?  Mizzou basketball team opens their season by playing a big 12 team…Iowa State…a good team to open the basketball season but then they played Wagner?  Seriously??….look at who else is on this “Wagner” schedule…New Jersey Institute of Technology…whom they “crushed” 60-49…pardon my sarcasm….College of Staten Island, University of Massachusetts Lowell, St Francis Brooklyn, Bryant University, Central Connecticut State U…you get the idea….what are we doing playing this type of team? We have plenty of D-2 or D-3 teams in Missouri…if they want cupcakes….. keep the “blood money” games in State.

…St. Louisian Jayson Tatum has adapted to the NBA…seriously??….he’s been very, very good not just “adapted”. He recently scored 19 points to help the Boston Celtics to their 13th straight win as they toppled Brooklyn 109-102. He’s 6th in scoring for rookies with 13.3 ppg and his 47.6% from the 3 point range is the best of all rookies. Already…he’s noted as being very consistent…not too high or low mentally in the nightly world of NBA ball.

NCAA Football

…11-0 and not in top 4 …seriously? So Wisconsin beats #24 Michigan 24-10 to stay unbeaten…what else can a team do?  Some say..play tougher teams….well….the schedule is drawn up many years in advance.. can you tell me who’s going to be good in 2027? Wisconsin doesn’t have a glitzy star player, a flashy back or receiver, or a QB with a strong arm/fast legs or big head …they just have outstanding line play on both sides of the ball, don’t get beat defensively and WIN every game!! If they beat Ohio State…how can they be kept out?

.…Mizzou romps past Vanderbilt with ease as the Tigers were clearly the best team on the field..I’m not totally surprised on Aug 27  I wrote, “Mizzou football doesn’t have many strong believers….I’m thinking that this club can win 7 games”…now I must admit in the month of September I was shaking my head at what I had written.

….Mizzou football has turned the corner….seriously???  While most of us are pleased that the Tigers are finishing strong and clearly raising our hopes, Mizzou’s victories to this point are  all over sub .500 teams—look at their records–MO State 3-7, Idaho 3-6, U Conn 3-7, Florida 3-6, Tennessee, Vanderbilt & Arkansas are all 4-6 as I write this on Fri…you have to beat some good teams to be considered “good”….playing good teams & losing doesn’t make YOU good.. while we’re moving upward… we aren’t close to playing a New Years Day bowl yet.

…changing of some of the Big 5 college football conferences is coming again….seriously??  Apparently Texas is considering moving to the SEC..this would add an impact name-brand to the SEC, a school with a huge following and get Texas out of the Longhorn network…which many other schools feared and has back-fired..currently that agreement with ESPN has resulted in a net loss of $48m for Texas…the Texas move to SEC  would lead to the demolition of the Big 12…if Texas moves on…is OU far behind?… then Ok State will be walking in their footsteps..

…a 24-17 game exciting?  Seriously?  watching the Notre Dame-Navy football game was a treat…ND clearly had the better athletes who were larger, could run faster, throw better but the Naval Academy utilizing the wish bone to consume time took it down to the final play before losing 24-17. Navy, like all the military academies, play very smart football, fundamentals to the highest level and no showboating…it’s a team effort.  As an American citizen & sports fan…one has to be proud of the total performance of the Navy football team. These future military leaders have already shown their stripes and will lead us in battles far greater than on a football field!

… Mark Richt fired at Georgia after 2015 season for not meeting expectations…seriously??? He went 9-3 that year, for his 15 years at Georgia  he was 145-51, took them to 15 straight bowls,  was ranked in the top 10 final poll 8x….he’s moved to Miami U now….he went 9-4 last year and is 10-0 this year… sometimes…maybe many times…fans lose touch with how good things are going..btw.. Georgia has kept going..they are 9-1 this year… Barry Odum ..who already is 5th longest tenured SEC coach…better continue to win and win big…see next note

..NCAA final four, seriously?  How can 1 man do it while a large, talented committee works feverishly each week…anyway… the Bob Championship Four at this time are:  1) Alabama  2) Miami  3) Oklahoma 4) Wisconsin

HIGH School Football…

…….hardly any sports fan in St. Louis has heard of Lamar High School Football…seriously?  They’ve only won 6 straight Class 2 Missouri state championships…which NO ONE else has ever done… and haven’t lost a game of any kind since Oct 17, 2014…the Game of the day on Saturday was the 7-6 win for Lamar over Lutheran North in Class 2 semifinals.  In a crunching battle with athletes far above the norm for a Class 2 game. Lamar has outscored their opponents this year an incredible 589 points to just 80.  I’m hoping that Head Coach Scott Bailey will continue to upgrade his non-conference schedule next year and incorporate some additional Class 3 or Class 4 teams.

…it wasn’t the offense, seriously? Congratulations to the CBC Cadets who won the Class 6 championship on Saturday… generally this year the Cadets pulverized the opposition with their offense but on this day, it was the defense that stood up to the always tough Blue Springs Wildcats 31-14. For Blue Springs it was the 2nd consecutive loss in the State Championship game. The Cadet defense stiffened in the 1st half…after the Wildcats had moved into the red zone twice …but were stopped and on both occasions the FG attempts were missed. The key play of the game, however,  was in the 3rd quarter when CBC led 7-6, Blue springs was marching down the field… in hopes of grabbing the lead and their 6th state title…CBC’s Taylor Robinson intercepted a Chase Donahue pass to stop the drive and flip the momentum. CBC scored shortly thereafter and from then on it was Cadet time as they won the 2nd state football championship in the school’s history. Early in the 2000’s the KC area dominated the championships of the largest classification but now the StL teams have won 3 of the last 4 Class 6 championship games. Blue Springs won back-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

Odds & Ends…

…radio entertainment, seriously?  The Mike & Mike Show was an enjoyable radio show that I often listened to as I battled traffic on Hwy 270 on my way to teach each morning….Mike Golic (former NFL d-lineman) and Mike Greenfield(golden tongue from Northwestern)…had a fast moving, thought provoking show with great interaction, laughs, personal thoughts and much information  with many interviews from knowledgeable guests…it ended its 17 year run on Friday…kudo’s to both Mike’s for their wonderful entertainment over a long period of time…we’ll miss the two of them as a pair…. as they go their separate ways.

The NFL….Nearly Forgotten League…

…Jerry Jones wants the best for the league…seriously?   He was all “FOR” Roger Dumbnall until King Roger suspended Ezkiel Elliott…or tried suspending him on several occasions…then suddenly Ol’ Rog is being paid too much….$50m….seriously?  $50m for ONE year…that salary is more than 100 times more than the President of the USA($400,000)

…The NFL is diversion for many…probably most..fans…it’s an escape from reality for a couple hours ? Seriously?? The football game has become a side show at the entertainment circus… with all the protests, constant replays, the players in court, the appeals– he can’t play..he can play..he can’t play…ugh… both of the lawyers  representing the NFL & Elliott must have attended the Marcia Clark/ Christopher Darden School of Law…wonder if Elliott had to try on a glove? 

…Some think Matthew Stafford is the most overlooked QB in the NFL…seriously?   How about Drew Brees?  Brees is currently 3rd in all-time passing yards with 68, 509…he’s behind Bret Favre  71,838 and #1 is Payton manning 71, 940. Sooo…with another good, full year, Brees could take over the NFL QB with the most passing yards…why don’t we ever think of him?  If your team doesn’t get deep into NFL playoffs with regularity…many discard you as a “great” QB and New Orleans has often been closer to the bottom than the top of their division….some other interesting..obscure… QB  with high numbers in total passing yards..Vinney Testaverde is #13…he played for 7 teams with 46,233 yards; Kerry Collins is #16 (6 teams) 40,922; Jim Hart is #27.. 34,665 yards and is the only QB in top 30 who retired in the 80’s …all the other guys above him retired in the 90’s or later and when the game had changed into much more of a passing game.

…you say that the Rams former coaching staff wasn’t outdated….seriously?  Who leads the league in total offensive yards right now?… a Ram back-Todd Gurley (754 rushing, 406 receiving). Meanwhile QB  Jared Goff… who looked way over his head in his 1st year…  is  now 8th in the league in passing yards with 2385 yards and  1st in passing yards per attempt. I hope Jeff Fisher has a good fishing pole to use in all his free time because his NFL Head Coaching days are gone…forever.

Finally…seriously?

…so this blog is finally over, seriously?  Yep…you’ve hung on long enough 

 

 

Not Off-Season but GM Season by Bob Ryan

Baseball General managers DO work year round…they have to adjust rosters due to in-season injuries, in-season lack of production, international drafts & contacts, keep an eye on the minor league players development, amateur drafts, sign or resign players…so there is plenty to do for them…but….this next 10 weeks is really the GM season.  This is the time when rosters can be modified…mildly or drastically….with trades and now…more often…free agent signings….for the Cardinals this is a HUGE GM season.

…The Cards have head loudly and clearly from their strong fan base that change is expected… real change…a supreme power hitter, a closer and a reshaped bullpen, a starter, and probably a 2nd power hitter of less skill….and a general reshaping of the team…..all these seem to be the goals of Cardinal nation.

…Cards management team is under real PRESSURE….the fan base is expecting a lot of them.. this High pressure expectations is the highest of any point in my memory… sure the fan base is spoiled….totally spoiled by a run of two decades of consistent post-season appearances ala Atlanta in the 90’s…none the less the bar has been raised… and the Cards image still fights the idea that percolates around the Lou that the the DeWitts are penny-pinching in the world of free-flowing cash income with 3mil @ turnstiles, ballpark village busting at the seems, part ownership in Fox-Midwest and now a huge 3 building complex…I don’t know if that’s true…but …perception does become reality in our minds.

….but at the core of this is the GianCarlo Stanton issue…..many, many Cardinal fans are expecting him to be wearing the Birds on the Bat uni next spring….his enormous contract…it raises to $25m next year, 2019& 20 -$26m,  2021&22-$29m, 2023, 24, 25-$32m, 2026-$29m, 2027& 28-$25m…he’s 29 years old next year so at his peak payment years he’ll be 34,35 and 36 years old…Albert again you say?  Further, Stanton can opt-out after 2020 and the club could buy him out after 2028 for a measly $10m….But….right now…do YOU expect the Cardinals to get him and would you say anything short of that is not enough?  I’d love to read Your thoughts…my feeling about the fan base is that they DO EXPECT to obtain him. ..and the Cards management is hearing and feeling the PRESSURE to make a “BIG MOVE”

….In this age of power HR hitters….this insatiable appetite for more HR for the Cards seems strange to me….StL was 8th in the NL in HR…most of the playoff teams were ahead of us but not by a huge amount… the Cards were 7th in the NL in runs scored.. ultimately the goal of the offense…score runs…in any shape or form…fielding wise the Cards were 8th in the NL in fielding percentage, on the mound the Cards were 6th in team ERA at 4.01….the Dodgers …far and away…have the best team ERA at 3.38…so of the 15 NL teams, we’re in the top half but not the top third across the board in hitting, fielding & pitching….from where I sit …we need improvements in ALL areas  not just in acquiring one gigantic boom-buster.

…I DO think that the Cards will modify their sites and aim for Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna of Miami..Yelich will be 26 years old in early December…he hit 18 HR in 2017.. a modest total but committed just 1 error, stole 16 bases, hit .282 in 156 games…the most games ANY Cardinal played last year was Matt Carpenter at 145 games…so he’s durable, can run, play defense and is young ….btw…Yelich earns $7m this by 2022 he’s at $15m..a million here… a million there…what the heck..

…Ozuna is listed as 27 years of age….as many of you know…I’m always very skeptical of the given ages of Latin American players….I’d do the same….I’d take a couple years off of my age when signing time approached….anyway…be it as it may….Ozuna is a step above Yelich in most areas…he’s more of a slugger/hitter…37 HR-3rd in NL &  3rd in NL in RBI with 124, his .317 average last year was 7th in the league, , was 4th in NL in Hits-191, silver slugger in 2017…he’s more durable than ANY of our current OF….159 games played-4th in league AND to me this important area..is a better defensive OF than anyone that we currently have on our roster…he was a 2017 gold glove, has played CF previously but his year was LF who was ranked #1 in NL in range factor of LF…pls don’t ask how they calculate that ??!! :).. was 2nd in the NL as a LF with 10 assists last year. In 2018, Ozuna is 2nd year arbitration eligible…so his salary of $3.5m will double or triple.  I’d favor Ozuna over Yelich…I would offer Grichuk, &/or Fowler, and 1 or 2 pitching prospects…1 very high level, the other younger & more uncertain.

…while I’m at it…this “prospects” that the Cards treasure so dearly….in my mind, this word “prospects” has its roots in the word “prospectors”…ya know those guys digging for gold…and we know how many of them actually found gold…same in baseball…how many of these “prospects” actually turn into “gold” type players…amount the same level as the gold miners found back in the day. 

….the Cards MUST sign a closer and step up the quality of the 7th/8th inning performers. The latest trend is to go short term with these bullpen arms…you never know when their arm will go “kaput”.  Look for Birds to sign an experience closer…maybe not the highest quality but still effective to a 1 or 2 year deal. Rookie Sandy Alcantara will be our 7th or 8th inning guy when the season begins and may be our closer by the end of the year. This 22 year old will be a replica of Trevor Rosenthal…his blazing fastball & slider are 1 or 2 mph faster.

…we start the real GM season with MO & his sidekick feeling real pressure to “make the move”..it should be fun to see it all play out…What would YOUR approach be…tell me now….not after the trades.

NCAA football…

…I must start with Mizzou…I didn’t think that I’d ever say this in 2017 but it sure looks like the Tigers will be bowl bound….Vandy & Arkansas are clearly two beatable teams…the strong run game has permitted Drew Lock to get time and throw his long-range missiles that are spot-on for quick scoring TD’s….once the Tigers get ahead in the game…they seem to relax….and the run game keeps the opposition from running the ball as often (seemingly a weakness on defense) because they feel like they must score quicker and more often….now….it seems like Drew Lock is getting evaluated for his NFL possibilities…so this could be his final year.. I still think that if you make him throw on the move, knock him down a few times that he’s a different QB…but let’s enjoy the sweetness of victory…bravo to the Tigers

…another terrific weekend of games for the top-ranked teams….

Alabama showed their pedigree against a strong Mississippi State team…the Bulldogs tooks a 24-17 lead early in the 4th quarter on a FG. Bama tied it with 9:29 left on a 14 yd run & PAT. . after an exchange of possessions, Alabama missed a 41 yd FG attempt that hit the upright with just over 2:00 left in the game. Miss State went 3 and out as they tried running plays on all 3 downs. The Crimson Tide took possession with 1:09 left….then the Tide’s top level coaching staff showed its stuff….like the pros, Alabama had run multiple formations earlier in the game with pre-determined calls but the OFF coordinator noted how Miss State was defending each formation sooo….when the last minute arrived, the O-coordiator used this knowledge to attack their weaknesses against these formations…Bama ran 3 sweeps to the wide side of the field with the same formation and a fresh, seasoned running back, then 2 slant passes againt blitzing LB (when they blitz their coverage area–short Middle, is wide open and finally an audible pass play called at the LOS by QB Jalen Hurts found the mark and a touchdown….Miss State had one more possession…after a 1st down and time almost expired, the ball was thrown a loooonnngg, way into the end zone in the midst of about 10 players (5 from each team)….an Alabama defender fearful of a Hail Mary TD, tackled the receiver…yea it was pass interference but in college that’s only a 15 yard penalty…the next hail may attempt was thrown too deep…went out of the end zone….game over.

…all that being said…my Bob Rankings for the final 4 at this moment are..with plenty of provisions.

  • Alabama 2) winner the Miami-Clemson ACC championship game  will be in final four… Miami (9-0) or Clemson…who has 4 wins over teams currently ranked #10-20 (who cares what they were ranked back 6-7-8 weeks ago) 3)Oklahoma      4)  if Wisconsin stays unbeaten…it’s tough to include them since  the Badgers played a non-descript non-conference schedule and the Big 10…like the SEC…is down…the ACC is not down…but Wisconsin has Michigan, Minnesota and the Big 10 championship game coming up…so if they win those 3 games…they have to go in.  Pac 12 conference looks like it’ll be on the outside looking in…If Wisconsin loses, AND the Miami/ Clemson game is very close…maybe both of those teams. WHAT does YOUR final 4 look like?

I remember years ago…many,many years ago at a district basketball seeding meeting, Jim Gant, a very successful basketball coach at Central High School said,’ Don’t ask me who I lost to….that doesn’t take any skill to lose…ask me who I beat”. Just because you lose to a good team doesn’t make YOU good…He’s right.

High School Football

….two teams familiar with Class 6 finals will meet next weekend for the 2017 title. Blue Springs vs CBC at Springfield,  MO 7:00pm next Saturday. CBC beat a fired up Eureka team 42-7 in the semis. CBC scored late in the 1st quarter and led 14-0 at half.  After scoring on the 2nd of 3 Brett Gabbert TD passes in the 3rd qtr at the 10:48 mark, the very next play from scrimmage was a Pick-6 for the Cadets when Larry Williams snatched a pass and scampered 25 yards to turn the tide in this game between these two very  strong teams.  CBC(12-1) won it 42-7 as they potent offense has been held under 40 points twice all season. Gabbert, younger bro of Blaine Gabbert, has passed for 2712 yards while Bryan Bradford has rushed for 1382 yards to provide the blend that Coach Scott Pingel desires. Pingel will be taking his 3rd team to the Championship game in his tenure which began in 2008 @ CBC.  The Cadets lone loss was to CBC-Memphis 36-27. Eureka completes their season at 12-1 as they enjoyed the tremendous season of Sr. Hassan Haskins. Haskins rushed for 2197 yards and scored 34 TD’s as Eureka kept  their customary power run style of game in high gear throughout the season. Eureka won the Suburban West-American conference title this year. The Wildcats have an outstanding record of 77-16 since 2010.

…in Class 5, Ft Zumwalt North (12-0) reached the semifinals with an impressive 42-7 win over the Lebanon Yellowjackets. Head Coach Joe Bacon led the Panthers to the championship game last year before falling to the Vianney Golden Griffins.  Vianney lost to Pattonville on Saturday…next week’s opponent for Ft Z N. The Panthers expected a much tighter game from Lebanon but…it played out this way…after receiving the KO, FZN drove 84 yards in 11 plays . Mareon Lowery powered over on a short plunge for the TD.  Lebanon, running the triple option…a rare occurrence in this era of passing….had been led by 2000 yard rusher, John Berry. On the 3rd play from scrimmage, Berry was crunched by a heavy hit from the FZN defense and suffered a separated shoulder…out for the game. It was all Panthers from that point on. 

It’s an exciting time of the year…thanks for reading an hoping to read your thoughts on the GM season!

 

Wrapping up World Series by Bob Ryan

The thrilling World Series between the two best teams in baseball in 2017….just won by Houston…a 1st for the franchise….was lots of fun to watch….now..some personal “awards”, comments & observations…

…game 5 was….if not the best game in series history….oopps…in St Louis….that designation will always be the David Freese night in 2011…so let’s call this “one of the very best”….

….it was a HR derby for 5 games but the last 2 games looked more like real baseball games to me.

…I’ve always felt this way…go with your best…if he “runs outtta gas”….or “doesn’t have it” so be it….but don’t wait until you’re behind in the championship game to bring in Clayton Kershaw….start him….he’s your best…further considerations 1)Grab the early momentum with his strikeouts and quick innings 2) In 2016 playoffs, with 2 days rest, Kerhshaw pitched  7 innings and gave up 2 hits…so why start anyone else?

….Alex Bregman wins my World Series “Gold Glove” award

….I think Altuve was posing a bit too much for the cameras…but…even so….he’s fun to watch and really good….despite his .194 series average

…I still don’t understand the quick hook by both managers on some of their starting pitchers..I mean taking out a starter because the next batter hits from the other side of the plate in the 3rd inning?

…I would  have liked to shake Brendan Morrow’s hand for his endurance ..he pitched in all 7 world series games and in all but one playoff game…but he couldn’t raise his arm J  His fastball had lost all its zip by games 5, 6, 7 of Series….but this post-season will extend his career ..which was in doubt earlier this year.

…George Springer was clearly the Series MVP…5 HR, .379 avg, slug% 1.000 (that means he averages one base for every AB) and slugging %  of 1.471

….I’m sure that many NL pitchers were taking notes on how to pitch to LA 1B, Cody Bellinger…he struck out 17 times in 28 at-bats….I’ll save em the time….fastballs high & away, breaking balls that start at the knees and break low & inside below the knees….

….last minute shopping results for World  Series teams varied…….

….LA signed Yu Darvish as their trading deadline acquisition…. His  free agent value for next season was probably cut in half by his two flops in the Series….2 starts, 3.1 inn, 9 hits, 8 Earned Runs, 2 walks, 0…yes…zero strikeouts…..he sure didn’t look like a real top level #1…he probably drove up the value of Lance Lynn.

….on the other hand…Houston  snatched Justin Verlander literally seconds prior to the deadline…he  DID look like a true #1….2 starts in Series, 12 inn, 3.75 era, whip of .583…well worth his money …

World Series history Book since 2000……

When Houston won their 1st ever championship this year …the Cubbies won their 1st Series in over 100 years last year and Kansas City won after a long drought in 2015….it drove me to dig out the Series “team” participation & post-season participation since the year 2000….here’s some of the stats that seemed interesting… again..just since 2000..

….ALL 30 MLB teams have been in the playoffs since 2000!  That stunned me!…Florida is the only team to be in only one post-season (2003) and they won the Series that year. The Cards & Yanks lead the MLB with 12 post-season appearances in this new millennium . Then comes the Dodgers… who  have played in 9 post-seasons.

…the Nationals have been in the last 4 post-seasons and 5 of the last 6 years …but..sorry Dusty …ya  gotta win one series…. Atlanta was in nine times with SIX straight post-seasons (from 2000-2005); Boston has experienced post seasons  8x with 3 world series championships

…Now come the big surprises..at least  to me…again…this is since (and including} 2000…Oakland has eight appearances-most recent 2014; Anaheim has tasted post-season waters 7x with only 1 World Series appearance …that they won…in 2002.  The Giants have been post-season 8x with 3 Series titles; Minnesota has been to the post-season seven times (including this year)..they were in the post season 4 of 5 years between 2002 and 2006.I was also surprised that Tampa has been post season in four different seasons (08, 10, 11, 13)….Poor Seattle has had a long time between drinks…their last post season was 2001 after being there in 2000

…regarding World Series appearances, the Cards, Giants and Yankees have been there 4 times but Boston is 3 for 3 (3 appearances and 3 titles)…now it’s time to close the world series book….

Cards baseball thought….

…so why am I not surprised that the headines today talk about the Cards looking for a less expensive option as a closer without any trade ramifications….come on…do you REALLY want to win?

NCAA Football…

So….I’m sure that the committee was trying to be extremely fair and non-judgmental when they chose Georgia over Alabama in their 1st poll….clearly they thought that Georgia had more wins over “good “teams than Bama at this point…I see Georgia’s  1 point win @ ND but the last 4 games have been big blow-outs against SEC teams(none in the upper echelon)…meanwhile Bama’s only win of consequence was their opening week victory over Florida State…Bama has a list like Georgia of crushing several SEC teams….in the probable SEC championship game….Bama vs -Georgia ….I’m still going with Alabama.   I still see Drew Lock winging those long passes over the heads of the Georgia secondary….can’t Alabama do that also?… but  It’s only the poll for this week…you can’t vote on what you think MAY happen in the  future…. vote only for how it has played out to this point…

….Mizzou really crushed Florida…Drew Lock, when given time and has a running game established , he can really throw the long ball…his deep-ball  accuracy is very good….right now, Florida is reeling…lost many players for off-field incidents and then fired their coach…btw…these “temporary head coach” status just doesn’t cut it….we all know the saying, “ a dog only has one master”….well speaking as a long time HS coach …it’s true in coaching also..a team has but one master…and that IS the head coach.  Let me put it in another way…the same is true in teaching….think back now of YOUR thoughts when you had a “substitute” teacher for the day…… I rest my case.

More on Florida…..so I’m going out on a limb….Florida wants a high-profile, experienced, offensive minded coach….Jim McElwain was supposed to be Jim Mcl-win for the Gators but became Jim McE-lame…I’d shoot real high….and pay real high … for Chris Peterson of U of Washington…Peterson gained notice with his 92-12 record as Head Coach @ Boise State before moving to Washington. We’ll see if the lure of the SEC over the Pac 12 does hold water.  If you want a coach with local contacts already established and is less expensive…how about Scott Frost of Central Florida….those are my 2 choices for this attractive job.

High School Football …

….I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to announce the Class 2 football game between the Lutheran North Crusaders and the Trinity Titans. I didn’t know if I’get in on time…I arrived at the Lucas & Hunt exit (about 1/4mile from the Lutheran North… the line of cars reminded me of the line of cars at the ending of Field  of Dreams movie…play it…and they will come.  It was a really an outstanding game…North won it 48-46…there was a little bit of everything….one team preferred passing,  the other a  power running game, so we saw magnificent catches, power & speed on runs, pick-6’s; a KO return for a TD, fumbles on punts that had bounced on the ground, kicking situations were often unpredictable,  interceptions on passes that should not have been thrown,completions on passes that should not have been thrown; trickerations on extra points and lots and lots of hard hitting and dazzling speed….it was really a super high school game in front of about 5000 folks. Trinity scored with 38 seconds left in the game to cut the margin to 2 points….of course they went for two points…they had hoped to isolate one of their star receivers, Marcus Washington for the quick slant or alley-oop pass … RC Owens revived !!…..North put 2 defenders on him…so QB Isiah Williams tried running…as he had done well many other times…for the goal line…he was hit about ½ yard out and driven back by a bevy of North defenders….this game had a plethora of future college football players…I would guess about 15-20 players will someday be wearing college football uniforms. I’ve never done this before  but … there’s always a 1st time…many have asked about the game…well…here’s the link…hit “demand” button, Trinity-LN game link, wait for arrow…click…and go…here’s the link…

Click here …

….another dandy was the Hillsboro-Cape Central game….these 2 schools often hook up in some wild and wooly games in district championship games….with the score tied 28-28 in the 4th quarter after Cape had scored 2 TD in the 3rd quarter to tie it…the Hillsboro Hawks marched their way to the title…and I do mean march…the Hawks went 80 yards in 14 plays and 6:30 seconds to take a 36-28 lead on way to their 1st district title in 4 years…Congrats to Coach Lee Freeman & the Hillsboro team.

….on the pro football level…KC Chiefs are a fun team to watch…if you like offense….as of today… Alex Smith is the top rated passer and tied for #2 in TD passes, RB Kareem Hunt leads the league in rushing and total yards, the #6 & #7 receivers in the NFL are Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

High School Soccer..

Finally…..I want to congratulate my friend, John Mohrmann, who guided his Priory Rebels to the Class 2 Soccer Championship over Lincoln Prep 3-0 last Saturday. John was an excellent player himself at St. Thomas Aquinas HS….my memory is that he played on a state winning team there.  He has won 5 state soccer championships as a Head Coach at two schools. John led Rosary HS to state titles in 1985 & 1987. He has directed Priory to 3 state championships in 2005, 2011, 2017…6 year itch…so to speak.. In between,   he also took the tiny Prep Seminary HS into the Soccer Playoffs.  He was able to enjoy a real special thrill this year as his son ,Will , was a member of the team. Congratulations!

I’m wrapping up the 2017 baseball season now….we’ll be into off-season changes shortly…NCAA football rankings, Blues, and other sports stuff starting next week…