Who’ll Stop The Rain by Bob Ryan

One of my favorite songs  was the 1970  CCR song  “Who’ll stop the rain”…first of all….all of us have to have tremendous concern & pity for all those impacted by all the tremendous rainfall  of the last week or so…our concern for hitting or throwing a ball, kicking a ball, trying to put a puck in a net, watching horses run around an oval really pale by comparison to the REAL problems that many of our fellow StL friends, family and everyone else have struggled with during the past few days…our hearts go out to them…it HAS  stopped raining  for 2-3 days now but …..”who’ll really stop the rain”?

…Who’ll stop the rain of Cards early season battles with Cincy & MIlwaukee? The  schedule  will even out….it had the Cards playing 14 of their first 28 games against the Reds & Brewers. In the remaining weeks of May, the Cards to through the Western Division primarily-Atlanta-3 games, Miami-3 games, Cubs-3 games; Boston-2 games, Dodgers-6 games, Col-3 games, Giants-3 games…Surprisingly..at least to me…is that the Cards have 4 games off in the month..with 2 of them being during a homestand…one at the beginning of that  homestand and one at the  end of the home stand…that should be a very strong time to “rain down some wins” for the Birds…rested.. AND at home….

….How did the Predators “rain down” on the hopes of the Blues….while the Blues played much better as the series unfolded ….it appeared to me that the  Nashville attackers were faster skaters… their defense looked more physical with consistent body checks,  it seemed that the Preds passed the puck with more frequency than the Blues who seemed to be forced into “dumping in the puck” on many occasions… both teams had superb play in goal…the Blues #2 line was ghost-like though many minutes of each game…this wasn’t a matter of lack of effort….or poor coaching….Nashville was just a slightly better team…plain and simple…. let’s remember the Blues were #3 in the division for the season…so…winning 1 series seems “about right” for a team of that level. I do think that the Blue-note must upgrade the play of their center-icemen to continue to upgrade the play of the team…our offense in the Nashville series scored 5 goals in the last 4 games…that won’t win many…if any…playoff series

…here’s a strange football fact to “rain down” on you…only 10 other QB in the NFL history have thrown half as many TD passes as Payton Manning did in his career

….How did the Draft “rain down” on NFL teams….according to some….the team with the fewest choices…made the most of them….the New England Patriots…the Pats received a grade of “A” from one NFL web site…the only team to get that grade…so what glamor player did they choose… none…they chose a DL in 3rd round(their 1st pick) followed by a versatile  pass rusher from Arkansas in 4th round…they grabbed a 2 OT in later rounds as protection since one of the starters is a free agent at the end of this year..both have quick feet…I didn’t provide their names because they aren’t local guys so …who would have heard of them? The only Mizzou guy drafted was Charles Harris (#22 pick 1st rnd by Miami)

…Who’ll stop the hits from raining down in Washington….no one as long as Ryan Zimmermann & Bryce Harper are #1 & #4 in the MLB in hitting

…a strange golf fact to “rain down” on you…Jordan Spieth won $61,687 less at the Masters Tournament than Arnold Palmer won in his WHOLE career!

….the MLB is REALLY NOT trying to “Rain down” on the speed of their games…it’s all PR stuff that we hear….strictly done to appease the fans…if they REALLY wanted to speed up games…they’d shorten appeal process… MGR steps on top step…that’s an appeal…why should he have electronic, slo-mo to be reviewed and then decide…appeal on what you ..and the umps …see with your eyes…now some people want the game to be perfect…and are willing to sit thru a jillion appeals… but…it’s an imperfect game…pitchers don’t hit their targets each pitch, batters don’t hit “their pitch” every time why do we expect umpires to make the perfect call every time?  It’s part of the game…play on…and play  

…Who’ll stop the Awards from Raining Down on these guys?…in addition to Harper & Zimmermann mentioned above….Mike Trout was sensational, Fred Freeman did his “thing” quietly in Atlanta as he seems to be driving pitches in the strike zone better this year and outta nowhere comes Eric Thames of Milwaukee..he looks like he could be a LB for Green Bay and… of course Mike Leake -who was absolutely terrific in April on the mound for the Cards

 ….Who rained down some Intensity on NYY Marlin Castro…former Cub….he’s hitting over .340 for the Yanks…this guy was the biggest “dog” as a Cub…never hustled,  seemed to be flashy but couldn’t execute the fundamentals; played w/o any intensity,  etc…but a change of scenery…like the Cubs saying…we really don’t want you Starlin and dumped him… that apparently….woke him up

….Raining down my ranking of Cards starting staff to this point on their production—Leak,  Lynn,  Martinez, Wacha & Wainwright

….Who’ll rain down the peace beads or the hatchets for the O’s & the BoSox…the feud between these 2 teams began with a high-spiked slide by Manny Machadeo into Dustin Pedroia (leader of Red Sox). Boston’s Pitcher Matt Barnes whizzed a fastball behind Machado’s head the next night..then regrettably for the AL…the 2 teams met again a few days later ..and the feud continues….Chris Sale whipped a knee high fastball behind Machado which set off more sparks…the next day after American League official, Joe Torre warned each team about any more retaliations…. Kevin Gausman (Balt starter) threw a curve (slow 76mph) that hit Xander Bogaerts  in the rump…Gausman was ejected…come on…these are grown men…professionals…stay out of it…this isn’t time to play by PC rules…we aren’t in T-ball…these pros were sending messages as they’ve done for 100 years when a player has gone beyond the normal limits of fair play… by the League Officials injecting themselves directly into the mainstream of this debate just muddled it even more…as usually happens in this type of case…if ANYONE was to get punished by the league…this was the wrong guy…let the actual players  handle  it….you guys off the field…stay out of it…

….It sure did “rain down” in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby..however, it didn’t seem to dampen the spirit of the event or the race…or maybe I was Always  Dreaming 

 …It really  did“rain down” on local guys who weren’t drafted… plenty signed after the draft… and let’s be direct here…these guys have an uphill battle to make the squad…it’s possible…but tough…here’s a list of Mizzou players who signed … Aarion Penton (CBC) signed with LA Rams (maybe to join his fellow Tiger DB-EJ Gaines; Josh Augusta signed with the Patriots (see above-NE stock piling lineman); TE Sean Culkin-LA Chargers; speedy Donavin Newsom (Pk North) –SF 49-ers; long snapper Jake Hurrell-Balt Ravens; Rickey Hatley-Houston; CB- John Gibson-Seattle…but here’s a real small-school hero…from nearby, Drake University, Eric Saubert , who WAS drafted by the Falcons as a TE

…a surprising fact “raining down” from the NYY baseball history…Babe Ruth was on 4 World Series Championship teams….Yogi…he was on 13 World Series Championship teams

…why do MLB teams want their teams to rain down HR …well….the top 3 MLB  teams in HR thru May 4 were #1 Milwaukee,  #2 NYY, #3 Washington Nats, …and their position in the standings Milwaukee-tied for 2nd place; NYY-1st place; Wash Nats-1st place

…Well….I can’t stop the Rain…but I can stop this blog…thx for reading   Your comments are invited….put them right here on the Prepcasts site or send me an email…let em’ “rain down” on me 

 

Hidden Gems in the MLB by Bob Ryan

mlb logoWe St Louis fans follow our Cardinals…12 months a year…we follow baseball but there are some other MLB players who we miss, ignore, overlook due to our rapt Redbird attention….there are some hidden gems in the MLB….but let’s start right @ Busch III

…a sizzling rookie gem plays for the Nats…Rookie Trea Turner is really shining brightly in his 1st year in the MLB….he’s hitting .345! Turner has stolen 21 bases. He’s only 23 years old but has played a substantial role in the 1st place positioning of the Washington Nationals.

…some gems that aren’t grabbing headlines because they don’t hit HR…..the top 3 hitters in the MLB are 2B….Jose Altuve(Hou), DJ Lemahieu (Col), Daniel Murphy (Wash) and further 5 of the top 7 hitters in the MLB are 2B! Dustin Pedroia (Boston is 5th) and shockingly Jean Segura (AZ) is 7th…amazingly Segura was traded from Milwaukee to AZ and LeMahieu was traded by the Cubs to the Rocks..what a steal… LaMahieu was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies for Casey Weathers (minors) and Ian Stewart.

…we are raving..even though he’s in the midst of a massive slump…justifiably …about Brandon Moss’ production… considering its his 6th team in 10 seasons, it’s really amazing….he’s belted 25 HR with a HR every 13.88 AB, 61 rbi…couple other observations…although his fielding is probably C- with high slugging numbers and his contract expiring this year, he’ll command a long-term contract with hefty compensation…the Cards have already passed on a much greater, home-grown talent…remember Albert Pujols…sure he wanted the moon…and got it ..but he’s still a power hitter…even now… he has 29 HR, 110 RBI’s(#3 in the MLB), his OPS is .794 as a 36 year old! He’s still going strong…during the last week he banged out 3 dingers while hitting .404. Chances seem slim to me that Mr. Moss will be wearing a Bird on the Bat next year…..so many expect a home-town discount….come on…how many of you are willing to accept less in salary negotiations….especially when you are looking at you last “big” contract”? Foolishly..at least to me… people moan about him accepting a contact worth an additional $5 million dollars instead of him taking less so he can stay in St. Louis…we have a great city….but so do other cities….it sure wouldn’t take me long to make up my mind…get an extra $5 mil for doing the same work..hmmJ Let’s enjoy this gem for the remainder of 2015

…one gem is buried….he’s buried deep in the murk of Atlanta baseball…Freddie Freeman just keeps playing at a very high level for a really bad team.. He’s hitting .294, 29 HR, 73 Ribbies and 85 runs scored and carries a lofty OPS of .956. Now….he IS getting compensated very well….he just signed a 6 year deal with the Braves for $118mi so he may be overlooked by many baseball fans but at least the Braves realize the value of this gem.

…We all know Yadi…and have for a long time….we appreciate him and know he IS a gym but did u know Yadi is the 4th highest hitting catcher in the MLB right now @ .292….the 3 full time catchers above him are 1st-JT Realmuto .313, 2nd-Wilson Ramos-.304, 3rd Jonathan Lucroy .297….interestingly, Ramos AND Lucroy are both free agents at the end of 2016.

 

..our bullpen has been up & down but Swing When OH has really been a gem….he now has 17 saves and 14 holds…he’s already been in 70 games…he’s on route for 75+ games…that’s a lotta games… considering recent history of pitchers with 75 games…I’m a bit concerned…last year the leaders in appearances were Kevin Siegrest 81 games; Mark Melancon-78; Javier Lopez & Tony Watson-77 games; with 76 games were Jared Hughes, Will Smith, Pedro Strop, Seth Maness and Jeurys Familia….of that long list…only Melancon and Familia seemed to match their sharpness in 2016.. many missed time due to arm issues or their effectiveness has dropped as the season unfolded…overuse catches up to everyone…at some point…let’s hope not to this bullpen gem.

…this next gem has been “around” but has never been quite this good….when you think of 20 game winners…you think of Scherzer, Kershaw, Arrieta, etc…you don’t think of a guy with an average pitch speed of 89 mph…however, the 1st 20 game winner in 2016 is Rick Porcello…he’s 6-0 in his last 7 starts, 12-1 in his last 20 starts as he has kept the Red Sox in the Wild Card race ..this gem isn’t flashy or overpowering…a key…in addition to control within the strike zone, he’s walked only 29 batters in his 193 innings of work in 2016…he won’t win the Cy Young because he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, doesn’t throw 2 or 3 hit games or doesn’t complete games…but he is a gem in 2016

….Miami has some gems that most overlook….while the Fish seemed to have fallen out of the Wild Card race of late two of their steadiest players are way under the radar…Martin Prado has been a consistent, non-flashy, a .315 hitter,OBP .369 and OPS of .796 while playing in 132 games to this point….another player not highly regarded by many is Christian Yelich. He’s at .304, 18 HR, OBP of .379 and OPS .868. The Marlins don’t think he’s overachieving…they signed this 24 year old to a 7 year contract that goes through 2022 for $62mil. It began at $1mil and escalates to $22mil by final year of contract.

…. A brand new gem sparkling bright but with a poor team is Brian Dozier…. Dozier has 38 HR for the Twinkies… who ever heard of this guy? Right away I thought of him juicing…..didn’t you…come on…be honest….that’s if you even heard of him…ya know Minnesota doesn’t get a lot of Sunday night games of the World do they…have there EVER been on Sunday night…anyway… Dozier has improved every year…his 1st regular year(2013)-18, 2014-23, 2015-28 and now 38..he’s 29 years of age…good for him.

…the Cubs have excelled this year…while many of their gems…Bryant, Rizzo, Arrieta, Lester, Chapman are very well known….another gem has shined all year…starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks is 14-7 with a sparkling ERA of 2.07 and an amazing WHIP of 0.99. There are only two other starters in the MLB with a lower whip (Clayton Kershaw & Max Scherzer)…in good years for any team, the expected stars shine and the hidden gems shine…sometimes even more than the stars.

…a gem that has been around the block…maybe the whole city…..for a long, long time is Francisco Rodriguez (FranRod). This 34 year old tipped his toes into the MLB waters for the 1st time in 2002 with a short stint. Since that time he’s been in 908 games, recorded 425 saves and is still ticking… this year he’s piled up 39 saves while most miss his strong efforts in Detroit. Wearing his 7th different uniform, this gem is missed by many…due to his name …how many Rodriguez’s are there in theMLB?…due to his longevity …and maybe due to his location..Detroit ..but he is a reliable gem in the pen

Outside the MLB…there are other gems…

…I loved the Texas-ND football game…it was a real gem of a game…..two powerhouse programs locking horns in game 1…the momentum swayed back & forth. Texas needed the win “more” after their weak season last year.But…if you enjoy college football…it was super!  

….After Wisconsin shut down LSU for an upset victory, many fans from Louisiana were calling for the head of Les Miles…yes…after 1 game….I guess we always have “gems” like that to deal with in life J

…Mother Nature was a gem last night…..she sent lightning across the area forcing many high school football games to halt play. Those games will be resumed today from the point that they were stopped.

….there was a “gem” of a picture last Sunday morning….there was Lovie Smith in line with his players singing the school song of Illinois…I think he’s enjoying working with the college kids

….I’m outta gems….C U next time J

Check out the Boys All Star Soccer Game in Archive …

UMB MAC soccer logopleimannHS Boys Soccer – MAC – UMB Bank Senior All-Star Game – Boys – Join Jim Pleimann and Bob Richars with the call.  Click here for the replay – Words from one of the announcers [Jim Pleimann] – “Really enjoyed broadcasting the high school all-star games.  The pace played in the boys game was impressive.  A number of the goals were real beauties.  There was a lot of talent on the field and it shined.  For a while there, I thought the record for goals scored in a game (12) was going to be shattered.  As we said on the broadcast, they really put on a show.  Congrats to all of these kids and good luck to them as they head off to college and pursue their goals – no pun intended!”

Check out the Girls All Star Soccer game in Archive …

UMB MAC soccer logopleimannHS Girls Soccer – MAC – UMB Bank Senior All-Star Game – Girls – Join Jim Pleimann and Bob Richars with the call … Click here for the replay –  Words from one of the announcers [Jim Pleimann] – “Really enjoyed broadcasting the high school all-star games.  The girls did a great job.  The pass work and creativity of these girls stood out.  Congrats to all of these kids and good luck to them as they head off to college and pursue their goals – no pun intended!”

MAC Hosts UMB Bank Senior Soccer All-Star Games Tonight – June 28

UMB MAC soccer logo30th Annual Event to Showcase Top Prep Soccer Players …

 St. Louis’ top high school senior soccer players will be showcased Saturday, June 28 during the annual UMB Bank Senior All-Star Games hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC). Most of these talented players have earned college scholarships where they will continue to excel in soccer and academics.

This year’s event will be sponsored by UMB Bank for the second year of a three-year sponsorship commitment. In addition to being a corporate sponsor, UMB Bank will provide $1,000 scholarships to one female and one male player based on the students’ community involvement, coursework and future plans. These scholarships will be awarded between games during the event.

“We are pleased to sponsor this tournament and look forward to recognizing St. Louis’ all-star student athletes,” said Tom Chulick, chairman and CEO of UMB Bank St. Louis.

The All-Star games will be held at the Soccer Park. The girls’ game will begin at 5 p.m. – Click here for that game; followed by the boys’ game at 7 p.m. – Click here for that game.  There will be an alumni game played at 3 p.m. to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the event. There will also be World Cup viewing available throughout the day. The Center is located in Fenton, just west of Interstate 270 and Interstate 44. The facility is located off exit 275 – (Soccer Park Road Exit). Admission to all games is $5 for adults and $3 for students. Parking is $5.

Archive! – May 31 – HS Girls Soccer – Class 3 Quarters – Cor Jesu Academy @ St. Joseph’s Academy

CLICK TO LISTENMSHSAA logoSt. Joseph'scor jesu logoHS Girls Soccer – Class 3 Quarters – Cor Jesu Academy @ St. Joseph’s Academy – Click here for the game

Archive! – May 6 – HS Girls Soccer – Eureka @ Oakville

Oakville Eureka CLICK TO LISTENHS Girls Soccer – Eureka @ Oakville – Click here for the match

Archive! – May 5 – HS Girls Soccer – Northwest @ Pacific [Northwest Sports Network]

pacific high logoCLICK TO LISTEN NorthwestHS Girls Soccer – Northwest @ Pacific [Northwest Sports Network] – Click here for the game

Archived! – Apr. 25 – HS Girls Soccer – Hillsboro @ Northwest [Northwest Sports Network]

hillsboro logo Northwest soccer logo CLICK TO LISTENHS Girls Soccer – Hillsboro @ Northwest [Northwest Sports Network] – Click here for the game

Archive! – Feb. 25 – HS Girls Basketball – Northwest @ Oakville

Oakville NorthwestCLICK TO LISTENHS Girls Basketball – Northwest @ Oakville – Click here for the game