Kobe or LeBron? by Ashley Wright

There’s no debate that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. However when current Hall of Famer and NBA great Michael Jordan was asked who is better between the two he stated [in a report by MIKE CHIARI] … 

“Would I rank LeBron over Kobe in terms of best of all time? No. There’s something about five that beats three. Now he may be better than that, but Kobe won five championships. LeBron won three.”

… Granted LeBron’s career average of 27 points, 7 rebounds and, 7 assist is better than Kobe’s 25 points, 5 rebounds and, 4 assists, Kobe holds a 5-2 record in the NBA finals which is not only better than LeBron’s 3-5 record but that also means Kobe has won more titles than LeBron in less games. LeBron averages are slightly higher than Kobe’s but isn’t the goal to win championships rather than average more points than the player across from you? LeBron is obviously below .500 in the finals whereas Kobe has a winning record. Some may argue that Kobe needed Shaq to win his first three and after Shaq’s departure the help of Pau Gasol to win his last two. Other’s may rebuttal that argument and claim LeBron needed to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win his first two and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to win his third. It’s true both players had a hand in winning their championships but didn’t Jordan have the help of Pippen and Rodman? When it comes to Jordan’s statement of Bryant being the better player than James, it is almost inarguable because almost every NBA player will agree the common goal is to be crowned the NBA champions at the end of the season. LeBron James is still an active player in the NBA and has the opportunity to win more championships, and perhaps pass both Jordan and Kobe.

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

Ashley Wright

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What the Trading Deadline Told Us by Bob Ryan

The trading deadline…coming at the end of July….tells us a great deal about the true feelings of a MLB team..its management reveals some of its deeper thoughts by their “moves” or lack of moves…lets take a look as I complete this on Sunday night….one day prior to the deadline…what these teams have told us thus far..

…Detroit sends JD Martinez to the Diamondbacks…Martinez is 29 years old…so still has some very productive years.  He’s hit over .300 each of the last 3 years and with his HR against the Cards last week has hit over 20 HR for 5 straight years…why did Detroit deal him?   His contract expires at the end of this year…apparently, Martinez doesn’t fit into the plans for Detroit…although it does seem to be too young to be “giving him away”… The Tigers aren’t the 1st team to give up on him…the Astros drafted him in 2011 but gave up on him after 3 years and released him…Detroit signed him as a free agent in 2014.. In addition to Martinez, Arizona is telling us that they are “in” for this playoff run

…Kansas City did it in their usual way….obtaining Melky Cabrera from the CWS.  This Cabrera…there are several in the league…Cabrera holds some strong hitting numbers–.295 avg; 13 HR, .336-OB%. He’s been acquired to provide more punch for the Royals…KC has suffered from the drop off of Alex Gordon (.201) and Brandon Moss (.210). He is expected to be in the lineup daily instead of Gordon or Moss. Cabera returns to KC where he played in 2011 and hit .305. Clearly this is a short rental for KC since Cabrera is a free agent at the end of the year and he’s making $15m this year.  Kansas City just 2.5 games out of the wildcard is playing it “close to the vest” but are pedaling to stay in the race.

….the Cards shuffled from the bottom of the deck…again…released Eric Fryer…placed Dexter Fowler & Adam Wainwright on DL…released Chad Huffman…who…out of nowhere…with no credentials…shows up on the Cardinal roster in June….he was in & out quicker than a spoon stirring a cup of coffee..and finally…the good news…yet another Memphis OF joins the Cardinals-Harrison Bader. It does seem strange to me that Carson Kelly being “brought up” now…mid-season….while you would expect that Yadi will still catch 6 days a week… but…Yadi doesn’t seem to have reacted well to this move…that is –actually having a backup who could be a starter instead of a backup who is largely ceremonial…..he’s already been in a public tiff over sitting out one day with Manifesto.. it seems, he spent the game in the bullpen  with his shin guards on pouting….Cards are actually telling us that they are in a “holding pattern” and not exactly sure where they are going OR landing

…the Cubs worked it another way…in a clear effort to improve a weak spot…the starting rotation..this tells the team that we have confidence in you—we just need pitching….they acquired  Jose Quintana from the White Sox, activated Kyle Hendricks and swallowed $2.9m as they released pitcher Brett Anderson…2017 stats–22 inn, 20 ER,34 hits, 16 K & 12 walks….who they had just signed this past winter….the Cubs have been on a tear since the trade…Cubs told us that they are going for it..again

…a team rarely on the receiving side at the trading deadline is Tampa Bay….constricted by a very small MLB pocketbook…we are talking millions here….the Rays actually went out and tried to improve their team for THIS year…the Rays obtained Lucas Duda…slugging 1B from the Mets…TB sent back Drew Smith…a 23 year old RP….TB also has reworked their bullpen by acquiring 3 new hurlers…they procured a lefty, Dan Jennings of the White Sox…Jennings is a no-name for most of us…but this is his 6th year in the league with a lifetime ERA of 2.45…that ERA is up this year and he just turned 30 so the CWS who prohibit any player on their team from being over 25 years old J shipped him off. TB swapped relief hurlers as they acquired Steve Cishek (rhp-free agent end of the year) for Erasmo Ramirez. Cishek’s duties will be to handle late innings against teams with right handed hitters. Tampa Bay also signed the fading Sergio Romo for their pen…the Rays are hoping that this aging vet can squeeze out a couple saves or holds in the last 2 months..so…basically…Tampa Bay is telling us that they are working within their fiscal constraints to improve their playoff chances.

….Tampa Bay Rays is a largely overlooked team…at least by me…..the Rays have been in the post-season playoffs 4x since 2008!…that shocked me … I would have guessed 1 or 2 times…..currently Tampa Bay is in the hotly contested AL wild-card race with a 53-52 record

….the Rockiess obtained Pat Neshek from the Phils for prospects…this should provide an immediate jolt for the Rocks pen. Neshek’s “funny” delivery makes him super for an inning. Colorado is refining their weakness for the final stretch…it’s a “weak” play but they are still in the race..the wild card race.

….Milwaukee also dove into the bullpen waters and fished out a new arm..Anthony Swarzak from the CWS for prospects. This is a rental for the Brewers….Swarzak is having the best year of his 8 year career and becomes a free agent at the end of the year….good gamble for the Brew Crew..but really not a “game changer” for the Brewers…Milwaukee had procured catcher Steve Vogt  to help behind the plate a couple weeks ago (still trying to replace Lucroy)…..one would have to say that they are “in” but only with a few chips. I really think that Milwaukee doesn’t believe that they are good enough this year but have made a token move to appease their fans.

….going the other way with their bullpen..and in the standings…. is the Chicago White Sox…the Chisox have brought in the big broom and cleaned out their pen…which has been largely ineffective…receiving plane tickets for their new destinations are Dan Jennings (TB), Anthony Swarzak (Mil),David Robertson & Tommy Kahnle (both going to NYY)…the White Sox always seem to be “building for the future”…If I were a fan…I’d be asking when will that be?  Will I be alive to see it J Are they to match the 100 year drought that the Cubs experienced in Chicago? CWS is telling us…no..not us….we’re decades away

…the Mets shock most fans by snatching AJ Ramos (Miami’s closer) to 2 minor league prospects…one highly touted, one not so much. Surprising why?  Although Ramos is a very good closer..20 saves this year, 40 last year…neither team is close to contending..both are 9 games out of the wild card spot..so why the trade?  NY will lose their valuable bullpen man—Addison Reed to free agency next year…. So the Mets are setting up for next year already…Ramos is not a free agent until 2019….NY is telling their fans “wait to next year”..Miami is telling their fans what they usually do…we don’t pay big money .. unless his name is Stanton..to players…so trade them

….Minnesota obtained Jaime Garcia from the Braves(Garcia has now been traded 3x since the end of last season) for 2 prospects….than less than a week later…after 1 start… Garcia is traded to the Yankees for two prospects (one seems talented)..Garcia’s great movement on his pitches has always made him attractive…but….he goes 6 inn at the most…and wins aren’t always easy for him to pile up since he relies on the bullpen to go 3 or 4 innings…so..with all those trades of Garcia in a few months…it got me thinking after his multiple moves…who’s been on the most teams….

…two guys who are very, very familiar with the trading deadline and other trading times are linked together in St. Louis….Edwin Jackson has been on 12 different MLB clubs. He is one behind the all-time team-hopper—Octovio Dotel (13 teams)….how are they linked…both were on the 2011 St Louis Cardinals! Dotel was 3-3, 2 saves and 3.28 era…meanwhile Jackson was 5-2, 3.58…Fernando Salas led the team in saves with 24….as I was going through the  Cardinals 2011 roster…how about these names….I remembered most of these names but little about them….Bryan Augenstein, Nick Punto, Maikel Cleto, Gerald Laird, Miguel Batista, Tyler Green, Arthur Rhodes, Corey Patterson, Trevor Miller

…more on 2011 team…..the 2017 Cardinal edition is hoping to emulate the very same 2011 team mentioned above.…The 2011 Cards won just  90 games in the regular season, knocked off the favored Phil Phillies in round 1, defeated the division leader-Milwaukee Brewers in 2nd round…and then who can forget the 2011 World Series… superhero David Freese established a new record for post season RBI’s with 21 including  his famous…at least he’s famous in St Louis J…walk-off HR….it still amazes me that the Cards scored in the 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th innings to win game 6…scoring in all those particular innings has never has been done prior to 2011 and never since…it was truly historic.

In the SPECIAL CATEGORIES arena…….

….we reap what we sow category…looking back at the Cardinals “Moves” from last off season…one might conclude that our inertia about freshening the roster has left us with 2017 being close to a replica of 2016…here ya go….major league free agent signings Dexter Fowler 5 yr-$82.5m & Brett Cecil 4y-$30.5m; in-house signing-Carlos Martinez 5 yr-$51m; notable minor league signing Jose Adolis Garcia & Eric Fryer (already gone)…traded …gave away Jaime Garcia for 3 minor league players who aren’t on the radar currently; lost Jeremy Hazelbaker (Az) & Tim Cooney (Clev)on waivers and lost or cut Brandon Moss, Matt Holliday, Seth Maness, Brayan Pena…the only player of that group that doesn’t fall into the category of “addition by subtraction” is Matt Holliday…I really don’t see much from Nov thru March that has significantly changed our team for the better..the “big” signing of Dexter Fowler (a lifetime .266 hitter) I think was more of a move to retaliate against the Cubs for the signing of John Lackey….so…. do you expect it now at the trading deadline?  Maybe  but probably not…it could be a “token” move to keep the anxious StL fans appeased?… for  you optimists…..we still do have Monday left

In a money vs ring contest…..the best players in the NBA are all attempting to “partner up” with another star so that they may go deep in the playoffs…all of these starts are paid handsomely …so now it’s about winning a championship…which many have NOT accomplished…ore even come close to doing.  The latest merry-go-round saw Kyrie Irving (Clev)…who HAS won a championship and been in the finals 3 years…express his desire to leave LeBron…oops Cleveland…and play where HE could be the feature player and make more money … sensing an opening…Derrick Rose…who has never been on a winner and has made plenty of dough(1 year left on 5 year, $95m deal + $185m contract with Adidas)….signed with Cleveland as the slashing-guard type that Irving has been in the past …hoping to win the ring with LeBron.

In a “spoiled sports world” …or…you must talk PC about the pros..….David Price (Boston pitcher) seems to have gone overboard…he has reacted outwardly on a couple occasions to Dennis Eckersly.  Apparently Price was “upset” when Eckersly reacted with a “yuk” to the stats of a Boston starter rehabbing in the minors…Price has been highly vocal with f-bombs directly to Eckersly in front of many of his teammates…sounds to me that Mr. Price has has earned $114m throwing a baseball and currently holding a 5-3 record should accept that Dennis Eckersly, a HOF pitcher, has the right…and is in fact…paid to express his true opinions on the performance of the players….ya know…if ya get the big bucks….you also become a big target…don’t like it?…then don’t sign for the huge contracts.

In a make sure that you “cover” yourself world…about a week ago, Matt Carpenter was thrown out at home…it wasn’t even close….the catcher had the ball and moved up the line to tag Carp prior to him starting his slide…immediately after being tagged out, Carpenter whirled around and took a quick look at the 3B coach….without speaking but saying clearly, “What were you doing sending me home?”…Carp wasn’t going to “take the fall” for such an egregious decision..especially since he’s been castigated by many for his baserunning

opening the door

Andre Beltre has opened to the door to the Baseball HOF…garnishing his 3000 hit this afternoon. He broke in with the Dodgers in 1998 at the age of 19. He’s the 31st batter to break the 3000 barrier…28 of the first 30 batters who had 3000 are in the HOF….Ichiro is still playing & Pete Rose…you all know his story….btw…I was surprised to see that Babe Ruth had 2873 hits in his unbelievable career…I’ve always just thought of him as the MR HR…next in line is Albert Pujols…he has 2911 hits…probably next year

…well I’ve reached my deadline….thx for trading your time for this blog…have a super week

Greatest Basketball Team of all Time by Ashley Wright

On this day 25 years ago the original Dream Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona took the floor and started their historical run. The Dream Team was nothing short of a phenomenon at the time. They dominated the Olympic competition, beating their eight opponents by an average of 48 points. The Dream Team put on performances that we will never forget. In their opening game they routed Angola, winning by 68 points. NBA Hall of Famer and former forward Charles Barkley helped by posting 24 points 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the opener. Barkley also led the team in points per game during the 1992 Olympics averaging 18. A team that also included Jordan, Bird, Magic and Ewing is still one of the most popular US men’s basketball teams to date, but were they the greatest? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the Speak Your Mind section below!

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Good to Great by Bob Ryan

Good To Great… a book written by Jim Collins was required reading one year while I was teaching. It was an interesting book…no…I’m not giving a book review here…but…some of his ideas  apply to our Cardinals.  Quickly…Collins says that you have to have a vision, decisiveness, the correct personnel on the bus to success and each of them in the right seat on the bus to execute this paradigm shift. One could say …fairly…that the Cardinals develop good field players….these type of  players have enough ability to play in the MLB, they receive good training and habits along the way…many make it to the MLB and play several years..this “Cardinal Way” works to get good field players…but not often great field players..Albert was our last great player developed in the Cards system..the current management team seems determined to play with these home-grown players….almost exclusively..it just doesn’t work…look at some of the Cardinals best teams…1964 team had only 3 home-grown field starters, in 1982 it was also just 3 starters from the farm system, 2004 it was 3 players again…2011 saw a huge number-5 Cardinals grow up in the system…generally, it’s very difficult to find those superstars from one organization and very difficult to go deep in playoffs with only home-grown boys….I’m suggesting that the Cards trade several of their younger players…some  in the majors and some from the minors…to procure a superstar…along with an aging superstar  (e.g. Lance Berkmann, Larrry Walker, Carlos Beltran, Roger Maris)…to help our team go from good to great…

A team MUST draft well and trade as required…it’s required now by the Cardinals….we don’t have a great team with this squad…so..let’s take steps to make it a great team….package 3,4 or 5 talented young players  for a superstar and.. combined with several GOOD players already on the team….it  can do the trick….it CAN and HAS been done….stop shuffling the bottom of the deck players…take a look at some of these players who were traded as young players (under 25)…Ryne Sandberg (Phils to Cubs), Jeff Bagwell (BoSox to Astros),HOF Nolan Ryan (Cal Angels to NYM),  HOF Pedro Martinez (Dodgers to Expos), Fergie Jenkins (Phils to Cubs), future HOF Miguel Cabrera (Marlins to Tigers) and of course Babe Ruth  … I wouldn’t rule out any current starting field player and only Martinez on the mound corp.  Players most attractive to other teams…not in any particular order… Carpenter, Gyorko, Wong, Pham,  Diaz, Lynn (as a short term rental), Piscotty, Grichuk, Rosey, Oh and the plethora of pitchers down in the farm(*Jack Flaherty, Mike Mayers-just promoted,, Marco Gonzales, *Sandy Alcantara, Luke Weaver) Your thoughts? ..btw…* means that player is top of the line in my eyes…look who we’ve procured over the years who helped us become a GREAT team…Lou Brock, Ozzie, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen,  John Tudor, Adam Wainwright..it can be done and it must be done if the Cards want to elevate their level of play

 

While some are really not “ good to great”…more like” bad to good” in some cases…how about…

…Atlanta’s star 1B, Freddie Freeman. offers to move to 3B to keep the surging Matt Adams at 1B…while that idea was floated around repeatedly in these blogs it didn’t gain any traction in the Cards clubhouse…so who’s being the true “team” player?

…you must give the Blues credit for trying to become a GREAT team….strengthening the center-ice position via a trade with Philly…then gambling on a forward with their 1st round pick..who by many hockey experts has a high end of talent but somehow it’s never jelled yet…and as a bonus….losing Paron & Lehtera freed up some badly need cap space

…someone with GREAT speed is Mags Sierra….he’s 21 playing at Springfield Redbirds (AA)..been in minors 4 years…hitting .324..no power…he’s another Vince Coleman type…remember the excitement that Vince brought? If we don’t make a major trade, I hope we see him shortly after All-Star break….

…Matt Holliday has been a GREAT addition for the Yankees this year….recently he “volunteered” to play 1B if needed…his mature attitude in the clubhouse has to be a big plus for the youthful Yankees…and he has 15 HR, 47 RBI’s  and a .275 average in the batters box in 2017…frankly…we just didn’t want to pay him and we don’t have a DH spot in the NL

….striving to overcome a career low in 2016, Andrew McCutchen has been on fire of late…now hitting  .270 with his 13 HR ….McCutchen is signed through 2018 ….so…. he may have played himself right out of Pittsburgh who would like to get something in return and not just have him walk away as a free agent at the end of 2018….he could be very attractive to contending teams who need an OF for 1+ years …especially a CF ….who’s only 30 years old…younger than Matt Carpenter & Dexter Fowler and shockingly…just 1 year older than Tommy Pham

…hopefully Derek Jeter will lead a group to buy the Marlins….that would be taking a team from being badly handled to hopefully good or even GREAT team.

…still running the 3000 Steeple Chase in GREAT form  is Colleen Quigley…from Nerinx Hall HS and whose Dad was a teaching colleague of mine.. She finished 8th in the 2016 summer Olympics and over the weekend came in 3rd place in the Steeple Chase in the USA Championships…her 3rd place finish has earned her a trip to London for the World Championships. Congrats on maintaining such a world class status.

….after renting Mark Melancon in late 2016 and surrendering Felipe Rivero in the trade….the Nats are in the same predicament  in 2017….seeking a “big time” closer again… would Rosenthal be a candidate for them? Melancon sure filled the bill last year.. he had 17 saves in Washington and 47 for the year with a year long ERA of 1.67…

….I have some pity for the announcers…trying to announce these Cardinal games like they are GREAT games…..many are not even GOOD games…I notice that Danny Mc is bringing in many more stats and stories to “fill” throughout each game…I mean how many times can you say, “an error or a base running mistake by the Cards on that play” 

….on the upper end of the “good to great” yard stick….Las Vegas Golden Knights have 37 players but….they also acquired a bevy of draft choices….they acquired THREE 1st round picks(6th, 13th, 15th) as they obtained a total of  12 overall picks in this draft on Friday!

whoa, whoa…hang on there Mr. Kyle Schwarber….the road to being Great…or even good… is longer than just  one post-season series…how can you not hit a fastball now?

…going from good to GREAT by recognition are the 2017 St Louis Soccer HOF class…the entire class is Pat Baker, Billy Becher, Sam Bick, Pat Gaffney, Keith Gehling, Jack Jamieson, Tony Kuster, Jeff Sendobry, Herb Silva, Mike Sorber, and Jamie Swanner. A special pat on the back to two of my friends— a classmate of mine through elem school & HS–Tony Kuster and a fellow teaching colleague Jack Jamieson who are being inducted in this ceremony….CONGRATS on the GREAT honor!!

…the blatent ignoring of the Phillies 3B coach by Odubel Herrara against the Cards was almost shocking…3B coach, Juan Samuel, had both arms up clearly and early and Herrara just kept running…reminded me of kids running the bases in T-Ball…when the defense hasn’t learn to throw the ball yet…of course Herrara was out by…20 feet…I’m being conservative….If the Phils don’t deal the rogue Herrara ..or cut him…they’ll never be good…much less great…

…Dodgers have been great recently as they’ve won 10 in a row…thank goodness the Cards are in the Central division…if they’d been in the Western division, we’d be 16.5 games out of 1st place

…for the 1st time in many years, the Detroit Tigers will probably be “sellers” at the trade deadline…key players like J.D.Martinez, Justin Wilson, Alex Avila, Shane Green and Ian Kinsler could all be on the block as the Tigers will attempt to reshape their roster and get younger…and hopefully….better…possible trade partner with Cards…as are Toronto, Frisco, NYM, Cincy (Joey Votto)

…recently promoted 1B Luke Voit was hitting .317 with OPS of .952 @ Memphis….but…he is a 1B…it doesn’t appear that the Cards want to shake up or bother Matt Carpenter…maybe Voit is one of the trade bait for that superstar mentioned above…keep in mind, Johnny Peralta in .364 in Memphis…and barely .200 vs the MLB pitchers…btw…Johnny was just resigned by a MLB team but ..to show his skills in the minors….poor Johnny…it’s just really tough to admit that your time is up…go on with your life.

….in the NBA….good players aren’t good enough….you must have superstars to compete for the title….Jayson Tatum was drafted #3 by the Celtics with the hopes that he can play a 2 or 3 position and push the Celts back into prominence. It was especially Good to me to see the wonderful hugs for Mom & Dad who have gone their separate ways…

….it’s good…maybe even great…that you made it to the bottom…YOUR thoughts are always welcome…just put them on the Prepcasts site or send them to me & I’ll post them for you(you’re your permission)..many, many of you send me very insightful, detailed ideas that are really good to read..I’d like others to share in that same experience.

 

 

 

Father’s Day Gifts by Bob Ryan

Many of you celebrated Fathers Day on Sunday….as did many others…we had the rare opportunity to learn some of the gifts that these Fathers’ …or someday to be… fathers….received…

…Chris Maloney received instructions on how to raise both arms simultaneously since he’s never demonstrated that skill previously as 3B coach

….Jon Lester received a certificate from his Dad to play catch and learn how to throw the ball without pitching

…..Golden State received a plaque that simply says, “ Two stars are better than one”

…..Mike Leake received landing gear since he’s come back to earth in his stats.

….Ryan Zimmermann (Wash) received some oxygen to use since he’s up in rarified air this season…he’s hitting .367, 19 HR, 52 rbi thru Friday

…the Rams offensive line coach received his gift a couple days early…the Rams traded Greg Robinson to the Lions

….Jeff Gyorko received a towel to wipe the egg off his face after not running out a short fly to RF against the Orioles that dropped fair and he was barely reaching 1B instead of 2B as the announcers pointed out

….Jake Burger (CBC grad) wants someone  to pinch him and make sure he wasn’t just dreaming.. he was drafted in 1st round this week in MLB draft..congrats

….Carpenter & Fowler each received large question marks…why do lead off men insist on trying to hit HR?

….Sydney Crosby received a large Gold S on his blue under-shirt indicating his “Super star” (see below)

….Aaron Judge received the Babe Ruth award for the first 1/3 of the year (22 HR)

….Paul Molitor received a gold copy of the current 2017 standings..with Minnesota in 1st place …after a horrible 2016 season (his 1st season as manager in Minnesota) when they lost the first 8 games and lost over 100 games in the season while finishing 35.5 games out of 1st place!

….Matt Adams received a “Warm Welcome” in Atlanta where he’s popped 9 HR in 100 AB with an OPS of .939 in his first 25 games..but …where will he play when Freddie Freeman gets healthy? If nothing else, he’s driving upward his free agent value after the season.

….Mike Matheny received a coin to be used to make his decision to appeal a play… instead of the 40,000 fans watching him look for the “sign” from the video man..make the managers use their eyes like the umps to decide

….Rick Pitino received a slap on the wrist from the NCAA for the Louisville Basketball unscrupulous sexual violations that his program was found to have used to entice recruits to come to Louisville

….Miami Marlins fans have received a gift of watching the best hitting OF in baseball-Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna

….Jim Edmonds hopefully receives a gift of amnesia when it comes to using the word “I”

….the City of Pittsburgh received a gold hockey puck for their hockey support…an estimated 650,000 people turned out to celebrate the Penguins post-season victory of the Stanley Cup..officially Pittsburgh has 305,000 people

….Madison Bumgarner received a lock for his dirt bike from the SF Giants since his arm injury occurred on the bike

…Randall Grichuk received an alarm to wake him up because his baseball dream maybe coming to an end

….Brett Cecil received the #”27”for his uniform …that he wore in Toronto…hoping to regain that Toronto touch

…Danny Mc received an index card with the question, “If Martinez & Pham are such hot prospects, why are they 28 and 29 years old before they reach the majors?”

…Michael Wacha has received a ticket to the bullpen…he’s been somewhat efficient first time through the order..maybe he’ll be the bridge guy for the Cards (bridge between starters & 8th/9th guys)

 

Early in the week of June 12, the professional fall-winter sports teams concluded their playoffs.  In hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the first back-back titles won by a defending champion in the NHL since 1997-98 (Detroit Red Wings). Getting “hot” at just the right time, Pitt’s goalie Matt Murray recorded back-back shutouts in games 5 & 6. Overall it was the 5th championship title for the Penguins.…It was an unusual final series….no game was won by just 1 goal throughout the 6 game series! …..Pekka Rinne played like 2 different players—was outstanding  at home (stopped 77 of 80 shots for a .963 Save percentage)but pedestrian on the road (stopped just 34 of 45 shots for a save percentage of .756)…Sidney Crosby has clearly established himself as one of the greatest players of all-time…he now has 3 Stanley Cups, 2 Olympic gold medals and many individual honors. His Consecutive Playoff MVP awards and the likely chance of him winning his 3rd Hart Trophy as League MVP later this month….It makes me ask…can any team win without a Super Star Center Ice Man?  If so…where do the Blues stand? …Nashville abandoned their 3rd pairing of defensive players almost completely in games 5-6 after some costly miscues in game 4. Congrats to the Penguins for winning the title and to Nashville for going deep into the playoffs and igniting a hockey “fire” in Nashville. Nashville’s fans were so very good that they pushed up the NHL final series ratings as many at home loved what they saw…and heard… in Nashville.

 

In NBA basketball, Golden State beat Cleveland this year as Steph Curry & Kevin Durant led the way in the incredible 16-1 post-season run (only loss to Cleveland when GS had a 3-0 lead in the series)….some thoughts..

…LeBron James led his team to the finals for the 7th straight year…clearly he’s on the Mt Rushmore of NBA Super Stars…although there’s more than just 4 players on the Mt NBA..

….an startling stat…the Warriors outscored their opponents by 245 points when Stephen Curry was on the floor in the 2017 playoffs..to give you an idea of how good that stat is in the NBA…the previous record was 213 points difference by Kobe Bryant in 2001 playoffs. Curry’s ability to drive, pass, shoot, dribble are all at the highest level.

…there is already talk that Paul George (star of Pacers) will opt out of his contract in a year at Indy…so….possbily the Pacers will deal him to Cleveland this upcoming year to gain something as they’ll apparently  lose George in a year anyway…Cleveland (Lebron) realizes that Cleveland needs a 2nd super-start like Golden State to compete.

…although gone 51 years, the NBA finals continues to have more viewers in St. Louis than the NHL finals…this year 7.6%of homes watched the Golden State-Cleveland series while 3.1% watched the Penguins handle Nashville. Last year it was 7.6% again for NBA and hockey was a bit higher at 3.6% …the Blues longer run in playoffs probably was the difference…as the hockey fans were highly engaged in hockey by championship time.

 

The US Open Golf Tournament this past week raised the question…do we want to see the best golfers in the world have narrow fairways & long courses …thus these great golfers are really challenged to stay above par ….or do we want to see the best in the world have wide fairways and used their enhanced equipment drive the ball miles down the fairway that lead them to post electric scores that are double digits below par …true, the wind in the last day was a factor.  Myself…a non-golfer…I’m for making it as tough as possible on the greatest players in the world. I think it makes them use a wider variety of skills (shots) to succeed…this shouldn’t just be a “long driving-putt” contest.

 

A new, easy baseball stat to consider….we always have the current standings as an instant barometer of our favorite team’s success…but here’s a different consideration…the Beane count…devised by Rob Neyer of ESPN and named after the Oakland A GM….it’s simple, yet the results coincide rather closely with the standings. Each team is ranked in just 4 categories…HR, walks, HR permitted and walks permitted…the best teams have the lowest score…thru today, Wed, June 14…the Yankees are the best in the AL..by far..with an 8.0 ranking…Tampa Bay is #2 @ 22.8, #3 is Cleveland 23.0 and Houston Astros are #4 @ 24.2…Yankees & Astros lead their divisions in the standings. Cleveland is #2 in AL Central and most seem to think it’s only a matter of time until the pass Minnesota. In the NL, LA Dodgers are #1 @ 15.8 followed @#2 by Az Diamondbacks 19.0. The #3 NL team in Beane Count is the Washington– 20.3….at #4 are the Milwaukee Brewers 25.1…Milwaukke & Washington lead their divisions, AZ & LA are just 1.0 game out of 1st place….conclusion…draw walks & bang HR while defensively don’t walk anyone and keep the ball in the ball park! According to these stats the Cardinals were ranked #7 in the National League.

 

 

Hope all of you had a wonderful Father’s Day!

The Week that Wasn’t by Bob Ryan

This past week…or slightly more…has really been a stunner to many of us…there were stunning events….let’s take a closer look at the Week that Wasn’t…

….this week wasn’t a good one for the merry-go-round of the Cardinal roster….pushed off was John Gant. The press and Card mgmt. really seemed to be thrilled as they had promoted Gant in a big way when he arrived on the scene…this LHP could really add substance to the bullpen….he could be a long man, a short man, a specialist, yada-yada-yada….right..(did you read my sarcasm)….one week later…after 1 appearance of 3.1 innings…he’s demoted for a backup journeyman 1B,Chad Huffman. This 32 year had played last in the MLB in 2010! Hitting .167 (3 of 18) in that brief journey to the big-time…now we’ve gone full circle..we traded…practically gave away…Matt Adams (backup 1B and an excellent pinch-hitter)…now we have Huffman…a short-time MLB player…the merry-go-round continues… but wait…even more as this ominous week continued…. Two players-Broxton & Peralta were released…2 Coaches were removed from the roster….Maloney was “cut” outright and Bill Mueller saved face while being placed on a leave of absence…then Yadi missed 2 straight games with back issues… Kolton Wong returns….hope they’ll keep patting him on the back..or lower…we need his speed and skill set…WOW…what a week..of course the 7 game losing streak was the perverbial rock that broke the camel’s back…or maybe it was a meeting between MO and the DeWitts and MO got the word…if there isn’t immediate improvement (our sales for down for future Cardinal home games)…you’re gone.

….this week wasn’t good for Oklahoma football…the resignation of Bob Stoopes (190-48 .798, 1 national title) may cause a drop-off of the Sooner Football.  Following Bud Wilkenson (1947-63, 145-29-4 .826, 3 national titles) there was a ten year lull until a guy named Barry Switzer came along(157-29-4-.836, 3 national titles)…When Switzer left, it took 11 years to find Stoopes…so if history holds true, Sooner fans will be screaming for about a decade until they find the next “great” Sooner coach.

…this wasn’t the week that Golden State could wrap up 16 straight post-season wins while sweeping the Cavs….LeBron kept his Cavaliers in the post-season with a powerful victory in game 4.

…btw..this isn’t the week that you expected the Cardinals to “eat” the remaining part of the $10mil contract with Johnny Peralta..seldom..if ever…have the Cards swallowed such an amount of money..and don’t tell me that he earned it in the first 2 years of the contract…Johnny earned $15m, $15m, $12.5m and this year—his 4th year–$10m..he hit .263, .275, .260 and now .204…his RBI total was 75, 71, 20 and 4..his HR totals were 21, 17, 8, 0…..those numbers don’t coincide with my idea of a guy earning $52.5m for 4 years….basically…it was a poor signing by MO.

…the date of June 8th wasn’t the day or the week that the Cards elevated our playoff hopes…on June 8, 2017 the Cards have a run differential of -20 (they’ve been outscored by 20 runs)…check out the last 5 years of the Cardinals on June 8th…on 2016, it was +58, 2015-+62, in 2014 +16, 2013 saw a +91 and 2012 +56. Using a 5 year history as a basis, only 7 playoff teams (out of a total of 50-14%) were in a negative differential on June 8…they were–2012: Orioles (-7); Tigers (-18); Athletics (-21); 2013-Dodgers(-37); 2014- Royals(-15);   Pirates (-20) 2015: Cubs (-1)  2016: none. The last time the Cards were 26-31 on June 8 was 2007..gee…think of the changes in YOUR life in the last 10 years

…this week wasn’t when you expected to find out that Wilt Chamberlain won 3 straight Big Eight Titles in the High Jump and was also inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame..funny what people pop into your mind as you watch the NBA Finals …what else could LeBron have accomplished outside basketball? … Probably a lot ..just think of LeBron as a defender on the soccer pitch, a track-field athlete, or an outside LB in the NFL

…this week wasn’t good because we realized that the 2017 Cardinal OF is worse defensively than the Cardinals 2016 OF defensively…and that  OF included Matt Holliday…ouch.

…this week wasn’t the week that anyone would expect Marshawn Lynch’s press conference to rival Tony’s post game press conferences…but it did…the longer he talked…the more “salty” the language became and the more the love of Oakland came forth to the public…just speaking for myself…I don’t think that he CAN make the come back….any running back in the NFL has a short shelf life and Lynch took a beating as he often carried the ball on inside runs for Seattle..but …good luck to him

….this week wasn’t what we EVER expected in the NL Central Division standings….the Milwaukee Brewers in 1st place, Cubs 2 games out; Reds 3 games behind, Cards at -3.5 with Pittsburgh -5.5 games behind…are you kidding me…are we still in April with Milwaukee top?

…this wan’t the week that you expected the returning players to the Mizzou basketball team to “rehatch” from the off-season egg …after being ignored during all the signings, they now claim that THEY were important also to the success of the team…..one might ask…what success?…anyway…only Jordan Bartnett (CBC) it seems…will have  any chance to average 20 min per game with this improved roster

…all 3 of the Triple Crown races saw horses “coming from behind” to win…exciting!  Since we commonly accept the top 3 races (Triple Crown)for 3-year horses…why not have 2 horse races for the 2 year olds?

….this week wasn’t the week that we expected to find just 1 Cardinal in the top 40 of NL hitters in the Batting Average Category…it was Jed Gyorko @ #9

….this wasn’t the week …or any week…that anyone expected Aaron Judge to pass up Mike Trout in the American League All-Star voting…come on….Trout..proven superstar vs a New York rookie star ?

….this week wasn’t the week that you expected Manifesto to pull out Lance Lynn after 5 innings, only 78 pitches and a 3-1 lead…of course the Cards bullpen blew up and bye-bye win…it seems Manifesto is managing the team with a quick finger to appeal, looking for the new “fresh” guy, pulling pitchers quickly and shuffling the lineup more than a deck of cards(pardon the pun)…you might call it “pressure”….don’t know if you can win in that style…

…this week wasn’t the week that you expected Pittsbugh to pepper the puck past Rinne like he was had on blinders in  game 5.

….this wasn’t the week …it was actually June 30, 2014 when Sports Illustrated proclaimed that the Houston Astros would be the 2017 World Champions..it was laughed at, ridiculed, mocked at the time…but…right now…the Astros are 42-18, 1st place. Jeff Luhnow took control of the team in 2011. He’s drafted players superbly…in a sport that seems to be the most difficult to project of the major 4 sports…signed significant free agents while staying close to budget, make several key trades..in a word..his evaluation of players is at the highest level….ya gotta wonder…did the Cards choose the wrong man to be THEIR GM?

…this wasn’t the week that you expected the Reds to do something that they hadn’t done since 2003… sweep the Cards in a 4 game series including one game when a guy nicknamed “Scooter” hit 4 home runs…who’s next for the 4 dingers in a game?  Pee Wee?  Tiny?  Lil’ Abner? Jethro Bodine?

…this wasn’t the week that the Cardinals moved up in the MLB “runs scored” category…currently the Cards are #26 (of 30 teams) in runs scored in 2017

…this wasn’t the week that I was going to play the pink-bunny…and keep going…and going..and going…Thanks for reading….I welcome your responses…they are always interesting….

 

 

It’s the Same ol’ thing by Bob Ryan

Often our emotional attachment to the local professional team (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) often skews our view of the actual production. In the Lou, we open up dialogue about the Cards before meetings, while using the cell, as we greet our daily collegues, yada-yada-yada..it’s been thought by many that the Cards have really improved this season….think again….

….the StL Cards ARE vastly improved in the standings…..but due to the drop-off of the Cubs not the Cards improvements….last year the Cubs were 26-5 to start the season….basically…. It was game over….this year Chicago has stumbled… more than sprinting …out of the starting blocks…the Cards are the same team as last year….. both in 2016 and 2017, the Cards are 21-19 after 40 games….sure the roster was tinkered around a bit…Fowler for Holliday, Gyorko has swapped roles with Johnny, Diaz from day 1…not day 15….Lance Lynn instead of Jaime Garcia…Wainwright & Leak have exchanged pitching numbers from last year to this year…. the Cards have decreased in power numbers…the loss of Holliday (20), Moss (28), Adams (16) and Hazelbaker (12) cost them 76 dingers ….so StL is averaging 4.5 runs/game as compared to the 4.8 of 2016…a decline but not a major difference…meanwhile the ERA has gone in a much better direction…in 2016 it was 4.08 now it’s 3.60…but…keep in mind 2 things 1) last year Wainwright, Wacha, Leake dropped precipitously in Aug & Sept so if history repeats…it could be similar 2) the Cards have played very sparingly outside the cozy NL Central Division….another point of playing the same…the Cards still don’t field well…in fact, StL is 29th in the MLB in fielding right now..last year it was 25th…just .001 out of being tied for 28th…same ol’…same ol’..baserunning appears similar to me….so….for the first ¼ of the season….this 2017 version is a very close to being a clone of 2016 …I just keep thinking…maybe hoping… is a better word… that MO will make a mini-blockbuster….this particular group of players just doesn’t seem to have some of the necessary fundamentals to win big…..but I can’t ever see MO playing …”all in”… so I’m trying to moderate my hopes…the “big” signings of Fowler, Cecil, & Fryer aren’t exactly shooting for the stars…but right now…..this club is very, very similar in production, roster construction, strengths, and weaknesses as last year…this is the same ol’, same ol’

….one are of change however….this is a puzzler to me…why the Blues are “sharing” their minor league team with Las Vegas Golden Knights…in fact Vegas has actually more control of team….how will the top prospects of the Blues mature as quickly under this system…will they be put in the same roles that the Blues envision for them?…will they get the bulk of the playing time?….I guess it saves money…Heh…Wouldn’t it be cool if the Blues scheduled 5-10 games of their top minor league team at Scott Trade?  Lower the prices to encourage younger adults, kids, families to be able to afford to watch some hockey….way back in the day…the Blackhawks top minor league team played in St Louis…St.Louis Braves… if memory serves me correctly…wouldn’t it be worth a try? 

…..another area of change is the sports-stations (ESPN especially) coverage of college basketball in the off season with the proliferation of the heralded “one & done” players…ya know….we have a major signing day production for them….but they’ll be gone in a year….it is becoming increasingly harder to “identity” yourself with a team…we all identify with the stars or favorites of “our”  team…when they are there but one year…not as much hype about guys who one haven’t played yet , there’s just not as much info that moves the our interest “ticker” upwards”in the off-season…so…ESPN “let go”…nice way of saying fired….two well respected college basketball analysts Andy Katz & Seth Davis.  The “One & Done” …in most cases…comes down to a just a few of the same schools annually—Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and a few others –reaping in 3-5 of these “one & gone” each year….and many really are gone…a few become NBA stars…but surely not the majority of them.  The 2nd factor that slows down off-season TV talk about college basketball is the vast increase in foreign players that step right into playing roles at these USA schools…in most cases…there is about a 6 line bio on these players from outside the USA..nobody has ever seen them. The lack of returning “star power” players at the collegiate level makes the signing day the only really big discussion point of the off-season.

…the oft-thought idea that baseball is dying by some sports fans…usually done by the ones that don’t like baseball…they usually complain that the game is too long…but often that same fan watches golfers for 3 hours on weekends, or watches cars circling the same track for multiple hours, or watch 8+ hours of football over a weekend in the fall…anyway…the idea that baseball is struggling is really just wrong if you consider the financial status of MLB right now…the average MLB team is worth $1.537bil(up 19% from last year)…the only pro sport ahead of them is the NFL ($2.38bil/team)… behind the MLB are—the top soccer leagues are at $1.468bil/team; NBA $1.355bil/team and NHL $517mil/team.  Further several to MLB teams are benefitting tremendously by forming agreements WITH the local TV companies…we know that the Cards deal with Fox Sports Midwest, signed in 2015 begins next year and is worth $1 billion through 2032…many other teams are doing… or will do shortly… similar deals…the MLB is thriving financially…btw…the Cards increased their spending by 4% in 2017….to $150.4 million….13th in the MLB…Cards & Cubs really do have a competitive edge in the division—Cincy, Milwaukee & Pittsburgh …all 3 of them are in the bottom 6 payroll teams of the MLB.

….quick peek at High school baseball as it is winding down towards state tournament games-the exciting part of the season for the talented teams…#1 rated Rockwood Summit (26-4) has won their conference and hopes to make a deep run in the MSHSAA playoffs. The large-school team on the East side of the River with the most wins…thus far..is Vianney (29-6) under Coach Scott Brown. Some thought that this would be a rebuilding year @ Vianney when several pitchers graduated last year…not so much. Westminster Christian has the most impressive record at 29-1 at this moment….I’m happy to see a “name from the past”…Valley Park excelled in baseball through much of the 80’s & 90’s under Coach Brent Gregston (412-199-2) but they’ve stumbled lately…good to see them back in the top 10 of small schools again. Two more Rockwood schools-Lafayette & Marquette are again “in the hunt” for a long post-season run.

…Rivals ratings for the basketball recruiting classes in 2017 has Mizzou @#7…not #7 in SEC …#7 in the country! The top 6 have mostly the standard names-1) Kentucky  2) Duke 3) Texas  4) UCLA  5) Arizona & 6) Alabama.. it should be really exciting in Columbia…some surprise to me …at #9 was Xavier but shockingly…almost as much as Mizzou…at #10 was W. Kentucky.

….what a “steal” and it was legal!!…Charlie Weis…remember him…asst @ NE patriots…hired as Head Coach at Notre Dame…he didn’t do well …so as you can anticipate…he was fired in 2009….the final buyout payment occurred in 2015…Weis collected $18,967,960 for not coaching Notre Dame between ‘09 & ‘18…but it’s not over…Charlie left ND and landed a job at Kansas U…so he was collecting from ND for NOT coaching while getting paid by KU to coach…he had the same success at KU as ND…bad…so …yep..he was fired and….u got it…his buyout from KU was another $5.625 million….no wonder the major universities can’t pay the players…they are too busy paying the “buy out” contracts of former coaches

…Before you laugh too hard…Gary Pinkel…after stepping down from his football position… signed a contract with Mizzou for 3 years, $950,000 to be an “ambassador” …do they need any more ambassadors?   I remember the times when a HS player of mine visited Mizzou. He was escorted by an “ambassador”…. somehow….I don’t see Gary Pinkel having as much success as these young female ambassadors did in influencing decisions to attend Mizzou J …btw….in a sad story related to this HS player of mine visiting Mizzou…my player did sign with Mizzou after visits to Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Cal, Iowa State and some Ivy League school…he did it….so his family could watch him play…sadly…his Dad was reassigned by Boeing from St Louis to Australia after this player began his Mizzou experience…the player became a starter in his 5th year…it still seems sad to me.

….speaking of Mizzou football….the 2018 High school football players list coming out of St Louis is said to be the “Best St. Louis Class in a Generation”…the last class close to this was the 1992 class…some of the major names that you want to follow (these aren’t in any order of skill or anything else)….Michael Thompson(Pk North)-leaning to Mizzou; Kamryn Babb(CBC)-leaning to Ohio State;  Trevor Trout (Chaminade)-leaning Mizzou; Ronnie Perkins (Luth North); Dallas Craddieth (Haz Cen); Ayodele Adeoye (Ritenour); Kaleb Eleby (Pattonville) … there are many, many more but these are the early headline-grabbers…it appears that Mizzou could really have a strong recruiting year if they just take care of business at home.

….NBA prognosticators have projected Jayson Tatum as a top 5 draft pick….if David Lee plays one more year…Chaminade will have 3 graduates as NBA players! (Lee, Bradley Beal & now Jayson Tatum

…some fans of the Cards thought that this SF series should have been a very good one for St Louis…the Giants had Hunter Pence & Madison Bumgarner on the DL and the Cards missed Johnny Cueto in the rotation and still beat the Cards 2 out of 3 games.

….We indicated last winter that Matt Adams didn’t have a spot in the Cards plans with Carp the every-day 1B….trying to making room on the roster with players returning from the DL and Atlanta missing all-star Freddie Freeman for 10 weeks due to injury…it opened up an easy deal…Cards got a minor league player in return…we wish Adams well

….with the MLB International signing rules changing dramatically after this year and the Cards suffering from their “hacking” punishment (no draft choice until end of 3rd round)….the StL Cards made a major play for Cuban Louis Robert but were outbid by the White Sox. He was viewed as a “5 tool” player so the Sox …who are really struggling…while their comrades in Chicago are thriving…decided to roll the dice with the big bucks…The Sox who enjoyed a major part of a terrific career of another Cuban (Minnie Minoso) hope it works again. It’s a gamble…some Cuban players have developed into stars, some into solid MLB players and some have flamed out…but many scouts think that Robert is the “real thing”…

…Some oddities of the MLB standings on May 21…..most wins in MLB-Houston-29, #2 Colorado with 28; Cleveland is 8-10 @ home but 15-9 on the road; Texas has won 9 of their last 10 games; Washington Nationals have scored the most runs in MLB-246 and …poor San Diego 12.5 games out after playing 46 games…ugh

….there isn’t a day that passes that someone in the MLB isn’t put on the DL…this new 10 day DL seems to have opened the door for minor aches that players “played through” in the past….EVERY team has injuries…obviously some more than others…some teams hit the hardest…Cincy…not ever considered a strong pitching team…the Reds have lost 3 of their original starters on the 60 day DL—Homer Bailey (it’s an appropriate 1st name for his pitching J), Brandon Finnegan, and Anthony DeSclafani. Another team with lots of money sitting “out” are the Mets—starters Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard; closer Jeurys Familia; regular field players  Yoenis Cespedes, Travis D’Arnaud, Asdrubal Cabrera. Far from us and seldom seen are the Seattle Mariners—they are missing their star-Robinson Cano; from the rotation-King Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Drew Smyly; and from their every-day lineup-Mitch Haniger & Danny Valencia. The Washington Nats are missing Adam Eaton & Bryce Harper right now…talk about wiping out your OF!

…it’s the same ol’ same ol’ ending for me….thanks for reading….YOUR thoughts are always invited..put them on Prepcasts site, facebook, or send an email….you can’t be wrong…they are YOUR thoughts…have a great week

 

 

 

 

        

Cards – Cubbies … This Isn’t 2016 by Bob Ryan

So we’ve had the weekend to enjoy another Cards-Cubs series…things are different this year…way different….some thoughts…

2016 was a very special year….the Cubs sprinted out of the starting box in April—went 17-5, their pitching was terrific—they (Lester, Arrieta, Hammel, Lackey & Hendrick) had a 2.39 ERA with 17 quality starts (tied for MLB lead) and the bullpen had only 53 innings of use—fewest in Majors… their sizzling offense outscored the opposition 136-57 and the 1-2 punch of Bryant & Rizzo was on-fire…Rizzo had 24 RBI’s 3rd most for the month by any Cubs player– the Cubs April RBI record belongs to HOF Billy Williams…boy what a sweet swing he had….when he had 25 RBI in 1970….the Cubbies never looked back as they won the division easily and really had it wrapped up very early…

….the Cards of 2016 struggled with a 12-12 April , 8.5 games out at the end of May and were just 2 games over .500 at the end of June and the Central Division race was over…a slugging team, the Cards won 33 games by 5+ runs but were just 24-23 in one run games…shoddy fielding often jumped up and bit the Cards, a transition in the bullpen as Rosenthal’s closing role became Oh’s, an unsettled roster with Wong & Grichuk…reportedly two of the major components for the future were sent down to the minors…Moss & Gyorko provided plenty of pop but not much in the field so they were juggled continually…Gyorko panned out….Moss did not

Fast forward….now it’s 2017….things are different in many ways…for the Cards…who used the word “athleticism” as their buzz word all winter…brought in Free Agent, Cub’s CF Dexter Fowler, as the “big” move of the winter….and …I do think he helped relax the long spring training days with his personality…but is he REALLY the answer for 4 years…I doubt it….anyway…Johnny is gone and I think the chances of ever seeing him again as a regular starting role again are about as likely as Red Schoendienst coming up to pinch hit again while Gyorko has …for the time…assumed 3B duties…Wong has been given the starting role as he accepts the up/downs of Major League baseball….Mike Leake was outstanding in April…don’t expect him to continue at that pace…but…he should be far better than last year.. Martinez seems to be getting the WBC behind him now and really is our ACE…the two-headed closer of Rosenthal & Oh look like they are sharing the closing role or the 8th & 9th

… the Cubs of 2017….came out flat…no doubt about it…Rizzo is hitting .219, Schwarber .189, Zobrist .216, Contraras .228— that’s half of the starting lineup…btw…Rizzo & Heyward are the oldest of starting lineup at 27 (except for Zobrist)…on the mound…the 3 month rental of Chapman as closer has expired…age & work-load are taking its toll on the Cubs starters– Lackey (38) has a 4.29 ERA, Arrieta (31) and coming off 426 innings of pitching over the last 2 years has a high 5.35 ERA, Lester (33) has actually provided some strong performances but hasn’t received the booming offense of 2016 for him to pile up wins…he goes…as most starters do now…only 5-6 innings…quietly ..the bullpen leading  up to Wade Davis is a shaky as a ship in a storm.

So what must we consider about 2017…some questions…..concerns…things to watch for both of these clubs in the upcoming months

The Cards must “deal” with and/or consider the following…

….the performance of Wainwright & Wacha are causes for real concern….despite his valiant efforts, Waino can only “reinvent” himself so many times ….now he’s an “off speed” guy…let’s hope it works..Wacha has never been the same since his arm injury..the Cards are having him “miss a turn using the reasoning that they are “trying to keep him strong”…right…since when is that a concern…pls check out the dragging bullpen arms of the past several years….he’s just not the same pitcher …meanwhile a pleasant problem…the crowded OF…Mags Sierra has generated more “buzz” in his 1st week than anyone expected. Does this shake up the Grichuk, Fowler, Piscotty threesome? Tommy Pham has been up & down more than a yo-you….is this the real thing…this time? 

…I just don’t hear the buzz about Diaz this year like I did last year

…for the moment, the bullpen has eased back into a nice set of “roles”

The Cubs face the following…

….will Schwarber actually hit….he missed all last year and is sinking below the .200 mark now…the small sampling of the World Series may have been an aberration …I do think that he’ll be moved out of the lead-off spot shortly…if …and this is a big IF…he hits .250, with 20 HR with his limited defensive skills in the OF…is that what the Cubs want..they’d be wonderful numbers for a catcher but with Contreras …it appears that Schwarber will be behind the dish infrequently

….The Cubs defense is a notch or 3 above the Cards and is an extremely valuable asset seldom mentioned. Assuming that the hitters will “find their correct water level” at some point

…the Cubs area already probably combing the MLB for pricy, older, effective starters on poor performing teams—Players like Jason Vargas (KC), Ervin Santana (Minn), Ivan Nova (Pitt) could already be on the list

…..the 6th, 7th, 8th innings are still a challenge….they are for all teams…but maybe more so for the Cubs than other contenders…prior to Wade Davis…things are often shaky

…..all in all….it’s a NEW YEAR in the Lou & Chitown…it’ll be fun to watch these two teams battle all summer and then tangle in the post-season

 

….other MLB tidbits….

..Milwaukee & Cincy are both improved….both teams have elevated their hitting numbers significantly.. Cincy is younger but both teams can hit…both struggle on the mound….Mil uses the 4 pitcher per night formula to eke out wins…in their first 37 games (20-17)…check out these appearances by the Brewers bullpen—Jacob Barnes—20 games; Carlos Torres & Corey Knebel-each 19 games; Neftali Feliz-18 games; Jared Hughes “just” 15 games…remember this is from 37 games! At this rate Barnes, Torres & Knebel would  all be in 85+ games.  But all this being said…the improvement of these 2 teams impacts the overall win total for both the Cards & Cubs. Not so many sweeps. Somehow Cards have a tougher time with Cincinnati than Milwaukee….one of those quirky things.

…..another  team that honors the past as much as the Cardinals is the Yankees….their “Monument Park” is adding Derek Jeter….as it should..he’ll be the 38th player honored in that way..

…the Mets can’t catch a break or maybe better stated…can’t throw….not long ago many thought that the Mets had formed a dominant rotation & closer….it’s fallen apart….Noah Syndergaard is gone until the end of July because of a torn lat..can’t touch a ball for 6 weeks…Matt Harvey isn’t the same since returning from a thoracic outlet syndrome surgery (2-3, 5.63)…Steven Matz—out for at least a month with a flexor tendon strain—being referred to as a “mysterious injury” by the Mets….what does that mean?….Seth Lugo is rehabbing from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament..Robert Gsellman has flopped…no sore arm…just no outs! …on the back end…closer Jeurys Familia is out 2-3 months with an arterial clot in his shoulder! Mgr Terry Collins will  be making many…many…trips to the mound this year!   Some speculate that all the work & time by the pitchers in the weight room may…may…be the culprit…or at least a partial cause..of some…or all…of these injuries.

…the much-traveled Mark Reynolds (7 teams) is currently 3rd in NL in RBI’s with 31 & 6th in Slugging % at .654 and 9th in batting .331….oh…the light air of Denver does wonders for hitters 

…David Freese has found his niche @ Pittsburgh….batting .302 as a backup 1B-3B

…while looking at ex-Cards….seemingly back from the dead…Joe Kelly has re-emerged for Boston..in 2017 he has recorded some nice numbers 19 inn, 2 wins, 10 hits, 2 holds 1.89-era and a whip of 1.16

….Albert ….we don’t need a last name…is at .245, 5 HR, OPS is at .629 for the Halos…hindsight is 20-20 so this is a bit unfair….but…I wish the Cards had used the same Albert strategy on Johnny

…Jason Motte (Atlanta) has a role of a “real short” guy…he’s been in 11 games and just 7 innings…it seems to be working…at least to a point…he hasn’t given up any runs this year yet but has no wins, no saves, no holds..with the weak Brave starting staff…they probably should carry 15 pitchers 

….Houston has opened up a huge lead in AL Western Division….the Astros are up by 8 games over Angels & Rangers while Seattle is 9 out and Oakland finds themselves 10.5 games behind on May 16…it might be a long, long summer in the Bay Area (SF Giants are also 8.5 games out in NL) 

…the highest average in the Texas Rangers lineup Sunday night was their catcher, Robinson Chirinos, the backup catcher at that….any questions why the Rangers are 8 games out of 1st place

 

 

Outside of the MLB….

….I hope the Blues are following the Preds-Ducks series…the Ducks scored 5 goals in game 2 to win a 5-3 game and even the series….it took the Blues about 4 games to score 5 goals…how did they break down the Nashville defense….but now the series moves to Nashville

….Mizzou Basketball signs another highly touted recruit(Tilmon)….this will…probably should…lead to the most abrupt, huge “turnaround” of any D-1 Basketball program in NCAA history

…speaking of NCAA…last weekend, the UMSL Tritons softball team hosted the NCAA regional.  In this double elimination tournament, the Tritons whipped Kentucky Wesleyan 11-1 in game 1 on Thursday, were no-hit by Wayne State’s Lindsay Butler in the 1st game of Friday then defeated Truman State 4-2 on Friday. On Saturday, the Tritons Carli Kingery outdueled Butler and Wayne St 1-0 to force a final championship game (both remaining teams had 1 loss)…the Tritons led 4-1 entering the 7th and final inning…Wayne State lashed out 7 straight hits, scored 6 runs took a 7-4 lead.  UMSL fought back to load the bases but could only push 1 run across the plate and the Tritons were eliminated in an extremely thrilling…but disappointing…. game. UMSL finished the 42-15 for the season and won the GLVC tournament….a terrific accomplishment any time but considering the graduation of a record-breaking  4 year starting pitcher and the departure of the head coach…it was really another terrific season! Congrats! Check out the softball program’s outstanding success over the past few years—2016-53-9; 2015-48-8; 2014-49-8; 2013-41-13

…why is it taking so long to get to the Warriors-Cavs championship series in the NBA? Do they need all these 7 game series to eliminate the weak sisters?

…if you want good pitching at the collegiate-DIII level with 4 of your primary pitchers under 3.00…check out Wash U….holding a 26-8 record, the Bears Jake Mintz is 4-0 with an 0.91 era; Brad Margolin 9-0 and a 1.70 era; Zach Kotin 5-2 & 2.57 and John Howard is 3-3 holding a 2.87. Wash U is an unbelievable 14-1 at home in 2017.

While some things change from 2016 to 2017…not much changes at the bottom of this blog…thanks for reading…pls feel free to respond on the Prepcasts page or on the facebook page…we respect your thoughts and opinions…

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools by Bob Ryan

 It’s April 3….but why does all the “fooling” have to occur on April 1? …..so…..let’s spread it out….let’s make it the 1st MONDAY of April….at least for this year….so this is our April Fools this year J Now go ahead…you pick which of the statements below are April Fools Day statements and which are true … answers are at the bottom of article..no cheating

#1 Stan & Red are #1-2 in all time games played as a Cardinal

#2 Jim Edmonds has more hits as a Cardinal than Ken Reitz

#3 Gary Templeton   had more stolen bases than Pepper Martin

#4 So as Yadi signs for a $60m extension…he must feel that he needs the money since his total net worth prior to the signing  is $ 38m

#5  Matt Carpenter  has a higher lifetime average as a Cardinal than Skip Schumaker

#6 Bob Gibson has issued more walks than any other Cardinal pitcher

#7 Lance Lynn has more Cardinal wins than Jaime Garcia

#8 Adam Wainwright has the lowest batting avg against him of any other current Cardinal pitchers

———————————————————————————-

…Maybe Kolton Wong was “fooling” around when he voiced his opinion about not wanting to platoon…really?….do you think ANY MLB player wants to platoon Kolton?  Do you think that any player …any level…likes sitting on the bench Kolton?  Go ahead start hitting–right & left handed pitchers, play superlative defense, run smartly and quickly on the bases and that platoon talk will cease…until then….just play…only stars can make demands.

….Jimmy Rollins is fooling himself…he’s done as a MLB player….it would definitely be hard to admit  but come on..your 38 years old, last 2 years have been very subpar with Dodgers & ChiSox..he tried making the SF Giants this spring….they offered him a minor league contract…you’ve been in 3 all star games, earned just under $100m….say goodbye graciously…don’t be thrown out like the trash.

….former Card, Peter Bourjos seems to be fooling the White Sox brass…obtained and signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, Bourjos is now tentatively slated to start ahead of rookie CF Charlie Tilson..Bourjos carries a lifetime .243 average ..come on Sox…your future isn’t in PB

….Jason Heyward isn’t fooling anyone….he still isn’t hitting….granted its only spring training but the spotlight is on him since the flopped so badly last year….well….this spring it’s a whopping .105

….Mizzou has “fooled around’ with their football schedule for 2017…season opens on Sep 2 with a nonconference cupcake(MO State)..nothing new there …but the 2nd non-conference game is 2 weeks later (Purdue) with S.Carolina (SEC in week 2)…then…the final two non-conference games don’t arrive until Oct 21 & 28—Idaho & UConn….maybe that’s a better approach?…heal from injuries, regroup offense  & defense in mid-season outside of conference, break up all the back-back SEC games

….Are the Cards just “fooling” Matt Adams that they REALLY have plans for him? He’s been up for 4 full years, last year was the 1st time that he moved much above the minimum salary level, he hit a HR every 18.56 AB last year (16 round trippers), he’s been working out in LF, lost tons of weight, never complains in public…yet….Cards sign Wong for $20mil and Adams makes the minimum…..who’s fooling who here?

….Is Kansas…or Bill Self ….fooling the NCAA basketball committee?   On 7 different years, his team has been picked #1 in their region but the Jayhawks are only  2-7 in regional championship games.

…how does Bartolo Colon fool MLB hitters?…he’s a 43 year old, a very rotund man, average fast ball but apparently superb control…. Me…I’d try bunting frequently and make that big man move 

….have I been fooled? Did I see Pete Kozma on the NYY roster?

 

 

 

In the ”No Fooling” Category

… Since the Blues  enjoyed their 5 day break in February…when they dropped their 1st 3 games after that break they are 12-1 with an OT loss & shootout since that time …what a stretch of games…. now they have put themselves into  the  “real season” (called the playoffs) again..btw…the Blues last missed the playoffs in 2010-11…only 4 NHL teams have a longer time since they’ve missed the playoffs…and one of them..the last place Detroit Red Wings will miss it this year…the 4 teams are Detroit, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and NY Rangers…remember in our 25 year span of consecutive playoffs people complained because we weren’t going deep into playoffs….guess ya can’t pls everyone

….some other Blues thoughts….Goaltending has been superb for several weeks now…since the Shattenkirk trade…it seems to me that our defensemen (Pietrangelo & Bouwmeester) have upgraded their play….and….very significantly…the infusion of several youthful forwards seems to have injected more life (and speed) into the team….finally….I like coach Yeo’s approach of ….who’s ever playing well in that gameon that night…gets the minutes late in the game…young or old….nothing is given away due to age or experience….

….the NCAA semifinals displayed some terrific basketball players and unbelievable athletes… here’s a few NCAA thoughts….you have to admire Mark Few (Gonzaga) for building his team…oops…they call it a “program” now…from a low level to the biggest stage of all….Frank Martin was a very good coach @ K-State and with the better athletes at S.Carolina—his team will be a contender in many …if not…most years…he actually began has a High School coach & Math teacher…now I can really identify with that!…..Roy Williams’ teams seem to play unselfishly despite most of them being Premier HS all-americans…Oregon’s team was a very good basketball team…but…I think that they could have played almost any sport…and played it well…..considering the  athleticism of each player.

…So S.Carolina sends both their Mens and Womens team to the Final Four this year….sounds good but….their top officials had to keep flying back & forth between Dallas (Women’s games) and Phoenix (Mens games).. why don’t they hold the Final 4 for both sexes in the same city….make it a 4 game package deal for the consumers….women (Fri-Sun), men (Sat-Mon) you might actually have some people watching the women’s games J  btw….congrats to Mississippi State Women who snapped the 111 game winning streak of U. Conn Women (what a streak!) to reach the finals.

 

#1 April Fools…nope  Stan is #1  with 3026 Cardinal games (his whole career), Brock is #2, #3 is Ozzie,  in the 4th spot is Enos and Red is #5 with 1795 …remember Cards traded him to  the Giants when he was 33 years old.. a year later he was pedaled to the Milwaukee Braves where he was a leader for them as they marched to the 1957 & 58 World Series…facing the Yanks each year…winning in 57 & losing in 58

#2 April Fools…each has 1033 hits wearing the Cardinal uniform

#3 April Fools…Pepper has 148 and Templeton 138…now Pepper did play in 450ish more games than Templeton

#4 April Fools…Yadi is worth $51m…he probably wants to double his worth with the next contract

#5  April Fools…Schumaker  hit .288 in 2442 AB for Cards; Carp is .284 in 2579 AB

#6 True…by far…. he has 1336 walks,#2 with 870 is Jesse Haines

#7  April  Fools…Garcia had 62, Lynn has 61

#8  April Fools….It’s a tie….Lance Lynn & Wainwright are each at .248 against them

 

Hope you enjoy a wonderful April Fools Monday  

 

 

Countdown to MLB Blastoff by Bob Ryan

1 week out from the start of the MLB season…..around here…that  means almost all talk is about the Cards….let’s take a look backwards at the off-season and the late parts of 2016 for some additional info on the Cardinals…

…in the off-season, the primary …really only…acquisition was Dexter Fowler.  Fowler was signed to improve defense(moving Grichuk over to LF to replace Holliday), to be a lead-off man and to “lighten” up the clubhouse. Hitting-wise..Fowler hit .276 last year, 13 HR, 13 SB…he’s 31 now so one shouldn’t expect those numbers to jump upwards significantly due to his age.  Some other MLB writers have speculated that…Grichuk may be better than Fowler in CF… so why not get a corner OF with speed, defense, maybe younger and surely cheaper.  Losing Alex  Reyes for the season due to injury  was a severe blow to the starting staff.  Another loss ….overlooked for the most part…was the injury and loss to Zach Duke.  Duke, LHP, had several strong outings last year for the Cards after they acquired him from the CWS. In August, Duke had 1 SV, 2 HOLDS, and ERA of 0.73 with 17 K in 12 inn, 14 appearances. This was one of the best..if not THE best stats of any Cardinal hurler in August. In Sept, he tailed off a bit but…14 appearances again(that’s a rate of 84 games per year…and you wonder why his hurt is unable to go in 2017?), 4 HOLDS and a 3.27 ERA. Brett Cecil has been acquired to replace Duke’s role as the 2nd lefty (behind Siegrest) in the bullpen. GM MO has decided to “hold his cards” for the most part in other areas…most of the talk in camp has been about the back-up OF position…not the biggest concern…especially when the Cuban signee Adolis  Garcia seems to have been penciled in for the 2018 since he already is 24 years old….they can’t let him wait too long…it appears to me that Garcia will begin 2018 as a sub and will be expected to push Fowler…or whoever… out of the lineup with his bat.  His hefty signing bonus $2.5m will dictate that he doesn’t take bus rides in the minors for any real length of time. The “hands-off” attitude of Mozeliak is a bit puzzling when one digs into the stats of the Starting Staff for the last 2 months of the season… Assuming that Martinez, Wainwright, Leake, Wacha and Lynn are the 5 starters to open the season …..Lynn missed the entire 2016 season due to arm injury so his innings must be monitored closely throughout the year….I’m saying…6 inn and ur outta there….I must say though…I have confidence that Lynn will win 10 games..which for a #4 or #5 is very good. The other four starters all have questions…In August, this foursome was 4-5 in 17 starts, (Wacha was already being held back), ERA 4.82 and WHIP 1.4. When the calendar changed to September, the numbers of this starting group didn’t change much: these four starts went 8-6 (Martinez & Wainwright each won 4 games) in Sept, their ERA was 5.10 and the WHIP was a sour 1.63 (that means that there was 1.63 hits or walks on average every inning).  In order to contend, the starting staff must go deeper, be better and get outs quicker in 2017… a repeat of the last 2 months (their most recent pitching months) spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E

….the Cards MUST get out of the blocks quicker this year….last year, the Cubs felt little or no pressure all year long…take a look—On Apr 15, Cards were 3 games out already; on May 1, Pitt was 3 games out and Cards were 6 down in 3rd place; by May 15, the Cubs had opened a wide gap, Stl was 20-18 for the year and were 8 games out (Pitt was 7.5) June 1 saw the Cards 9.5 games behind with a 35-30 mark for the year…the distance was still 9.5 games on June 15, and 10 games on July 1…it was over for the Cards…..StL MUST NOT let Chicago jump out front so quickly again this year.

….so what did the CUBS do since the end of the World Series celebrations?

The significant players no longer on the Cub roster: Aroldis Chapman, Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler (couldn’t earn a starting spot so was expendable), Jason Hammel, Travis Wood.  The free agent signees were: Jon Jay (backup OF), Koji Uehara(7th,8th inning pitcher), Brett Anderson (6th, 7th, 8th pitcher), Brian Duensing another man in pen—so nothing special there…many veterans being used to plug spots…none too expensive so easy to dispose of during the season if necessary. The Cubs acquired in trades Wade Davis (to be the closer), SP Eddie Butler (weak attempt to fill a starting role) and a few others who are in triple AAA minors as “possible” substitutes later in season.  Pedro Strop was re-signed to be 8th inning man. All in all…Cubs’ rotation of Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey & Anderson  looks older, a bit more worn after the long post season and many innings in the last 2 years for Lester & Arrieta.  I think that their starters will take a step back so Cub management went out to strengthen their pen….I’m not real impressed by their names…so we’ll see what 2017 brings to the plate.    

 

Some of the other best moves in the 16-17 off-season in the MLB…

…Cleveland…waited, and waited and waited until the price came down….then the signed Edwin Encarnacion for 3 years for $60m…this is a guy who hit 42 HR last year ….not 5 years ago..with 127 RBI…his booming bat and the starting staff along with several other younger stars have to make Cleveland the favorite. To give you an idea of this bargain…Johnny Peralta is getting $10m and Dexter Fowler (with his signing bonus ) earns $16.5m this year…compare their number to Edwin 

….the Giants acquired Mark Melancon…so they’ll be able to discard the closer-by-committee concept…as a matter of fact…do you know of ANY committees that really  work…in baseball …or out of it? He’ll improve the Giants team.

…Red Sox traded away 3 bright prospect to play for today as they snatched Chris Sale from the CWS…Porcello, Price and now Sale…. Bostonians are already talking Cy Young for this talented lefty.

…..the most changed team is the Chicago White Sox…theChiSox traded away vets Chris Sale and Adam Eaton and in return landed a bevy of  premier MLB prospects – Yoan Moncada (ranked #2), Lucas Giolito (#12), Michael Kopech (#16) Reynaldo Lopez (#46) amoung others…and they did it all within a 24 hour time frame….guess the golf links had some openings on upcoming days of the winter meetings 

 

Advancing through NCAA  brackets

….I won’t recap the games or tell you AFTER the games about how I knew so & so would go as far as they have gone in the tournament….to me…Gonzaga was the 1st mid-major to gradually work its way into the “Major” school classification…although it took more than 10 years… Wichita State is  following the same trek now.. Why were they called mid-major my wife asked me?  Well….the conferences that they competed in throughout the year are NOT considered one of the major basketball conferences…namely the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, Big East.  Butler & Xavier took a different route to becoming a “major”….they joined a “major conference”,the Big East, to elevate their status .  So….teams belonging to other conferences are referred to as “mid-majors”…..PC talk for “you’re not one of the big boys”. 

….the prototype players now are around 6-6, 6-8 and can handle the ball, shoot on the outside, drive to the basket and still rebound. Few play with their back to the basket any longer. Only a few teams are using the back to the basket post-man…it’s a game of movement, quickness, 3 pt shooting and slashing to the basket.

…..I really enjoy Wisconsin’s style of basketball….the move continually with a purpose, creating space for the ballhandler and possible shooter, all are willing to set picks, they capitalize on any mismatches offensively.

…..Bob Huggins team (W.Virginia) was riveting to me….they weren’t really good shooters but they pressed with maximum effort throughout their Gonzaga game….clearly, Gonzaga had better basketball players but the Mountaineers took it to the final play….they trailed by 3, out of time outs, and had 7 seconds to get a 3 point shot….they dribbled out the last 7 seconds seeking a shot…I really loved their constant effort

….Major conference survivors & record for Sweet 16… Pac 12—Arizona, Oregon, UCLA—8-1 in NCAA tourney as a conference; SEC 7-2 Florida, Kentucky, S.Carolina; Big 12  8-3 Baylor, Kansas, W. Virginia; Big 10 8-4 Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin; Big East 5-5 Butler Xavier; ACC 7-8 N.Carolina….guess its fair to say that the ACC was overrated by the committee

…the teams of the Final Four are really fresh to the “big time”…Gonzaga, Oregon, S. Carolina and …not so fresh…N. Carolina…it should be fun with some different teams for the final weekend of college basketball

 

Local Odds & Ends….

…The news that Nancy Fahey accepted the Head Coaching job @ Illinois after 31 years @ Washington U was very interesting.  Fahey was incredibly successful at Wash U—737-133 record…that’s 84% …for 31 years!!!…5 national titles …Josh Whitman, current AD at Illinois had previously been AD at Wash U so there was a connection there… at this stage of her career, she may have wanted a new mountain to climb…clearly she can coach but she’ll have to hire two top notch recruiters as her assistants because at D1…athleticism supersedes x’s & o’s ….ask Kim Anderson

…so Yadi returns from the WBC all excited about playing with his young teammates and suddenly tells the Cards that they have 1 week to work out a contract…. That proclamation makes it sound like he REALLY doesn’t want to stay in the Lou….surprising since he’s idolized here….if he doesn’t sign this week…we’ll have a battle with the Cubs to sign him.

…an update on Mizzou baseball…their 20 game winning streak was snapped by Arkansas on Friday.  The Tigers record drops all the way to 20-2 now 

….Frosh SS Braxton Burnside knocked in 10 runs in a Mizzou softball (17-11) victory over the weekend. Not a bad week of RBI’s….much less one game!

….Archie Miller was on my short list of Mizzou candidates….Mizzou didn’t talk to him but Indiana did….and signed him….he’s a very good coach.

…..all of the “pub” Mizzou baseball is receiving(well deserved)….don’t overlook St Louis U baseball…Coach Darin Hendrickson has the Bills at 16-4 for the season. Hendrickson has led the Billikens to 4 straight Atlantic-10 regular season championships.

….High school baseball teams off to a good start are some very familiar names—Oakville 6-1, Vianney 6-1, Ft Zumwalt West 5-2, Gibault 6-0(small school)…March games count the same as May games but never felt the same to me….I mean….playing baseball in the 50’s just doesn’t seem right