Birds Flying in a V by Bob Ryan

I’ve never been known as an “outdoorsman”….about all I do outside consistently is mow the lawn..but…it is well known that birds fly better collectively in  a “V” pattern…that’s also true with our own Birds…the Cardinals.  To carry our metaphor even further…the V for the Cards is victories. While I was on “assignment” the Birds flew to 8 straight wins and catapulted themselves right back into the race in the NL Central as they are hounding the Cubbies who clearly aren’t the 2016 Cubs.

Why or how did the Birds align themselves into this winning V…

…lineup stability….Manifesto tinkered around with the lineup almost daily through April, May, June, July…finally in August the “every day” lineup became the every day lineup…Yadi, Carp, Wong, De Jong, Gyorko, Pham, Fowler, Grichuk. This magnificent 8 has proven to be our best offensive and defensive unit…they look more relaxed, confident and aren’t looking over their shoulder constantly.

…Manifesto began using in late July some of the relief pitchers for 2 inning stints…this “saves” the bullpen..if not the game… a bit from overuse…and….why can’t a MLB pitcher throw to 6-7-8 or 9 batters…all these guys were starters as young pitchers

…the middle-infield play of DeJong & Wong has been the strongest in the last 2 years….good range, speed, some power, making the routine play and the very good play…..Wong WILL make some errors…live with it….he also takes away some hits with his range….for the 1st time, he actually looks relaxed and his play has improved

….Pham has been moved up in lineup ..where he belongs….will he be there forever?  Or even 2 or 3 years … probably not….but he has clearly earned it for this year and going into next year

….the starting rotation has about 3 good starts in each rotation….Martinez & Lynn are the strongest, Wacha was rolling along in June-5 straight wins but is 2-4 since that time, Leake is only sticking in the starting rotation due to his salary…if he was John Doe on minimum salary…he’d be gone…Wainwright’s injury will save him, the Birds and the fan base for searching for more excuses….the guy has been a strong pitcher…key words there…”has been”.. Weaver looks more frisky this time up with the Birds…start him…if he’s the best minor league starter…do it…expect 4 innings, hope for 6…isn’t that what we’re getting from Wainwright now? With rosters expanding in a couple weeks….bring up Jack Flaherty, Daniel Poncedeleon, Austin Gomber…throw each of them as “long relief” guys…I mean reaaaalllll long for Leake

Let’s hope that our Birds continue flying in the V formation….this division is for the taking….Cubbies starters are struggling and their middle-bullpen stinks under pressure…the Brewers can hit, are very well managed but seem to be just too short on the mound.

Other MLB tidbits…

…..in this power hungry league…the players gawk at these HR like it was a solar eclipse … but are HR the answer? Across the MLB…  #1 team in HR is Houston…clearly one of the best teams in MLB; #2 is Texas-one game below .500; #3 is Baltimore—2 games below .500; #4 in HR is Milwaukee..3rd place, 2 games out; #5 is the Mets—14 games under .500…so clearly HR alone aren’t the key to winning games…btw…the Cards are 20th in HR

….how about the .300 hitters…last Friday’s games lineups (usually Friday & Tuesday) have most of the regular starters on any given team…Washington Nats (1st place in East) and Colorado (2nd place in West-playoff team) had the most .300 hitters in their lineup—4. The Dodgers had three .300 hitters as did Houston (both in 1st place)..so the top 4 teams with the most .300 hitters …at this moment….are all headed to the playoffs. Results get mixed with just two .300 hitters – Cards (2nd), Reds (5th), Az (wild card candidate), Atlanta (8 games below .500). Eleven teams had one .300 hitter (in fact the every team in the AL Central division has just one .300 hitter), eight teams had no .300 hitters in their lineup…7 of the 8 were 4th or 5th place in their division.  Me…I actually prefer hits…runners flying around the bases and challenging OF to throw them out to the many HR trots that we see…too much of anything …isn’t good….my Mom always told me that as I gobbled up ice cream

Snapshots Around the League…

…It shouldn’t have been a surprise that he was removed as closer….Aroldis Chapman isn’t the same any longer… was it 2016 playoff work that emptied his tank?  His age? Too many 100+mph hangover? He did pitch in 13 post-season games last year for the Cubs. Currently he’s holding a career high 4.29 ERA, a career high 1.374 WHIP, and a career low 50 strikeouts.  He’s 29 years of age, been in MLB since he was 22…it looks like the end is closer than the beginning for him. It may spell trouble for the NYY.

…does anyone else wonder why the 27 year old Juan Segura is on his 4th team?  He’s hitting .317 again…he hit that last year.. he’s been on the Angels, Brewers, D-Backs and now Seattle….hhmmmm?

…topping the 3000 hit mark hasn’t slowed down the 39 year old Andre Beltre….Beltre is holding a .308 average in 2017-his 20th season in the MLB. He also has 13 HR in 290 AB…Father Time can’t seem to catch up with this guy

…several surprising teams…at least to me…are battling for the last wild card spot in the AL..the Yanks are 66-56, 4 behind Boston…they are clearly the top wild card team….but the other spot has a very tight, exciting battle.. the Minnesota Twins are 62-59, the Los Angeles Angels are 63-60 and Seattle is snipping at their heels with a 63-61 record. Should the Royals or Texas who are both 61-61  go on a winning streak…who knows ?? Should be fun to watch…if you can pull youself away from the NL central race standings

In the Main Event…

I have to go with Floyd Mayweather (49-0) in this fight against Conor MacGregor.  If the fight was in the martial arts area, I’d go with MacGregor.  If MacGregor makes the fight go 6+ rounds, he may have a chance…but I doubt it…your thoughts?   While he’s aged, I still anticipate Mayweather’s skills…not his power… to be too high in the ring. Are any of you intending on watching it? Your pick?

In the “Numbers tell a different story” game…

…Jerod Weaver just announced his retirement from the MLB..most of us…me included…said “OK…he was nothing special..surely not a HOF’er”…remember Weaver pitched 11 of his 12 years for the Angels…his stats look like this… 6-7-ht, 34 years old, 150 wins,  era-3.63, innings-2067, 1621 strikeouts…..compare those numbers to these numbers of another pitcher.. who probably will retire soon..6-7-ht, 35 years old, 12 years pitching,  146 wins, era-3.29, innings-1889, 1583 strikeouts…the numbers are fairly close …but I think you’d be surprised to learn that those are the numbers of Adam Wainwright! Granted Wainwright was on a much better team, seen often in the playoffs, admired for his skill by most Cardinal fans…I know…all of us can still see the curve ball that froze Carlos Beltran in the World Series….but sometimes our sporting heart clouds our intellect….the numbers DO tell a different story in the comparison.

Friday Night Lights are on again…

…our best comeback of the Friday night is split ….the Northwest Lions were down 39-28 over 3 quarters…then stunned the Howell North with 15 unanswered points in the final quarter to win it 43-39. Caleb Camacho led NW with 346 yards on 38 carries. Good things are starting to happen @ NW….last year the football team won 4 games…the most that they’ve won since pre 2000…I don’t think anything is harder than “turning around” a high school football program…speaking of turning around a program..

….last year the St. Mary’s Dragons went 7-4 after going 1-9 in the previous year…this year the Dragons fell behind 16-0 to Westminster Christian Academy. The Dragons scored the next 28 points on way to a 31-22 victory.

College Spotlight…

…St Louis U opens their Mens Soccer regular season on August 25 & 27 at home against Syracuse and Michigan State respectively. The Bills begin the defense of the Atlantic-10 Mens Soccer Championship under Coach Mike McGinty on Saturday, September 30th against U Mass. After 3 exhibition games at home(have already played 2 exhibitions), the Bills play 7 of their first 8 games at home (concluding with the Sept 30 game mentioned above)….I couldn’t help but notice….back in the day..from 1959 to 1974 SLU ruled the NCAA in Mens Soccer..they won 9 NCAA Championships and finished second place 3x and tied for the title once (game called due to weather …in those days the club was entirely St. Louis players….now there are 5 St Louis players on the team…yes….times have changed….btw….the dominance of men soccer by St Louis players and teams was carried on other levels also.  UMSL won the D-2 Championship in 1973 under Don Dallas ..from St. Louis –Bishop DuBourg HS… and SIU-E (using all StL players) who had won the first ever D-2 men soccer title in 1972. In D-3 Men Soccer, Washington U finished 2nd in the NCAA D-3 Men soccer in 1978, 1985, 1987.

…so Kansas pulled off a quickie recently…the Jayhawks took their football team to a Royals game…during the game four walk-on players were shown simultaneously on the video board.  As they were being shown a message appeared that congratulated all of them for being awarded a football scholarship! Boy…what a way to find out

Cardinal odds & ends for the end…

….I think only players belong in the dugout…the idea of bringing back former players to “help” the players verbally doesn’t cut it….what’s next.. a promotion to let the “winning” fan be in the dugout for an inning…..boo!

…Sorry Mike Mayers….there is a thing as a AAA pitcher….

….One thing for sure….Jeff Gyorko leads the league in spits per AB…with a couple fouls…he’s good for 4 or 5 spits.

Well now its time for me to use the V formation also…I’m Vanishing….until next week 

Thanks for reading and your comments on any part of this blog are always invited

Pleimann’s Pieces by Jim Pleimann

Pleimann’s Pieces…

Greetings to all as I pinch hit for Bob Ryan who is on assignment this week. He somehow thought I could spew words of wisdom, knowledge, opinions and sarcasm as well as he can.  But I will do my best and have some fun along the way.  I am going to be all over the place – So here goes…..

Wow what a difference a week makes here in St. Louis!   Folks, believe it or not, we are in a pennant race.  No, I am not drinking the Kool-Aid, nor can I say I told you so, but I truly was never one to say this team was as bad as so many  who catapulted off the proverbial bandwagon weeks ago when the Cardinals were five games below the.500 mark going nowhere.

I know he is not given a lot of love in this space, (okay, maybe no love at all)  but let’s talk just for a brief second about “Manifesto.  Because I don’t constantly bash Mike Matheny , I am considered by the two or three friends I have, as a “Matheny Lover”.   This team is fundamentally flawed, defense is very erratic, base running leaves you scratching your head, bullpen choices often make people go into shock, yet they are tied for first place in a weak division.

You can argue he was handed a pretty good team when he took over in 2012.  True.  He also lost at the time, one of the best players in the game in Albert Pujols.  For  a guy with no professional experience, he took what he was given, won a few division titles, a pennant to go along with the world series a 100 win season and put up a nice winning percentage along the way. That’s not too shabby.  Some say “I could have managed these guys to do that”….. Maybe, maybe not.

This season he was handed a team by upper management that banked on a few younger players (Randall Grichuk, Steven Piscotty,  Aledmys Diaz) to have breakout seasons.  That hasn’t gone according to plan.  All three have visited  Memphis.  Three players in his opening day lineup are not on the current roster.  I give him credit for keeping this team/season together when so many wanted him fired and sent to the Russian Front.  He did move Matt Carpenter back to leadoff where he somehow thrives more than any other spot in the lineup. I don’t think he is going anywhere for a while.

But he is loyal, almost to a fault to his players.  I think, they like playing for him.   His teams give effort.  Let see how all this plays out  before we run him out of town. Enjoy the fact, at least for the moment, the Loo is finally seeing some meaningful baseball.

How would you like to be a fan in San Francisco?  Is Bruce Bochy all of a sudden a worse manager than Mike Matheny.  Are the fans out there as suicidal as us spoiled folks here in St. Louis.  They are 25 games under .500 and they didn’t make a move at the deadline either – oh wait, they brought back Pablo Sandaval.  That’s a big help!

In eight days, they made up 4.5 games and sat tied with the Cubs.  Remember the Cubs?  I don’t even know why the season was to be played because they were going run away and win it all –  again.  They were going to be 81-34 on Aug 12.  Oh wait, I think the Dodgers own that record don’t they?  (By the way, that is quite impressive isn’t it?)  They may break a few win records before the season is over.

Who has won the second most games over the past five weeks or so in all of Major League Baseball?  You guessed it.  Our local team that did nothing at the trade deadline.  At that point in the season, who were they going to acquire that was going to be head and shoulders better than what they had to offer?  I could not figure out why that upset people so much.  The off season is the only time this current team can be tweaked.  That’s a whole other column!

My quick thoughts on the Cardinals – Where would this team be with Paul DeJong?  Of course last year at this time we were saying that about Diaz.  Tommy Pham sure has put a nice season together in all facets of his game.  With his resurgence over the last month or so, Trevor Rosenthal has stabilized the back end of the bullpen.  He has made some adjustments in his velocity that have helped him wiggle out of situations and his walks are way down.  It is good to see.

If I was manager Mike, Brett Cecil would only be in games they are winning or losing by six runs or more.  September call-ups should be in games before him.  That poor guy has had an awful season.  Hopefully he regroups and starts fresh in 2018.

What do you do with Dexter Fowler when in my opinion there are four guys on your 40 man roster who are better center fielders?  (Pham, Magnerus Sierra and Harrison Bader and probably Grichuk.  I can’t wait to see how the situation with  all these outfielders they have stockpiled, plays out.

I wasn’t happy at all with Yadi and his pouting, tweeting and camping out in the bullpen.  I hope he got that out of his system.

Which leads to a final question – If, and I say if rather loudly, the Cardinals would somehow win the Central, does that change how they go into the off-season?  Remember two weeks ago we were ready to trade darn near the whole team!    (They need an RBI guy)

Final Quick Hits….

As of this writing the Red Birds are 4.5 out of the wild card spot.  Never saw that possibility materializing a week or two ago did you?

Zeke Elliot – Six games? Did he get that many so they can reduce to 3-or 4?  The NFL police is better than the real police?  Yikes!   Weird situation.  Stay tuned…

Those of you who are true baseball fans, is the strikeout rate alarming to you?  Does it not bother you? Is it just part of the game in the 21st century?

Is it me or does every player that runs the bases always watch the ball?  Do you ever see a guy round second base and pick up the third base coach.?  I dare you to name one.

Rally Cat – How about the poor guy who had the similar experience in Seattle all those years ago.  He had to be in shock when his phone started ringing off the hook the next morning wanting his take on his cat experience.

Bob will be back next week.  He does a great job with this space.  his research into things amaze me. By the time he types up his blog, the Cardinals will have played another week and who knows what they will have accomplished.  I am sure Manifesto will have done something he will be able to comment on.  High school football will have started.  College football is drawing near.  NFL players are getting hurt in all camps.  It will be only a couple weeks until hockey opens camp and preseason games start.  LGB!  Sorry bob had to do that.

Hope I didn’t bore you.  I didn’t dig deep into research while I rambled on and on.  I just gave some thoughts.  Pinch hitters usually ground out and go back to the bench.  So that’s where I will go.  Thanks for reading – if you made it this far.  Ha!

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Cutler goes to Miami by Ashley Wright

In wake of Ryan Tannehill’s injury, the Miami Dolphins elected to sign quarterback Jay Cutler to a one-year, ten million dollar deal on Sunday. Jay Cutler chose to forgo retirement and a broadcasting career to rejoin Adam Gase (who was the Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator) in Miami.

Jay Cutler has been called many things during his time in the NFL. Many people question his leadership abilities, and his decision making as a quarterback. Granted Cutler recorded his best touchdown to interception ratio under Adam Gase, but many people are still skeptical of Cutler, as they should be.

Recent statements by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith were very intriguing as he stated “He [Cutler] is the worst leader in the NFL… He is a joke… He is a horrible quarterback.”

In Cutler’s first press conference as a Dolphin reported by Conor Orrhe joked “The good thing is I play quarterback so I don’t really have to be that good of cardiovascular shape, but I’ll be fine. [Dolphins head coach Adam Gase] knows kind of what I’ve been up to, so we’ll figure it out along the way.” He is literally the only “leader” that would make such a comment. You will never hear other quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger , Eli Manning, or Tom Brady make such an atrocious joke! A true leader wouldn’t blatantly disassociate himself, or his position from the other guys on the team who are working hard in hopes of winning a championship.

Cutler’s former teammate from 2013 to 2015 with the Chicago Bears, Martellus Bennett in a report by John Breech ripped Cutler’s quarterback ability “I’d be open and he’d throw into double coverage,” Martellus said. The signing of Cutler was a huge mistake on the Dolphins part, and Cutler will prove everyone who is criticizing him to be correct.

Jay Cutler over Colin Kaepernick, a proven leader who was three completions away from a championship against the Ravens? Interesting move!

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

Ashley Wright

Instagram: SportsWithAshley – https://www.instagram.com/sportswithashley/

Twitter: SportWithAshley – https://twitter.com/SportWithAshley

 

Game of Thrones by Bob Ryan

The Sports Game of Thrones is different than the televised version….no killings, no battles, no sex… oops… probably lost the interest of most of you already  … it’s a matter of merely sitting on designated thrones that are being awarded to winners of specific sports areas
…A special throne for Yadi Molina will be sitting right next to Mgr MM for the next time that Carson Kelly catches…this throne doesn’t require him to wear shin guards, talk to MM or smile throughout the entire game
…A special throne with razor edges for Tommy Pham who has an edge in his play & his talk
…A special throne for Kurt Warner sits…waiting for the banner above it…should it be “Man that provided the Lou with the most exciting NFL days in our history”…”man with the Biggest Fairy Tale of NFL History”..or “Joining the list of NFL QB who played in 3 Super Bowls-thus far an automatic qualifier to make HOF…..or maybe “Here sits a genuinely Good Man to his family and community”…you tell me…
…sitting on the “Much Ado about Nothing” throne are The Cardinals at the trading deadline
…Bowl tickets stuck in the top of a throne for the U of Missouri football team this season
…A salt & pepper crown for Harrison Bader who clearly needs more seasoning
…LA Dodgers arrive on a special bigger throne for their “moves” on the last day of the trading season—Yu Darvish (from Tx and LHP Tony Watson (from Pit) strengthen their staff on the front & back end of the games
….A throne for the smoothest fielding Cardinal infielder in 2017 sits empty…each current Cardinal infielder fumbled the ball while attempting to sit down on it
…Scott Van Slyke sits on a throne in an all-oxygen atmosphere since he gets some fresh air after his trade away from the LA Dodgers Bench to Cincinnati Reds
….A special quiet throne that moves silently upwards for the KC Royals—just as they’ve done in the standings
….A throne for “answering a lingering question” for 1.5 years is finally used by Derrick Goold who writes bluntly after 1.5 years of questions about why there was no Oquendo on staff after the Yadi instagram, “that there was likely a rift between Matheny and Oquendo when Oqundo was on the staff”….now squash all other rumors
…A pre-season throne for MO HS football is awarded to CBC by the Max Preps pre-Season Top 100. CBC was ranked #62 in the USA in the poll and they were the only Missouri team ranked in the top 100 in this poll.
…A special throne for creativity in throwing for Kolton Wong who continues to add to this title with throws in all directions while in his pivot throw attempting to complete the double play
….waiting in a strip club in Florida is a thrown named in “tribute” after former Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze..for some reason….no coach wants to go there….I guess they actually want to KEEP their jobs
…sitting on the throne currently for most complete games in 2017 is not Chris Sale, Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw…it is Ervin Santana (Minnesota) who now has 5 CG.
….Athletic Directors and Football Coaches at the High School level are sitting taller in their thrones on campus as a medical study done by JAMA Neurology suggests that former HS football players do NOT face an enhanced risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (CTE)
…Sitting on a throne with a specially designed arm rest is Matt Bowman who leads the NL in appearances through August 4 with 54…however sitting anxiously in the wings for the throne is Brett Cecil…just 2 games behind with 52 …many relief pitchers attempt to dodge this throne as they strive for career longevity
…. with the passing of Ara Parschegian, a throne for all the Notre Dame Coaches that have won National Football Championships has only 1 seat now…..it is filled by Lou Holtz
…a throne long held by the Cardinals Mgmt Team is their ability to manage their payroll and still win…that throne is starting to wobble. Already the Cards have commitments in excess of $110m for every season through 2020…in 2018, the Cards are the #8 team in the league in committed dollars, 5th in 2019 and the Cards have committed the most money in the entire MLB for 2020…clearly we know now at least one possible reason why the Cardinals did NOT go out and trade for a free agent at the deadline that they would have “pass on” next winter…Further the recent “heavy” signings of Leake & Fowler may limit us in the future but also currently are holding back key prospects in positions that the Cards seem well positioned in the minors..OF & starting pitching
…On a throne with a crown that has a mask that will be worn by Robbie Ray (AZ pitcher)
…the A-10 sits on a bare, skimpy, very tiny throne for their players going into the NBA…there were 0 ..zero… players drafted by the NBA from their conference in the 2017 draft
….sitting on the throne for most wins since the all-Star game on Aug 1 is James Paxton (Seattle) with 5 (12-3, 2.70 ERA for the Mariners who are just 1 game over .500 for the season.
….on the throne for the fastest aging player is Steven Piscotty…he looks like a shell of last year
…A throne for the “toughest opening 3 weeks of the NCAA Football season” goes to Florida State…the Seminoles open with non-conference foe that most teams dodge—Alabama, catch their breath in week 2 with U of Lousiana-Monroe and then play U of Miami in week 3
…in Detroit, there is a throne with a velvet seat…necessary for those with very thin skin…designed for David Price who couldn’t take the honesty of announcer Dennis Eckersly about his performance on the field
….sitting on the throne for best unannounced “phenom” is John Brebbia…this 27 year old has a 1.84 ERA, 49 strikeouts in 53 innings and a whip of 0.81 in 39 games…no one ever heard of him until he arrived on the scene
…on the throne for the best last-place team in the MLB is Cincinnati…this throne is not highly coveted
…through Aug 1, Lance Lynn..who wears the #2 or #3 throne on the Cards rotation feels like he should be considered as the ace on the Cardinals pitching staff. He has more wins 10-7, lower ERA 3.20 to 3.59, better WHIP 1.12 to 1.21 than Carlos Martinez who is commonly referred to as the ACE by the media. Lynn is generally referred to as a bulldog, having a chip, consistent, reliable …he wonders why HE isn’t called the ace….
…the Marlins have a 2-seated throne for their next starting QB spot (now that Tannehill is injured) for this year…one is entitled “BAD” (Jay Cutler) and the other WORSE (Colin Kaepernick)..boy…reminds me of our last few Rams years
…on the throne currently for NL Mgr of the Year is Greg Counsell (Milwaukee)
…on the non-stick throne-where every person slides off… is Sam Tuivailala. He’s been “called up” from the minors 5 times this year and 15 different times since Sept 2014…ya know…if the organization can’t decide in 15 different looks in the Major Leagues if you are good enough….Ya gotta wonder
…The special throne for Barry Odum is being constructed…it has a miniature jet propelled rocket under the throne….Barry will be asked to sit on this throne if Mizzou doesn’t make a bowl game
…The Throne for the “2 biggest surprises” has Yadier Molina sitting on it…not for his play behind the plate …but who would have thought that a) the OLDEST player on the team would cause the biggest stir on Instagram and b) that Yadi would have the most HITS on the team on Aug 4th!
…Sitting on the throne as the writer of this blog next week is Jim Pleiman…Jim is an experienced, professional, logical writer…qualities that you don’t observe in my weekly efforts…. continue to look for it next Monday on the Prepcasts site..if you’ve missed any of the recent blogs …several all listed right on the www.prepcasts.com site so “catch up”

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

Instagram: SportsWithAshley – https://www.instagram.com/sportswithashley/

Twitter: SportWithAshley – https://twitter.com/SportWithAshley

 

 

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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Comments about Michael Vick pursuing coaching by Ashley Wright

 

 According to an article by Joseph Zucker …  it was reported that Micheal Vick has begun pursuits in a coaching career …

My views are …

It’s no secret former number one draft pick Michael Vick is one of the most talented Quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Through his 14 year career Vick threw for 22,464 yards and 133 touchdowns while completing 56 percent of his total pass attempts. Although Vick served a 23-month prison sentence that doesn’t take away from the talent he displayed during his playing time in the NFL. With Andy Reid’s help Vick can absolutely become a great coach in the NFL.

 

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WE encourage comments below …

 

Tour de’ Farce by Bob Ryan

Sure the grueling Tour de’France has concluded but how about the Tour de’ Farce around the sports world….here goes with some things that make you wonder…

….at Texas Football, new Head Coach Tom Herman is apparently trying to elevate the competitiveness  and change the culture of his team…the Longhorns success meter had dropped the last 2 years under former head coach, Charlie Strong.  Herman is a firm…should I say… “strong”… believer in competition…he pits the #1 offense vs #1 defense….the treatment of the “side” that wins is noticeable. You don’t want to be the loser….after morning practices …and the competition… winners in the O vs D game are rewarded with a buffet of appetizing options….an omlet bar, chicken, waffles, giant trey of fruit..they may have it all…the losers ate last and the menu changed…they were handed a spoon to feast on watered down eggs and half-burnt biscuits…now…I’m waiting for some law suit…justifiably …about unequal treatment…of course…if Herman wins…and wins big…..it may happen that a Texas judge may throw the case out for “lack of cause”

…someone doesn’t understand  geography…..in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is Florida State while in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is South Carolina…their geography knowledge is a farceJ

…signing Colton Parayko was taking the sound approach…the 5 year deal locks him up during…. What should be … his premier seasons…the Blues come off a draft rated as B+ by the Bleacher Report….so its been a good summer for the Note..not a farce

…btw…according to Bleacher Report ….the NHL draft ratings look like this:

A: Colorado Avalanche, NJ Devils Phil Flyers            A-: LA Kings, Carolina Hurricanes 

B+: StL Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians, Nashville Predators,

NY Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, Ottawa Senators 

B: Az Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs

B-: Calgary Flames, Minn Wild, Tampa Bay Lighting, Winnipeg Jets

C+: Dallas Stars, NY Rangers   C: Boston Bruins, Pitt Penguins

C-:  Chicago Blackhawks,  Columbus Blue Jackets,  San Jose Sharks,
D:  Washington Capitals, (first pick came in fourth round)

We’ll see in 2-4 years what the grades REALLY ARE
…if you’ll recall last summer, I proposed a 6-ace rotation…throw your ace every 5th day in a 6 man rotation…give these “needy” starters an extra day or three….the rotation would look like this:

Ace, 2,3,4,5;  Ace, 6,2,3,4;   Ace,5,6,2,3;    Ace 4,5,2,3 etc.. so all starters would get 6 games  off except the ace who would throw every 5 games…throw in a day off every so often and the starters should be able to go 7+ innings regularly….look what Wacha did with his extended rest of 11 days…and….with the manner in which our bullpen is closing out games…this should lighten their load and stop having some of the musical chairs out of the bullpen  that have become a huge farce…

…while the Cards are running on their treadmill in the standings, across the State, the KC Royals have quietly crawled up to 2nd place just 1.5 games out of 1st place

…the Dodgers are making a joke of the standings….as of today-Thursday, LA has won 11 straight games, their overall record is 68-31. In their last 30 games, they are 26-4-WOW!  Here’s a stat to chew on…, the Dodgers maul the sub .500 teams …they are 44-14..they are making a farce of the race for the best team of the NL…so….with that in mind…the Dodgers are looking to win “it all” this season….don’t be surprised if Justin Verlander finds himself wearing a Dodger uniform sometime in the next 4 weeks…as Detroit has begun its move to “sell” by moving JD Martinez to Arizona…good luck Tiger fans…you may soon need a scorecard to know who’s on the field for Detroit

…..recruiting in St Louis for HS football players has never been at this high level!  Some names that you might want to follow–  CBC’s  WR  Kamryn Babb already has a bunch…he has offers from over 30 schools..the list includes Bama, ND, Ohio St, Penn State, UCLA, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Miami and all but 4 of the SEC programs.  Parkway North’s Michael Thompson (6-4, 273) is also very, very high on the national high-level radar (including Bama…aren’t they the standard these days?) Others to keep your eyes and ears open to are:  Lutheran North-Ronnie Perkins (6-4, 260)-has an offer from Oregon; Chaminade’s  Trevor Trout (6-3, 295) is a high class lineman; Ritenour LB Ayodele Adeoye (6-2, 220) has at least 19 big-time offers in his pocket already. While High Schools games are exciting, this action off the field will also be intriguing to follow in 2017…the brand new early signing date period of 72 hours between Dec 20 and Dec 22 will be offered for the 1st time. I guess, These big-time schools  want early Christmas gifts wrapped up and ready to go 

…You can’t fool Fr. Time….all athletes reach the point of diminishing returns due to age…one of the best hitters of the last 15 years, Miguel Cabrera is currently hitting .256. This is a guy who’s lifetime average is .318 (for 15 years). He has 2598 hits…so the golden entry to the HOF…3000 hits… is barely visible these days.

…btw….congratulations to Jim Brockman, an administrator @ CBC, he nailed his 1st hole in ONE last week….a person who lived along the course, saw Jim looking for the ball and signaled to him that he should look into the hole…what a great surprise!!   Congrats Jim!

….so we lost the last 2 games to the Mets in “creative” ways….on Wed, with a runner on 1b, the infield was “shifted” around with 2b Wong playing  close to 1b & in the short OF…so when the ball was hit to 3B Jeff Gyorko..there was confusion on who would be the pivot man…Gyorko’s throw went into the outfield & NYM grabbed a 5-0 lead in the inning..Cards lost 7-3…the next day in the bottom of the 9th, with the game tied and 2 outs with runners on 1st & 3rd…a sharply hit ground ball down 1B line, Carpenter dives, comes up with ball…but the pitcher, Rosenthal, isn’t covering 1B…NY wins 3-2…. these types of games are really a farce at the MLB level

…the Yankees and CWS trade…the main players in what amounts to yet another White Sox dump…is Yanks acquire Todd Frazier and David Robertson and deal prospects to Chicago….how would you like to be a Sox fan after they’ve dumped  Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Quintana + now Frazier & Robertson  for….usually… prospects…would you want to go to the ballpark to watch this pitiful last place team… it’s a farce..the Sox are becoming the Browns of the early 50’s !

…Michael Wacha hurled a complete game last week (after an 11 day rest)…only 5 major league pitchers have more than 1 complete game this year…Ervin Santana-Minn (4 complete games), Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman, Ivan Nova & Max Scherzer (2 each)…as recently as 2010, there were 165 complete games in the MLB for the season…what’s happened….the players continue to increase in size and strength but…..are our expectations a farce of expecting pitchers to go 9 or is it the expectations ..and training ….of the manager or pitcher?

…judging from the Cubs series, Rosenthal & Oh have been sent to the Siberia of the Cards bullpen… Manifesto likes playing only the “hot” card…. Like in a casino….unfortunately, he’s getting the same result that most people get in a casino

….Marco Gonzalez for a “prospect”…sounds reasonable to me…he was taking up space in the Cards minor league system…he won 4 games in 2014…hasn’t won any since then in the Majors..has pitched only 6 innings in MLB since 2014…he could never throw the ball by anyone and seemed to struggle “big time” during the 2nd time through the lineup. The Cards obtained Tyler O’Neill…he was the Class AA player of the year last year…this year, 2017, in AAA, it’s rougher….244, 19 HR, 56 rbi in 93 games..looks like Randall Grichuck’s type stats to me J

….a different Tour…the Tour de’France ended yesterday…Chris Froom…the pre-race favorite won his 4th title in this…the most prestigious bike race in the world…he was only the 2nd winner of the Tour not to win any stage of the 3 week race. Now …it’s time for me to end my Tour de’ Farce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in the City by Bob Ryan

The Great 1996 hit “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful really depicts the sultry, humid, hot days of summer …like we’ve had recently…with their opening lyrics,

“Hot town, summer in the city….     Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity     ….             Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead ….  Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head”

We’ve had a short taste of that HOT weather recently…maybe we ARE looking half dead?   Anyway…lots of other things have been hot also…

….for the Cards the hottest 5 hitters for the last 30 days ….

Paul DeJong .345; 2) Dexter Fowler .326; 3) Luke Voit .316; 4) Jose Martinez .298; 5) Tommy Pham .296

…Some StL fans thought that the Cards would be hot and bothered that Carlos Martinez pitched 2 innings in the All-Star game…nope…Mgr Joe Maddon had contacted the Cards mgmt. about that strategy prior to the game

…the hottest 5 batters in the entire MLB over the last 30 days were Jose Ramirez-Clev-.427; Jose Altuve-Hou-.413; Andrew McCutchen-Pitt-.404; Carlos Correa-Hou-.398; DJ Lemahieu-Col-.386..boy…what a middle infield for Houston with Altuve & Correra—that’s the best Middle infield in the MLB right now..

…so now lets consider 6 other tremendous middle-infielder combos..try these 6 HOT-SHOT 2B-SS duo of the past and Altuve & Correra…you rate them from #1-7 …come on…be fair…vote in the reply section…. they are NOT listed in my order of preference below…everyone’s vote is equal…think about it…maybe 45 sec …then vote

**Jimmy Rollins/Chase Utley – These two clubbed a lot of home runs together for the Philadelphia Phillies together from 2005 to 20014. They combined to win nine silver slugger and for gold glove awards. They scored 1,814 runs for Phils and hit 382 HR

**Derek Jeter/Robinson Cano – The New York Yankee middle info combination was better defensively than the Phillies duo. They combined for nine gold gloves and seven silver slugger awards. Jeter and Cano clubbed 309 home runs as a combo and scored 1,620 runs hitting in the same lineup from 2005 to 2012.

**Alan Trammell/Lou Whitaker – Trammell and Whitaker roamed the field for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1995. They combined to win seven gold gloves and seven silver slugger awards. The combo combined for more the 4,000 hits and 428 home runs. A wonderful combination of excellent fielding & strong hitting. Note their time together!!

**Joe Morgan/Dave Concepcion – These two members of the Big Red Machine played in the middle infield together from 1972 to 1979. Morgan and Concepcion combined to win two silver slugger and 10 gold gloves.  In the years they played together they accumulated 2,287 hits and scored 1,326 runs.

**Currently we must consider, 2B Jason Kipnis/SS Francisco Lindor who helped lead the Indians to a World Championship last year.  This duo is good defensively (Kipnis-AL Def Player of year 2012)-lifetime .269 avg , 120 SB, 84 HR career OPS .762, but really shine with their production at the plate. Lindor..just 23 years old…is in 3rd season as starting SS for the Tribe..he carries a lifetime .292 avg in 1343 AB, his career OPS is .799..he won Gold Glove in AL in 2016..he is a budding star

**Of course, we must include our Cardinal favorites—Ozzie Smith & Tommie Herr. Ozzie, a HOF, was on 4 playoff teams(82,85,97,96) in his 15 years with 1 Series title… had 14 Gold Gloves, 2573 games (6 seasons in top 10);2460 hits;  580 SB(7 seasons in top 10). Tommy Herr played for Cards for parts of 10 years was on the 82,85,87 teams with Ozzie; for 8 of his 10 seasons was in top 10 defensively for 2B; led NL in DP turned by a 2B-4X; led NL in Sac Flys-2X; had 110 RBI in 1985 with just 8 HR …he’s a personal favorite of mine

Again….give me your vote…rate them 1 thru 7…it’s tough..but there isn’t any ONE right answer..so vote.

….who’s on the Hottest Seat in the NFL….it’s gotta be Head Coach Marvin Lewis @ Cinn Bengals.  He’s made the NFL playoffs 7x and yet has never won a playoff game..if he doesn’t get off to a good start or win a playoff game…he’s history

….Hot on the trail of the Cards….an instant flashback at the Pittsburgh series….Friday night…. as the game progressed from the 5th inning onward and it was tied 2-2 ya just knew…that there would be 1 guy in the Cards bullpen “off” that night & cost us the game…yep…on this nite it was Swing-When Oh…Saturday nite saw Lance Lynn go into the 7th inning hurling a shutout..again the Cards used 3 relief hurlers to get 8 outs ..

Card Tidbits…Tommy Pham has been the best player on the Cardinals for 3 weeks now—hitting .311 now in 212 AB…on the other side Jose Martinez plays like a AAA player..some good hitting games but too many defensive deficiencies—doesn’t cover a lot of ground, often doesn’t get a good “read” on a batted ball ..btw..Pham’s 212 AB are 5th highest on the Cards for the season… Manifesto’s constant juggling .. like a circus clown.. of the lineup might keep them fresh but also sinks the continuity and regularity employed by most winning teams…#2btw…despite all the pre-season talk of providing extra rest…Yadier Molina is 2nd on the team in AB with 290 AB..only 5 behind team leader Matt Carpenter..why is Carp getting so many AB?  He’s a .241 hitter…yes he’s drawn 63 walks but has struck out 69x so he isn’t advancing runners on his outs, he’s committed 9 errors(team high), has run the bases like a T-Ball player and has just 2 stolen bases…heck…ol’ burly Jeff Gyorko has 5 stolen bases…why so much Carp?..then…Sunday, the Cardinals squander another lead late and lose it as Brett Cecil is brought into the game in the 9th inning as the closer…sure there were left handed hitters coming up but …come on…Rosenthal has been set up man…and has done well….so I’m sure he was knocking on the door of the Mgr after the game asking why HE wasn’t doing the closing on this day…fair question!

…the HOT Potato method of using the bullpen by Mgr Mike Matheny…no relief hurler may go more than 1 inning unless the game is “out of hand”.. drives up the appearances tremendously. Cards usage of our key relief hurlers..at the 90 game mark, Bowman has been in 45 games, Cecil-44 games,Rosey & Oh-39 each..we’ve already seen Matheny’s callousness about the careers of these bullpen men…Maness was wiped out in 3 years, Siegrest is on the same track..when bullpen men are used more than 80 games with 80+ innings in one season..check the next season..generally, the performance dips …I think due to the fact that the pitching arms just can’t be used that much.

…Some thought he was HOT under the Collar but Kevin Durant was play-acting as he and Payton Manning had prearranged his reaction to Manning’s biting comments on stage…it was all show-time

…striking while the iron was HOT in the All-Star game was the selfie of Jose Cruz & Joe West (umpire) taken by Yadi…bet that won’t be the last selfie that we see in the MLB this year…I can hear it now..this selfie is brought to you by ”……”

…so the Cubs put the Cards in HOT WATER as they went out and procured a talented starting pitcher, Quintana from the White Sox…if the Cubbies come alive, as they’ve indicated that maybe happening…. by blasting their way to easy wins in the first 3 games after the All-Star Break…the Cards fans will be..and should be… HOT under the Collar about the Cards lack of action

….these HOT numbers mean nothing….despite setting a league mark with a 71.6 completion %, Sam Bradford’s high % won’t carry much weight…it was the result of take the snap, stand up, throw to WR…high %…short gains.. but only a few wins as teams Defensive backs kept playing tighter & tighter to the receivers as the year unfolded

HOTTEST  MLB Prospect  who has yet to ever have a taste of the MLB is Amed Rosario, SS, NYM…the Mets inability to dump…oops…trade Jose Reyes and/or Asdrubal Cabrera has kept this young player running in place while hitting .327, 7 HR, 16 SB as a 21 year old

…Mizzou’s football pre-season rankings are hot off the press but don’t get excited… of the 14 information directors of the SEC..take a look at the results.. 1) Alabama—who else could it be?  2-tie) LSU & Auburn  4) Georgia 5) Florida  6) Tx A&M 7) Tenn  8) Arkansas  9tie) S.Carolina & Miss State  11) Kentucky 12) Mississippi  13) Vandy  14) Missouri—ouch! It’s my guess that these information directors aren’t really that knowledgeable about each team but are basing their votes on “what they’ve heard from coaches on the staff”…it means absolutely nothing in July..or for that matter…anytime…in fact it could be a motivational tool for the Tigers.

…if you feel like 93 wins should get you the #1 seed in your conference…check out the sizzling hot record of the Houston Astros (61-30)  and Los Angeles Dodgers (63-29) in the first half of the year..if each of these teams win just 33 of their 72/73 games..they’ll coast into the playoffs with a high seed. The Dodgers have really been incredible…they are 9-1 in last 10 games, 17-3 in last 20 games, and 26-4 in their last 30 games…now that is HOT, HOT, HOT

…Selling like Hotcakes were the tickets for these non-league games in week 1 of SEC college football—Bama-Florida State, Michigan-Florida Texas A&M-UCLA games..Missouri opens up against Missouri State

…the 5 hottest major cities in USA are: 1) Phoenix; 2) Las Vegas; 3) Dallas; 4) Austin; 5) San Antonio J

a stunningly HOT statistic…with all the great LA Dodger pitchers in their history, Alex Wood became the 1st Dodger pitcher to EVER win his first 11 decisions in a season

…the HOT Button issue in Denver is the QB battle between Trevor Siemian & Paxton Lynch…exhibition games might actually mean something important to this duo

are they full of HOT air? the ODDS HOTLINE on Fan-Graph shows this about the Cardinals …as of Thursday, July 13….it shows that the Cards (44-47) are expected to win 82.6 games,20.2% chance of winning the division, 11.3% chance of being a wild card, the same 11.3% of winning a divisional series, 4.9% chance of winning NLCS and 1.9% chance of winning the world series…the Cards have 41 road games left and only 32 home games…thus far the Cards are 18-23 on the road and 26-24 at home.  I’m not rushing out to put any of my money on them to win anything…no thx J

…all my “stuff” is hot & dry now…so until next week…..thx for reading…don’t forget to vote on best 2B-SS combos