Excitement of Post-Season by Bob Ryan

Excitement of Post-Season ….

Even though, it’s not the same without our Birds in the post-season….sure…there have been some great games but the buzz around the area about baseball is a whisper w/o our Birds flying into deep October….however …there is ALWAYS a buzz about post-season…on all levels.

Post-Season Baseball….

…from my view, it’s actually much tougher to repeat as world Champions…you must win two series against very high level opponents…. Not just 1 series (World Series) as was the custom for about the first 100 years of baseball…starting pitching must not only be good…but have the ability to go deep in the game(7 inn+)…or…bullpens become exhausted and …as we saw this year…starters are then used out of the pen to win divisional series…which makes it even tougher to win in future games.

…post season is a crap-shoot…who expected the World Champion, Indians to fall to the Yankees?

..Cubs hitting really disappeared…although…remember for the first 80-100 games, the Cubs weren’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball…but the playoffs were abysmal for them at the plate…Kris Bryant .200, Anthony Rizzo .135, Addison Russell .176, Wilson Contreras .219,  Javier Baez .077, Kyle Schwarber .176 as the key batters…in 10 post-season games , the Cubbies scored more than 3 runs in a game ONE TIME…Now I realize many StL fans sole cheering focus was on the Cubs losing….some want to buy the White flags that would have a big “L” ..not “W” like last year – they didn’t really care who else won..looking back it’s amazing that they won even one series….their aging, overworked staff allowed 1 run and hurled a shutout in their 1st two post-season games….after that it looked totally different..the runs allowed in the remaining post season games were 6,5,8,4,5,6,2,11 ..part of that is due to the fact that the Cubs “went all in” to beat the Nationals by hurling any pitcher who could get outs….or even an out…and they hung on… for that series…but nothing was left for the Dodger bats ..especially by game 5. The Cubs have small consolation that they are only the 2nd World Series Champion in the past 15 years to win its division the year following the World Series celebration.

….the Dodgers … for the vast majority of the season…were the best team in the National League…yes…they did lose for 2 straight weeks  but even with that ugly time…they won the most games in the MLB-104 games….they have a marvelous blend of youth, experience, power, speed and 1-2-3 starting rotation punch (Kershaw, Darvish, Rich Hill)

….the Astros were the best team in the AL throughout 2017… they were led by their explosive hitting up & down the lineup…Houston had a team batting average of .282-#1 in MLB….Jose Altuve is the straw that stirs the offensive drink for the ‘stros.  Acquiring Justin Verlander just minutes prior to the trading deadline really solidified their starting staff….so….the short of the long of it…we have the 2 best regular season  teams in the MLB competing in the upcoming World Series….thats good to see

…for years there were certain suppositions that a team must do to “get to post-season

#1 have good defense to win at a high level ….  well..not so much any longer…take a look at post season teams….Cleveland was #2 in fewest errors in MLB, Colorado #3, Minnesota #4, Washington was #10 , LA Dodgers were #12 in fewest errors, NYY were #17 and Cubbies #18, Houston #20, Boston #24 and Arizona #26…so the three best defensive teams in MLB were all bounced out in their first post-season series?!  Who had the fewest errors?  Miami-73…. now…. hold on…I will agree…that making errors alone may not be a single, solitary way to judge defenses..can the defensive players cover more ground and get to balls that many other fielders may not is also a vital, positive element.  Btw..Cards were right in the middle of the pack #16 with 94 errors….btw…that’s .58 errors per game…or slightly more than 1 error every 2 games…. that sounds “weak” to me for a professional team at the highest level.

#2 that you MUST have strong pitching to go deep in post season…it’s still true …teams pitching stats put Cleveland #1, Dodgers #2, Az #3, Boston #4, NYY#5, Washington #6, Cubs were #7, Milwaukee #9 , Houston was #11  (remember there are 10 post season teams)…..it’s an easy assumption to say that Colorado will NEVER be in the top 10 of pitching stats since they play ½ their games in the light, mountain air.

#3 win the 1-run games….the Nationals won the most 1-run games…they were 30-21.. next best % were AZ 29-23, shockingly the Angels were 27-22 in this area, Cubs 26-17, Seattle went 26-15, Dodgers were 25-19 in 1-run games…to me as I look at these stats…it doesn’t seem so important how many win alone…how many did you lose also is relevant…so with that the factor..in 1 run games…. Wash was a +9, Seattle +9, Cubs +9, Az +6,  Dodgers +6 ..our StL Cards were 24-29 a -5….who was in the most 1-run games?  Phillies!!! 57 games– 21-36.

…of the 4 last teams in the MLB playoffs—Astros, Dodgers, Cubs, NYY—who has the most sustainability for the long term right now?  I’ve read that the Cubs have depleted their stockpile of highly rated prospects while these other 3 teams still have some very talented “blooms” on the farm. Reportedly, the Dodgers, Yanks & Astros still have some very highly rated “prospects” in the pipeline….I’m always a bit skeptical of these “prospects”…how many really become stars?

College Football post-season thru binoculars…

..in the past couple years, I’ve written about a numerical plan to choose the teams….that’s not going to happen….so….on Oct 22…at this moment,  looking long range through my binoculars…these are my 4 teams…I maintain the right to change if upset losses occur to the favorites….….#1 of course Alabama … an NCAA Football final 4 without Bama is like an ice-cream soda without the ice cream;  #2 Penn State (who’ll win Big 10)   #3 winner of TCU-Oklahoma game …I’m leaning towards TCU; #4 winner of Miami – Notre Dame game…I watched ND dismantle USC yesterday…the fighting Irish dominated … I mean … really dominated with their Offensive & Defensive Lines… interestingly…after last season Coach Brian Kelly was on the hot seat @ ND with his 3-7 record…what did he do? He completely overhauled his coaching staff…went away from his “personal network” of coaches and brought the best he could find…and…it’s working.. they are a different looking team..more physical, disciplined, prepared. The “U” is unbeaten and looks like a favorite in the ACC.

High School Post-season…

…the MSHSAA softball post season ….the softball championships…were held in Springfield this past weekend…. Congratulations to the Marquette Mustangs on winning the Class 4 (the large school class) 2-0 over Blue Springs South to cap off a 29-3 record for the season.  To win STATE softball, you MUST have a tremendous pitcher….and Marquette did have one…Annah Junge twirled a 1-hitter in the championship game. She raised her record to 19-2 and lowered her ERA to 1.17 in 22 games. The top three leading batters for the Mustangs were Lillie Knesel .530, Kelsy Lenox .505 and Tabitha Cacheris .495. For Blue Springs South it was a tough pill to swallow…they had lost the championship game last year also…that time to Troy.                  Outside post-season…..

…hockey post-season….nope it’s still 6 months away but…the Blues are piling up points here in October that count for just as much as the points in March

….Mizzou….good & bad…..great to see all the excitement about the KU basketball exhibition game & the resounding win over an overmatched Idaho football team(it cost us $1.3m to buy that win). Please note that our two wins are over teams that combined 3 wins for the season but…let’s smile for a week and enjoy the win… I was sad to see Gary Link..long time basketball “color” man, loyal supporter, fund raiser, represented Mizzou at many functions over the years…seemed to bleed black & gold.. get totally shoved out at MU….from afar it seems that the earth is still shaking in Columbia, MO.

…can’t the Blues build their ice complex on the old Ford plant property? 

….thanks for making it to the bottom 

 

 

 

Too Big To Fail by Bob Ryan

 Ok….losing is one thing….but losing to a country 1/100 our size is ridiculous… some thoughts…

 First of all….I’m not a soccer guy…never played soccer a second in my life…but as an Athletic Director & announcer, I’ve seen many soccer matches….I’m not claiming that type of experience makes me an expert but….we all have our thoughts..soooo…..

 

The USA loss to Trinidad/Tobago in soccer is totally unbelievable to me. Decades ago, Americans claimed that our kids don’t start young enough…now,  “herd ball” begins around 6 years of age….then it was we don’t have enough quality coaching…so….amateur soccer …in our area called CYC (Catholic Youth Council)..was shoved aside for “select” teams…and then “academy” teams…we have all that in place and NOTHING has changed in the results…please don’t give me the “it’s too soon to tell”…we’ve been traveling down this road for decades… here’s a list of random thoughts that may …or may not…change things but I feel should be discussed by the “leaders” of the sport”…

 

This is walk on thin ice ….but here we go…

1) The training academy’s have become places for the middle to above middle class families to send their kids.  From my understanding, some of the overall leaders of these academies are making nice…very nice… incomes from these multiple “select teams”.  Make them FREE…as they were for years under the CYC format…or let the USA Committee pay the coaches, evaluators, scouts, administrators.

2) Find highly qualified evaluators who can determine…as much as possible.. potential vs “skill level”….everyone has a ceiling in their skill level…USA needs to find the kids with the world class potential…not necessarily.. the best 14 year old players.

3) Sort kids by ability not age….the age limit was devised to help teams compete.. the USA wants the kids to improve…who cares who wins these intramural games.. let the best players compete by ability…move some players up or down as their play continues to improve or levels off in performance.

4) Find ways to have kids play on their own without adults hovering over them….let them develop, practice their individual skills, moves, shots with their own creativity.

5) The traveling, select team concept has FAR too many teams….I mean are there really 500-1000 kids at every age level that “might” some day might be on the USA soccer team?…no way…. Who are we kidding?…I’m sure that all those players are good players…but being a world class player is a different animal… there are very few… Weed out the good players…develop the high potential players. Some…probably many .. parents feel that if their child plays traveling select ball…at a high cost…the payback will be that their child will “make” the HS or college team of their choice. That should NOT be the goal…the goal is to develop world class players.

6) Maybe the teams are started too early…throw the ball out there…let the kids play in small groups…6 year olds who can’t read yet are being instructed to spread out, pass the ball, kick it OOB if you’re on defense…..yada-yada-yada…you don’t see 6 year olds playing on basketball teams but we’re the best in the world.

7) A way must be found to incorporate the poor kids into these pay-to-play systems.

8) High Level Coaches from all levels—High School, College, Professional… should be holding clinics, seminars for themselves to help “grow” and share ideas about the development of players & teams.

8) Let these USA teams play more games…let them compete against professional teams or the best college teams…sure it isn’t World Cup but it seems to me that scrimmaging all the time against your teammates gets stale…play someone else.. if you lose…you have the wrong players…or coach(es). Don’t wait until Trinidad/Tobago beats you 2-1…ugh…it wasn’t even just one lucky goal.

Something has to change in the USA Soccer program….losing to large nations is one thing but…losing to tiny countries about the size of one  metropolitan city in the USA is not acceptable….We aren’t TOO big to Fail!…we are failing! Your thoughts…

 

Post Season baseball has been wild…

…managers have ditched their usual methods of the regular season…starting pitchers are relieving… relief pitchers are going longer…this makes it very exciting for the fans but…you could never use this style for 6 months of  play

….the teams that have advanced do have a strong 1-2 punch in the starting rotation

…more teams swing at the 1st pitch in the post-season

…game go too long….way too ..long…4.5 hours for 9 innings (that’s a ½ hour for every 2 innings..ugh) is NOT entertainment..at least to me…the Pearl harbor attack didn’t go that long 

…Jose Altuve is THE most exciting MLB player…he has over 200 hits for 4 straight years, has stolen over 30 bases/year for 6 straight years, has 24 HR in each of the last 2 years….he is the complete hitter…his dash around the bases from 1B with the winning run against NYY was …to me…really exciting…I’d prefer that type of action as to watching a HR sail..time & time again per game.. into the seats and the batter jogging around the bases. The excitement of the HR stems from the days when it was a rare occurrence…it’s become far too common now.

….teams that have been eliminated have to be watching the way that these post-season batters are being pitched….I would think that Aaron Judge will now see trillions of low breaking balls on the outside of the plate 

…the Cubs ability to come-from-behind wins with big, quick innings has surfaced again as they’ve won their 4th consecutive win or be eliminated series. Their “bat around” inning against Washington was a classic example of quick explosion at the plate and speed on the bases.

…Dusty Baker has now lost 14 straight series-final games and the 4th time in 6 years that the Nats won the NL East division and were bounced out in the 1st round of the playoffs…sorry…Dusty…I like you but….winning teams have to WIN a post season series once in a while…so… C U later…

..don’t be surprised if Cincinnati jumps into the free-agent waters to snatch a quality starting pitcher or two…they can hit…have some arms in the pen…now they need to get to the 7th inning. When “We’d like to get the most talented player we can get,” said Reds general manager Dick Williams. “We’ll just have to see what that money level is. I think we’d rather concentrate our resources on fewer players that have a chance to be more impactful for us than we do going out and getting a bunch of low-dollar guys.” Sounds like a pitcher to me….top candidates to me for them are Alex Cobb & Lance Lynn..both are on the lower end of the pitching pay scales…I’m choking as I write low end…I mean it is $16-$18m per year for multiple years…. and yet would be improvements for them.

 

A College Football fly-over….

…2 weeks ago, LSU was ready to fire their Coach, Ed Orgeron. Last week the Tigers upended Florida and this week they rallied from a 20 point deficit to beat #10 ranked, Auburn 27-23…now they luv him  …..the love of college football coaches by their fans reminds me of teenage romances…easy come..easy go 

….Mizzou has found an offensive threat…the deep HR ball…but the Tiger defense was toothless as Georgia played ol’ time smash mouth football all night long. At the same time, there were some inexcusable breakdowns in outside run coverage for Mizzou. Georgia turned those egregious alignments into TD runs. That type of scheming error should never happen …much less at the collegiate level.

…Five of the 13 unbeaten teams tasted their 1st defeat this weekend

…a couple special upsets…. #5 Washington fell to Arizona State 13-7…coming into the A-State game, Washington was a 17.5 point favorite due largely to the fact that Arizona State was ranked #119 in the country in team defense..the Sun Devils had surrendered more than 30 points in 11 straight games…please note the score again..13-7….Washington didn’t help their cause…their FG kicker missed FT attempts from 27 and 21 yards..generally “gimme’s” for any college and most HS kickers….the “karma” of the game manifested itself very late in the game … a 4th & 3..with all expecting a punt…A-State went for it…the Sun Devils completed a 30 yard pass that inexplicably floated  past 5 players ..2 ASU and 3 Wash players … seemingly guided by someone’s guardian angel, and was caught by the TE..it was as one writer said, “the 4th down version of a blackjack player hitting on 19 and then drawing two consecutive aces” With Washington’s cream puff schedule….their college football playoffs bubble has probably burst with the upset loss.

..then there was #2 ranked Clemson (last year’s national champs) being shocked by Syracuse 27-24… sure losing your QB,Kelly Bryant in 2nd qtr, hurt but the Tigers just made too many mistakes, personal fouls, a fake punt that failed, and a “makeable” FG missed. Further, failing to convert on only 2 of 11 3rd downs doesn’t add to offensive continuity. The defense let them down also… after pinning ‘Cuse inside the 10 yard line twice with punts, the Orangeman were able to move it out of this area with substantial drives (one helped by a Clemson 15 yd personal foul)..but Syracuse didn’t win on luck or just good fortune…they outgained Clemson 440-317 yards in the game.

…#8 Washington State was crushed by unranked California 37-3…footnote…I can’t remember both Washington teams being in the top 10 at the same time…well, this week both of them were upset.. Cal didn’t out gain Wash St by much 365-337 in total yards….it was the 7 turnovers by the Cougars that sent them wheeling  out of the unbeaten waters.

 

New Twist on Protests during National Anthem…

In Hong Kong, IT’s the FANS who are protesting during national Anthem. Those fans are very unhappy with the Chinese control in this semiautonomous city.  So Fans are booing, giving the 1 finger salute and generally making their displeasure known.  China’s authorities are already planning tough measures for these protesters..they are approving a law that prohibits disrespect of the anthem, barring the songs’ use in commercials or parodies and outlining the punishments for fans who “do not stand with respect” and “maintain a dignified bearing” when the national anthem is played.

 

Losing the “Way”…

…we’ve heard a great deal about the Cardinal way…how George Kissell & Dave Ricketts particularly…formed the ideas that should be taught at all levels….it was updated by Kissell with the Tony LaRusso staff… now farm director John Vuch keeps an updated version on his desk. Cards fans have moaned about the lack of fundamentals…Cardinal way…in the past couple years…but we aren’t the only ones who have lost “the way”…the Atlanta Braves are also “looking back” at their way that has been tarnished…they’ve been branded as cheaters and seen their organization crumble. This once proud franchise went to 15 post-season appearances in 16 years from 1991-2005.Bobby Cox was a terrific manager who was criticized for not winning the World Series often enough (he won 1 series and lost 4 others). GM  John Schuerholz & Cox worked hard, followed their scouts recommendations, played fundamental baseball…they were so good…that the Braves fans got spoiled and stopped attending regular season games….after all…there WOULD BE post-season games. Now the Braves are entangled in a real mess….sure last place team last year….the newer management (Frank Wren, John Coppolella, John Hart) didn’t follow their scouts recommendations, if you disagreed with them…you were gone…this trio had all the answers…well maybe it was all the answers on how to follow the Titanic in the baseball world….now….inappropriate signings of international players and other signings are ushering in another sad episode and the hierarchy of the Braves is in disarray…maybe .. we Cardinal fans should be grateful ..we may not agree with it all…you know that I don’t….but … our issues are solved much simplier…a couple talented players at the right times of their career and in the right spots …put us right back into the playoffs. We may be lost but the trail isn’t far away.

 

High School Focus…

…this week the Missouri high school teams open up their District competition. Using a point system through the first 9 weeks based on wins, margin of win (up to 14 pts), size of schools, record of opponents..and probably a few other areas..this point system is used to seed the teams from #1 though 8.  Then the usual 1 vs 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5 tournament schedule is established. Any loss for a team from this point onward concludes their season. There are 6 classes of teams based on size of school… not skill level.

 

Well…I’m not failing to get too big…or too long 

Shuffling Deck from the Bottom by Bob Ryan

Cards begin shuffling the deck by dealing from the bottom….at least …. It seems like the pitching coach was the LEAST of their concerns but…MO felt diferently

Cards shuffle deck…

Earlier this week, the Cards brass & Manifesto announced that Derek Lilliquest (pitching coach) and the bullpen coach….did anyone really know HIS name?….were being let go…PC for fired….Some thoughts on this….the Cards say that they want a coach with more use of technology ….OK…fine….why not just hire a techy to be In the clubhouse ..or wherever….with a computer feeding info to manifesto who would have a computer in the dugout receiving it….call him the Info Coach….I doubt that Coach Info can help our pitchers with release point, balance, slide steps, tipping pitches, mixing pitches to batters in hitting sequences, adding new pitches each year,  varying delivers to home with runners on base, pickoffs…mentality of nibbling vs control on corners…btw…according to Bernie Mikaslaz…in the last 5 years, Cards pitching was #3 in the entire league in several categories… but we’re removing the pitching coach ?

…I don’t know what the bullpen coach’s responsibilities were during the games…or…for that matter…at any time…..abolish that spot for the newly designed “Info Coach”

…going down this line a bit further…between the lines I’m reading that Manifesto didn’t think the Lilly used tech info enough to help him in making pitching changes….hey…big boy…YOU ARE the MANAGER…not the pitching coach…you make the decisions…not the pitching coach…YOU have overused ..almost to the point of abuse…and clearly to the point of ending their careers many pitchers repeatedly in your tenure…. but especially in the last 3 years. Let these relief hurlers …who have an easy inning…pitch another inning….let the starting pitcher throw more than 100 pitches….I mean in the State of Missouri…high school pitchers (15 to 18 years old) can pitch 105 pitches before being removed…can’t a professional pitcher..a man  in the prime of his life go 150 pitches…I’m not asking for the 200 pitches of 50 years ago…just 150…train them in  spring training…develop a plan to build up to 150+ pitches all through spring training….let them pitch in those games that don’t matter….I mean…if you always remove a pitcher at 100 pitches…eventually, his arm will get tired at 100 pitches…push that total upward to 150 and help him, the bullpen and the team…and….I think Lilly was a scapegoat this year….somehow…some way…the Cardinals brass are convinced that Manifesto…who has replaced or lost all of his coaches already in 6 years …. Is the man to lead us deep in the post-season.

Early Wild-Card & divisional series odds& ends…

…both of the 2nd wild card teams were eliminated…so all that hype to reach the final spot in the playoffs…poof….gone..no home game…no nothing other than a hollow title of 2nd WC team.

…the new wild-card format DOES put the wild card teams at a disadvantage…as it should. Winning the World Series …as Cards did in 2011 as Wild Card is much more difficult to accomplish now…btw…they only clinched that wild card spot on the very last day of the regular season…so maybe …maybe … that’s why we still hold out our hopes so deep into the season now

….I noticed that the Astros & Cubs go up to the plate swinging….they belt those 1st pitches…as a result their rallies seem to come like a blitzkrieg to the opposition…

…as a continuation of the point above, Keith Hernandez…on one of those network’s panels…pointed out that trying to take pitches early in the count to “wear down” a starter is foolish in post-season… manager’s are very quick with a hook  in the post-season..no need to worry about taking pitches

Backhanded Compliment…

KMOX had Chris Landry as a guest on Thursday night. Landry is a former NFL scout and hosts his own weekly football show…he was brutally honest when asked about Mizzou…Landry indicated that he felt the Odum was not a skilled recruiter and was…in his words…not ready for the high level position in the SEC. He thinks that Mizzou must release him soon….like during this season..before the damage is too deep.  He mentioned several different young coaches who are the way up to succeed Odum…as if it was a given.  The Best thing about Odum was…according to Landry … the inexpensive buyout! Boy…what a compliment.  Landry indicated that LSU is stuck with a $10mil+ buyout of their current coach, Ed Orgeron, who also is walking the plank this season.  It was awkward for KMOX  who cover the Mizzou Tigers football team.

So…shuffling all the talk and playing…

…on Saturday, Mizzou played their best game of the season…I was lucky, I suppose…I was at a large gathering and indicated that I’d like to go home to watch 2nd half of Mizzou game….you can imagine the scoff’s, chuckles, raised eyebrows that came my way….I watched all the 2nd half…Mizzou was very entertaining…they provided Drew Lock with time…which I think has been the primary culprit of the deficiency of the passing game to this point of the season…he picked apart the “vaunted” Kentucky defense…several good schemes had our speedy WR’s  guarded by LB on deep routes…no chance for the defender…the offense ran the ball downhill with consistency….the Black & Gold … in the 2nd half…were very stout versus the run..the last 2 minute drive..without any time outs was a brand new experience for the Mizzou squad…it came up a bit short …but all in all…a huge step forward..hope may return after looking around the scores in the NCAA…

Shuffling the NCAA football rankings…

…if you love some great college football, Saturday was YOUR day…Iowa State upends Oklahoma 38-31…this would be as startling  as the NCIS crew being unable to solve a crime.   The Cyclones actually came from behind.. which makes it even more amazing..down 24-13 at half, Iowa State scored 25 2nd half points to pull off this shocking upset.

…After falling behind,  20-17 with 1:16 to Florida State, Miami rallied…drove the field and scored with just 6 seconds left in the game to pull out a 24-20 victory. The U is now 4-0 & Seminoles fall to 1-3.

…LSU was really humbled when it lost 24-21 to Troy in their previous game…the ax was being called for the head of  Head Coach Ed Orgeron  but the Tigers held on to a 17-16 victory over Florida…who whatta expected a missed extra point following a Gator TD in the 3rd quarter to be the last points of the game..LSU shuffled their starting lineup this week…starting 3 Frosh in the O-Line…WOW!

Shuffling the Line-up too much!….NOT ON THE FIELD ENOUGH

…Carpenter was the only batter with over 600 Plate appearances ; just Molina (529)& Pham (515)topped 500 plate appearances….how does this compare to the best teams of the MLB…Houston Astros had 3 players over 600 plate appearances and 4 players over 500…even Carlos Beltran..whom we dumped due to his age had 500 Plate appearances…Cubs had 2 players over 600 (Rizzo & Bryant) & 6 players over 400 times at the plate. Cleveland Indians had 2 players with 700+ times in the batters box and 2 others over 600x there! Washington Nationals were the exception…they had 3 players way over 500 AB and 3 over  400 …Now… Bryce Harper & Jayson Werth were on DL for long periods of tim….even Milwaukee…who finished ahead of us….boy..is that hard to type…had 4 players with 500+ appearances and 4 over 400+….It seems to me that the best teams PLAY their best players much more often than the Cardinals…maybe that’s a reason why they have more WINS….the Cards shuffling of the Sunday off-days, day after night-game, day off after or before off days, makes us miss out on using our best players too often. Another perspective…if any player receives 2 games a month “off” from  a game…that would put him at 150 games…these 2 game-day off days supplement the normal 2-3 days off for the team…I’m probably naïve but…a professional athlete in the prime of his life needs more time “off” than 4-5 days a month just for rest….in addition to a 4-5 month break….give me a break..but not them.

NCAA entertainment…and not just the Directors of Athletics & Coaches scurrying for cover.

…Some of the 5 best college players to watch (according to Mel Kiper & Todd McShay)…so look for them in the future as you have a plethora of 40+ college games to choose each week  on the tube…

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State; Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma;  Sam Darnold, QB, So. Cal; Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M;  Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Shuffling the myth that pitching dominates….What a Game!

…it’s the time of the year for district softball tournaments…those game often get “lost” in the midst of post-season MLB games, NCAA & HS  football, and other fall sports…however, there was a really terrific district championship game between Oakville & Seckman this past weekend… Oakville jumped ahead 3-0 after 1 inning….often 3 runs is enough to win in games between two good teams…because pitching often dominates…but not here….Seckman had a 5 run 3rd inning and had a 6-4 lead after 3 innings. Oakville has another big inning—5 runs in the 4th..now its 9-6 Oakville. Seckman scores 1 run in the 5th & 2 runs in the 6th to tie the game at 9-9. Now its extra innings…both teams score 1 run in the 8th. Seckman scores 3 runs in the 10t , Oakville crosses the plate only once and Seckman wins 13-11 in a wild, thrilling finish. Congrats to both teams..what a game!

Some more Cardinal stats to muse over….

…Luke Voit(.246) had a higher average than Matt Carpenter(.238)

…we obtained Dexter Fowler…seemingly.. to have a good OB% as a lead off man…Fowler trailed Pham, Carpenter, J. Martinez, Wong and Greg Garcia(in that order)  in OB% this year

…the Cards had 6 players with over 100 strikeouts…ugh..the experts claim that’s the “modern game” the Astros had just TWO players with over 100 strikeouts…maybe the ol’ school still does work.

Cards have the #19 pick of this years draft…seemingly all the “future stars” are gone after about 5 or 8 picks.. but the Cards have managed in the past to find quality…maybe not HIGH, HIGH quality players but players who often become starters… later in the draft

Shuffling the high school  post-season football system…

MSHSAA has devised a very good system for ranking the teams in the first 9 weeks of the season…it has may parameters…wins, size of school of opponents,  record of opponents, # of pts that you win by in a game (max 14 pts that matter)and maybe a few more that I’m forgetting….all 8 teams in a district are ranked and all 8 advance to the district tournament ..which actually IS the 1st round of state..those 1st round games used the seeding of the point system…so..#1 plays #8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 v 5….3 of those games are generally huge blowouts…I’d like to propose….keep the ranking system for the first 9 games…but…only advance the top 4 teams to the STATE tournament…let #5 play #6 and #7 vs #8 in the 10th week but it isn’t included in the state tournament…WHY?  1) How many teams seeded # 5,6,7,8  ever win state …or even district? 2) Save a week on this schedule that begins too early  when it is dangerously hot….this year Aug 19th   3) let those weaker teams play a competitive game in the last week…their season as already been sooooooo long why beat them down & embarrass them once again with another trouncing? Who gets hurt by admitting that the bottom 4 teams of a district aren’t going to have a chance to win STATE….really?….is that news?

Shuffling around the league…

…the top 5 teams in the draft are 1) Detroit Tigers  2) SF Giants    3) Phil  Phillies  4) CWS  5) Cincy

…will the Pirates deal Andrew McCutheon?

…due the financial albatross around his salary, Stanton could be dealt…..I really think that the Cards could get him for a) assuming his salary  b) a regular OF and a couple prospects

….I look for Cincy to fire their manager…he was wonderful for handling young players prior to their prime…now they need a sterner task-master to demand consistency

…Terry Francona is a really good manager …he has the world champion Indians in the hunt again…as you recall..we passed on him with our last managerial opening

…time for me to shuffle on outta here….

 

 

Fat Lady Sings by Bob Ryan

The phrase, “it ain’t over until the Fat Lady sings” meant originally “Nothing is irreversible until the final act is played out”.  Now…it’s come to mean that the event, game, whatever is completely finished.The derivation of this expression ..as best as I can determine…. Originates from Richard Wagner’s  opera–Gotterdammerung, the last of the very long 4 opera Ring Cycle(lasted 14 hours)..one of the characters Brunnhilde(usually portrayed as a “good sized” lady… sings a 10 minute solo to end the opera..sooo…when she finally sang…it was over. The Fat Lady is singing now for the Cardinals as their Division & Wild Card hopes…as remote as they seemed to many fans…have evaporated… who else is she singing as we move into October

…the Fat Lady is definitely singing on the ol’ fashioned way of NCAA sports….the lid has been blown off…we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with Rick Pitino…it’s gone on for years according to many former players…only the money has increased…don’t be surprised if Kentucky, Kansas, N. Carolina and maybe even Duke get pulled into this spider web of deceit..football isn’t far behind…some immediate results will be the dissolving of AAU basketball which has become loaded with $$$ for some teams, players and coaches…7 on 7 football camps for “special” players has probably seen its last days…I haven’t had enough time to fully work out my basic idea of future NCAA competition …but.. I’ll get it a try…. overall, my idea is to have a budget set by your conference for each team & each sport…pay the entertainers …like you’d bring in a rock band…these players are entertainers… DON’T require that they are a student at your school….we’ve made a huge sham of these pretend students for years on college campuses  …pay them an agreed fee to represent the school …as you would an entertainer — even with healthy salaries to these entertainers, I believe it’ll be cheaper for the schools…no more jock dorms, no more special kitchens, no need for the dozens of special educations “advisors”, medical care, tutors, plane rides, cars, or money on the side.  The school could return to its basic function…educating young people to become good citizens….let the entertainers play until they are 21 years old(max)…then they either turn pro ..if they haven’t already done so…or their entertaining career ends.  This idea is too radical to be accepted now…but that’s the road we’re turning on now…. watch…these athletes will start getting paid by the schools in the upcoming years. It’ll start small… then increase little by little until its obvious that these athletes are only entertainers…not students.  As it is now…the Div II and Div III players are the only true college athletes in most cases. Ur thoughts?

….prior to skipping past the Cards…some comments on the final days/weeks….it seemed so fitting that the winning run in the WC elimination game in the 11th inning was set up….at least in part…by a throwing error by the Cards…couple things to touch on….defense has plagued the Birds all season and cost them countless games….another…Bowman was out there for his 75th game of the season…he was terrific through mid-June….we’ve mentioned it several times about Manifesto’s over use of the bullpen….but…what seems to ironical to me is his extreme… probably excessive… concern for the weariness of the field players…he sits them out often to “stay fresh”…Carp leads the team with 145 games played then comes Molina @ 136 games.. they play 162 games a season..the bullpen gets a totally different touch from Manifesto  than the everyday players…of the top 10 relief hurlers in SAVES…only one has pitched in more than 70 games (Corey Knebel-Mil)…watch him next year …he’ll fade after June 1….the pitching arm can’t be overused that often and still perform at  a high level

…the fat lady is singing for the SEC according to Paul Finebaum (host of the SEC football show on the SEC network.  Several of the top SEC football programs have declined as some of the top coaches of SEC schools  have departed.  Finebaum claims only Nick Saban reigns as a top level coach in the conference that has lost 3 of the top 10 college coaches since 2000–Steve Spurrier & Urban Meyer (Florida) &  LSU lost Les Miles…who btw…had a better winning percentage @ LSU than Nick Saban! Two coaches who left after 2015 were Gary Pinkel …won 2 consecutive SEC east crowns…and Mark Reicht (Georgia-145-51).  Other SEC coaches who have departed..either being fired or “moving on”….Phillip Fullmer who was 152-52 @ Tennessee departed after 2008 season. Houston McNutt departed from Arkansas after 2007 (75-48)…Some…maybe many …attribute this defection… or firings…as the Nick Saban syndrome…since Saban took over the reign of Bama in 2007…NOT ONE SEC coach …past or present..has a winning record against him. Finebaum’s thoughts are, “It’s time to tell the truth down here. The SEC won six straight national championships and owned college football but it doesn’t anymore,” Finebaum said. “I think a lot of the coaching hires have been very questionable.”

…one has to wonder if the Fat Lady is singing on the harmony of the Cards Clubhouse…in recent weeks, I don’t hear our two most seasoned veterans (Yadi & Carp) being quoted about the key plays, impact of game and stuff like that any longer after game…I hear a 28 year old rookie, Tommy Pham doing the talking. In fact, I haven’t heard a peep from Yadi since his 1 day campout in the bullpen….. wonder if that friction  between he & Manifesto  is fully healed?

….as the Fat Lady sings on the end of the baseball season…my vote for NL Manager of the Year is Milwaukee’s Greg Counsel….did anyone….I mean anyone.. think that the Brewers would go from 73 wins to 85 in one season? I sure didn’t…he deserves the kudos. Meanwhile the Fat Lady sings on the demise of the Toronto Blue Jays…this year the Jays were 75-86…tied with Baltimore for last place in the AL East…just 1 year ago the Jays were a wild card team with 89 wins…wow that’s a quicker drop than a mountain climber wearing the wrong shoes 

…I know…the Fat Lady sang a long time ago about the Rams….but….on Sunday I was flipping around stations and lo & behold…the Rams were competing against the Cowboys…I didn’t want to do it…but I was torn…it was a good game…how could I watch it?…they looked like a different team…my sports side won!….no turnovers, no jumping off-sides, no hot-dogging, ran & passed the ball, ran the clock down at the end of the game…..who didn’t drop the ball …even Tavon Austin  dove to the ground before he was pushed OOB in the waning minutes, Jared Goof had become Jared Goff ..he had protection, stood tall and hit the receivers in stride..they played like a good team…was I surprised or what? …I actually enjoyed the game as Rammies beat the Boys in Dallas…even my wife ridiculed me about watching the game…but …old habits do die hard 

….clearly when the Fat Lady sings for a division champion, that team has pitching but….you must have hitting also….the Washington Nationals were the only team in last Friday’s game to have FOUR consecutive .300 hitters in their lineup..they have pitching  AND hitting.

….while we’re on the  Washington Nationals  ….Dusty Baker made his 1st MLB appearance as a 19 year old in 1968…he played 19 years, has managed 23 years for 4 different teams (Giants, Cubs, Reds & now Nats) ..he’s never won a world series but he has led all four teams to the playoffs.. currently… he’s a 68 year old manager…the fat lady could be singing for the end of his career if the Nats “go all the way”

….as the Fat Lady sings on the Cards ….one small aspect…that really slows the game down…is the many challenges by the Managers….with a distinct advantage over the umpires who call a play with their eyes in real-time while the MGR has the video slo-motion man to determine if  they should make an appeal…the Cards have made 164 challenges this year and had 82 overturned.. that’s ..50% total..considering we’re all waiting at home as Manifesto stands on the top step waiting for his “video man” to recommend to him about the appeal and the Cardinals only appeal when they think they’ll win and overturn the call…50%  seems to me like a very low percentage …clearly I’m not a proponent of the system…I’d like the Manager to have 15 seconds to make his appeal…make him use his own eyes like the umpires….I assume mistakes will be made….every batter makes mistakes (swinging at bad pitches, fouling off pitches) and every pitcher makes mistakes (grooving pitches or throwing “balls” instead of strikes)….so why should we think that the umpires will be perfect?

…has the Fat Lady already sang at St Louis U?…amidst the allegations of sexual assault on the SLU campus involving 4 students…some alleged to be basketball players…Coach Travis Ford has blocked off vision of any of his workouts thus far…with the pre-season excitement about the upcoming SLU season percolating…this rumor cloud douses a lot of energy about a successful “turnaround” 

…the Fat Lady isn’t singing…but warming up her voice…as Mizzou kicks off WR Dimetrios Mason from the roster.  Since last year, Mizzou WR corp as been depleted…and Mizzou is a passing team!  Keon Dilosa was kicked off for domestic assault. DeSean Blair left for Valdosta State…that hurts…Valdosta State –where is that?…2 HS recruits never qualified academically.. O’Shea Clark was removed prior to 1st pre-season practice..DeRon Davis failed to qualify academically… recruiting means more than signing players…it means signing good football players who will get on .. and stay on ..the football field for their entire career….the Mizzou staff & head coach bear responsibility for the judgments on these former players.

…the Fat Lady didn’t really know when to sing in the Hazelwood Central-Pattonville football game on Saturday..on the final play of regulation in the 27—27 game, a Hail Mary pass was launched by the Pattonville QB.. it fell incomplete but there were holding penalties on BOTH teams..so an additional play was run with no time on the clock. Another Hail Mary from Pattonville..this one was intercepted by Dallas Craddieth (Haz Cen)…he raced down the sidelines..was knocked out of bounds in mid-field but another penalty flag was thrown for him being hit out of bounds! Initially, the officials ruled that the game was going into Overtime…Hazelwood Cen Coach Brett Chojnacki lobbied the officials crew about why his team didn’t receive an untimed down since a there was a penalty on the last play but his appeal was denied. On the 1st play of the OT, Pattoville’s pass on was again intercepted by Craddieth..2 interceptions on 2 plays! Four plays later Haz Central scored to win the game in OT 33-27

…while we’re at it….the origination of the “Hail Mary” pass comes from a Boston –Miami football game on Nov 23, 1984..Miami was defending national champion & ranked #12 at the time….Boston  College was ranked #10….on the final play of the game with Miami holding a 45-41 lead and winds blowing  in his face at 30 mph…Flutie called for a play that all his receives to go deep from Miami’s 48 yard line….the Miami secondary didn’t think that the diminutive Flutie could throw it over their heads (about 60 yards)…well…you know the ending…he did…and Boston College won 47-45…it became a national “moment”…even Saturday Night live had a skit on it…shortly after the game. Flutie was quoted as saying, “ Without the Hail Mary pass I think I could have been very easily forgotten. We would have gone to the same bowl game, the Heisman voting was already in, and the direction [of his career], everything would have been the same, except that pass put this label on me as ‘It’s never over ’til it’s over’ guy”. Watch it for yourselves ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-_uYyVlxrk

…I watched…on a whim…a good part of the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game on Saturday…very entertaining, fast paced game with all facets of the game – offense, defense, special teams playing a role in the game…btw  the fat lady has been singing about the past, futile fortunes of Oklahoma State football…it was often the weak sister of the Big 8 from the 40’s through 2000 with an occasional year or three of success… Coach Mike Gundy has really “turned it around” and established a strong football program. A graduate of OSU himself, he’s been head coach since 2004, his record is 108-51 and he’s taken his team  to 11 straight bowl games. Mizzou was 29-23 against OSU in their series.

…well…the Fat Lady is singing for me now…..have a good week. Put YOUR thoughts…agree, disagree..some of each…doesn’t matter…put them on the Prepcasts site just below this article

Alamo of the MLB by Bob Ryan

We all know the story of the Alamo….I’m not here to relive the valor of the Americans in that battle where the Mexican Army overwhelmed the Americans with many, many more soldiers to win the battle nor am I trying to boost up the legend of Davey Crockett…but …there is a similarity …in a way… between the Alamo and the current MLB rules. 

 

After September 1, MLB teams are permitted to expand their roster to 40 players. I’ve never quite understood why that was necessary…these MLB teams already monitor very closely all of their minor league teams and players…..it may have been as recently as a few decades ago that the Major League teams wanted to “see for themselves” the progress of minor league players since training camp…not so now…General managers can zip down to watch any or all of the players on a particular level at any time of the year

 

The baseball union loves this expansion of roster….it’s said that the minor league players who are brought up to the “big time” earn as far more in that 1 month than they do in the other 5 months of the season.. “I was a September call-up at 19 years old,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said. “I looked so forward to that because I made more money in that month than I did in five months in the minor leagues. I was sending money home to my mother, and I was like, ‘This is the life.’ For a young player, it’s wonderful.”

 

But……ya knew that word was coming….is it fair….I always assumed that all teams expanded to 40 players in the last month…. but that’s FAR from the case…it varies with each team….and…yep…the teams with the most money bring up the most players….take a look as of last Friday, the LA Dodgers were dressing 39 players, Red Sox, Indians, Astros, Cards all have 37 players for example and the teams with the smaller coffers just don’t do it….White Sox/Padres sit with  29 players, Marlins 30 players…so …how is that fair to the teams that are ALREADY weak?

 

Well…in a recent game Mike Scioscia used a record 12 pitchers in 1 game in the Angels 11-9 win over the Athletics..he had more players…more pitchers than Oakland….Manifesto has been running the bullpen guys in & out so fast …I sometimes think they are pizza delivery guys  …other teams don’t have that ability…. It doesn’t fair at all to me….that one team may compete with more players than the other team in any game…much less at the end of a season when some are competing for post season and some have been eliminated…one team is overmatched by the quantity of players..the Alamo effect …my brother .. a long time season ticket holder…has lamented frequently about the pace of the game…the 1st 5 or 6 innings fly by…but those last 3 or 4 innings crawl like a 6 month child..I think they crawl at that age….the length of a game is a consideration…when you provide a manager with more toys to use….whatta expect? Btw…in the game mentioned above..Scioscia’s use of 12 pitchers…it took 4 hr & 48 minutes to complete…Even the players recognize the injustice. “I agree with the sentiment that it completely changes the game in September when the games matter most — and I don’t like it,” said Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler, a member of the players’ association’s executive committee. “This is the time of the year when we’re competing with football for ratings popularity, and our games become longer and tougher to watch”

 

I’m not the first …. nor the only one…. to point out this injustice…Doug Melvin..Sr Advisor for the Brewer sited this injustice back in 2005. He said this, “”It’s not about large markets or small markets,” Melvin said. “I just thought it was the integrity of the game. There’s no other sport I know of where you can start a game with unbalanced rosters. And we’re the one sport where if you take a player out of a game, he can’t go back in.”

 

 

There are plenty of exciting things going on in the MLB outside the pennant  & wild card races.. the Cleveland Indians’ long winning streak; Giancarlo Stanton’s goal of 60 home runs: Rhys Hoskins’ power surge for the Phillies and the exciting wild-card scrambles in both leagues. Adding extra players changes the rules for some teams but not all teams…gives one team an distict advantage.. one has more pitchers/players than another and has an advantage ….stop this Alamo advantage.

We saw it firsthand this weekend as the Cardinals’ roster of 37 players provided them with multiple changes in the last 2 innings against the Pirates in one game and  in another game Manifesto pinch hit 6 times in one of the middle innings..he would NEVER have done that without his squadron of players in the dugout…it’s NOT the same game as April through August…why change the rules for the most crucial month of the season? Btw…as the lineup came back around in the 8th & 9th innings…our pinch hitters…who were mostly subs…batted in those key spots…ugh

My compromise solution….if they MUST expand the rosters, on Sept 1…which I think is not necessary….let each team have 30 players (expand roster by 5)…but you may only dress out 25 players each game.  Let’s not have any more games that are decided because one team has a deeper, longer bench than the other team…like the Alamo. In fact….I’m proposing to use a similar idea throughout the entire year…abolish the 10 day DL…fraudulently used by some teams…make the minimum stay on the DL 20 days….BUT…there’s that word again….permit each MLB team to carry 27 players continually..all year long until Sept 1…. but only “dress out” 25 for any one day (both rosters for a DH)…union should like the additional days of playing time added to many “fringe” players who will now qualify for the pension quicker.  What are your thoughts?  Respond below the article…no right or wrong answers…they are YOUR thoughts.

The LA Dodgers …who have 39 players dressed out..now they have another issue….no one has problems any longer …they couldn’t fit all their players into the dugout  I rest my case about too many players. I guess the extra guys were exiled to the bullpen? Wouldn’t that make you feel real good as a rookie just called up for the first time?

Over-run by the SEC…

….despite my dismay over the Mizzou football team…I am a fan…I actually wanted to watch them LIVE on Saturday night against Auburn….but….no….the wonderful SEC network doesn’t regionalize any games…so we…the Mizzou fans were eliminated from having ANY chance to follow our team..Mizzou football wasn’t on ANY of the channels that I have on my cable network…Charter….what?  the SEC bows to the big dogs (Bama, LSU especially) and shoves aside the “new kids on the block”…I’m aggravated…I should be able to watch my bad local team every weekend not ignored!!  Some of my other choices included McNeese State vs some other nobody…I don’t even know where McNeese St is…much less want to watch them

 

Never Losing Hope…like the Alamo

….the Cardinals, who have perplexed us all season with their spurts, are currently on a RED-hot stretch! Amazingly our Birds are flying right back into the Wild Card picture as the Rockies seem to be backing up towards us.  Kudo’s to the Cards….and Manifesto…for staying focused & optimistic while not cashing in the chips after dropping 3 straight games to the Cubbies. I hope that they make it to the Wild Card table but also hope that these last 2 weeks don’t blur the overall picture of our “needs” for next year.

 

Fighting to the end….like @ the Alamo

…so Barry Odum goes off on a rant for 3:30 after the debacle on Saturday against Auburn about why he should keep the job…Mizzou was NEVER in the game Saturday…from what I heard…I couldn’t watch it…see above….soooo…why the rant?..well it’s clear to see… to us …and Barry Odum… that he’ll be fired….sooner or later…his frustration at losing his dream job led to this emotional outburst…. I actually feel sorry for the guy…but…I’d still fire him. It seems evident to me that he wasn’t ready for coaching the x’s & o’s & the Johnnys & the Joes, handling the staff, recruiting, scheming game day plans,  etc.  at this very high level coaching job…he needed head coaching experience at a lower level first…remember Pinkel came from Toledo..he didn’t start his coaching career in the SEC.

 

Friday Night Lights in the Lou…

Some very exciting games amidst many “runaways” on Friday….

 …..Connor Jones of Orchard Farm ran for a touchdown as time expired…to give the Eagles a 30-27 win over St. Charles West. This see-saw battle saw the Eagles take a 7-0 lead early. The SCW Warriors scored the next 20 points only to have OF rack up 17 straight point…so it was 24-20 entering the 4th Qtr. SCW crossed the goal line with only 3:28 to snatch lead only to see the heroics of the Eagles on the last play of the game…

….Jake Korba (Duchesne) rambled across the goal line with only 34 ticks left on the clock as the Pioneers edged the St. Dominic Crusaders 10-7 in a AAA conference game.

….in a battle in the GAC, Ft Zumwalt West had to go Overtime to beat the Francis Howell Vikings 27-20. Marquis Majors grabbed a 5 yard pass from Jake Verschoore to provide the difference. 

….scores like 55-7, 67-6, 80-7,  60-6 still show up regularly each weekend….again I propose an idea like baseball’s 10 run rule…if up by 40 points at any time of 2nd half…game is OVER!

 

Coming at you from all angles now….

….9 of the 10 MLB teams currently poised to grab post-season berths have SS who are 24 years of age OR younger…

…after being run out of Texas U. as head Football Coach… but not by the Mexicans attacking the Alamo…Charley Strong landed in S. Florida. The Bulls are 5-0 this year after crushing E. Carolina. Right now in this 12 team conference there are 5 unbeaten teams ..will there be another team from the American Conference come charging onto the  National Scene this year like Houston U did last year?

….The Minnesota Twins are fighting …to their last man…to keep hang onto the 2nd wild Card spot…without question, the Leader of the Twinkies has been Joe Maurer…He’s been the face of the franchise since many of his teammates from years ago were not resigned due to the tight resources in Minneapolis… so it’s not unexpected that you’d expect HIM to be the guy….and..he has been…since May 1, his batting totals are .328/.409/.425 since August 10th, Mauer has the 2nd best batting average in the MLB at .395… bravo! …on stepping up when most needed by your club. …probably the quietest STAR of any team

…if you could sign just one NCAA Coach to be YOUR coach…would it Urban Meyer or Jim Harbaugh-why? Please put your answer right on the Prepcasts site below the article…THX

…I don’t know why or how…Larry Robinson was just floating around out there in the hockey stratosphere…but it sure seems like a good addition the brain trust for the Blues

… The Astros acquisition of Justin Verlander seems to be the best catch in the Trading Deadline Waters.  It propelled the ‘stros to their 1st division title in 16 years….btw… did the good signings of the Cardinal free agents evaporate when Jeff Luhnow left?

 

Thanks for making it to the end of the Alamo assault 

 

 

 

 

Moving On by Bob Ryan

After horrific hurricane weather and destruction in Texas & Florida …or in our own lives…following disappointing, or joyous moments, we must move on…as we cross mid-September sports…many teams and players have moved on…or tried to move on.  Let’s check out some of the sports world…

…Cubbies sweep the Cards….some thoughts…the Cards were red hot in early September  as they won 9 of 11 games….you can’t keep playing at that rate unless ur the 1929 yankees..soooo….we’re 1-4 since then with the Cub series accentuating the importance of each game…Cards could have easily won 2 of the 3 games…maybe even all 3 games…but they are who they are…a team that often beats itself with its fielding, poor base running , a bullpen that is beleaguered,  a starting staff that now high-fives for 5 inning starts, and often lack of base hits at crucial times of the game…6 behind Cubs and 4.5 behind the Rockies… don’t forget Milwaukee who is 2 games ahead of us…time to move on?

….so the FIRST hire for  Head Coach Barry Odum  is DeMontie Cross…in your 1st year you remove him as Def Coordinator and now suddenly…2 games into the year…you fire him…this is very,very unusual to fire a coach in mid-year….saving some type of personal miscue…. Odum claims that it wasn’t related to on-field performance…….soooo?…it had to be personal…it least that’s my deduction..if this guy is your 1st hire.. the one that you wanted most…. and  you fire him in this way…don’t we have to wonder about YOUR decision making on & off the field?..moving on

….it’s hard to believe but….if anyone cares….of our 2 former NFL teams….I think that the Arizona Cardinals have actually  fallen below the LA Rams….AZ’s roster is littered with ol’ folks… losing David Johnson is a real significant blow..for 1 week…and maybe only 1 week …the Rammies actually looked like an NFL team….gee..wonder if a new coach made the difference?..  moving on before you quit reading since I have some Ram talk here 

….if you’re a Cardinal bullpen guy who’s doing well at the moment… Lyons particularly….what are you thinking when the Cards bring in a veteran relief hurler who has 3 saves in his entire career of 260 games, Juan Nicasio…. he isn’t Aroldis Chapman, Mariono Rivera, or even Craig Kembrel and yet as soon as he arrives he’s put into 2 save situations?  Don’t ya think that the StL bullpen guys are scratching their head…wondering whatta I got do? Nicasio doesn’t hold any claim at all to being a closer….he was 2 of 6 in save opportunities in Pittsburgh this year YET he was made a quick closer??… once again Manifesto displays one of his weakest abilities—handling the bullpen…. let’s move on

…speaking of moving on….based on 1 or 2 week observation…I think many of the older NFL QB stars are slipping…Brady didn’t throw deep, Rogers was frequently caught from behind while scrambling, Drew Brees has a million short routes to throw but no deep ones with a good trajectory, Carson Palmer just looks slower….it may be time for them to move on….ya can’t fool Fr.Time….

….if I could develop the Stan Musial Award… a very good hitter who contributes to his team daily, without all the fanfare & hoopla and seems to do it in a gentlemanly way…for 2017, I’d give it to Joey Votto…he currently leads the league in On-Base %-.451, games played 147, drawing Bases on Balls-122, most times on base-290, 6th in NL in runs scored,  4th in NL in batting avg .318,6th in slugging % .586 and 1st in NL in OPS 1.039…and as a topper…he actually “chokes up” on the bat….how can you beat those stats?….moving on

…the most prolific HR hitting team in the AL since Sept 1 are the Minnesota Twins…the Twinkies are still clinging to that 2nd wild card spot with 2 weeks remaining…Minn is 2nd in OPS in the AL since the calendar turned to Sept….clearly they want to Move on to the post-season

…this weekend wasn’t particularly good for the SEC…discounting the “blood games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Mercer and Samford, the SEC went 2-2 as Vandy upset #18 K-State, Bama easily handled Colorado State but Mizzou was crushed by Purdue and California beat Ol’ Miss.  The most notable game of the conference schedule was Mississippi State whipping LSU 37-17. Most observers concurred that the Bulldogs dominated the Tigers with their Offensive & Defensive lines…. It was the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs in the 111-game series.  Auburn…Mizzou’s next opponent…beat Mercer (from Southern Conference) in a score much closer than I expected 24-10…by today… all the teams and coaches have moved on to next week’s opponent…

…..when the Cards procured Dexter Fowler, we were told that he’d change the locker room culture, be a true lead-off man and be our center-fielder…as the season has moved on…some reactions…the locker room doesn’t seemed to have changed…I don’t know exactly what it is…since I’ve never been there…but something seems to tighten up our players…anyway..moving on…some anomalies for Fowler…he’s only played in 108 games  of the 149 played…just 72% of the games ..this is nothing new…he’s only played more than 135 games in a year twice in his 10 year career…not exactly “every day”….his lead off batter skills have evolved into a watered-down  slugger…he’s hitting .261..2nd lowest of his career…stolen 5 bases lowest of his career….has 55 rbi’s ..a career best and 14 dingers..just 1 short of his career best..he seems to have moved on from his lead-off skills

…on the High School front….

…Ritenour football moves on to week 6 next week with a 5-0 mark…the Huskies outlasted the Summit Falcons 41-34…their best start since 2011…QB Mann McGruder scored 3 touchdowns & threw for two more scores to lead the Huskies to their Homecoming win

…in a thrilling softball game, the Oakville Tigers (13-4) snapped the perfect season mark of the Marquette  4-3 in 8 innings last week…Marquette bounced back the next day to shut out St Joe’s and elevate their record to a glossy 19-1…with the regular season ending in 2 weeks…each club is moving on with the hopes of playing deep in the MSHSAA playoffs

…. moving onward and upward …just 2 years ago the Bayless soccer team was 5-19 for the season…currently perched in the 7th spot of the small school rankings, the Broncos are 10-0-1..they’ve scored 35 goals and surrendered on 7 for the season….Congrats on moving on to this new level of play

…speaking of moving on players….the Cards have designated for assignment….PC code—cutting them outright… 5 players from the opening day roster…  you are still obligated to pay them but are we..or the Cards….admitting that they made an error in judgment on their expected performance level…5 players is 20% of the team….what a waste…who’s responsible MO? Manifesto? Girsch?  All three?..the feckless fivesome are Siegrest, Peralta, Socolovich, Broxton, Fryer..

….the Mizzou-Purdue doesn’t leave me much room to be positive…the score says it all 35-3..move on

…the Lou isn’t the only place shunning NFL games as many viewers seemed to have moved on…ratings for the opening week were down 13% overall(prior to Last Monday nights game)..Fox’s regional games sagged by 28%…some possible reasons….frankly…across the nation few..if any care that the Rammies moved to LA but they  but…some view game as too rough…that the game has gone soft in protecting its players during and after their career, bad matchups, violence of the players OFF the field, referee reviews are too slow, games are too long….and the biggest culprit from my view…updates, scores, etc  are found in real time, quicker and easier on devices without watching the entire game…I wouldn’t be surprised to see the NGL (National greedy League) start charging to receive those updates

…sometimes we have these notions about certain players or teams….one I heard frequently…and it sounded right to me… in early to mid-summer was all the talent on the Florida Marlins….check out their record—69-80…the last place team in our division is the Reds ..who are 66-84….so the Fish are 3.5 games better than the worst team in our division…maybe I better move on from those glowing thoughts on the Marlins

….I really believe that Lance Lynn won’t resign with the Cardinals….so what do we have to replace in the rotation if he’s moved on?  He’s 71-46 lifetime..60.6% wins… the Cardinals have been over 60% wins as a team only once in the last 10 years…  with his most wins in 2012 (18)…his lifetime ERA is 3.31…he’s at 3.09 THIS YEAR(after the Cubbies game)…the number of starts in his full seasons have been  35, 33, 33, 31 and is at 30 right now for 2017….keep in mind that in a 162 game schedule with a 5 man rotation, the “maximum” number of starts would be 32.4….I’m not sure why the Cards wouldn’t dig a bit deeper in their flush pockets to bring him back…maybe…maybe..they’ve moved on in their plans.

… in early August the Cubs were concerned when Wilson Contreras  was injured and was going to miss many games…he missed 1 month of the season—Aug 10 to Sept 9…arriving at the same time was a Charmin-like schedule…this softy part of their schedule saw the Cubs play the Red 7x, Pirates 7x, Atlanta 4x, Philly 3x, Mil 2x and Arizona 3x…result Cubs went 18-11…they were able to move on despite missing a vital element to their starting lineup

 

 

 

 

 

Turbulent Times by Bob Ryan

The weather has certainly brought us turbulent times…Hurricane Irma (Florida coast) & Hurricane Harvey (Texas); the tremendous winds blowing in the West…..all of us have compassion for the folks in Houston and now along the Florida coast…Mother Nature wins…again! …These days there are turbulent days in the sports world for some folks….of course nowhere near the same serious level

….as if the indifferent LA Football fans could ever be nudged to be wild about the Rams…this may still cause some turbulence in tinsel town…their PSL’s could range from $175,000 to $225,000 with the actual tickets being $350-$400/game…

…the Cardinals have stirred the turbulence pot in the NL Central of late….capitalizing on their schedule since August 31 (playing San Diego-4x, SF Giants 4x and as of today the Pirates 2x) the Cards have sizzled to an 8-2 mark. This good streak brings them to within 3 games of Cubs & 3 games of Rockies with 3 weeks to go. Manifesto has gone with a steady lineup….hooray!….young, fresh pitching arms have come onto the scene…fewer errors…simply playing better….meanwhile Colorado has gone thru the same time stretch against the D-Backs & Dodgers (see below)…now they’ll get the Padres 6x before the season concludes.  Cards have head-head with Cubbies 7x, Reds 6x, Mil 3x and counting today, the Pirates 4x.  I think it may be easier to win our division than the wild card…go get ‘em.

….no turbulence in the NE Patriots coaching staff…despite the week 1 loss….each and every coach has returned to the staff for the 2016 season…maybe they’ve taken note of the small success of the Belichick coaching tree…Jim Schwartz, Eric Mangini, Charley Weis and Josh McDaniels who struggled to keep their heads above .500 in their head coach careers…and hence…the current assistant coaches kept their current job….btw…Bill O’Brien,who also is  in the  Belichick tree..has seen  modest success

…the NCAA football leaders were in turbulence as the step-child of the Power 5 conferences, the Big 12, racked up impressive wins this weekend when OU beat Big 10 leader, Ohio State,  31-16.  Texas Christian University (TCU)  was too quick & talented for SEC member Arkansas 28-7. The Big 12 has sent just 1 representative (OU) in the first 3 years (12 spots) to the College Football Playoff System.

….in Champaign, Illinois the entire campus was in turbulence as their beloved  Fighting Illini were placed as underdogs by the bookies in a supposedly  “blood” game for the Illini as they” brought in” W. Kentucky with the hopes  of grabbing an easy W … however, Illinois answered with a 20-7 win

On the High school turbulent scene…

…for the latest football “comeback” of Friday night…SLUH scored  with just 42 seconds left in the game to snatch victory from defeat in a 28-24 win over their Jesuit rival, DeSmet

…the Warrenton Warriors are causing turbulence in the GAC North with their best start of the millennium as they won their 4th consecutive game on Friday night. The Warriors hammered the St. Charles Pirates 55-28.

…St Pius X (Festus) volleyball has all StL volleyball noticing their 9-1 start to the season..they’ve won all their matches in 2 sets!

…some turbulence for me is the length of football games…you can count on almost 4 hours for any college game…unless Army or Navy or Georgia Tech are playing(they run and run and run)….ugh 

…there is turbulence in of all places…LA Angels …as they prepare to name their MVP while fighting for the last playoff position….you’d think that Mike Trout would be a no-brainer…but during his 39 game  injury time..the Halo’s actually moved UP in the standings…..Adrelton Simmons “stepped up” offensively & defensively with some incredible play during that time…his batting stats don’t overpower you.. 284, .334, .438, 14 HR but his defensive stats and defensive play were outstanding….so just how much value do you give to a SS who’s led the team into playoff contention but is not a star vs a super star..and without question…he is the current superstar of the MLB… who’s been “out” during the run? That’s causing the turbulence!?!

Some other MLB notes…

…ignoring the turbulence of the final year of his contract, Eric Hosmer(KC) is piling up some terrific numbers….Batting Avg-.323, HR-24, OPS-.899 just 3 errors in 137 games…a real pro

…ignoring the turbulence of being on a team below .500…SS Elvis Andrus has been on a tear…he’s now ripped 20 dingers, holds a .305 avg, OPS of .842..Andrus has spent his entire career of 9 years with the Texas Rangers

…ignoring the turbulence of being on the team with the fewest wins in the MLB-Philadelphia (53), rookie Rhys Hopkins, a batting phenom in the minors, has belted 14 round trippers in just 104 AB and…probably much to your surprise about a HR hitter…he’s hitting .308 with 21 walks so his OB% is .433…. I saw his MLB debut in Philly a few weeks back…even in the middle of the game…the comatose Philly fans…the few who were there….came alive…and gave him a rousing cheer prior to his at bat against the Mets…it stunned me in 2 ways that day…1) they cheered  2) they were awake 

….the Cardinals OF is deluged with turbulence in the overcrowded outfield…Fowler, Grichuk, Pham, Piscotty, Martinez, Bader, Sierra , Aroldis Garcia , Oscar Mercado..and maybe even more players….. in order to clean up the picture…some must be moved in the off season…maybe with other players (Carpenter)… to procure a real power hitter… …the Cards spent $140m in each of the last 2 years, right now the Cards are obligated for $107m for next year so the money should NOT be an issue about chasing down a quality, high impact player…… at this moment…I’m thinking Fowler & Grichuk could be part of a major deal(s)maybe I’m just hoping   Last year it seemed the Cards missed the wild card by 1 game …so it seemed…at least to some…that  their off-season moves were aimed at getting just 1 game better(obtaining Fowler & Cecil)…hope that’s NOT the case this time around..I really don’t think it’s good that we’re fighting to be the 5th best team in the National League ??  Would the Cards ever go for a young mega-star demanding half a kingdom?  They have plenty of players to offer and the treasure chest is bulging….I say go for it! That idea is probably too turbulent for the StL brass.

….some turbulence between Urban Meyer and his former assistant coach—Tom Herman…Herman is now the head coach @ Texas….the Longhorns lost to Maryland 51-41 in game 1….Meyer chastised Herman for his post-game remarks, ““If we all thought that we were going to come in here and in nine months sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think that we’ve arrived then we’re wrong”….Meyer says it goes with the territory when you take over a new position…Good for Meyer….if the previous… fired… coach had that much talent …they would have won…welcome Tom Herman to the real world of coaching… not the Ohio State world 

….not much turbulence in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 NCAA Basketball teams….the usual are perched on top—Duke, Arizona, Kansas, Mich State, Kentucky & Louisville…but low & behold at #23 is Mizzou…great to see the Tigers in the rankings again…any kind of ranking 

….there generally is much turbulence and discussion about the MVP of the Cardinals…but not this year…it’s gotta be either Paul DeJong or Tommy Pham in 2017… DeJong’s stats ..if prorated to a full season at the same rate…would be 40 HR, 100 rbi, .278 avg…he was the Rookie of the Month in July..one of the best stats on Pham…with runners on 3B & less than 2 outs, he’s had 17 AB- 12 rbi—with 2 out & runner on 3B, 11 AB-6 rbi..clutch… how about you…who’s your MVP..put on under the article…it’d ALWAYS good to read YOUR thoughts

….we started with turbulence in LA and now we end it with turbulence in LA…was it the Curse of being on the Sports Illustrated Cover for the Dodgers…or the odds of a team not continuing to  play .700 ball…or just the turbulence that occurs in a season…whatever…on Aug 25, the Bums were 90-36 for the season…since then the Dodgers have stumbled..maybe I should say…fallen and fallen hard…the Dodgers are 1-14 since August 25!…another possibility is that they were expecting too much….as stated by QB, comedian  and now seemingly, a philosopher, Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback who once said  “Coach Tom Landry is such a perfectionist that if he was married to Raquel Welch, he would expect her to cook.” 

Hope it wasn’t  too turbulent for you to make it to the bottom….

 

Turning the Page by Bob Ryan

The calendar turned the page this weekend…we bounce into September…it usually means that the real, real hot days are behind us. …that the school routine is established….football arrives on the scene on all levels now…..but…there are other people and things …turning the page also..

….the Cards turned the page on their starting rotation as they shipped Mike Leake…along with tons of cash to Seattle…this was a dump…plain and simple…the Cards received a career .240 hitter who plays  SS …big deal….they couldn’t just say,” well…we paid Seattle to take him off our hands” …the Cards also sent  $17.5m to help towards covering the remaining 3 years of the contract…plus $750,000 in international cap space….so …so much for the real talented  international players coming our way…Leake is owed $48m for the next 3 years….it’s really great to find some team that you can “dump on”….1st Marco Gonzalez to Seattle…now Leake…reminds me of how the NYY dumped on the KC Athletics throughout the 50-‘s & 60’s…who do you think that the Yanks got Roger Maris from in a trade?…hey…let us pitch Bowman in about 15 more games this year and we’ll send him to Seattle too after the season with his arm dragging  

….it seems that the NFL turns a page…any page…anyway… anytime ..that they want to do so…the Ezkiel Elliott situation again demonstrates that the NFL seems to predetermine results (e.g. St Louis, San Diego, Oakland) moves….now….I have absolutely no idea what went on between Ezkiel  Elliott and Tiffany Thompson.  I do know that the NFL appears to have bungled the process….Elliott’s accuser never testified under oath, Roger Dumbnall never personally observed  testimony  from Elliott or Thompson and the NFL Investigator Kia Roberts, who had recommended NO suspension of Elliott in her report to the NFL, was never called to testify,.  Ever since the outlandish Ray Rice assault that the NFL dragged its feet before the public’s outrage demanded action….any accusation that is in the domestic violence arena now seems to require..at the minimum… an immediate 6 game suspension… even without testimony  under oath from the two actual adults involved in the situation. Again, I’m not defending Elliott… in this type of deal, my mother-in-law says that there is his side, her side and the truth someplace between…. I don’t have a clue what happened… neither does the NFL

….btw … Mike Leake turned the page quickly @ Seattle…in his 1st game there…7 inn, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts + a 3-2 win

…ugh…coughing…I’m finally getting over drinking my Zou-aid….that non-win…as Benjamin Hochman called it…was extremely disappointing….sure the Tigers won 72-43 with 800+ yards….but…they did it over a team that didn’t have ONE player that Mizzou wanted or recruited…many of the 500+ passing yards were short, quick passes that the WR outran the defenders for huge gains…my  7 wins prediction looks weak now….guess that Zou-aid got to me and I turned the wrong page  

….despite the calendar turning 12 pages, the St Louis Cardinals remain with the 2nd highest attendance in the entire MLB…only the LA Dodgers are higher… as of Sep 1….LA is at 45,907/game while Cards  are at 45,589. Amazingly, the lowly SF Giants are in 3rd spot in attendance despite being in last place in the standings with 41,092. Rounding out the top 5 teams in MLB  attendance–#4-NY Yankees, #5 Toronto Blue Jays.

…turning to the page of “putting your money where your mouth is”….Iowa Football Coach Kirk Ferentz voluntarily took a $50,000 pay cut …granted that’s only about 1% of his salary…at any rate, he did so with the assurances that the “cut” money would used to hire another football coach. It will go toward the hiring of Kevin Spencer…former, experienced  NFL assistant..who will become the quality control assistant @ Iowa.

…let’s see if I’m understanding the MO explanation…the Cardinals are  still trying to contend in this race…by bringing up our minor leaguers who are so talented…huh?  … if they were that ‘talented” ..where were they all year….we’ve got just 28 games left…sounds like poppycock to me…he’s turned the page to next year already.

Turning some quick pages on the StL High school scene…

…after winning  a State Championship  @ CBC in the 90’s….working to turn the page at St. Dominic HS girls tennis is Mark Borst, who  has his club off to a quick 3-0 start.

…I’ve seen high batting averages many times…but Abby Frankenreiter (Lutheran South) is 19 of 22 to start the season..that’s an .864 average…that’s really turning the page to a different level

…surprise HS  football team of the area through 3 weeks  are the 3-0 Lindbergh Flyers who knocked off the always highly ranked Hazelwood Central Hawks 42-26

…best late comeback of Friday night….after Summit snatched a 30-14 lead late in the 3rd quarter, the Fox Warriors scored 22 unanswered points to grab a 36-30 lead…Summit’s Danny Hopkins caught a 21 yard pass with only 56 seconds left and with the Blake Cisneros PAT..the Falcons won 37-36

…after seeing scores like 57-0, 49-0, 45-0, 53-0 in HS football games this weekend, I wish the STATE would turn the page on their policy….similar to baseball’s 10 run rule…I propose that if you fall behind by 40 points at any time in the 2nd half…the game is over..period…what’s the point of playing…sure ..I know the arguments..gives lesser players a chance to play…hey…that’s why you have JV or B games.. continue using the  current running clock  once ahead by 28 but by itself this  policy doesn’t do the trick…look at the scores around the STATE.

…I’ve felt like the Cardinals have lost several games due to poor defense…when I turned to the page of the 2017 Fielding records…the Cardinals were 14th in the MLB in errors….right in the middle… I KNOW that Cards aren’t a good fielding team but if they are in the middle of the pack….man….the vast majority of the teams must really stink defensively

…the Detroit Tigers began turning the page on their roster as they moved Justin Verlander to Houston….this would be like the Cardinals trading away Wainwright…Verlander was a 13 year vet and had spent his entire career @ Detroit…his lifetime record of 183-114, 2373 strikeouts, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young winner, 2x-2nd in Cy young voting, 3rd another time, league MVP …it has been a terrific career…probably not good enough to be in the HOF but…surely a career that the Tigers fans will remember for a long time….this is only the beginning for the Tigers of turning the page…Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler are all aging stars that will soon have to be “moved” also.

…the Astros turned the page in a different direction with the Verlander trade…they now have Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander  and Lance McCullers as their top 3 in their rotation for the playoffs… this  has become the “norm” for playoff teams…go out and strengthen yourself for THIS playoff run with a late, key acquisition…who knows…you may not be there next year

…despite his numbers…I really feel that Lance Lynn is ready to turn the page and won’t be resigned by the Cards….I sense…strictly a personal feeling…that he isn’t real happy here…that even if the Cards match his best offer…he won’t come back…and I don’t see StL bucking up big time with all their “heralded”, untested, inexpensive arms of the minor leagues ready for action.

….some pages just don’t seem to turn….it looks like the Eastern Div of the Big 10 has the same trio of powerhouse teams with Ohio St, Michigan and Penn State that were there in 2016 …and again.. Wisconsin is the favorite to win the West….on the other end….similarly to Mizzou….the Illini are picked to be the doormat of the West.  Let’s hope that it isn’t that clear cut ….I like surprises.

…with around 28 games remaining in the season, is anyone hoping that Albert’s Angels make it to the wild card?  The Halos are only 1.5 games behind  Minnesota….I’m not hoping “against “ the Twinkies since they demonstrate that with prudent management and evaluation, you can compete..they’ve won 3 more games than the Cardinals…but…poor Albert has suffered enough…give him one more opportunity in the spotlight.

…so with his arm dragging below his knees, Kevin Siegrest, who has been in 148 games in the years of 2015-2016 seasons is designated for assignment…PC for released….this move comes shortly after Leake is shipped out….so…..why wait until September?….easy…they are pushed out by the surge of inexpensive minor league players that reach the MLB on Sep 1 as roster expands to a 40 man roster … although he doesn’t have enough time to qualify for pension…I think it’s 5 years and Siegrest is a month short as of now.. he did earn $3.1m since 2013…he was NEVER the same after being used 84 games in 2015…man…I’m sure some team will give him a “look-see”..maybe …he can get that extra month of being on a roster to qualify for the tremendous MLB pension.

….turning to the page of usage of Cardinal relief pitchers in Manifesto’s regime….checking the usage of the top  relievers in appearances on August 31…

2012  Mitchell Boggs-78g+9 post season; Marc Repzynski-70+ 5 post-season games; Jason Motte-67+ 6 post season games; Fernando Salas-65 g+ 5 post- season games

2013-Trevor Rosenthal-74+10 post-season; Seth Maness-66 g+9 post season; Edward Mujica-65g+ 2 post season; Randy Choate-64+ 9 post season games

2014–Seth Maness-73 g+ 6 post season; Trevor Rosenthal– 72 games+ 4 post-season, Pat Neshek-71 +10 post season games, Randy Choate-61+ 5 post season games

2015—Kevin Siegrest-81 g+ 3 post season games; Seth Maness-76+ 2 post season; Randy Choate-71; Trevor Rosenthal-68+2 post season games

2016—Seung Hwan-oh-76; Kevin Siegrest-67; Jonathan Broxton-66; Matthew Bowman-59

2017–Matt Bowman-65; Brett Cecil-63; Seung Hwan-oh-57; Trevor Rosenthal-50; Kevin Siegrest-39

….Some ugly results of this type of usage…

Maness…232 games in 2013-15, after missing many games in 2016 due to his arm….he underwent a new type of Tommy John surgery after being released in December 2016…KC kept him for 8 games and released him early 2017

Boggs…after pitching 87 games in 2012….he dropped significantly in performance in 2013..which  was his last year of MLB pitching

Siegrest…151 games in 2015-16…arm issues in 2017…kleenexed him  (use em…throw em away)

Rosenthal….230 games in 3 years (13-14-15)…arm issues began last year(16) and seem to have worsened this year (nevertheless he’s been in 95 games in 16-17)

Choate’s career ended after 2015…after pitching in 152 games in 2 years

Oh-133 games in 2016-2017…Al Hraboski has mentioned   about him on the air that ”he’s being used more than he is  accustom to”

…..Looking at some HOF…or soon to be HOF relievers…. Bruce Sutter pitched more than 60 games in a season ONCE (1963—again with the Cards)….he pitched between 50-59 games-3x-in his 12 year career. Lee Smith’s highest total of games was 72 and 10 years later he pitched 70 games… all those years in-between he pitched 60-something games…he was in MLB for 18 years.  Tug McGraw never pitched in 70 games in a year. His highest was 65 games in his 19 year career. In his 13 year career, Al Hrabosky…OK…no HOF…but well known….Al  pitched more than 60 games 4x….highest was 68, never 70…much less 80!. Mariano Soriano pitched more than 70 games-3x in his 19 year career…so what’s the point….using pitchers more than 70x a year often seems to be a clear-cut path to  shorter careers.. above 75 is really disastrous…and 80 is the kiss of death.   I feel like Manifesto does it because of his early managerial exposure to the playoffs …where you have more days off and you manage differently because each & every game is so very important… MM seems to manage every regular season game like its a playoff game….ease off MM…ur killing the bullpen and their careers.

….Alabama may have turned to a new calendar page but they look the same to me!

…I turned the page to a new sport….I enjoyed the Gateway Cup Bicycle races….they were held 4 consecutive days around the Lou….I watched the one around Francis Park…kinda relaxing…sitting  around enjoying food, drink and conversation and every 2-3 minutes the riders come around again. On the other 3 days the races were around Benton Park, THE HILL & Lafayette Square

..I’m turning the page now to the “off” button…thanks for making it to the bottom and NOT turning off this page

In The Shadows by Bob Ryan

The eclipse last Monday was a spectacular view of the sun being in the shadow of the moon…I’m not a big science guy…but it really was something special. The shadows following the complete eclipse were the most fascinating to me.  There are other shadows…some shadows in the sports world…some players have fallen out of the spotlight and into the shadows….

…The Royals are always in the shadows when it comes to free agency…take Alex Gordon as the perfect example of a home town boy who’s stayed too long…he was  signed as a 32 year old player in Jan 2016 as he entered free agency ..he signed through 2019 with a mutual option in 2020…the next 2 years are at $20mil/year…ouch….he’s currently hitting .199 with 5 HR in 429 Plate appearances…his career average is .259 and has broken the .300 barrier only once (.303 in 2011) in his career….he’s the classic example of why the Royals stay away from free agency

….not being mentioned and in the shadows in the StL media is the impact of Yadi’s hissy fit of sitting in the bullpen…since that time…July 31, he’s started all but 3 games this month of August and he’s come in the 2 of those games in the late innings….what does this tell you? Who won that skirmish?

….maybe its intentional….make sure that the focus stays on the top and away from the shadows…Nick Saban doesn’t seem to keep any of his coordinators with him for a real long time..this year the new Offensive  Coordinator is  Brian Daboll after Lane Kiffin was in the spot for 3 years…in his 2nd year as the Def Coordinator is Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt succeeded Kirby Smart who held the spot for 6 years.

….falling back into the shadows because of all the trade winds blowing around him, Justin Verlander has been very good of late…since Aug 6, the Tigers are 3-1 in the games that he’s started…his ERA is 2.48 in that same time span and other teams are hitting a mild .165 against him

….we’ve  heard  all about Jack Flaherty & Luke Weaver for a long time now but out of nowhere…or out of the shadows pop up guys like Josh Lucas & Ryan Sheriff that are promoted and demoted in 3 days?

…we all know that the Dodgers are coasting to the division championship…they’re hitting is good but in the shadows is their tremendous pitching. The Dodgers have given up the least runs in the MLB (416) the only other MLB team permitting under 500 runs is the Cleveland Indians (477).  Keep in mind that Clayton Kershaw hasn’t pitched since July 23 (slightly more than a month) and Yu Darvish has pitched but 11 innings in the Dodger uniform.

….Mizzou football doesn’t have many strong believers….back in the shadows…I’m thinking that this club can win 7 games …the 4 non-league games are a “given”…I think S. Carolina, Kentucky & Vanderbilt will be victims of the revitalized Mizzou team…7 victories would equal a bowl in mid-December and a successful rebound.

…while many traditional fans abhor the fact that 1/3 of the MLB teams make the playoffs…behind the shadows others tell us to check out the wild card races…it’s really something…adding a great deal of interest in late August and September….in the AL..NYY are the top wild card team…but the 2nd spot is really up for grabs..currently Minnesota holds the 2nd spot but just ½ game behind them are the Angels & Mariners… 1.5 games behind the Twinkies are the KC Royals.. Baltimore & Texas are just 2 games behind Minn…and shockingly to me…Tampa Bay..who gave away a win this weekend are just 3 games back…in other words…there are only 4 teams in the AL who are clearly out of the wild card race…in the NL… AZ is top wild card, Colorado is slipping but is clinging to the 2nd wild card Milwaukee is 3.5 games behind the Rockies…Miami is 4.5 games back and the Cards are 5 back for the 2nd wild card spot as I write this part on Sunday morning.

….it always takes time but eventually football defenses “catch up” to the offenses….for the past several years, the spread offense, no huddle, RPO (run pass option) plays have dominated the High  School game…for the 1st time in a long time so hiding in the shadows….there were zero QB this Friday night who passed for 300 yards …from the one game that I’ve seen, it was done by m/m coverage on all the receivers and rush the QB hard with everyone else(maybe holding  back the safety)…the best pass defense has ALWAYS been a hard rush.

….the NFL teams dread pre-season games…injuries to the stars in these games that are used strictly for about 5-10 open spots on the roster can destroy a season….let’s go radical…why not keep the vets out of most ..if not all the games…2 NFL teams join together in pre-season with all their rookies, non-roster players, and unsigned vets and play another team of the same ilk…have 2 or 3 games with these players working to make the roster against other teams with the same structure and 1 REAL pre-season game with the complete roster of veterans & new players.

….I thought that John Mozeliak had been kicked upstairs and Michael Girsch was the new GM…Girsch has really been in the shadows through all of the “moves” as the Cards shuffle the deck about 2-3x a week bringing up or sending down players, constantly putting someone on or off the DL…we still hear Mozeliak  all the time….not Girsch…what’s the story?

….coming out of the shadows in the bullpen for the Cards soon will be Sandy Alcantara. This fireballing RH has just recently (after Rosey was wiped out & Oh has slipped in his performances) to the bullpen….he throws close to over 100 mph…a Rosenthal prototype …this fits right into the current Cards mgmt. style…get players from within system so as to “control” the player (nice words for keeping his salary down) and do it without pre-publicity about it.

…..I’m all for the Blues getting their own practice facility, a rink for use by other levels, etc….but darn..does it have to be at the expense of a park…it comes down to money….building on a park is much cheaper than tearing down a mall or some other area with buildings and rebuilding the hockey complex…in the shadows…I’m sorry to hear all the venom about “tree huggers” vs “greed” ..usually in this situation, money wins out…be looking for the rink in the near future with the Blues & hockey in general….appearing to be “different”…or maybe “indifferent”…  to some people of the area….maybe many people…after the battle over the rink.

…some fun High school football games this week that may have been lost in the shadows …Parkway West moved to 2-0 with 16-14 win over Summit…the difference was  27 yd FG by Jackson Barnhart. West’s stingy defense has given up just 26 points in the first two weeks. The Longhorns won their district last year before bowing in the 1st round of STATE to Parkway West.…after being crushed last year by Jackson 49-19, the Lindbergh Flyers returned the favor this year 45-19…the Flyers scored 28 points in the 2nd quarter..in the most exciting game of the night..Warrenton held a 27-14 lead after 3 quarters only to see Troy Buchanon score 14 consecutive points and grab a 28-27 lead….Warrenton’s Logan Dowd scampered 22 yards for a TD with just 0:15 left in the game…Warrenton wins 35-28

…MLB MUST be thinking than fans love the HR ball & strikeouts….well…yesterday 3-2 game saw all 5 runs on HR and 13 strikeouts  from the shadows, I’m saying….that’s boring…give me some action on the bases and defenders throwing the ball around…how do YOU feel about the HR game? Comment below in the section…there’s no right or wrong

…so the Royals have been shut out six teams this season by Cleveland…that hasn’t happened since 1992….in the shadows one is wondering is it the pitching or the hitting?  

….it’s always good to make improvements…on a personal level or the collegiate level…Mizzou is planning to modify their current stadium with a $96m project..the plan actually drops the number of seats in the stadium but has as its primary goal…for lack of a better word…luxury boxes for the big boosters, enhanced workout facilities for the team and …as they say…”other amenities”..in the shadows some are asking if this is the right time to initiate this type of plan…some factors to consider-donations to fund this plan have yet to reach 50% of the coast ($42m); season tickets for football have dropped from 42000 two years ago to 28000 for this year(that’s a 1/3 drop); Mizzou enrollment continues its downward spiral in 2017; Gary Pinkel—who is a polarizing figure…some really admire him for his “turning around” the football program…while others blame him for the football players protest… is the leader of this drive; …Mizzou football is generally picked for last place in the SEC East Division this year; the citizens of Missouri have just been informed that a new program will provide free education for many of the Mizzou students..coupling that with this drive …it adds up to a significant tax increase to Joe P. Public…is this the right time?

….On Friday night all MLB teams wore “special” uniforms…to me…they all looked like slow-pitch softball uniforms or bowling shirts to me…come on….sure maybe the youngsters like new uniforms every week….but then don’t crab when older folks…who usually buy the high price tickets…..fade away …as they sense tradition eroding away.

….Well, I’m going to jump back into the shadows now as the sports world keep spinning around.

 

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