Spring Winds of Sports by Bob Ryan

The Spring winds  of sports come blowin in ….with the temp breaking into the 60’s-70’s comfortably, sun shining, winds blowing in from across the sea (thank You Francis Albert Sinatra)…man…it’s like spring….and Spring has also blown in all kinds of stuff for the sports world…

….OK…I’m eating my crow pie….the Blues DO look like a different team…and they are! Coach Yeo changed to zone defense, brought up an entire line from the Wolves (Blues minor league team)-this line made us quicker, fresher legs and we have a real 3rd line now, he wants more puck possession, seemed to “reach” the vets about doing all the little things that make you a winner..bravo!! Keep it up and treat us to another long post-season.

…Cards loss of Alex Reyes to Tommy John surgery is significant. The 22 year old was named the best right-handed prospect in Major League Baseball heading into 2017 per MLB.com… the Cards have tried downplaying the year that he’ll miss due to the injury….but on Oct 4th , 2016 in the post-season review—Mo said, “Clearly people like Reyes and Martinez are exciting. They have a chance to be top-of-rotation starters so that’s reassuring”….with a pitching staff  that wallowed through the pitching waters like they were pulling along the Admiral in 2016 (in last 6 weeks of the season, all of the Cards starters had ERA’s over 5.00;  for the season, the starting rotation’s ERA ballooned 44.8 percent to 4.33 and the runs allowed elevated 35.6 percent from 525) the Cards were counting heavily on Reyes with Martinez at the top of the rotations…despite their denials…

So…why or how did this UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament)  injury occur to Reyes. Research on the subject according to FanGraphs —there were 6 risk factors that could be used to predict UCL reconstruction surgery. These risk factors were 1) Fewer days between consecutive games, 2) smaller repertoire of pitches, 3) a less pronounced horizontal release location, 4) smaller stature, 5) greater mean pitch speed, and 6) greater mean pitch counts per game. How did Alex Reyes measure up in these risk factors? In  #1-4 listed above, Reyes was well within the parameters of safety.  However, he was above average in mean pitch speed but in recent studies of the UCL revealed that off-speed pitches thrown at a higher speed (Reyes threw an 88 mph change up) could represent significant stress on the UCL…remember Reyes’ first words, “ I had just thrown an off speed pitch”…..does it matter…not really …but it may help pitchers in the future follow a different set of parameters to help their arms remain sound…I’ll take over my MD jacket now 

So ….how serious is the Surgery named after the former Dodger pitcher?  NONE…not one of the last 10 Cy Young Award Winners  had Tommy John (Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, R.A. Dickey, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez.)..several other significant pitchers with dominant seasons during the same time frame like Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Cliff Lee, Chris Sale and Cole Hamels –were also “Tommy John Free” . Some experienced starters who had the surgery in or after mid-career ..have come back  with good seasons ( John Smoltz, David Wells, Tim Hudson, John Lackey and our very own Chris Carpenter)…but… here’s the scary part….the result is mixed for young starters who had this surgery…..some came all the way back…some most of the way..some part of the way…some had shorter, undistinguished careers.. make your own evaluations—Darren Dreifort (1994)-top prospect who became a trivia answer, Eric Gagne (1996)—converted to reliever after surgery, Odalis Perez (1999)-who?,Kerry Wood (1999)-shorter, up & down career; Anibal Sanchez—not a super level but has been good for a long time (245 starts); Dustin McGowan – bust: Jaime Garcia—no comment needed; Jordan Zimmerman (2009)—has come back and been very successful…and the list goes on further…. but you have the idea.

So…as the spring winds blow in…which MLB team did the best in the dreary winter days?  According to FanGraphs.com … the White Sox did the best at reshaping their team….of course…they were a last place team…so they can only go in one direction..anyway.. …the ChiSox were actually listed as #1 and #10 team since they completed two major trades… when they traded super starter Chris Sale they received in return RHP Michael Kopech & Inf Yoan Moncada + two others..days later they acquired RHP Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning for Adam Eaton. Derek Holland was added for additional pitching…so this last place team won’t win the series this year but …it seems that they’ve “gone all in” for starting pitching (like the Mets did a couple years ago)…at #2 for the off season–the Rays trade for Jose DeLeon from LA bolsters their staff with a guy who appears to be with them for the full 6 years prior to “big money time”…sending Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers was losing a good-solid – but not superstar player who hits free agency in 2 years….free agency to the Tampa Bay franchise is code word for “bye-bye” since they don’t have the payroll to keep their stars…further down the list at #8 is the Cubs as they acquired Wade Davis to be their closer…after renting  Chapman for 3 months and having a bare, nervous bullpen, Davis’ 1 year deal makes him important but not a long term payroll albatross. Several other “reshaping” numbers revolved around teams resigning their own players….I don’t  get how that is “RE-shaping” a team…it seems more like keeping them together.

Spring winds of sports have also blown in some debris too…

….Janoris Jenkins…you remember him…took him 5 years of inept Ram play before he stopped getting fooled by the double moves….he’s become an Unofficial GM now….self appointed… GM Jenkins is now advising the NYG during the Super Bowl events to keep together the entire defense…resign all the free agents and “we’ll make something happen”. He continues with the idea that not signing back your free agents  makes it tougher as he says, “Keep everybody together. That’s why teams don’t ever go back to back. Or back to back to back.” ..no that’s not a typing misprint, Mr. Jenkins talks like that 

….I had the chance to cover Sophie Cunningham when she starred @ Rock Bridge HS(Columbia, MO)  in the Girls Championships. It was a very, very  good team (4 starters went on to play college basketball) but she was the “go-to” person at crunch time. She’s moved just slightly down the road to Mizzou.  She is really a terrific basketball player….most women sports don’t get anyway near as much coverage as the men so few may know of her.  She’s been the leader of the outstanding Mizzou women’s program that drew over 5000 fans last night…congrats to her and the Lady Mizzou Tigers!

….Apparently Nick Saban was auditioning Steve Sarkisian for Off Coordinator while Lane Kiffin was still around…when Kiffin was shoved off to Atlantic Coast College…or some other name close to that…Saban actually talked with Sakisian…after the talks..it was clear that they weren’t on the same Bama page…so Sarkisian…hoping to keep his head attached prior to Saban pulling the guillotine on him like he did to Kiffin…bolted for Atlanta Falcons..Saban has put forth the idea that the relationship between the two of them had deteriorated amid disagreements of ‘system philosophy’ .Does it really matter who calls the plays at Alabama ?

…for the most part, the NBA is dead around the Lou…so little..if any NBA news appears here…but Draymond Green made NBA history…he was the 1st player to  EVER have a triple double with fewer than 10 points! He scored but 4 points but had 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals…btw his Golden State Warrior team defeated the Grizzlies 122-107..now YOU are really ready for the Sports Trivia question next year 

….you figure it….Brandon Phillips turned down trade offers all last year….now he agrees to go to the Atlanta Braves…the woeful Atlanta Braves…why would he do that? The only reason that I can think of has two parts—1) Reds had told him that they were cutting back his time; 2) Atlanta is the only team that would take him ?

…we all know that Kevin Shattenkirk won’t be with the Blues next year…he’s a Free Agent at the end of the year and they can’t afford the price that he’s demanding….so….the Blues haven’t hidden the fact that they would like to trade him….only a contender would want him…but those contenders don’t’ want to give up other quality players (since they are all hoping to go deep in playoffs)…so Blues should expect a high draft pick and a “top prospect” or 2 in return..

….good, quality MLB catchers are hard to find….yet free agent Matt Wieters (Balt) is still on the market…He’s 30 years old, hit .243 (so-so) with 17 HR,66 rbis, was an All-Star….now he is coming off of a hefty $18mil contract but…sign him for 1 year …even at that salary….he’s gone like the wind after 2017..it could end up being NY Mets, Tampa Bay or Florida

…I’m excited that Mizzou has hired Steve Bieser as their Head Baseball Coach….I met and observed his baseball coaching skills from 2004-2009 @ Vianney….he then moved to SEMO and had 3 consecutive conference championships there…he is using newer, modern techniques to advance the skill levels of his players….it’ll be fun to watch this year.

…when Travis Ford reloads his roster next year with several outstanding recruits and transfers and the ability of this team to move up in the standings despite limited ability…I’m looking for a top 3 finish in the Atlantic 10 (which has 14 teams)  for the Bills in 2017-18

…It’s nothing really new….but maybe the most overlooked attribute of Nick Saban is his ability to recruit….according to Scout.com…his signings have been ranked in the following way:  2008-#1; 2009-#2; 2010-#4; 2011-#7;  2012-#2;  2013-#4; 2014-#1, 2015-#2; 2016-#1 and this year-2017#1. Winning big..very big….. makes it much easier to sell….like this…  every recruiting class since 2008 has played in a national championship game AND Bama has seen more of its players drafted over the last 6 years than any school in the nation—44 players!

 

Well…. the spring winds are blowing me out now…

 

 

 

 

Hack … was it enough by Bob Ryan

The Cardinals were handed down a punishment for one of their employees “hacking” the Houston Astros data base….this is like stealing the St. Peter’s bones from the Vatican!  The MLB Comish fined them $2mil and they were forced to hand over the #2 and #3 round picks of 2017 to Houston…..oh…btw…Chris Correa is behind bars for 4 years.  I think that the Cards got off easy…real easy…..why…

…..what did Correa do?   Prosecutors said Chris Correa, who was the Cards scouting director(only 35 years old), repeatedly accessed scouting notes and other data from an internal Astros database, dubbed “Ground Control,” starting in 2013. Government attorneys said Correa continued to view the information and saw at least 188 pages of confidential information ranging from trade discussions and player evaluations to other details meant for the Houston Astros only. Correa’s unauthorized viewing of the Astros data cost the Houston team upwards of $1.7 million. So…let’s break it down to South Side talk….the guy stole information on many different occasions on athlete information  and evaluations…and he did it repeatedly.  The MLB estimates that it cost the Astros $1.7mil….how would you come up with that figure unless you knew specifically which players info was swiped? Correa did all this while working for the Cardinals.

….MLB’s decision of a $2mil fee to Houston….chump change to MLB teams…StL signed a $1billion, 15 years TV contract in 2015…Cards also lost a couple draft picks…neither being the #1 pick of 2017 because the Cards …reading the crystal ball and could see this coming….signed Fowler which forces them to trade their #1 pick. Sure the money goes to Houston..so what…they don’t need money…they need good players.  If you have a roster that propels you to the  post-season, the money will flow.

….now jumps up my cynicism…I can’t believe that in their many discussions about players the Correa provided deep data and highly detailed information…that not ONE executive above Correa ever asked him,”So how do you know that?” Maybe I’ve been watching too many TV shows with conspiracies 

….what a deal for the Cards….you pilfer info on 188 pages from a different organization….how many different players do you think were evaluated in 188 pages…I don’t know but it’s more than 2 guys (# of draft picks lost)….the Cards could combine, compare and contrast the Houston info with their own info…and it really becomes valuable.  What do you lose? For 1 year a #2 and #3 pick and some cash…heck…..do you really think that will deter others from trying to steal data from another team?  I don’t’….my penalty idea….since the MLB is a novice in handing out punishments like this for stealing data…although you can steal signs during the game? …why not emulate the courts ruling…where they DO have experience in that type of thing….they put Correa behind bars for basically 4 years…so I, as commissioner,  would have issued a penalty that paralleled  the courts penalty…the Cards would have lost their #1 pick for 4 years + a fine every year for 4 years(same as Correa)….. Your thoughts? Comment section on bottom  of article. There is not right or wrong…everyone has an opinion.

 

….Ironically….I wrote this top part of the article early last week….our site-Prepcasts was hacked! My title of Brady or Belichick was changed to something like “Hacked by DB3 893203” or something like that.The article had been modified with all types of foul, vulgar language. It was  all deleted. The original article was put back up with a slightly different title and was also hacked and removed. Unfortunately …attached to each article are the responses…they also were deleted….what a shame….there were over 30 responses that ranged across the board.  I have been able to add some late comments …sent to me on email or messenger…but if you are looking for your comment and it was posted prior to Friday…it’s gone…darn…THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR RESPONSES.  They were terrific!! Now…you can respond to the top paragraph and not feel like you’re getting ignored.

….Interestingly, Belichick in an interview said that if he could have any QB, other than Brady, it would be Bert Jones….he played 1973-82…was a Pro-Bowl player once, the league MVP once in 1976 ..his career was shortened due to the many injuries suffered …ya just never know what Belichick will say…when he talks 

 

What a fantastic Super Bowl! No….I wasn’t rooting for the Pats… I just wanted a good game.  It WAS a great game….here’s some thoughts on the game…

….Atlanta’s 1st half pass rush clearly affected Brady….in the 2nd half it was negated. How come? the 5 wide out sets used by NE in 2nd half limited the number of pass rushers available to use….the huge D-lineman of Atlanta were on the field a long time and fatigued…NE employed their short passing game requiring less time to release the pass

…in some texts from my family members …some were upset with the 3 holding calls on Atlanta in one of the drives…couple things…I suspect that the NE coaches had been in the ears of the officials to “watch” that guy….2nd…the D-back has to adjust after the 1st penalty called on him…can’t do it 2 more times!  Other than those rash of penalties…I thought that there were few penalties …at least by NFL standards…Belichick is a really clever coach….some points in case…as his wideouts tired in 4t quarter…he inserted a fresh, fast untested rookie(to replace Edelmann) who caught several passes…he replaced the power running back with a speedier one for the same reason…he did this as Atlanta’s defense was on the field for much of the 2nd half and there entire team seemed to be moving in a slower gear than the 1st half. Belichick also had his KO man kick it higher…and shorter.. so it landed in the field of play…making Atlanta return the KO.  On at least 2 occasions, the runner barely made it back to the 10 yard line..not the 20..make the field longer

..Atlanta’s 9th drive was the back-breaker…a truly unbelievable catch by Julio Jones put the ball clearly in FG range… a sack and a penalty(clear hold) pushed the Falcons out of range.  Not 2nd guessing here…I told the general at the time…Falcons should run the ball…they are close enough.. chew up time…kick FG..forget the stats…win the game.

…Brady never seemed to lose his cool…even when the score was lopsided….

…Lady Gaga was entertaining at half… her energy was high, fast-moving, light show was entertaining…staying true to herself her  renditions  of “This land is your Land” (Woody Guthrie was probably smiling) and “Born this Way” pleased her fans….frankly….I had a hard time understanding her words through most of her songs…and since I don’t know the lyrics to the songs..I only caught bits and pieces…it went by me…as most things do J

…the post-game ceremony had some REAL unusual stuff….so the NFL adopts to the hockey version of each guy skating around the rink with the cup…they have a person carry the trophy between winning players on the way to the podium…Willie McGinest (former Patriot)….kept dropping F-bombs as he urged the players to “kiss the ___”..surprisingly to me…the NFL kept the sound on for several minutes to hear Willie’s proclamations..then Roger Dumbnall couldn’t get off of the stage quick enough….his job was to present the trophy to Robert Kraft…the fans booed him loudly and continually…Rogers’ handoff was like a Brady handoff…quick 


It was CYA for Doug Armstrong…So…some one had to go…. Ken Hitchcock was relieved of his duties(1 game short of tying Al Arbour for #3 in all-time wins)….maybe his message was getting old, or maybe he got old, or maybe his hard suggestions were too demanding for the club, or maybe the players just arent’ good enough(Armstrong’s responsibilities)…who knows….however, it seemed strange to me that his successor was hired even before the season began…I’ve never heard of that arrangement previously….we hire your successor while you’re still coaching…did they anticipate this early departure? Or what?….This is coming off the best Blues season in 25 years!…I don’t believe that Hitch has gone “backwards” in hockey knowledge or his love for the game has diminished, and he still motivates in the same grumpy way …. He just doesn’t have the same quality players as last year….maybe they weren’t stars in 15-16 but they played hard and played as a team….To me…Doug Armstrong seems to be more culpable for the quick descent of the Blues..this 16-17 team is too soft, too erratic in goaltending, some of the older players have “aged badly and quickly” in just the last year…e.g. Steen, Stastney…our defensemen are smooth skaters (who don’t score but play extensive minutes most games) but can they move men out from in front of the net?…..making a move now is to “shake up” the players(it’s like a boxer getting refreshed between rounds…how long will this shake up last?)…and to alert the fans…. This season is likely to be very disappointing for you…as if it isn’t already…and for Armstrong to hang on a bit longer! Ahh…do you remember when fans complained because we lost in the playoffs for 25 straight years..generally in the 1st or 2nd round(80-04)….even that would look good now 

 

I came across an interesting chart….I’ve always wondered, “how many people are actually watching the Cardinal games on TV?”.   According a 2014 chart –Prime Time TV Ratings Chart with average number of ratings, the Cards were 8th  in the league. My reference  chart showed that the Cards averaged 103,000 viewers during prime time of 2014—seems low to me.  The #1 team…NY Yankees averaged 254,000 per game…who was last—Miami Marlins…those poor fish had an average of 29,00 per game watching in prime time TV.  Now…this is not official. My data was taken from a chart written by a guy in Cincinnati who claims the sources were Fox Sports and Multichannel.com…final qualifier of the chart…the LA Dodgers and Houston Astros data was unavailable.

 

…Carlos Martinez signs for 5 years…generally I’m opposed to any 5 year contract to pitchers…too much risk of injury or too old ..most of these huge contracts take place after the pitcher has reached 27 or 28…so the 30’s bug will catch up to him late in the contract….however in this case, Martinez is only 25 years old…the contract for $51m looks solid…the Cards have option years at $17m & $18m….this signing makes him the true ace of the staff….I like that he’s thrown down the gauntlet that he wants to start on opening day…a symbolic gesture that establishes the ace (at least at the start of the season) ..his contract is a quantum leap from his $539,000 contract of 2016…in addition to his pitching….his “water throwing” in the dugout after HR seem to be a good “fun” thing for the club….especially after July 1…it took the vets about 3 months to get adjusted to this new ritual 

 

Super Week is behind us now…..on deck—spring training! I’d love to read YOUR thoughts on my penalty for the Cards in the Correa case…

 

 

 

 

CSDHL Prelims and Championships again on www.prepcasts.com

WE are pleased to announce that the tradition continues with the coverage of the Preliminary Rounds and the Championship Rounds of the Central States Developmental Hockey League Playoffs coming from the Canlan Ice Sports Arena in Romeoville Illinois.

Each game is covered LIVE then archived right after for continuous REPlay.

The teams will be filled in later but here is the schedule of games …

Date Start Canlan Rink Rink
2/11/2017 7:00:00 AM* Bantam 2
8:40:00 AM* Bantam 2
10:20:00 AM* 18U 2
12:30:00 PM* 15U 2
2:10:00 PM* Peewee 2
3:40:00 PM* Bantam 2
5:20:00 PM* Bantam 2
7:00:00 PM* 15U 2
8:40:00 PM* 18U 2
2/12/2017 10:00:00 AM* Bantam 2
11:40:00 AM* 15U 2
1:20:00 PM* 18U 2
3:40:00 PM* Peewee 2

Cards down to Florida by Bob Ryan

The Cards will move down to Florida to begin prep for the 2017 season. As they unload their truck loads of equipment…they’ll also be unloading other things….like plenty of questions…That’ll be a time to begin sorting out some answers to these questions..some heavy …some light…as all teams do in spring training…I’m sure you could make a list like this for every team…probably longer…

….will the Cards play Grichuk & Wong as they do Piscotty….a 6-day/week regular..for the entire season or will Grichuk & Wong ‘s leash be shorter…as it has been the last 2 years? Piscotty led the team in games played in 2016.

…Are the fans expecting too much of Dexter Fowler? Is he really the “one” to light up the Cards? The fans ..at least some…seem to be ignoring his  lifetime BA of .268 and his average over each of the past 4 seasons (in reverse order): .276, .250, .276, .263. His stolen bases of 13, 20 11, 19 over last 4 years are solid …so will the fans be happy with a .275, 15 SB guy? Defensively he CAN cover ground and make plays…however, his arm isn’t anything special.   Fowler turns 31 in March.

….So the starting rotation of Wainwright, Martinez, Reyes, Leake, Lynn has each one carrying some type of question mark…Martinez seems to have the fewest questions and is the best at this time and the most dependable performer….we hear that Rosenthal will be given “starter –like” innings in Florida…how does he fit in?; Wacha really isn’t a bullpen type…he can’t warm up, sit down, warm up…and do it again the next day, where will he be? Luke Weaver appears to be a “long man” and spot starter…neither  of the 2 lefties—Marco Gonzalez & Tyler Lyons seem to be close to the front burner any longer as a rotation starter…Lyons was an effective  bullpen man last year but his arm didn’t react well to all the use required of bullpen man….Marco Gonzalez seem to be getting pushed out of the picture by his injuries,  ineffectiveness, lack of a real “fast” ball and younger pitchers “on the way up”

….Will Yadier repeat…or even come close… to the remarkable 2016 year and to his use? After 2 years of decline at the plate of .282, .270, Yadi hit .307 last year…on the appearance side…Yadi played in 147 games last year….the most of ANY time in his career(2nd most on the entire 2016 Cardinal team)…will he pay the price this year for last year’s huge number of performances?

….how many times will Al say,“Johnny  is _ years of age” this year? I just wanna know how old he is 

….Is anyone else doubting the Jeff Gyorko will hit 30 HR again….after all he only had 49 in his first three years combined? I’d try getting ahead with a breaking ball and then expand the strike zone!!

….3B duo of Will Peralta/Jeff Gyorko &1B Matt Adams platoon with Carp bouncing back & forth from 3b to 1b?…That’s assuming their neither one…or all 3…aren’t disposed of prior to… or in early season.

….a year ago….none of us ever thought that Aledmys Diaz would be a on the team…much less a starter…but he came on like gang-busters…. his OPS last year of .879 was 2nd on the Cards last year!

I do think that he’s a good hitter and a very good asset for the Cards but….it does happen….more than one might think… that 2nd year players don’t perform as well as they did in the rookie season

…can Fred-Bird reach the 2nd tier of seats as he flings up his shirts with his special sling-shot?

….one concern to me that may be a surprise to some of you….I’m a bit concerned about our closer, Seung-hwan Oh ( I dubbed him Sing-when OH last year). Yes…he did have a terrific season…1.92, 55 hits,103 K’s,  in 79 inn with  19 saves….but I just felt that he wasn’t as effective in Sept…maybe he wore down, maybe the league “knew” him better, whatever….as I checked out his  Sept stats—10 2/3 inn, 11 hits, 4 runs, 2 HR (he gave up 3 HR in the other 5 months),3.37 ERA, 1-1 with 5 saves…I believe my concern is real….no team can be a real contender that has real issues with their closer.

…Jose Oquendo isn’t coming back to direct and develop the defense this year….or probably any year…so hopefully, his absence won’t be the excuse again for the poor defensive play. I think that the Cards also missed his judgments in the 3B coaching box last year.

… will Jim Hayes break the “40” mark this year with his softball-throwing interviews during/after games?

 

Baseball HOF thoughts, numbers, names…

With induction of Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines…2 of the 3, I watched frequently throughout their career…it led me to a few thoughts….

….one of the most underrated “types” of HOF’ers are lead-off men….Tim Raines was terrific—avg .294 for 23 years, stole 808 bases while being thrown out 146x = being safe 85% in stolen base attempts, scored over  1500 runs, over 2600 hits, 1 NL batting title, 1 All-Star MVP..he’s long over-due…but the voters seem to have etched in their mind…the type of player who is big, burly, pop-eye  type arms, that seem to rock side-side as he’s running around the bases—plenty of HR but maybe or maybe not good range, sharp fielding… HR # seem to count FAR more than being an all-around type player…. but…..while we’re at HOF discussions…I think the Cards have 2 likely HOF candidates that played as teammates in the early 2000’s …

 

Highest on my list by comparison to other players at his position is Scott Rolen…check out some of these numbers coming at ya…

17 years, 316 HR , 1287 RBI, lifetime OPS .855..now comes the all-around part, .284 average…8 Gold Gloves (only Brooks Robinson-16) & Mike Schmidt (10) have more; 93 Sac Flies (do the Cards have 10 in a year anymore?) 7 All-Star Games; in 5 of his years, his club played post-season; according to experts ..that leaves me out….he is the 8th best all-time 3B

 

The other player…flashier, more pizz-azz, more of a fan favorite…especially of the ladies…was Jim Edmonds….Jimmy is listed as the 12th best all-time CF…the only players ahead of him who AREN’T in the HOF are Andruw  Jones, Kenny Lofton, and the ageless Carlos Beltran (he should be a shoo-in)…some of Jimmy’s stats…17 years, hit .276, 393 HR, 1199 RBI, OPS  .846, 8 gold Gloves, 4 All-star games…earned $86mil in his career….so why is he messing around doing games on TV?…anyway… He is a rare CF—one who hits for power…most other solid CF are banjo-type hitters(see Tim Raines).

 

Both players are very close statistically…both were leaders for the Cards in the 2000’s…both got much national exposure in post-season games….both have a chance at HOF membership…time will tell.

 

…Judge Judy..or Judge Bob where are you?   The Cardinals need a final judgment on their “hacking” case…it’ll probably be draft pick(s) and/or money..I don’t see the head of John Mozeliak being delivered on a platter to  the Commissioner…it should be done by Feb 15th ..what are we waiting for?  We already know “who done it”..btw…don’t just remove the picks from the Cards…give those picks to Houston.

 

Some crazy bouncing NFL football  thoughts…..

…I know some of you …probably many of you in the Lou… have written off the NFL…but the playoff games were actually enjoyable for me to watch…some passing thoughts….no one runs the ball anymore…so they have to be passing thoughts…

…since the year 2001…the AFC’s QB in the Super Bowl has been just one of these 3 guys…it’s been Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Rothelsberger in every Super Bowl except for two..2002 and 2012

…I kept rubbing my eyes…was this the same Jared Cook who never seemed to be any part of the Rams game plan?…this guy running crossing patterns that utilized his height, catching a pass falling out of bounds but still keeping his tip-toes inbounds…was it experience, better coaching, a QB who could find him when he was open, maturity, a real NFL passing game, being around a better team that had changed him?…..maybe all of the above

…typical …straddling both sides of the fence….the owners heard it all ….when Stan moved the R _ _ _ it was clear that he wanted 2 teams in his palace and he’d pay whatever it took to get it done ….

Now ..as San Diego agrees to move…the owners are wringing their hands about having 2 teams move into the same market simultaneously… covering their own rear ends depending on which way the “success” meter moves!

….Tom Brady may be the surgeon of QB’s with standing tall stature, he’s precise, cool, and survey’s the field with a wide lens, whips out laser like darts that are landing as if guided by a NASA engineer but Aaron Rogers…despite wearing me out through his commercials…is THE most entertaining QB for me to watch…by far….he plays like he’s on the playground….it goes like this…I’m looking for Jared….oh heck…he’s guarded…let me look to the other way..one… two…nope..nothing there….can I run?…oh wait…Johnny’s open deep…launch occurs from ground level….and bingo…it lands right into the hands of a Packer receiver 20+ yards down the field…Green Bay has another reception….and he’s playing against the most aggressive, fastest, well trained defenses that the NFL can provide and he’s having fun..and some am I as I  watch him.

…in the Green Bay-Dallas game….the officials seemed to call the obvious penalties …at least for the most part…as a result…the game had some continuity…other NFL games that I peeked at this year…I’m like many of you….my NFL viewing dropped significantly in 2016….most games moved along like a Conestoga Wagon with a lame horse,  in a heavy rainstorm, loaded down with family of 6 or 7J

…San Diego’s new coach, Anthony Lynn, leaves a lasting 1st impression in his 1st press conference when he “freezes” and forgets the new location of the Chargers and calls them the San Diego Chargers… will this  be the lasting moment of his coaching career?  ..btw..talk about being a step-child..Chargers left San Diego..so San Diego doesn’t want them and went to LA..but LA doesn’t want them either?  A team with no fan base  is like a plane with no airport to land…it’ll crash.

…more on Super Bowl teams next week…

 

 Have a pre-super week

 

NCIS by Bob Ryan

NCIS of sports…no this isn’t a review of the TV show–Naval Criminal Investigative Service which has been extremely popular …ever since season 7 (in its 14th season) NCIS has been the most watched scripted show on American television.actually surpassing Sunday Night Football last year… this NCIS is an acronym… No Change in Sports…sure some of the size of players, better equipment, year-round training, better coaching at earlier ages have changed but the actual basic tenants of many sports just don’t change..take a look….

…..you can’t win the “big one” without stopping the opponent… As Alabama showed in title game…

….in order to be very good team in the MLB….you must have five good, durable starters…as the Cubs did last year

….the best bowl or game is always saved until last(for a long time it was the Rose Bowl)….and this year the championship game – WAS the best

….everyone I know named Dabo or Yadier must perform well or they won’t be around long

…a basic tenant of attending a “big game” ..like NCAA National Championship Football Game….if you have to ask the price.. you shouldn’t be going….this year the average resale price was $3053 per ticket…my lounge chair was just fine

…the basic tenant of the NFL owners is huge, stupendous, outrageous profits…so….bye-bye to San Diego & Oakland this year…apparently the goal is a profit of $25 bil/year…they’re stuck at $17bil/year…how CAN they get by?….so relocation fees, fresh meat..oops…markets, knives in the back should push them towards their goal….
….the basic tenant of sacrifice bunting is to provide the opportunity for the next 2 batters to get 1 hit—many now view it as giving away an out

…currently in NCAA football…..the tenant is that you must have a QB that can run & pass—as evidenced in the title game..although Bama’ Frosh QB’s throwing needs improvement

….currently the NCAA is emulating the Super Bowl to make it an “event”….a 4 hour event…this is to draw fans…but at home…the game is really slow…or maybe my patience is really short

….one basic tenant in sports …and life…the rich get richer….Look at Bama…last year they reported $103.9 million in revenue and posted a $47 million profit..it has made $98mil since 1981 in royalties..

….the basic tenant of spring training is to get the players in “shape”…..in this day & age…the players have private trainers all winter and are already in shape….so spring training should be shortened by 10 days to 2 weeks

….a basic tenant of the NFL is that the QB must be a drop-back QB … running QB just don’t last in the NFL but some teams do have “escapable” QB to extend the play now (Wilson).. and look at who’s in the playoffs right now (Brady, Rogers, Stafford, Rothelsberger, Alex Smith-Foles, Matt Ryan)

….the basic tenant to get your NCAA football team in a high bowl is get a good early ranking to help you achieve post-season status…how about this for 2017-18 season…Bama is 3:1 to win it all; Oklahoma, Fla St, Ohio St & USC area all 8:1..Louisville is 10:1….watch how those teams will get more coverage, better time slots on TV in the regular season and better bowls

…a basic tenant of baseball is that you have to play many games to find out in a fair way the best teams… but what is so magical about 162 game schedule….it was 154 for a long time….wouldn’t we know the best teams in 150 games …and then we wouldn’t be watching baseball in November

…a basic tenant for many decades ….emphasized by the Cardinals under Mo…is that a team must develop from “with-in” with certain pieces acquired via trade or free agency to meet a specific need…Cubs, Cards, Indians…have all followed this format to win

 

Odds & ends…

… Dabo Swiney is now 5-1 in last 2 seasons against Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Stoops. Those are the five active FBS coaches with national titles.

…what impact has Nick Saban had on Alabama beyond football?….enrollment at Bama is

37,665 (record high)..the frosh class of 7,559 students is the best qualified in the school’s history…more than 40% of the incoming Frosh have scored a 30 or higher on the ACT….so… maybe a case can be made for his stupendous salary

…one incredible winning streak that is generally ignored by the vast majority of sports fans….U Conn Women Basketball have won 89 straight games…they last lost on Nov 17, 2014 to Stanford..former IWA grad-soph Napheesa Collier has NEVER lost a game in a UConn uni !

…will Brandon Moss resign with Cards for a diminished contract?…he’s a better back up stick than Tommy Pham..but not the defense or the versatility..and Pham is much, much cheaper

…Colby Rasmus, now 30 years of age, signed with the Rays for $5mil after hitting .206 last year

…Blues seem to be missing Backus & Brower more than they thought they thought they might

…Delvin Perez, Cards top draft pick of 2016, is now listed as #5 prospect in the Cards chain… that’s a real rapid elevation..other rankings Alex Reyes-#1, Luke Weaver-#2, Harrison Bader-#3, Jack Flaherty-#4…sliding down the list at #17 is Marco Gonzalez….he’ll be traded this year

…Mizzou is 24th (out of 114 D-1 colleges)in the Learfield Sports Director Cup Standings…this ranking is based on the performance of the teams in the fall…the outstanding performance of the Women’s XC team and Women’s Volleyball were the teams that garnished the most pts for Mizzou..Stanford was #1, UCLA #2 N. Carolina #3…football hasn’t been calculated in yet

…so it seems in the most recent Baseball HOF voting that Bonds & Clemens numbers have elevated significantly this year…wonder if it’s because of the induction of Bud Selig who recently was voted into the HOF by a special, newly created “Today’s Game Era Committee”… Selig was the commissioner from 1998-2015 and seemingly turned his eye away from the steroid abuse of baseball substantiated by the Mitchell Report (George Mitchell-former Att Gen) of 2007..Bonds, Clemons, Andy Pettit, Mo Vaughn, Miguel Tejada were the “stars” who are found on that report…Mark McGwire “came clean in a 2010 admission of use”…sooo…reasoning…I suppose..  if the commish turns his head …and basically permits it…and then gets into HOF…..why should we keep the players out of the HOF now?  Btw…only 6 other former Cards are listed on that report—Ryan Franklin, Fernando Vina, Gary Bennett, Rick Ankiel, Tony Glaus, David Bell..those 6 don’t have to worry about their entrance into the HOF being denied due to drug use

…a footnote on above idea…when McGwire came clean in 2010…his former Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa said, “I’m really encouraged that he would step forward,” La Russa told ESPN. “As we go along his explanations will be well received.”…I…myseIf… would have been extremely disappointed, upset, angry and felt betrayed…if I had absolutely no idea of his use….Tony’s quote  almost sounds to me like Tony “knew” deep down OR that he actually did know….that something wasn’t right with McGwire bouncing ‘em over the walls almost every other game without drug use.

….Coach K has missed some of the recent Duke games due to back surgery…it gives us a chance to present his incredible record …he has won more NCAA Men’s basketball games than anyone…1056-323 with 983 wins @ Duke…he is the 1st mens coach to win 1000 games!….he was head coach @ Army prior to Duke…played @ Army for Bobby Knight

….the Rams are turning over their putrid program to a 31 year old, 1st time Head Coach..he is a pretty boy but…time will tell if Sean McVay is the “man”..I will say..if he hires a plethora of experienced ast coaches (who were former head coaches)..he may have a chance

….Blues are looking for a true #1 center…Stastny is paid like a #1 but really is a #2…will they pull the trigger? And…Allen keeps getting beat to the glove side….move over to your left more

…Another NCIS moment…”No Changes in Story” or The End … Have a wonderful Holiday!

Frozen-in some way! by Bob Ryan

The Holidays seem to make time get “frozen”….most of our daily concerns, worries, etc seem to be frozen as we indulge in the joy of family, friends and fun over the Holidays….but all good things do come to an end…so here we go taking a look forward and backward…

…the joy experienced by many of the Blues fans in attending the Blues-Blackhawks old-timers game was evident from the plethora of  posts, comments and articles about the game..the thoughts of those local stars is frozen in our mind…we remember them as they were in ’66, or ’76, or ’86 or ’96 or even 06

….then 2 days later without the ice being really frozen…the Blues beat the Blackhawks in front of a huge crowd enjoying the “event”..it really was a special weekend of hockey for Blues fans and the Lou

….there are some moments from recent StL sports that I WOULD like frozen….Seeing Ken Hitchcock wearing his hat….Matt Holliday standing alone in LF as the only player on the field as the Lou fans recognize his contribution to the Cards for a decade…the TD reception by Isaac Bruce that won the only StL Super Bowl…the loud chants of “Lets GO Blues” that echoed all around Busch III… David Freese flinging his helmet between his legs as he’s ready to cross the plate after his historic Series HR..WHAT MOMENTS WOULD YOU LIKE FROZEN…..please respond on the Prepcasts site just below the article

…one of my favorite Bowls this year was the Orange Bowl…. Michigan hasn’t won back-back bowls since the Lloyd Carr days  1999-2000….the total points expected by the gamblers kept dropping as the game approached because they expected a defensive battle…but they missed it….Florida State opened up that huge lead and still led 27-15 early in the 4th… Wolverines score the next 2 td’s to take a 30-27 with only 1:57…a long KO return give the Seminoles a short field and they throw a 12 yd TD pass take a 33-30 lead…a successful PAT takes a FG out of the game…but the PAT is blocked & returned for 2 points to make it 33-32…Michigan’s last throw was intercepted…the Wolverines hopes of moving up the polls are now frozen

….reading the feature Cardinal article earlier this week on Matt Adams….and between the lines….it probably means that the lighter Matt Adams won’t be frozen @ 1B in the Lou for the whole year but will be moving on….you don’t need to lose weight to sit on the bench

…I was “lucky” enough to attend the Blues-Predators game where the Blues didn’t show up and fell 4-0….I think that was about as many Blues checks  as there were  in the old-timers game…their skates seem to be frozen to the ice on that night…the Blues looked very “soft”to me which doesn’t bode well for the playoffs where the contact & intensity escalate

….Gary Kubiak has resigned for health reasons due to the stress, extreme time, and little “free time”—his life was frozen constantly by the job….it’s a meat-grinder….Kubiak has spent his entire life immersed in the NFL as player, coach, head coach…he was a good..to very good coach…depending on your view….we wish the 55 year old the best…I’m surprised that there aren’t more coaches afflicted in the same way. Now he’ll actually have a life that isn’t frozen by football.

….not frozen with their accomplishment of making the World Series…Cleveland lands slugger Edwin Encarncion as a free agent….Encarncion rejected a 4 year $80mil offer from Toronto in November and it seemed to scare off other teams…Cleveland realizes that their time is “now”..they have starting pitchers– Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazer all under control through  2019 and relief specialists Cody Allen & Andrew Miller through 2018…couple that with a lineup that features vets Jason Kipnis,   Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana—budding stars in Tyler Naquin & Jose Ramirez….well…it’s time to go “all in”..btw Cleveland signed him for 3 years/$60mil + attendance bonuses and a team option of $20 mil for the 4th year with a $5mil buyout…keep in mind this is a guy who’s hit over 190 Home Runs in the last 5 years!

….Speaking of NFL coaches….largely overlooked … seemingly frozen in time…for his work is Mike Tomlin…he’s 102-57 .642 through week 16 of this year….that tops legends like  Bill Cowher 149-90-1  .623, Joe Gibbs 154-94 .621 , Bud Grant 158-96-5 .620, Bill Walsh 92-59-1 .609 , Tom Landry 250-162-6 .605,  Pete Carroll 102-72-1 .586,  Hank Stram  131-97-10  .571  , Bill Parcells 172-130-1  .569, Chuck Noll  193-148-1  .566….so..yes…Tomlin’s mark is higher than his 2 predecessors—Cowher & Noll but ….and he has the same Super Bowl record as Bill Cowher 1-1

….superstitions seem to be frozen in our minds….so the Blues new “outdoor classic” jerseys are the reason WHY the Blues won that game and now a 2nd game….come on…what are YOUR superstitions?

….let’s think out of the box and not be frozen by “what’s always been done….if Chicago is petitioning for  a bowl….why can’t StL….use Busch III….the Arch Bowl…I mean what difference does another bowl make…41..42…50….make ours the winners of two earlier bowls

….Drew Brees passed for over 5000 yards for the 5th time in his career this year…it may not seem too special but it’s only been done 4 other times ..TOTAL…by any other  NFL QBs.. nevertheless, the New Orleans record remains frozen at 7-9 for 3rd straight year

….Brandon Phillips likes being frozen @ Cincy…he’s turned down the possibility of being traded again this year….I guess it’s good to be a star on a very poor team than an average guy on a good team?

….being futuristic for a sec….sports isn’t frozen in its presentations….the Olympics demonstrated the relevance of twitter & social media in a powerful manner….look for the MLB to utilize more social media in their presentations this year

…of course the Rose Bowl was very, very entertaining and memories will be frozen in our mind for a long time…Penn State & USC marched up and down the field much of the day…the Nittany Lions seemed to have a comfortable 49-35 lead in 4th quarter but the Trojans behind cool handed Frosh QB Sam Darnold throwing darts in the final minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat…the winning FG …as the game clock ran out…made it a 52-49 USC win

….some character flaws seem to be frozen in a person….NYJ Sheldon Richardson’s fight in week 3 with  Darrelle Revis never really “healed”…it seems that Richardson always just “finds” difficulties  no matter where he’s located..he seems like a likely R _ _ _ player 

…frozen in our mind by all the “news” on the SEC from Mizzou, SEC network and local newspapers is the strength of the SEC…in the 16-17 bowls…to this point….ACC is 8-3 in bowls and 3-1 vs the SEC & Big 10…Big 12 is 4-2 in the bowl action…at .500 is the SEC 6-6 and Pac 12 @ 3-3….personally…Bama is the best of the league…and probably the nation…but the rest seem to be comparable to some of the other top leagues

…so why does Nick Saban remove Lane Kiffin as off coordinator just prior to the NCS Championship game? Reading between the frozen lines…Saban was all over Kiffin repeatedly throughout the season…How many points does he expect them to score?… Some thought that Bama underperformed in the game vs Washington and….maybe Kiffin’s mind wasn’t all there (getting ready for Florida Atlantic job… Maybe…or maybe Saban was still smarting from some of the unflattering remarks Kiffin made in an SI article recently…who knows? Maybe Saban is just “trial running” his possible successor, Steve Sarkisian.  This is a strange move…..perfect record or not.

….Does this seem wrong to you…like your judgment has been frozen?….Jeff Fisher has won ONE more game in his career than Bill Parcells?  Somehow I don’t think of those two in the same class as a coach. Right now…Andy Reid is tied with Parcells but should pass Fish soon

….you won’t be frozen to this blog any longer….it’s over…..have a good week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Resolutions by Bob Ryan

For some reason, many people feel compelled to make New Year’s resolutions….to make determined decisions to change one’s life is good…but it doesn’t have to be limited to New  Years Day….so in the spirit of the season….here we go…some may include writers’ liberty… 

….Manifesto has resolved NOT to use Yadi in more than 135 games….this is a resolution that he makes annually…but he claims that THIS will be the case in 2017……yea…right..he’s done more than that EVERY year…save one when he was injured…since 2009

…the NCAA may resolve to consult us for some new Bowl names…how about.. Stevie Wonder Bowl—nobody should see these teams; Bottom of the Barrel Bowl-the teams with the 2 worst records ; the Fair2middlin’ Bowl—limited to .500 teams; the Butch Cassidy Bowl—who are these guys? the Waste Management Bowl—we take all the trash (teams below .500); the OMG Bowl—how did these teams ever get to bowl? Last one Standing bowl…all viewers are challenged to take a new drink with each score by either  team…with these total scores now around or over 100 points….it’ll be a challenge to keep standing 

….Despite the rumors, Stan Kroenke has resolved   to stop trying to imitate Donald Trump…although the only words we’ve heard from him in the last several months ..maybe years…is “YOUR FIRED”

….St Louis U has resolved NOT to play Harris-Stowe …despite the pressure to get wins

….Al Davis..from his grave…has continued to resolve that he’ll curse the Raiders until California approves a new stadium in Oakland..the latest of Al’s curses is the broken leg of QB Derek Carr

….Alabama has resolved to decline the R_ _  _ offer for a pre-season game
….Chris Long has resolved to express his gratitude to the Rams for releasing him and permitting him to play on a REAL NFL team in New England

… Wake Forest has resolved to exile their radio announcer, Tommy Elrod, to Russia to join Edward Snowden after it was found that Elrod was feeding Wake pre-game plans/ideas to their opponents for 2 years

….Barry Odum has resolved to improve the defensive line to the point that it matches the efficiency of the offensive line

…the NCAA has resolved never to interview Keith Jackson(excellent long time play-play announcer who’s now retired 10 years) again …after Jackson, during his Rose Bowl interview…says that the damage of football coverage is too many games…over saturation

…At West Point, the upper brass have resolved to drill all the Cadets in  jumping onto the field  properly and in unison after beating Navy ….after thousands did so without any practice whatsoever this year

…Arizona Diamondbacks have resolved to abandon those ugly grey uniforms…I mean…with the 2016 debacle…everything must change….except Tony

…Nick Saban & Urban Meyer have resolved to allow 2 other teams to join them annually in the NCS football playoffs

….Seeing its profitability …the NHL has resolved to increase the # of outdoor games

….Both N Carolina & Kentucky basketball teams have resolved to work on their defense..at least 10 minutes a day… as EACH team scored over 100 points  against each other in their December game

….Mgr Mike Matheny has resolved not to step up to the top step of the dugout, wait and then decline to  appeal more than 54x this season (that’s approximately 1/3 of the games)

….the NCAA has resolved to remove bowl opportunities from Boise Idaho after two players completely untouched on two different plays, slipped on the unbelievably wet blue turf and injured themselves to the point that they were taken out of the game in the PotatoHead Bowl Game

….the Cardinals have resolved to stop referring to Adam Wainwright as their #1 in 2017

….Travis Ford has resolved to NEVER go through another season like 2016 again

….ESPN has resolved to include the SF Giants & the LA Dodgers sometime in the 2018 Sunday Night Baseball Schedule (currently– neither is scheduled for any telecasts in 2017 SNB)

….After getting a taste on the “other side” from Clemson…Urban Meyer has resolved not to run it up again after beating Rutgers 53-0, Nebraska & Maryland by 62-3 scores this year

….Ken Hitchcock has resolved to tell us why he really left the Blues in 2019

….Kevin Slaten has resolved to be back on the StL radio waves in 2017

….LeBron James (now #8 in NBA scoring) has resolved to become the all-time leader scorer in 2022

….Mizzou’s recruiters have resolved to get more than 1 player …which they have now in verbal commitments…from the list of Post-Dispatch All Metro Players

….John Lackey has resolved to smile at least once in 2017

….the most interesting “man In the world” has resolved to stop kicking coconuts between camels J

….the Oakland Raiders resolve to remind all NFL fans of their wonderful history in this playoff season, especially the success of John Madden (#1 winning percentage in modern era of NFL with .750%   103-32-7 who has been relegated to being remembered for his announcing and the Maddon football game

….Red Sox resolved to settle their plethora of starting pitching surplus by dumping Clay Buchholz to the Phils for a handshake…Buchholz now basically becomes the Phillies ace

….Coach K has resolved not to let Grayson Allen ruin his New Years..outta sight..outta mind

….Les Snead (Rams GM) has resolved that he’ll continue working towards winning the Barney Fife Award for being  the weakest  “2nd” man of any group

….many NCAA football teams have resolved to imitate the U of Minnesota solution to player protests about suspensions of certain players…the Gophers coaches brought in the entire team and opened up the 60 page report on the sex abuse charges against their teammates…protest ended ….and Minnesota won the bowl game to boot!

….25 year old Carlos Martinez resolves to pitch 200 inn (for the 1st time), win 17+ game (for the 1st time) and to keep his hits/9 inn under 8.0 as he did in 2016.

….after failing to be successful on the R_ _ _ stadium proposal and now the MLS stadium proposal, Dave Peacock has resolved NOT to work for the Blues in a new arena proposal

….Ehren Earleywine (Mizzou softball coach) resolves to let one of his 4 assistant coaches deal with any “personal” issues of his highly successful softball team and with the press while he just coaches

….Dan McLaughlin has resolved to make at least 1 more reference to Deke Dodem during a 2017 Cardinal broadcast

….the NBA has resolved to stop publishing immediately after the game their report on the referees calls in the final 2 minutes of the game

….the R _ _ _ have resolved to win more games next year…what a lofty goal, heh?

….the Angels have resolved to sign players to a one year contract (like Ben Revere) and never again to go the Albert Pujols route …of course, this resolution excludes Mike Trout

….Bob has resolved to bring these resolutions to an end……thanks for making it to the bottom 

 

 

Top Stories of 2016 by Bob Ryan

The top Local Sports stories of 2016…..those that seemed to generate the most discussions and debates….

1stLocal Lou Sports Stories…

#1 Departure of R_ _ _–this story still percolates…most StL folks fall into 1 of 3 tents—a)  have complete apathy towards R_ _ _ and often the entire NFL b) total revulsion towards the R _ _ _ & NFL c ) actual cheering when things go wrong, inappropriately, or awry for the R_ _ _ such as yet another putrid record on the field, very weak TV ratings, firing of Jeff Fisher, drafting of Jared Goof etc, etc

#2 Deep run of the Blues in the NHL Playoffs…1st time since 2000-01 season that the boys wearing the Blue-Note made it to the Conference Finals

#3 The early exit of the Cardinals from the competition for the Division Championship…while the Cards contended until the waning days of the season for the Wild Card…much of July & August had a real distinct, indifferent feel to it

#4 Trying to bounce back, some businessmen from the LOU are trying to assemble a package for a stadium that will bring an MLS team here..facing more hurdles than the Cards did to get a TIF for an extension of BallPark Money-Land

#5 Disappointing Mizzou football season that failed to make even one of the 40 bowls…the new PC NCAA standard is …everyone has to be in a bowl..that alone makes it a good season …. even if they only attain the  high zenith mark of .500

#6 SLU & Mizzou women basketball team have very strong seasons in 2015-16

Some of the most recognized personalities of StL 2016 sports scene….

#1 Ezkiel Elliott (John Burroughs grad) stuns most everyone with a spectacular rookie season for Dallas in the NFL

#2 Jayson Tatum finally wins a State Basketball Championship @ Chaminade with a sterling performance in title game in Mizzou Arena

#3  The sudden,  unexpected emergence of Aledmys Diaz as a star for the Cards.

#4 Colleen Quigley, StL native from Nerinx Hall, qualifies for the Olympic Women Steeplechase

Other top sports stories in the Lou—-

…. All the buzz in the Lou about the Cubs zeroing in on a World Series and then the championship…I haven’t heard so much talk about a non-Cardinal series….ever!

….continued smirks and smiles about the ineptness of Jayson Heyward in a Cubbie uniform

….The abrupt, rather harsh, departure of Jim Crews from SLU basketball—followed by the signing of the  energetic, recruiting maniac- Travis Ford.

….Jake Allen moving up to the the full time #1 goal tender

….Yadi has one of his best hitting seasons of his career

….Washington U Women Soccer win the D-III championship

….all the talk around town about these blogs J

Outside the borders of the Lou metropolitan area….some of the  major sports topics of 2016 that were part of many StL sports discussions

#1 Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt dominate week 1 & 2 respectively in Olympics

#2 Cubs take the lead in NL div race in April and end up coasting to Division title and a later World Series win for first time in 100+ years

#3 Leichester City shocks soccer world with what some call “Greatest Upset in soccer history”

#4 Villanova wins the NCAA Mens basketball championship as March Madness continues to dominate March sports as it runs rampart across the USA with brackets flowing over, under and everywhere

#5 LeBron James, almost single-handedly in final game, carries Cavs to NBA championship…with all the NBA talk in St. Louis…you’d never know that the league exists J

 

…some tidbits to throw out between bites of your favorite cookies…note  plural of cookie J

….in a case of …I won’t do that again……Last Sunday, With the Tennessee Titans struggling to get an attempted 53 yd FG off in time as the clock was running and down to 2 seconds..Andy Reid (KC) called time-out but it was not signaled until the attempted kick was already taken…it fell short…the officials indicated no play…so the Titans regrouped, took their time … and banged home the winning FG  as time ran out over KC and Andy Reid stood in disbelief.

…December– not so much ….30 year old Paul Stastny hasn’t enjoyed December much…offensively, he has a goal on Dec 6 and 1 assist on Dec 15 for the entire month…. This is from a skater who is 4th highest on the team in ice time….btw…the Blues have only outscored their opponents in the 3rd period ONCE in the entire month! That doesn’t bode well for playoff time.

… it’s all over but the funeral march…Jay Spoonhower’s E. Illinois team pushed aside the Mizzou Tigers last week and just about insured that Kim Anderson won’t be back next year

…it’s YOUR role……Aroldis Chapman now says that he didn’t like the way the Cubs used him in the World Series…they put the game in his hands…albeit a bit more  and earlier than usual…what else would a closer want? Resigning with the Yanks ensures that he won’t have to worry about ever  being overworked in a World Series game again….although…it’s highly unlikely that he’ll finish his career wearing pin-stripes

….it can be done…..NCAA says it doesn’t want to expand its D-1 championship to beyond 4 teams…too much time, too hard on players, yada-yada-yada…..yet the NCAA FCS FOOTBALL championship has a tournament of 24 teams…the top 8 teams get 1st round byes…their championship game this year  includes #4 seed –James Madison vs Youngstown State (not seeded in the top 8)…the game will be played on Jan 7. This tournament requires 23 games total  …Meanwhile, NCAA D-II championship brackets work for 28 teams, with the reseeding for the final 4….NW Missouri State just won this championship as they beat N. Alabama 29-3…there isn’t any reason that the BCS schools couldn’t form a larger bracket in the same way…maybe 16 or 20 teams….use the earlier bowls for the earlier round games…it can be done without limiting it to 4 teams.

…who would you rather watch?…Good for SLU women basketball…their game against Mizzou …while schools were out… drew over 6200 people..it was apparently a good game between two good teams.

….I’m sure that you are still waiting anxiously for the Heart of Dallas Bowl…ranked as the worst bowl game of the 2016 season…North Texas 5-7 (ranked as the weakest bowl team this year of the 80 teams) faces an Army (7-5)  team– run-first, determined, but not real exciting unless you’re a Cadet…or a former Frosh coach. These two teams met earlier with N. Texas winning 35-18 but N. Texas won just 1 of its last 5 games……This thriller is on Dec 27. Frankly…neither of these teams belong in a bowl….we have about 10 too many bowls. If you need some background buzz while you take an afternoon nap….this is your ticket.

…Jeff Fisher NFL coaching career is over…finally…he stayed about 8 years too long!..he  joins some other illustrious  names who stayed too long in the NFL also..David Shula (19-53—lost 50 games faster than anyone);Bobby Petrino (3-10—announced wiht 3 games remaining that he was leaving for Arkansas after assuring the owner hours previously that he was staying); Lou Holtz (3-10—when he quit he said,”God did not put Lou Holtz  in the world to coach in the NFL”—at least he knew it in just one seasonJ… Steve Spurrier (12-20); Marion Campbell (34-80-1) and who could forget…Rod Rust (1-15-coached Pats in 1990)

…its me…or ..its…me…so Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) and Leonard Fournette (LSU) declare that they won’t be playing in their team’s bowl game.  Football is truly a team sport… all the units must perform to have an excellent team…these two players have dropped their team in a game that most of the other players on that team want to win badly (since it’s their last game for many of them)…this is just another symptom of our societal—“it’s all about me baby” syndrome. Ex-athletes who are now talking heads-despised the decision..non athletic talking heads thought that the player had made a good decision….if you’ve never been on a REAL team….you’ll never get it!

….Grayson Allen (Duke) being suspended for repeated dirty play by Coach K will probably lead to his transfer….He needs Duke more than Duke needs him.

…It seems required in this bowl season that the winning team must score 50+ points….I know offense is ahead of defense but come on….is there NO defense out there…other than Alabama?

 

This wraps up 2 years of blogs….it’s  been  fun for me …. And I really appreciate all of you reading and responding (just send me an email if you want to keep it private)….thanks for helping to “spread the word” to others…and keep doing it…This is how it got started…I wrote an article on the Super Bowl 2 years ago. Two Washington DC sports talk show announcers on Monday thought that Bob Ryan (Boston Globe) had written the blog… so they call him up to interview him!  It is a funny interview between these two lost souls and Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe instead of me…  Listed below is  my Super Bowl Article on Prepcasts—titled ….Super Bowl through the eyes of Bob  Ryan

http://www.prepcasts.com/super-bowl-xlix-through-the-eyes-of-bob-ryan/

 

and……Here’s the Boston Globe’s article which includes the radio segment…

…you have to click the play button several paragraphs now (in box) to hear it

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/02/03/columnist-bob-ryan-is-not-blogger-bob-ryan/#comments

 

If you missed some of the “best” of 2016….I didn’t say that they were good….here’s some …and according to your reading numbers and my own enjoyment  in writing them…

 

July 28th article—StL Sports Pokemon-Go was very popular..

http://www.prepcasts.com/stl-sports-pokemon-go-by-bob-ryan

 

The June 5th article-Wong must Go elicited many strong feelings…generally opposed to my title

http://www.prepcasts.com/wong-must-go-by-bob-ryan

 

On Oct 16, the Maddon vs Matheny Debate sparked accusations that I was biased …some said too much for Maddon…some said too much for Matheny….so I guess it was just right 

http://www.prepcasts.com/debate-maddon-v-matheny-by-bob-ryan/

 

On June 14, the long time game show, Wheel of Fortune made its way to our blog.

http://www.prepcasts.com/wheel-of-fortune-by-bob-ryan

 

Jan 16 was one of my personal favorites…the Yellow Brick Road to the NGL

http://www.prepcasts.com/down-yellow-brick-road-to-ngl-by-bob-ryan/

 

The Dear Santa article….just recently done …was also a favorite but heck…you’ve got that link already.. 

 

Happy New Year….may all of you enjoy a prosperous and joyous 2017

See you next week with “New Years Resolutions for 2017”  

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Santa 2016 by Bob Ryan

dear santaIt’s that time of year….Santa is getting deluged by thousands and thousands of letters….we were able to peek at a few prior to dropping them back into Santa’s “in-box”….

…..Dear Santa, Please send us another Matt Holliday…..Cardinal Glennon Hospital

….Dear Santa, Please send me some more Blues goals…the “Towel Man”

….Dear Santa, Please send me better weather…..I haven’t seen any daylight with the ball for 2 years now…Todd Gurley

….Dear Santa, Please don’t make us wait another 100 years for a World Series Championship team…the Cubs fans

…Dear Santa, Please  let Oklahoma go 12-0 next year…clearly winning a conference championship isn’t good enough and we don’t’ have a playoff..so maybe if we’re 12-0…maybe then…we’ll get a team in the NCS..Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Commissioner

…Dear Santa….please allow Dexter Fowler to match his 2016 numbers in 2017…Mo

…Dear Santa, Please allow me to “remember when winning conference championships meant something”…the Dr Pepper Vendor Man

…Dear Santa, Please teach the Atlanta folks to cheer when I get 3 straight outs…the StL fans were always pleasantly surprised and happy when that occurred….Jaime Garcia

….Dear Santa, Please allow us to vote ..on the spot…by raising our hands….to determine the MLB appeals…clearly our vote would be quicker and just as accurate…..Joe Baseball Fan

…Dear Santa, Please send some info to our fans…our weak offense has 86 goals and our strong defense has given up 86 goals…Vlad

…Dear Santa, I can’t even turn in my play book to the LA recyclable center…it doesn’t take papyrus paper…. Jeff Fisher

…Dear Santa, Please send Kurt Warner my award for helping others so generously…George Baily of It’s a Wonderful Life

…Dear Santa, Have the fans give me a break…sure I only have  4 goals & 5 assists but I’m +3 meanwhile Alexander Steen has 3 goals & 16 ast but is -12..Jori Lehtera

….Dear Santa, Please allow the Cardinals to consider using me …outside of catching 1 or 2 times a week…at 3B …a position that I played earlier in my career..kinda like Kyle Schwarber does…play at more than one position…plus it’d free spot for yet another reliever  Carson Kelly

…Dear Santa, Please allow the days of our newly acquired reliever, Aroldis Chapman, to be remembered more for “closing games” than Domestic Violence …NYY Management

….Dear Santa, Please send us some recognition from the community after we represented our school and won the D-III Women Soccer Championship….Wash U soccer players

…Dear Santa, Please send me my usual 10 year old sweatshirt for Sunday wear…Bill Belichieck

…Dear Santa, Let common sense prevail….sure our ratings dropped..how could they rise when we accounted for 46 of the top 50 TV broadcasts of any type in the year 2015?…Roger Dumbnall

…Dear Santa, Please don’t let 2016 repeat again….I’d rather have a sore arm!…..Mike Leake

…Dear Santa, Please allow us to use a voting form on twitter to determine the MLB appeals…clearly our vote would be quicker and just as accurate….Joe Teen-Fan

…Dear Santa, Please open the eyes of the MLB HOF committee. There are currently 13 catchers in the MLB HOF..if I were admitted right now…. with comparison to other HOF catchers..I’d be  #1 in HITS, #2in RBI, #5 in HR,  #5 in RUNS and #6 in career AVG..let me be voted into the Baseball Hall…Ted Simmons

….Dear Santa, I’d like the fans to start talking about me as HOF material….I’ve been in the playoffs 8 of 14 years, passed for over 46000 yards and 297 TD’s…Ben Rothlisberger

….Dear Santa, I know that you’ve been kind to me but I only have 7-9 players who are being considered 1st round NFL picks….couldn’t you get that up to around 12-15….it’d help my recruiting J  Nick Saban

…Dear Santa, Please send someone to me  to explain why I’m viewed as a “weak fielder”?  My fielding % of .981 was higher than Carpenter .979, Gyorko .978, Aledmys Diaz .962, Greg Garcia .961 and Johnny Peralta .980 and I have far more range than any of them….Kolton Wong

…Dear Santa, Send a TU to Ric Flair for demonstrating the flair & showmanship needed  in the ring…which now has led to my success in movies….Dwayne “Rock” Johnson

…Dear Santa, Please send a “nice knowing you” card to Cards Mike Mayers…called up in this year..pitched 5.1 inn, 16 hits, 16 ER….released recently by Cards….a very short and not so sweet career….Eddie Gaedel (midget—pinch hit in 1 AB for the Browns-even shorter career)

…Dear Santa, with all the unfortunate news hovering around Mizzou, why doesn’t anyone in the country know that I won the NCAA cross country race this year? Karissa Schweizer, JR,UM

…Dear Santa, I’m asking for a homecoming win next year over IdaHO…if I don’t get it.. I may get the HeevHO….Barry Odum

….Dear Santa, I currently lead all scorers in D-1 basketball in Missouri ..men and women… from the Lou to Columbia…but no one knows me….please give me a good PR man….Jackie Kemph, SLU women basketball 14.6 ppg

…Dear Santa, I need a job change…I’m getting bored being the best on the d-side…could you get me on the o-side of things…after all this past weekend I was telling…yelling actually.. whatever.. to Pete Carroll about our offense not running the ball….Richard Sherman

…Dear Santa, Please keep the injury bug away for 5 more months…Jayson Tatum

…Dear Santa, Help me to regain my swagger….after all I led the Browns to their only win in the last 365 days…oh forget it….I never lost my swagger….Johnny Manziel

…Dear Santa, Send me a QB…now…right now…my 2016 #1 Jr QB, DeShone Kizer, just declared for the draft and the #2,Malike Zaire,  is transferring…the fans are all over me already after winning just 4 games this year…Please Santa….I need this good QB now…Brian Kelly,ND

…Dear Santa, Please let us become part of the deep post-season run like the other Cleveland teams.. Cavs & Indians…oh wait…we’d settle for a win….the Cleveland Browns

….Dear Santa, Please skip the appeal process in the MLB…it’s too slow…. after the decision its still controversial a good part of the time… oh and did I say too slow…anyway…is it really THAT important over 162 games if a guy is safe at 2B or 3B? Joe Fan—falling asleep-at-home

…Dear Santa, when will this all be over…I want Christmas…..A Reader

Merry Christmas to All !!!

 

 

‘Tis the Season by Bob Ryan

‘Tis the Season…..all the annual hustle/bustle  of Christmas  begins as Christmas decorations begin appearing inside & outside…..holiday shoppers appear in larger numbers… Holiday parties flourish …since Christmas parties aren’t allowed…MLB winter meetings bring player movements….bowl matchups are announced…so a quick look at the sports news of the “Season”

 

Some reactions to the baseball winter meetings & signings/trades

…walking down aisle with Bridesmaid…..the Cards get Dexter Fowler….clearly they have improved their team…. according to almost every single offensive stat…he’s very solid in the batting stats comparisons of all CF in MLB…so it helps the Cards…. however…there are a couple stats that “stick out” to me—some good some not so good….a) 2nd in pitches per plate appearance @ 4.41 b) 19th in games played-125  c) 6th in average @ .276  d) in runs created he was #6 @ 87  e) 12th in ground ball to fly ball ratio 0.72  f) career batting average is .268…but I feel like the Cards really wanted someone else ….but didn’t get him or decided the asking price was too high for the player that they really wanted…who knows who that was….they wouldn’t have waited until some other players were “off the board.. they  would have signed him right off the bat ….pardon the punJ  I do think that not only does Fowler improve the on-field play but his personality ….smiling, overt….will be good medicine for the seemingly stoic, businesslike atmosphere of the Cards locker-room.

 ….no more closer by committee…the SF Giants signed Mark Melancon to be their closer after the Giants tried “matching up”, using the hot or fresh  reliever through a committee of bullpen guys…that didn’t work out so well…so welcome aboard Mr. Melancon

…I’m Mr. Lonely….you remember that song by Bobby Vinton…vintage 1963…anyway  Edwin Encarnacion has been given the cold shoulder  by MLB team in these early day of free agency…it makes you wonder about this guy…he can hit with power–.263, 42 HR, 127 RBI..he’s clearly a better hitter as a DH… somehow the fielding bothers him as a hitter but come on…but…there’s always a but…when he rejected a 4 year $80 million deal he  began walking around like he has the plague ….I suspect he’ll end up in AL

….same ol’, same ol’….Yanks do it again …sign a big name, to a big contract in the diminishing years of his career…welcome aboard  Matt Holliday

….HR Leader looking for a home…Mark Trumbo searches for a team…I’m choosing Toronto as his landing place…as long as he isn’t asking for $20mil per year

…is it now or never?….the Boston Red Sox add a dominant starter, a 1B replacement for Big Papi and a wonderful lefty for the bullpen as they acquire Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg…. Thornburg cost the Sox their starting 3B for much of 2016-Travis Shaw (16 HR, 71 rbi, .242) but Thornburg fills a real need.  He was 8-5 in 67 games, 67 inn, 90 strikeouts but had a wonderful 2nd half for the Brewers. Mitch Moreland is signed as the free agent 1b—he’s coming off of a disappointing .233 season but Boston hopes it’s a 1 year hiccup…the big trade for Sale from the White Sox sent 2  very highly touted prospects (including the highest ranked prospect in the minor leagues –Yoan Moncada) and 2 other highly rated prospects…clearly the Red Sox are playing for now…they have a starting rotation that has a robust upper 3 for 2017—Porcello, Price and Sale… I like it.. no guarantee it’ll work… but play for now…worry about the future as it gets closer

… is this fools gold or the real thing?…..meanwhile the White Sox are now in possessions of 8 of the top 30 minor league prospects of the entire MLB…they are hoping that 2 …maybe if they’re  lucky..4-5 of the prospects live up to their glossy  billing…it is said that they are rebuilding…”rebuilding ” is a term that implies to me…that we know that we’re going to lose but we have an alibi…we “Might” win  sometime in the future

…pinned in a corner….the rule 5 draft allows any one MLB team..say team 1….to choose a minor league player  from another MLB team..call this team 2…. The chosen player must have a certain  amount of years in organization and have been left off of the MLB 40 man roster….the only restriction on team 2 is that the player that they choose MUST stay up on the Major league roster for the entire season OR that chosen player reverts back to his original team…well…San Diego chose THREE rule 5 players…so in 2017 they’ll have 3 players that they can’t move…sometimes  it does work out and this minor leaguer does become productive…e.g. matt Bowman of the Cards last year was a rule 5 player.

 

…just by chance….I caught the Army-Navy game on Saturday night….it was terrific….two highly disciplined teams, playing with emotion but none of the self-centered, attention grabbing antics that permeate throughout most of college athletics…clearly it was a “team” 1st mentality…and…as a sucker for underdogs….I must admit, I was rooting for Army who hadn’t won since 2001. In a game where the forward pass was abhorred by both teams…almost as much as Christmas shopper abhorring the thought of the checkout terminal losing its power…it was a great game… the Cadets came from behind to upend the Midshipmen 21-17. Sure…these aren’t the premier college football teams….but one has to be impressed by these young men who will be representing and fighting for us…the USA.

 

Clarification…last week I wrote that Martin Van Buren was the 1st President born in the USA….I received many “corrections” from readers…thank you for keeping…or trying ..to keep me straight.. at any rate..Van Buren was the 1st Prez born after America was the USA(therefore 1st born after 1776)…my son Tim clarified it on facebook but I thought that I’d try to “save face” by giving the explanation…thanks to all  of you for keeping me on the “straight & narrow”.

 

The bowl season announces its pairings

In the JV bowls….the ones prior to Dec 29…there are riveting matchups….I can’t wait to watch the Old Dominion vs E. Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl…go ahead give me the mascot of either of those teams…or in the New Orleans Bowl where So. Miss tangles with UL-Lafayette….remember Houston’s great start…well Houston plays San Diego St in the Las Vegas Bowl..and there are many other similar mediocre teams in irrelevant games

 

In the Varsity Bowls outside the BCS…I’m tired of writing about the BCS….Georgia vs TCU in Liberty Bowl appeals to me—one team that has little offense and good defense against a team that moves the ball but couldn’t tackle their grandma….LSU vs Louisville in Citrus Bowl gives the Cardinals an opportunity to play a “big boy” from the SEC…Colorado will try to prove their new level of skill as they face the run-gun Ok State Cowboys in a game that the over/under will probably be 90…the Sun Bowl features two teams that disappointed their fans this year in Stanford and N. Carolina but I’ve enjoyed McCaffrey as a player so it’ll be the final time to watch him perform…I always enjoy watching Boise State in bowls…this year Boise faces Baylor in what should be a high scoring game in the Cactus Bowl and the last bowl that looks good to me…one that doesn’t seem to have two 6-6 type teams…. is in the Orange Bowl—Michigan vs Florida State…I may end up flipping on some of these other bowls out of curiosity but…really…just the names of the Bowls…the Quick Lane Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the Baca Rotan Bowl, etc…don’t  even sound like a bowl to me

 

….what will he do?…so Montie Cross (the Def Coordinator @ Mizzou) is returning next year but Odum is calling the defense…guess he will  be assigned to be the “high fiving” coach…ya know…the coach that greets all the kids as they exit the field with a high five for their play….reading between the lines it seems that Mizzou doesn’t want to eat his contract and release him so…..high five it baby.

 

Now its Tis the Season for me to exit and return to the Christmas tree, Christmas Cards, yada-yada-yada   that are longing for my attention.