Happy Days by Bob Ryan

 This weekend was the ol’ Happy Days of Milwaukee all over again…I was looking for Richie Cunningham, Fonzie, Al Delvecchio, Mom & Pop Cunningham and the entire crew again ..things always worked out for them … somehow… despite the dire circumstances of the early minutes of the show…it all fell in line and had a “happy ending….so…as the Cards arrived in Milwaukee…happy to escape Busch III….they were in the same dire straits…weak fielding, inconsistent starting pitching, who really was the closer?, spotty hitting, yada-yada-yada..but get to Milwaukee…the ball flies out of there like planes about as often as planes take off in an airport, the Brewers pitching staff can’t find low ERA’s anyplace, Mil has speedy players but they can’t hit to get on base….after game 1…the Cards controlled the series and it was “Happy Days” all over again .

 

But prior to our Happy Days Series in Milwaukke, I heard and read all kinds of “fans” yelling for Matheny’s scalp….we haven’t played 20 games yet but those fans were demanding an immediate victim for all the losses….you would have sworn that Ted Drewes had run out of ice cream…or that HWY 270 was now a toll road….or that toasted ravs were now forbidden on the Hill with all the crabbing, complaining and calls for “heads”. As all of you know who’ve been reading my blogs…I’m not exactly the biggest Manifesto supporter.. putting it mildly…but come on….St Louis fans are spoiled….real spoiled…our Cards have been on a tremendous run this entire millennium….ya know the other teams players are professionals also…getting paid the same high salaries as our local heroes..they are paid to win too! The Cardinals are not barnstorming across America playing the local town heroes…the opponents are as professional as our local heroes they are expected to perform against the Cardinals too J . Take a gander at some of these hard facts…the Cards have been in the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years, 6 of the last 8, 9x divisional champs in the 2000’s and 12x in playoffs in the 2000’s…must they do it EVERY year?  And….there’s a good chance that they WILL end up in the playoffs this year…but time will tell.  Take a wider look at the entire MLB in playoffs since the start of the year 2000.. The most…#1 in playoff appearances  in this millennium are the New York Yankees—13x…then comes our Cards at 12x…Cards were only in 16 post seasons during all the 1900….now for much of that time… the World Series was the only post-season but here’s the rankings of the entire MLB in post season appearances—2000 onward

13x-NY Yankees

12x-St Louis Cardinals

9x-Atlanta  Braves

8x-LA Dodgers (no world series Championship since 1988), Boston Red Sox(3world series crowns), Oakland A’s

7x-LA Angels , SF Giants

6x-Minnesota  Twins

5x-Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia  Phillies, Texas Rangers

4x- AZ D-Backs, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros , NY  Mets, Cleveland Indians

3x-Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Cincy Reds, Chicago White Sox, Wash Nationals

2x-Kansas City,  Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Bluejays

1x-Florida  Marlins  (only in playoffs twice in entire history-won the world series both times!

 …All 30 Teams have competed in at least one Post Season from 2000 onward..

Biggest surprises to me…Toronto only twice, Phillies five times—WOW—would have never guessed that many, no wonder no one shows up in Florida for baseball-only one playoff appearance  J Oakland an incredible eight times…that leads me to my next topic…Oakland’s GM—Billy Beane

….”Billy Ball” is the technique developed and mastered by Billy Beane….he is able to sign players that produce in certain areas (probably not all areas) and form an all-around team without signing any costly free agents…it is a extremely difficult task to meld together a team like this and still win….but he has..during his time @ Oakland, his teams are 1552-1362 (.533) over the last 18 years (4th best in AL & 6th best in entire MLB during that time). The A’s have won AL West titles in 2000, 2002-03,  2006, 2012-13 and also have notched 2 Wild card spots in 2001 and 2014. His teams have been in 8 post seasons (4th in MLB behind NYY, Cards and Atlanta) and same amount as the LA Dodgers and Boston Red Sox (2 teams that spend huge amounts)

 

It wasn’t Milwaukee…but it was again northern mid-America…..Minnesota… and it was Happy Days for the Blues as they clinched the 1st series against the Wild.  Some random thoughts…

…The Wild scored only 4 goals even strength throughout the entire series…the Blues had limited chances but capitalize

…the late season signing of  Vladimir Sobotka paid off immediate dividends as he cashed in  a goal & assisted on the game winner in game 5 of the Wild Series

….it seems like are seeing the emergence to another level for our 2ne line of defensemen -Parayko & Edmundson- they’ve elevated their offensive game …each scored a goal and Parayko launched 17 shots in the series while Edmundson was a +6 for the series…putting him in the top six NHL players for the first round

…meanwhile, the Wild pulverized Jake Allen with 182 shots in the series with only 8 shots ending behind him in the net.

…we often kick around the idea that the Blues have struggled in the playoffs…and justifiably so…how about the Wild?  Minnesota won a franchise high 49 regular season games this season only to be bounced in round 1. They’ve only made it as far as the conference finals ONCE—way back in 2002-03. It sounds like we’re both singing the same tune J

 

What happened to “old” style baseball?

….Kolton Wong hits a round tripper…on his next plate appearance he attempts to bunt …oK….it is good to keep the defense off-balance.. but…come on…certain nights you see the ball better than other nights…if you hit a dinger on one AB, you’re seeing it well…at least try hitting the ball again the next time up…

…I recall when pitchers were never removed from a game if they had a no-hitter going…in a recent trend….Wei-Yin Chen was removed after 7 innings of no-hit baseball…his pitch count was all the way up to 100…pardon my sarcasm..Brad Ziegler kept the no-no alive in the 8th but Kyle Barraclough surrendered a hit in the 9th…come on…give the guy a chance to get his 1 chance…probably only chance… of special glory in the MLB…I was surprised to find that this has happened with some frequency in the last year..Miami pulled Adam Conley last year after 7 2/3 innings (116 pitches)…last year Rich Hill (Dodgers) was removed from a perfect 7 inning game..and there are more in earlier years…reason always given—protect their arm from excessive use..since when is 100 pitches the magic mark for pitchers who are bigger, stronger, better conditioned athletes than pitchers from previous eras who threw commonly 120-130 pitches? I say let them stay in the game….the euphoria of the thrill of a no-no will negate the “possible” break down…or …heaven forbid…give him 1 or 2 extra days of rest prior to the next start

…it’s not baseball …but it is old style…Danny Amendola, who had signed a 2  year $8.1 deal in 2016…was injured and ineffective (only 23 receptions last year)…so he agreed to play for “only” $1.6million to stay on the Pats…don’t tell me that winning isn’t important to him!

 

 

Snapshot of Cardinal week…

….Dead man Walking these days is Johnny Peralta—but the Cardinal Medical Staff does earn the Corporal Klinger Award for finding a way “out of action” for Johnny….”upper respiratory issue”!!…I could have accepted him having been a hernia rupture after carrying around that extra “n” all his life…but an “upper respiratory issue”….come on… I couldn’t have missed even one day of grade school for a “cold”…oops…I mean, “upper respiratory issue”….Mom wouldn’t buy it….but the Cards did…and willingly…what Johnny is really suffering from is the date on his birth certificate J

….2-1 three times?  WOW!  Pittsburgh bats were ice-cold…not sure if they’ll ever warm up this year…their lineup strikes about as much fear as a 5 year child dressed as a ghost on Halloweeen…StL fans had to be encouraged by Lynn, Leak, & Wacha’s performances but overlooked is the shabby defense..especially In game 2, 9th inning…. when 2 errors were called infield singles and Oh was late covering 1B on a ball hit to first-baseman

…Diaz seems to only see fastballs out of the zone…he’s getting doused with breaking balls and off speed pitches of all sorts

…so Mo ends the OF Matt Adams experiment publicly…probably justified…but seems far out of character for the GM to go public in such a manner…is MO feeling the heat mentioned above? So….where does this put Adams…Carp hasn’t been moved to 3B (yet)…and Carp & Adams are both Left handed hitters

…If the Cards minor league teams are so deep…and deep in pitching …what are we doing with Jonathan Broxton?…a mop up guy being paid just to finish games or innings …not win games….while cashing in $3,750,000

…while we did “beat up” the Brewers, the Cards still had too way too many mistakes on bases and in the field…some have told me that they really have a hard time enjoying the Cardinal games when they play as they’ve been doing in the first 3 weeks

…Yadi played in 147 games in 2016..thus he missed 15 games… Through 19 games of 2017, Yadi has played in 16 games….already missing 3 games..at this rate and without injury, he’ll miss 24 games in 2017…did the emotional WBC take a toll on Yadi…and several other players …in 2017?

 

Happy Days for you…you’re at the end…

Comments

  1. Joe Parisi says:

    Good read as always…

    Agree, the Cardinal fans are spoiled!
    Dating back to the Big Red days, StL has always been said to be a baseball town.
    I do remember the Greatest Show On Turf days of the Rams…. tailgaters were plentiful and the Dome was packed! Net… winners draw crowds and generate $ for franchise owners.
    The Cards draw over 3mm fans annually… remember the 70’s? Mediocre teams at best/ poor attendance.
    Add the Rams departure, failure on the MLS/ Stadium proposal, and the Blues, although great corporate citizens, never winning The Cup… Baseball is THE Consistent pride for the StL sports fan… if the mighty Redbirds struggle, fans freak out.

    Hope I’m wrong, but lack of power, a consistent dominate starting pitcher( a Gibson, Carlton type)
    And the iffy bullpen , combined with occasional strategy flaws by Mike will have the Cards ” close but no cigar”

  2. Sam Noce says:

    Hey Bob I want to thank you for contacting the St Louis Cardinal Manager and telling him to put up or step down. (LOL) I see the Cardinals won their last 3 or 4 games. They are in 2nd last place now. Better than last place. I hope the Cardinals can live up to their pass seasons. We will see.
    On my bucket list is I want to see the Cardinals and New York Yankees play in a World Series.
    Win or lose I’m a Cardinal fan.
    I remember in our younger years me, you and Brewer went to Sportsmen park to see the Cardinals play, down on St Louis Ave.
    Go Cardinals

  3. Fr. Brad says:

    Dear Coach,

    I don’t care how Kolton gets on…those two bunt singles he had recently were beautiful, old school baseball! That those hits came after a home run matter not to me; still gotta see the ball to bunt it in the right place just as you need to see the ball to hit it out of the park. 🙂
    In terms of the fans wanting Mr. Matheny’s scalp – as Tony LaRussa was always fond of saying – you only need to be near .500 at the All Star break. Lots of baseball yet to play, no need for anyone to lose their job!

  4. Mike Petry says:

    I support Fr. Brad. It was refreshing to see a major league player who actually knows how to bunt.
    With these crazy fielder shifts, I have seen third base left empty and hitters/coaches who don’t even try. Nobody’s covering. You would think that, with the numerous situations where the bunt is needed, more emphasis would be given by the hitting instructor.
    I went to a sixteen year old game and was amazed how many players could actually bunt. What really caught my attention was pitchers getting base hits with the bunt. When did they put this skill on the back burner.

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