He stepped into it by Bob Ryan

In the NLCS, Manny Machado clearly stepped on the foot of the Brewer 1B….then he really stepped into it…..he was called out by the Brewers as being “dirty” since he’s done similar types of things previously… despite his prodigious power….Machado’s action …it seems to me…..relegates him to a 2nd tier type team signing him …the top tier teams probably don’t want to be sidetracked… apologizing for a “dirty” star …..does this mean that he’ll get less money… I doubt it….but I can’t see any of the current playoff teams of 2018  looking towards him to be “the guy” due to his tendency to “wake up” the other teams with his type of play. I’m thinking…he seems to be a big city guy….although he wants to be with a “winner”… I think that it could be Philadelphia, San Francisco, Mets as the front runners for his services.

….speaking of stepping into it….so now the NFL sees the trouble brewing between Kronke and the Chargers….so they float the idea of the Chargers going to StL…right!..with all the bitterness still rampant in the Lou about the move and the last 2…or is it 3..years with no NFL…people have moved on…btw.. from what I read about the Lou’s suit against Kronke/Rams…it appears that St Louis’ has a very strong set of arguments and facts…..the number being thrown around is $140 to St. Louis….that’d really be super….maybe… St Louis could step out of all their debt….pay off that dormant, ugly  Dome….and move the city forward.

….continuing in more off-season baseball…..more and more clouds are surrounding Wrigley Field…. apparently management isn’t seeing eye to eye with Joe Maddon ….but…they don’t want to “step in it” with the public. This mgmt. team HAS been aggressive in trading & signing highly skilled young players…..and currently…. management holds more cards with ownership than the field manager…the expectation was that 2018 would be another run at the Series for the Cubbies…..it didn’t work out that way….they were bounced out of the post-season prior to the Series….. however, it’s one thing to acquire good players….it’s another to get them to play “hard” every day….year after year……IF…probably a big IF…. they part ways….Maddon won’t be unemployed very long. It may sound strange to us about Maddon…it’s about as surprising as learning that Bill Buckner had more hits in his career than Ted Williams! Which he did!!

….Sooooo…as of Nov 1, 2018 ….the Cards 2019 rotation….at this point….seems to be Martinez, Mikolas, Flaherty, Wacha and Gomber…..Wainwright’s role?….I feel like the Cards are stepping into it with Wainwright…..I don’t believe that he can pitch effectively in relief every 2nd or 3rd day with his aging arm/elbow….although relief pitching  IS a need for all MLB teams…find 2 guys who can go 2-3 innings every 3rd day…chew up those middle innings with bridge pitchers…save those arms…sooo…if Wainwright CAN pitch…which I doubt…but for the sake of argument…let’s say that he can pitch regularly…I’d start him and make Martinez that “Bridge” man or long closer that I’ve just described. Martinez may balk because those type of guys aren’t getting paid the big bucks but….he did serve us well as a closer/reliever late in 2018. I really think that the back end of this starting rotation is only fair to middling anyway….at best….they seem like 5 inning guys. The Bullpen is the emphasis currently throughout the MLB…hope that the Cards really work hard to upgrade their pen… moving Martinez there would be a start to solving the problem.

…While many Card fans are yelling about “sign” him…or sign that guy…watch where you step……it made me think of all the stink in 2012 … right after winning the 2011 Series….when Albert Pujols left the Cards….we knew with our brain that it was the right move but our hearts tugged a different direction….looking over the past 7 years…the Angels have really stepped into it….Albert’s performance in LA looks like this in a nutshell…he’s hit 188 HR, hit 40 dingers once…over 100 rbi’s –4x, 95 once and in the 60’s twice…batting average…his 1st year as an Angel… .285..since then .272 in 2014 in the .260-.240’s all the other years…he’s been paid $153m to date by the Angels with 3 more years at $28, 29,& 30m…the ironical part is that he’s NEVER really been the “man”….Since Mike Trout arrival, Trout has been the shining star for Angels. The Cards management has been extremely careful about not “stepping into it” when it comes to free agents but currently there is more pressure on them to “bring in” a top level player which means top level salaries.

….but…the baseball season isn’t over…Boston has a 3-1 lead in the Series as I write this on Sunday morning….not only can the Red Sox knock the ball out of the ballpark…like most other teams today….they are fast and aggressive on the bases and play very good defense. I must admit that I do enjoy the games @ Fenway…it’s quirkiness around the ballpark adds a dimension of uncertainty that “spices” up the game for me. Many of those old ball parks were built in eras when the ballpark had to fit into the dimensions of a busy city….so…it wasn’t perfectly symmetrical and quite so spacious as the modern-day ballparks. The peculiarities of long-gone parks like Polo Grounds, Forbes Field, Ebbets Field brought different challenges to each game. Why don’t the Cardinals take out about 2/3 of that greenery in center field…make the walls rounded there….let’s see some triples… your thoughts on that suggestion?

…Mizzou really stepped into to it on Saturday….Dropping a heartbreaking , job killing, game to Kentucky 15-14  was devastating … when the game was extended due to a penalty on the Tigers …..but NO 1st downs offensively in the entire 2nd half for Mizzou…. unbelievable….an ill advised pass play in the 4th quarter that went incomplete and allowed Kentucky to hold onto their final time out for the last O-drive when the coaching staff decides to “fool” the opponent with a “safe”  pass (that went incomplete) and not follow the “norm” of making the opposition use up all their time outs…I’ve coached a long time…my good teams ….somehow found a way to win….my poor teams always found a way to lose…sometimes very creatively … like Mizzou just did…clearly Mizzou can play with these teams…. but …..can they beat them? What mighta been, coulda been…shoulda been…..hasn’t happened.

….clearly Mizzou’s game was the most exciting of the day….at #2 for the day, was the thrilling #14 Washington State ‘s late FG to beat #24 Stanford 41-38.  When the  Cougars (7-1, 4-1)fell behind 28-14 in the 1st half, the Cougars didn’t seemed fazed. QB Gardiner Minshew put the Cougars on his back….he was 40 of 50 passing, 438 yards passing, 3 TD passes and involved 10 different receivers!  He completed his first 19 passes of the 2nd half!  Even when Stanford tied the game 38-38 with a 1:25 left in the game, Minshew felt confident that his club would score again. The big play on the drive was a 35 yard completion to Jamire Calvin on a 3rd & 2 situation. Minshew advanced the ball to the 24 with 1 more pass. Then..Blake Mazza….attempting his FIRST ever game winning kick…. booted a 42 yarder for the winning score. Washington State has now knocked off ranked teams in back-back weeks for the 1st time since 2002 and with only 1 loss and are on top of the conference.

….I can hear it already…there’s got to be 2 SEC teams in the final four of NCAA football championships. My top 4 college football teams at this moment…Alabama, Clemson, ND, Michigan. How can some polls still have Ohio State #9 after being swamped by an unranked team? Michigan’s loss was to #3 ranked ND by one score. Oklahoma’s only loss was to #15 Texas by 3 points.

….I’m not a hockey expert….just a hockey fan…but even I can tell that something is wrong with the Blues…. Sure… they beat the Hawks by scoring 7 goals on Saturday…but…how often are they going to do that?..most of the team looks slow to me…especially the defensemen…..Jake Allen may not be the best….but he’s had many…way too many….easy shots against him….. I see Mike Yeo yelling frequently now …don’t remember him yelling at all last year…..the  open shots for the opposing teams must be eliminated if the Blues want to succeed….I don’t know  if Glen Hall was in the nets that he’d do any better… with those “good looks”….these NHL scorers WILL put it into the net. I’m getting tired of hearing, “we gotta give effort throughout the entire game”… That’s ridiculous…of course they do…that’s a minimum expectation for any professional. ..or even an amateur…or even a youth sports member… ALWAYS give your best effort!  Maybe…our players simply aren’t good enough…it seems to me the passionate Blues fans have a hard time…very hard time… saying that simple statement. Unfortunately…it’s really a shame … since Enterprise stepped into this situation and basically “saved” the Blues. Let’s hope that the Blues can tighten up on this home stand. However…..I see the lynching crowd forming for Yeo…you can’t fire the entire team….he might be walking the long green mile …oops…the long blue mile shortly.

…the Billikens Basketball team is “stepping up” …not into it….chosen in pre-season as the top team in the A-10..the Billikens have Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Houston and Florida State coming into town for non-conference games in 18-19 season. This is a huge upgrade in non-conference opponents. It should be an exciting season.

…Lane Kiffin has stepped into it….he’s at Florida Atlantic now….after a recent loss t Louisiana Tech 21-13 he lamented, “We killed ourselves… but it’s just ridiculous, you know, the things we do.”…11 penalties, a pair of turnovers that dropped Owls record to 3-5….this is a bit ironical when one looks @ Kiffin’s coaching career which has been slipping down the coaching totem pole throughout his career….after several positional coaching positions, he was hired as HEAD coach of the Oakland Raiders by Al Davis in Jan, 2007…gone by Jan, 2008…in Nov 2008 hired as HEAD Coach Tennessee University..in Feb 2009…before he even coached a Volunteer game…he accused Urban Meyer of illegal recruiting, ‘”I’m going to turn Florida in right here in front of you,” Kiffin told the booster breakfast crowd. “As Nu’Keese (Richardson) was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says, ‘Who is that?’ And he looks at the phone and says, ‘Urban Meyer.’ Just so you know, you can’t call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him.” Interestingly, it was Kiffin who was rebuked because he used the actual name of a recruit. Urban Meyer escaped without a scratch. On Jan 12, 2010 Kiffin bolted for USC. After a couple successful years, he was fired on Sept 28, 2013 when his club was 0-2….then slipping back to the Coordinator level…he was hired as Offensive Coordinator @ Bama in Dec 2013.  Florida Atlantic hired him on Dec 12, 2016. He went 11-3 in his 1st year(17)…but it seems to an outsider….that he’s a “flash in the pan” where ever he goes….yet….”it’s  just ridiculous the things we do”…I’d say that about his career … btw….the name “Kiffin” may be familiar to you….his Dad…Monte Kiffin was a long-time Defensive Coordinator in the NFL, making his fame @ Tampa Bay.

….last week, while MO high school football was playing in the 1st round of districts with most games being terrible mismatches (#8 vs #1 and #7 vs #2 in district) scores like 83-0, 90-6, 86-0, 63-0, 61-0, 62-0, 64-0 are found in the unfortunate one-sided massacres that took place….again I suggest….only the top 4 football teams should be entering into the district competition for the State Title. Let the other “also rans” finish the season with some dignity and play teams with similar records (e.g. #7 vs #8, #5 vs #6). We use a mercy rule during the game….why can’t we use the mercy rule in scheduling? The contention that the teams will miss out on district play is egregious. With the new point system seeding the teams through the first 9 weeks of the season, each game IS part of a district ranking….i.e. competition … these less talented teams have ALREADY competed in the district standings.

….Meanwhile there were cross-country districts across Missouri on Saturday. Last week we highlighted in depth the spectacular Festus XC team….well…it was no fluke…Festus ran away…pardon the pun… with the Class 3 District 1 Title with the tiny score of 24 points. Herculaneum was a distant 2nd place with 59 points. Herky has been a very strong XC program for decades. Festus captured six of the first 9 places…..winning the meet was Maxwell McDaniel with a time of 15:53.94. Teammate Alec Whitener,  was 4th @16:46.57, in 5th spot was Simon Ogle  16:59.77, at #6 it was Jonah Krieg 17:05.34, at #8 was Garrett Rhine,17:20.20 and the 6th runner on the team finished 9th Dominik Kayser @ 17:23.64. The final member of the team finished at 15th place Trenton Childress 17:37.23. Seven runners in the top 15 of a District Meet…WOW! Congrats again to this outstanding team!! Remember….only the points of the top 5 runners count towards the team total. Clearly they are the favorites to win the Class 3 title. Now it’s time for me to run away…not as fast as the Festus runners…. without “stepping in it”

 

Comments

  1. Really appreciate your great commentary and support of Festus XC! These kids and this sport are often overlooked and underappreciated. So again, THANK YOU! Good luck to the Tigers at the State Championship meet this weekend at Oak Hill! The Festus girls’ team will also be competing in the State meet defending their State Championship title as well!

  2. Wonder if Odom will be around at the end of the season.
    I hope you are well. Boston made the Dodgers look like “Wanna Be’s” Boston is definitely the best Team by far.
    Take care. KL

  3. I just wanted to say that your proposal for the conclusion of the high school football season makes a TON of sense. Especially the reference to schools being allowed to end their season with some degree of dignity. BH

  4. I usually don’t respond, but do agree with you most of the time. My focus is usually on high school sports, Cardinals, and college FB, You nailed it on all three. Especially the high school FB playoff system. NL

  5. Carter Cassell says:

    I think it would be in the Cardinals best interest to get another big bat and with that would come defensive improvements. The addition of Bryce Harper adds that to the Cardinals and I know they have the money to spend big on someone. However, I agree the Cardinals have always been cautious in offering long term/high salary deals and it turned out well not re-signing Pujols after 2011. On the other hand, I have been seeing looming trade offers for Arenado, similar to Machado defensively but overall I think a way better player, especially his power bat and consistent average. Martinez and Weaver are among the top pitching prospects offered for him and I think with our depth pitching we’ll be fine without those two. Way-to-early power rankings on ESPN had us listed 10th but I believe a major signing really puts STL a team to be reckoned with next year because 3 consecutive non-playoff appearances is unacceptable.

    CC

  6. Can’t believe you missed on reporting on one of the biggest HS stories by not mentioning the retirement of longtime SLUH Baseball Coach Steve Nicollerat after 39 season. The two of us competeD 67 times over the years. He will be sorely missed in the HS Baseball Community

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