In The Shadows by Bob Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



  1. Throwing good money after bad, in my opinion.
    I agree with Kevin Slaten when he said the ZOU will soon become Lincoln University.

  2. Another great read Robert.
    I think like you…. Mizzou spends money on upgrading their facility but it hasn’t proven itself in the SEC yet under the new coach. Could be a big mistake.

  3. Joe Parisi says:

    Alex Gordon… extended contracts rarely pay off!
    Regarding September call ups… mgmt claims Flaherty is on innings count… probably don’t want to start his MLB clock.

    Saban assistants. … combination of He being the story and assts get little pub or, it’s like Bill Parcells coaching ” tree”… assts are highly sought after due to Bama success.

    Mizzou expansion. Lots of money… excites recruits/ shows commitment to program. Winning is best recruitment tool you can have!
    Trying to separate from ’17 racial controversy.

  4. StL hockey fan says:

    Hi Bob, I support the ice complex – losing the Hardees iceplex was a bummer.
    This would be a good rebound. I think there would be plenty of park left to enjoy.

  5. jJoel Delpha says:

    Hey Bob, Some interesting stuff as always…
    Call me “old school” but I love the traditional baseball unis. It seems, these days, that any excuse is used to trot out some different outfits (many/most of them are ugly. Is this dictated from “on high” and can individual teams refuse? I like to see Yankee pinstripes, the old English “D,” those wonderful old Red Sox and Dodgers uniforms and, of course, the birds on the bat.

  6. Pinkel told administration before they even made the move to the SEC that huge upgrades would have to be made to compete. Question is, how much of the $39 million Mizzou received from the SEC for 2016 is being used. Winning will bring the season ticket holders back…just look at the basketball program. Yes they were fortuanate to land the Porters, but that should be a very difficult ticket coming off of 3 miserable years. Mizzou football should be able to win 7 games considering they have the easiest SEC schedule…and a soft non conference.

  7. Mizzou’s game against South Carolina will tell a lot about their season–just like the Georgia game last year. If they win this game, it will give them momentum to build on. Mizzou’s running game also has to be effective so they can control the ball and keep the defense off the field.

  8. Chris Hanff says:

    Coach Ryan,
    Great stuff! I enjoy reading and getting your insights, especially in the StL sports scene.
    I was anticipating an Albert Pujols mention, considering he’s been in the shadows since leaving the Cards!

  9. Dick Buehler says:

    Missouri can bring in more cash with the luxury boxes which is now the name of the game in college athletics. I say build the ice complex. Amateur and youth hockey is booming.This would be another great way to get more revenue in the area by hosting hockey tournaments. As Lance Bergman ( the Big Puma) stated while playing with the Cardinals “It is always about the money.”

  10. Jim Pleimann says:

    Four non-league games for Mizzou a given???? Wow you’re brave. Next thing you know you will tell me the Cardinals can sweep the Padres in a series at home in some must win games! The hockey community could use the rink… Not sure why they picked in the park but it will be used. Mizzou can build whatever they want – They have to keep up with the Saban’s -I mean the Jones’ in the SEC. (Where, in my opinion, they SO do not belong).
    How about out of the shadows? Bring out training camp for the Blues and lets get the show on the road because they will overshadow the Cardinals in October!
    Hey, I bowl and I played softball….. I liked my uniforms/shirts!! Good stuff Bob – See you in the booth!

  11. The Yadi/Carson situation is one that cannot be resolved, except for a giant injury, or a “trade.”
    Carson cannot sit for another 3 years while Yadi makes 20 million big ones per year.

    It’ll be interesting how the Cardinals handle this. Kelly has played 3rd base, and Yadi has played 1st base.

    I’m glad I’m not making the decisions on this topic.

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