Spring Freshness by Bob Ryan

baseball in grassHere we go….temp moves up, bright green grass covers most of the yard (prior to the weeds taking over), sun seems brighter ( and definitely longer)…ah…the freshness of spring…around the sports world the freshness brings us to several new realizations –some maybe fresh and good while others are fresh and not so good..

….the Cards pitching staff has some freshness…singwhen OH joins as a fresh face and joins Kevin Siegrest as having appeared in half of the Cards first 12 games…both have been lights- out through Derby week….however there were some raised eyebrows over the early performance of key members of the Cards starting staff as the Cards come out of the starting blocks beating up the also-rans of the NL ….notes below the high whip stats and batting average for this veteran trio…I keep hearing about its just “mechanics”….well…big boys….if ya had more “stuff” you could get away with a miscue on the mechanics as you once did…let’s hope that the freshness of spring blooms into a steady summer beat for trio of WLW…this is NOT a new wrestling federation.

These stats are through Monday AM…

 Wacha, M 1 0 2.76 3 3 0 0 16.1 21 8 5 0 3 15 .323 1.47
Leake, M 0 2 5.71 3 3 0 0 17.1 21 12 11 1 5 13 .296 1.50
Wainwright, A 0 2 8.27 3 3 0 0 16.1 22 15 15 1 9 7 .338 1.90

Here’s some real fresh news for this spring

…can you believe that there isn’t ONE Canadian team in the NHL Playoffs…there are 7 Canadian teams and not one could crack the top 16…that’s a new one


….speaking of NHL…I must raise some fresh objections to the NHL on a couple items..

  • Why start using new technology in the playoffs? If the league wanted to use cameras on the blue line…do it all year…and…I just received this suggestion from a reader…watch it at game speed as the officials do…why ssllloooowww it down to a crawl…make the call as the officials had to do…seems ultra-ridiculous to introduce new ways of officiating in the playoffs …which really IS the NHL season
  • The NHL playoff system is badly in need of revision…how about this…the division winners get seeded #1-4 based on their points; the 2nd place teams in each division seeded #5-8 based on their points; the 8 wildcard are seeded #9-16 based on their points…the #1 vs #16, #2 vs #15 etc, this way you reward the division winners with an seemingly weaker opponent in round 1…why should the Blues & Blackhawks be bucking heads in this early round?….
  • never thought I’d see the fresh spring day that the LA Lakers aren’t in the playoffs….it’s been many moons since the NBA were in the Lou but wow…no Lakers….it always had superstars-George Mikan (In Minneapolis…it was the Minneapolis LAKERS initially…the name LAKERS doesn’t really fit the desert climate of LA does it?), Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Magic, Shaq…while Kobe was a super star..he couldn’t continue the tradition of keeping his team in the playoffs. Kobe had a tremendous career as a basketball player…I can’t say that I was a fan…he seemed selfish to me about points and drove away Shaq and other key players so that he’d dominate the spotlight…..even if his team didn’t make the playoffs….
  • the basketball carousel is still circling…it’s gone outta control….Chris Beard broke his contract @ Ark-Little Rock for the UNLV job….19 days later (maybe he’d lost all his money at the casinos already J…he bolts for Texas Tech…my fresh suggestion is to make that contract breaking come to a braking halt…the school has to pay some payment when the fire the coach…if the coach willingly leaves early…he should be forced to do the same…pay the school for the right to break the contract…pro-rate it…so if Beard broke his contract after just 19 days ..he’d pay the school the amount that he would have received over the entire contract (save 19 days)… a deal is a deal….the door swings both ways big boys….
  • a not so fresh story….George Karl, a tremendous NBA coach for decades, has made it known that he wants to coach college…have you seen George lately?….he looks like he’s ready for the rocking chair, the 3 trips a night to the bathroom, and a 8pm bed time…come on George…let it go…you’ve had ur day…give it to some fresh guys
  • how about this for a fresh story… at USC, Jake Olson (who is blind after losing both eyes as a child) was granted a waiver by the NCAA to practice with the team…during Saturday’s spring game, he was the center and snapped for two field goals! Wow!….
  • I realize Chuck’s Boots has a fresh marketing approach with their billboards….but I’m just not so sure what they’re selling…although it’s obvious  ….I’m thinking that their “outlet” stores are on the East side
  • trying…something that didn’t do often over the last 5 years….to get a fresh start and make a splash, create interest and actually have a true NFL QB…the Rams trade up for a #1…presumably the LA Rams will choose a QB…I do think the trade leans heavily in the Titans favor—      Titans gets #1 pick (#15 overall), two 2nd round (#43,#45) and a 3rd rounder (#76) this year;             In 2017 the 1st round and the 2nd rounder The RAMS get the #1 overall pick, the 4th rounder (#113), 6th round #177
  • The Rams MUST win right away…so I think that the kid from S.Dakota St (Carson Wentz) is eliminated because he’ll need some more time to adjust due to the caliber of the competition that he played against in college)….Jared Goff of California or Connor Cook of Michigan St are the top choices in my mind….yea…some of u don’t want to hear about NFL…heh…the world goes on..with or without us…..but the trade is an attempt for the Rams to take a fresh start….
  • there are actually 3 tiers of teams in the NL MLB—take a look—
  • Tier 1 – (in no particular order)—Washington, StL, Pitt, Cubs, NY Mets
  • Tier 2 –Az, SF, LA Dodger, Colorado, Miami
  • Tier 3—Milwaukee, SD, Cincy, Philly, Braves
  • So…maybe the MLB should promote it like European soccer and force the lower tier teams to improve and reach the highest tier to have a chance to qualify for the highest trophies…i.e. World Series…or compete for far lesser post-season games…..
  • hope the Cards give Matt Adams a fresh start….trade him….he’s rotting away in the dugout like he’s on Gilligan’s Island (so far and yet so close)….if one considers that the Cards “claim” to have desired Heyward (which I don’t believe)…had they signed Heyward…then Holliday would have been the full-time 1b…and Adams would already be gone.
  • a real fresh highlight…while covering the UMSL baseball team I saw the Triton CF, Jose Ortiz make an A++ catch…on a long, long drive headed over the deep left center , Ortiz used spider-man like moves to get his spikes half way up the wall, pulled himself to the top of the wall with his throwing arm and then reached way back with his glove to catch a certain HR ball…it was really spectacular…Tritons went on to upend U of Indianapolis 8-6
  • with the emergence of Aledmys Diaz and the acquisition of Tejada….Greg Garcia becomes expendable…..I suppose Tejada is better with the glove than Garcia…I also suppose that the higher pay scale paid to Tejada exceeds that of Garcia so ..he’s shipped out.. …I’d ask for a trade if I were him…where does he fit into the Cardinal plans….they’ve tipped their hand..
  • some of the freshest stats in MLB hitting now includes the ‘speed of bat” or exit velocity of HR and elevation angle (apparently 25 degrees is optimal)..for all the HR through April 18th…here’s a few dingers for you…                                               
  • Highest Speed of bat on HR—
  • Carlos Gonzalez==119.3 mph                                               
  • Alex Rodriguez==117.6 mph                                             
  • Mark Trumbo   == 116.5 mph
  • The Cards with the highest two numbers are a bit surprising                       
  • #18      Brandon Moss == 111.8 mph                    
  • #48      Aledmys Diaz   ==   109.2 mph
  • Cub leadoff man-Dexter Fowler’s shot of Mike Leake was clocked at 109.1 mph
  • Wonder if we’re training hitters to swing so that the ball exits at a 25 degree angle? 

    ….what a fresh, honest approach…Lovie Smith admits his club isn’t ready for a true scrimmage …so ..he allows fans to watch a practice…isn’t that really what a scrimmage is anyway?…a practice that has the players wearing uniforms ..not practice gear…and officials calling the penalties (not the coach) with fans as part of the “scrimmage”


    ….my spring “take” on Brendan Moss…pitch his downward, inside breaking balls that dip below his knees and he’s history but…if it doesn’t drop or its too high…he’ll give it a ride…take a look at his exit velocity numbers above.


    …..my spring freshness has now been exhausted…now back to the same ol’, same ol’



  1. Stephen Vuylsteke says:

    SF a 2nd tier team/org? Pitt a 1st?

    Rick Strickland teaches launch angle at Sandlot/Elite with emphasis on exit velo, likes swinging 3-0, love it!

  2. John Rocco says:

    Bob, good article. I totally agree with you about the NHL playoff format. How the Blues and Blacks play in the first round is beyond me.



  3. Boss, good stuff as usual. A few comments
    – NHL and NBA Playoffs devalue season by allowing so many teams in. They really are April-May-June Madness, just a big tournament with a lot of teams.
    – What institution wants a coach that just broke the “commitment” he made 19 days earlier. I think the intitution looks as bad if not worse than the coach.
    – Chuck Boots billboards – it is hard to find the boots on some of those ads.
    – Rams are desperate! They need Star Power to compete in LA, Star Capital of the world. Who is their big name star? QB, RB, WR, it might be the Def. Line/Fearsome Fivesome. They are in search of a big name player to get the casual football fan to the games.

  4. Jim Pleimann says:

    Good stuff….. But Me personally couldn’t give a poo-poo if the Rams drafted Bart Starr johnny Unitas and Norm van Brocklin. I don’t care what the Rams do. Me personally hope those watching the NBA enjoy themselves. No real interest.
    Matt Adams needs to be moved. Can we petition the MLB for a designated hitter for Al Diaz? Can’t field or throw but he sure has hit the first month.
    The NHL playoff system needs to be blown up.
    I think Chuck’s Boots are the masters of marketing. They got named in Bob’s blog! Who would have thought that?
    I am a week behind. Now I am off to read the next one. Bob will have to deal with the Blues beating the Black Hawks….. (Can’t wait for this one) LOL

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