The Day the Fireworks Died by Bob Ryan

fireworks imageLike the classic song of 1971, Don McLean’s American Pie moans the death that the “music died”. It’s still one of my favorites (even if I don’t know ALL the words right?) Well now….it’s time to consider the day the “Fireworks died”….no….not the 4th of July fireworks that are “shot off” by companies for 4th area celebrations or just in the back yard….the Fireworks that I’m considering are the fireworks in the batter’s box….where has the hitting gone? Heck …a “big” 2 run inning is the difference these days.

Right now our Cards are the best team in the MLB…we’re hitting .265 (6th best in the league) and 17th in the league in runs scored as a team while our opponents are hitting .242 against us. We’re holding a 2.63 ERA (Pitt is the only other team in MLB under 3.00 at 2.92). In 2005, we averaged .270 when Atlanta hit .265 that year (same as Cards this year)—that was 15th in the league. In the year 2000, Colorado hit .294 as a team (the best in the league). Cards hit .270-tied for 15th. In 1991, Minnesota hit .280 to lead the league. So….in the last 15+ years…hitting numbers have declined across the league.

Don’t we all love those 7-6 games that the tide ebbs back & forth more than the 3-1 win that has two scoring chances? In my first draft, I listed several reasons for the decline but heck….all of you already know them – why waste your time telling you something that you already know.

So ….I’m calling for Don McLean to write yet another song that includes…”the Day the Fireworks died”….hitting seems to be fading away…..

Oops…..that sound was me falling off the preachers chair….or maybe the bar stool.

 

Quick Pitches…..

….I was getting worried …in April, I had predicted that Jaime would miss a start prior to the 4th of July

….have we started counting the “magic Number” yet?

….OK…the MLB wanted more participation in All-Star voting….so they went on-line…35x/day per person….the KC folks have the fever….really have the fever….now we have Royals are the leading vote-getters at 2B,SS, 3B, C and 2 OF as All-Star starters…come on…I’m rooting for KC but look at Alex Rios….he’s returning from a long injury and hitting .216 but is 5th in the OF voting….the MLB has painted themselves in a corner…heck….let the players vote and have the fans vote also…split the vote so as to add some sense to this exhibition game that determines who hosts game 7 of the World Series. I’ve long been a proponent of having the roster bat, free sub in the field…all starters must play 5 innings….not all teams have to be represented…only the winning team gets paid…why should a player from Philly care about winning this game without an incentive for him?

…..the NY Knicks sure didn’t show any love to their #1 draft pick….Kristaps Porzingis…they booed him when he was announced….come on….it could sound pretty good…Por-zingis it in.

…the early demise of Clayton Kershaw …as seen by most Dodger haters…oops can’t use that word …by Dodgers non-followers….is a bit early ..sure he’s 5-6 but wins alone don’t make a season… some categories are a bit higher….HR/9 inn from .4 to .9; ERA at 3.20 after an incredible 1.77 last year; 86 hits in 107 innings but….no one should have expected a 3rd straight ERA under 2.00 (in 2013-1.83, in 2014 1.77)…that just doesn’t happen…heck it hardly happens twice consecutively for the super-stars and never for the other “good” pitchers…his strikeouts/9 inn is at a career best 11.8…..I’ll agree that he’s probably not at the same pinnacle but…I also think that the LA defense has been less than stellar and that the hitting has been very erratic (his last loss he game up 1 ER)

…did anyone else feel sorry for Dustin Johnson last weekend…3 putting on the last hole and losing his lead (and about $1 mil) as he fell into 2nd place? I’ve heard several folks say that they enjoyed watching a premier golf event in prime time……does that mean that more majors will be on the West Coast?

…Ryne Sandberg’s resignation was sad to me….here’s a guy who spent his time preparing for the MLB by managing in the minors for a few years then…he’s bypassed by his team…the Cubbies…lands with the godawful Phils. I don’t blame him…I could hardly watch the Phils for 3 days playing the Cards…I hope he gets another chance someplace in the MLB.

….our congrats to Tony Dattoli (St Mary’s Baseball Coach)…his Dragons started out 0-10 then won 12 of the next 16 games…for that “turn-around”, Tony was named AAA Co-Coach of the Year

….some of my Denver readers objected to my Wong/Peralta as being the best middle infield….they promote (justifiably)—ss-Tulowitzki (.317-#5 in NL hitting) and 2B-LaMahieu (.308-#8 in NL hitting)

….Tigers seem to be getting long in the tooth…currently 3rd place, 6 games out. Their hitting is still efficient (lead AL with .274) but pitching has slacked—at 4.05 ERA (losing Scherzer hurt)

….where’s Matt Holliday going to fit in?

….does anyone else think that construction of BallPark Village has limited HR at Busch III?   Seems like the air flow has been stifled (along with the HR)

….I wish the major networks emulated USA and had new series for the summer

….wearing both hats as GM/MGR isn’t working too well for Dan Jennings in Miami….seems to me he’s walking towards the guillotine and both hats/heads will be removed at the end of the season

….Right now…the wild cards would be—Pitt vs SF & NYY vs Minn….I believe the NL’s current wild carders are much more likely than the current AL’s.

…..I wish collegiate baseball required wood bats….aluminum bats (despite their new limiting regulations) seem too dangerous to me—any line drive right at the pitcher could be dangerous

….Tampa Bay is hitting a mild .244 but hold ½ game lead in AL East due to a AL best 3.27 ERA. Maybe Tampa was more than Joe Madden ?

….White Sox lineup had just one guy over .270 in Friday’s lineup….ouch

 

…have a Great 4th….fireworks or not…..bye-bye Miss …..

….comments welcome

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