The Outsiders by Bob Ryan

There are always situations of people being “in” or “out”, It begins early in our life in elementary school as we sense …somehow…that we’re “in” or “out”.  The outsiders almost always have a different “take” on situations than the “in” folks. Let’s look @ some outsiders…

….jumping out immediately is Kolten Wong. He seems to be on the outside. Each of the last 2 managers have sat him for “days off” for ….well, for  unknown reasons to me …somewhat frequently. I’m a bit puzzled by it. This player is in the peak of his career, he’s 28. He can’t play 162 days a year? He’s been an outstanding fielder…has range, steadiness, turns the DP…he’s a real attribute defensively. SO I ask…must EVERY player be a huge batting threat? Anyway…The Cards haven’t put many speedy guys on the field until recently. Wong provides speed…a characteristic that all pro teams covet. Most teams attempt to get their speed men higher in the order so that he can use it with the extra base hitters following him. Yet….he’s batted 8th or 9th frequently-59x so…if he gets on base, the pitcher will bunt him over to 2b…not using his speed. The last 2 games Fred Rogers has batted him 2nd in the order….maybe ….maybe…his day as an outsider or coming to a close…

….Pat Maroon decides to become an outsider as he signs with Tampa Bay. It REALLY does make a lot of sense for him to sign there. Tampa Bay was one of the favorites when the Stanley Cup Tournament began…they have a strong team. Their strength has been their potent offense…especially  their speed and puck handling. Maroon will bring other skills to complement those already there. AS you recall, Maroon didn’t really “come alive” until after Jan 1. He struggled to score…which is NOT his primary purpose….but …nonetheless…some scoring of points (assists count) is expected. And….the elephant in the room…the chances of the Blues winning the Cup again isn’t high. Not because they aren’t good, aren’t trying or anything like that…..since 2000, there has only been 1 back-back Stanley Cup championships. The Pittsburgh Penguins won titles in 2016 and 2017. I think that the extreme length of the post  season for the Stanley Cup champions takes a bit of a toll…especially on players over 30 years of age. We wish him well @ TB for the next season.

….another player currently on the “outside” is Jose Martinez. Last year, the Cards gushed with joy as this popular, hard-working player (who’d toiled in the minors for many years) made it frequently into the starting lineup. While I was extremely happy for the guy, his defense …particularly @ 1B was not up to MLB standards. It cost the Cards frequently. Soo…this year with Goldy now manning 1b exclusively, Martinez was limited to OF duty. While he has improved substantially, no one would ever refer to him as a top level…or even medium level…defensive OF…he’s cost the Cards some games with his lack of movement….especially  to his right. Sooo…with his injury pushing him aside ….Fowler, Bader, Ozuna, and even Tommy Edman have been handling the OF positions.  The Cards defense has skyrocketed with these players. The Stl Cards are 1st in team defense now!!!  Think about how many games were given away last year with 4 outs per an inning for the opposition. Sooo…Jose has become an outsider…much to the good of the team from my perspective.

…in the 3 horse race in the NL Central…..I think that the outsider will be the Brewers. Milwaukee’s pitching is suffering. The injury to starter Brandon Woodruff was disastrous. The 26 year old was 11-3, arguably the best record of any starting pitcher of the top 3 teams (Mil, StL,Cubs), when he left a game on July 21st. He had gone 6+ innings in 10 of his 20 starts in 2019 and only less than 5 innings once prior to his injury date. In his 117 innings, he fanned 136 batters, held an ERA of 3.75. btw…In the 3 games he lost, Milwaukee scored 1 run, 2 runs and got shutout! Losing this ace complicated things for the Brewers. Corey Knebel a serious bullpen weapon for the last 2 years has been out since Mid-April. Starter Jhoulys Chacín hurled over 190+ innings last year. He was 15-8 and a WHIP of 1.1 in his 190+ innings. This he fell off…way off…was 3-10 holding a 5.79 era…frankly, he was toast. Despite Christian Yelich’s incredible year, the Brewers just don’t have the pitching.  Before leaving, in case you’ve missed it….Yelich’s staggering numbers this year, in the National League he’s  1st HR, 1st Batting Average, 1st OB%, 1st Slugging %, 1st OPS, 1st in OFF WAR.  The Cardinals walked him 4 times in their last series. I think that Yelich will be given many more walks by the other teams in September so some of his batting numbers may slide a bit.

…….clearly, Mizzou is an outsider in the SEC. The Southeastern Conference just seems to have a different view of athletics than the Midwest states. The SEC breathes, LIVES, dies with football…it’s more than a sport…more than a passion…it really is their life.  Who dominates SEC football?  Bama, LSU, Georgia, Florida….generally, these are the top teams. Mizzou works very, very hard at football… don’t misunderstand me….but it isn’t their entire life….mens’ basketball was celebrated with the Norm Stewart years, football was very good (actually a national power) under Don Faurot and Dan Devine. Gary Pinkel elevated the program for 2 strong years. But….all in all…..Mizzou views athletics more like Big 12 teams than the SEC.  Just listen to the Paul Finebaum show…the mouthpiece of the SEC….hear the disdain, disrespect and apathy towards Mizzou football. Their condescending tone indicates clearly…why is this team in “OUR” league?  Actually…we know the answer…more money.

…I guess that I’m on the outside of many StL fans. I really don’t care for the Cardinals to roll out new looking uniforms every couple months. The all-white ones seemed very difficult to read….oh wait…that isn’t the goal….the objective is to increase sales of uniforms to the fans. Plain & simple… let’s find a way to make money…but, it’s all good…..it’s optional for fans…they are doing it because they want to do so.

…I couldn’t believe my eyes….he’s not an outsider to the MLB wins any longer. When I saw the name Tim Mehlville in a box score…something clicked in my mind….hadn’t there been a StL HS pitcher by that name a long while ago?  Sure enough, Melville signed with KC Royals after graduating  from Holt HS in 2008. He’s been in the minors..bouncing around…since then. What perseverance. He actually made it to the MLB in 2017 for 2 games with San Diego (one of the many organizations that had his rights) but no wins. Finally, here in 2019, Mehlville notches his 1st MLB victory for Colorado. Pitching 7 innings, surrendering just 2 hits against Arizona, he was the winning pitcher. Congratulations to Mehlville for his skill and clearly, his persistence, to reaching the MLB.

…. I think Marcel Ozuna is an outsider.  With just 1+ months left on his contract, no discussions of renewal, it seems likely that Marcel is  “moving on” from the Cards this off season. He can hit very well, doesn’t seem to take care of his body too well, has improved in the OF over last year (he WAS really bad in the OF last year)…but again….he’s a hitter.

….I wonder  why the Cards called up Randy Orozarena?  He was 1 for 2 …then shipped back to the minors. Why is he an outsider?  Sure….Bader was batting well in the minors but….why bring up Orozarena for only a week? It almost seems as if Cards mgmt bowed to pressure from the media to call up Orozarena. When the talk about him abated…. Out ya go! What is Orozareana thinking now?

…no longer an outsider to the MLS, it appears to me that much of the StL community is excited about the arrival of this franchise. With the ownership building the stadium on their dime, many of the objections, previously raised, were erased.  I’ve actually began an effort to watch European soccer to get a “feel” for the game at that level. I think that I’m the only South Side boy that didn’t play soccer as a youth…..I could run (that’s about all I could do athletically)…My Mom thought it was too rough.

…guess I’m an outsider…..college football on August 24! The college football season …which once was 4 months….is now  5 months long. None the less, the opening game of Florida-Miami  was a highly competitive, exciting game to watch.

Well….it’s time for me to be ouside your screen……thx for the read…YOUR thoughts…..big or small or always invited….couple  ways to do it….post on facebook under the blog; send to me and I’ll get it published on Prepcasts. If you’re reading this on facebook…just to assist me in getting a count of readers…pls either comment or clikc “like”….thanks!

Comments

  1. Interesting context of an “ Outsider”. As stated, it happens in school, work & sports.
    If you look at the Cardinals outfield log jam, it appears Fowler is now an “ insider “.
    Bader is being promoted as the “ young face” of the franchise. That leaves one (1) OF spot. Lane Thomas deserves a legit shot at LF. With a few games aside, it appears J Martinez, Carpenter, Wacha & O’Neal are now out. Tommy Edman & Yairo Munoz appear to be good fallback options.
    Ozuna’s bat can be dominating, but he will want more years. His 25-30 homers/85plus rbi will be tough to walk from. Look for a 3rd basemen with power???
    Mizzou simply is not a good fit in the SEC. They will always be overlooked in the league.
    Always enjoy the blog! JP1

  2. 3 responses says:

    Maroon was expendable. We can’t afford him while we have young forwards ready to move in to the lineup. Martinez,Carpenter, etc. Lots of daed weight contracts. It’s a shame. We seem to be surviving in spite of our crack front office team. But we will have to make some decisions next year. TM

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    Like it a lot. Don’t think you gave Coach Pinkel enough love in your blog. 10+ win seasons in 2007 (#1 ranking at end of regular season), 08, 10, 13 & 14. Perhaps the way it ended tainted his first 14 years at Mizzou. JS

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    Good job, Bob. I especially agree with you on Kolten. KG

  3. On a side note. I do have to say that I’m pretty mad that Sling/DirectTv is in a dispute with Fox Sports. I’ve had sling for years and just switched. I went more than a month without watching a cardinals game…so frustrating. I’m getting a little excited as the season is winding down. I could have told you if we started playing better after the all star break Mozeliak wouldn’t make any substantial trades. We’ll season how this one turns out. GO BIRDS! JS
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    I had no clue of the “tv rights” battle over the cards….learn something new everyday.

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