What might have been for Cards by Bob Ryan

What might have been…

So Cleveland Indians come calling this week…..makes me think about what might have been….when TLR left the managerial StL  position….the two top candidates were Mike Matheny and Terry Francona… …Matheny was coming off 2 High school championships…Matheny led the Cards to 4 consecutive post-seasons in his first 4 seasons….has missed the last two seasons in the playoffs.  He is 21-22  .488 in post season games; has won 5 post season series and lost 4 series. Francona began his managing career in 1997 with a 4 year stint with the Phillies. He accepted the Red Sox position  in 2004.. Francona won 2 world championships, 5 of 8 years in post-season @ Boston He began the Indians job in 2012, led them after a 6 year playoff draught to post season play in 2013, 2016, 2017. Cardinal management must have wanted a young face, someone better than Tony in post-game, someone that they thought would be better with young players(he isn’t), maybe a brand new manager that they could control a bit easier. Myself…..I can’t figure why the Cards passed on Francona…he’s was/is a proven winner, charming and engaging with press(not Matheny’s strength), and handles his team and his bullpen well…not even the strongest supporters of Matheny would disagree that Matheny’s use of bullpen is a liability to the team.

Quick Card “takes” from this week….

…Although he isn’t hitting a great deal…..Harrison Bader improves an OF defense that has been very weak in the corners…defense …in general  has been a real issue with the Cards over the past few years

….Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, & Luke Weaver saved the rocky boat from sinking .   Jack Flaherty’s losing performance was outstanding!!  Mikoas & Weaver provided 1 strong and one rather good performance that kept the Brewers within sight ….so…..maybe this trio will keep the Cards in the race.

…btw…Mikolas continues to demonstrate that you DON’T need a 95+ fastball to win in the MLB…he moves that curve ball around….he starts batters off with breaking balls…I’ve even noticed that he throws it above the waist on the outside part of the plate

….I’ve never seen an OF jump so high for a fly and it landed next to him….Ozuna’s play was startling.

…the more I watch Jose Martinez stumble around at 1B…he is hurting us tremendously defensively…. some think that his hitting compensates for it….yes…he has hit well…trade him now to an AL team while his value is high…we can’t win in the long run with a 1B who misses so many throws to 1B

…I’m still suspicious of all the Yadi power this late in his career…players don’t get stronger in last 30’s

…Brent Suter (Milwaukee’s starter) worked quickly…he got the ball back, looked for the sign, and delivered the ball…Cardinal batters seemed bothered by the rapidity of his deliveries…they’d step out…ask for time…look around…I liked it….the game moved along.

…How far “away” was Miami last year with the OF of Stanton, Yelich & Ozuna? Wouldn’t it have been better to just find some pitching? This franchise hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2003…ugh

…Reds sweeping the Cubs? What’s going on?

World Cup….

…Senegal just couldn’t hold off Japan late in the game….Senegal’s athletes seemed bigger & faster but also seemed to tire late in the 2-2 match

…It’s amazing that the world is so close in competitive level in these World Cup matches..tiny countries like Iceland compete…but USA  can’t make the “cut?”

…England’s set pieces were really incredible in their easy 6-1 rout of Panama

Celebrity Spotlight…….

….Does Michael Porter, Jr have the Dwight Howard syndrome? Despite earning millions. Dwight Howard has been an ordinary, non-dominating center in the NBA….he was drafted #1 overall in 2004…he forced a trade in 2012 to LA Lakers…and has bounced around regularly since then…why?  ….. his career serves as a perfect example of a talented athlete  with a character flaw—goofy, fun-loving nature athlete who fails to push himself to his limit and misses the  seriousness of a professional  athlete who MUST continue to improve/evolve as a player.  Even during his tenure with the Lakers he drew some very critical criticism from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar went on to say: “Dwight Howard is a perfect example of the fact that ‘potential has a shelf life.’ ….this topic comes up as discussions about Michael Porter Jr have emerged. .. Porter…thought by many to be the #7 overall pick in the pre-draft ratings…. has spoken quite a bit about how confident he is in his abilities. Further, he’s made some comparisons of himself  to some of the NBA’s best wing players. He is no doubt a talented player, but the possibility of him affecting the locker room negatively is a real concern  to future suitors….and Porter….save 1 game at beginning & a couple at the end of the 17-18 season @ Mizzou missed the entire season of possible growth. Being picked #14 should send a message to Porter…but will he hear it?

….Hate to be an “I told you so” but……I said as Brendan Morrow was being chased as a free agent that the overwork in the 2017 post season would catch up to him in mid-2018….well, the 33 year old RHP recently was placed on the 10 day DL…he was enjoying a another strong season….16 saves in 25 appearances….why so many non-save appearances?….anyway his 1.59 era while striking out 25 batters and issuing only 4 walks is impressive.  Morrow pitched in all 7 World Series games and 14 post season games for the Dodgers last year.  He had pitched in just 45 games throughout the entire 2017 season but that post-season overload has Morrow paying the price this year.

….Retirement of Adrian Gonzalez…June 10…..parts of 15 seasons….not a HOF’er but a very sold MLB player for a long time…..in his career…5 all-star games; 2 silver sluggers; 2014 led NL in RBI’s

As he left the MLB playing field, Gonzalez was….9th in hits-2015; 5th in RBI-1202,8th in HR—317, 6th in doubles-437 among active players

…..Rick Porcello continues his Yo-Yo career…..

In 2009, he was 14-9-3rd in AL Rookie of the Year voting; 2010..dropped below .500 10-12; in 2011repeated his  14-9 record again; 2012 fell below .500 to 10-12; 2013 back again over .500 13-8; 2014..for the only time in his career …back-back .500+ seasons 15-13; 2015 he sank to a career poorest 9-15; 2016….he won the Cy Young with a 22-4 record, career best ERA of 3.15, career high of 223 innings; 2017…below .500 again..this time 11-17…now in 2018….bouncing back…he’s 9-3. Porcello is a 10 year vet, 290 starts as an MLB’er, 9 complete games, over 1700+ innings pitched; overall record 127-102….along with this yo-yo type of career….makes one wonder why?  

Wrapping up with Red……

With the passing of Red Schoendienst a few weeks ago, a part of the Cardinal fiber left us…..a winning player and a true person, Schoendienst is best remembered for his outstanding, genuine personality.  He was a REAL man who adhered wonderfully to solid core values—family, friends, religion. In the terrific comments referring to Red’s personality…I think that his playing ability might have been overlooked a bit….but Red could play….and did play superbly for a long time. Red is 15th ALL-TIME in games played @ 2B, he’s 13th ALL-time in most hits for a 2BHe was in 10 All-Star Games throughout his career. He was in a post season as a 23 year old, he hit .286 in 1946 as Cards won the 7 game series from the Red Sox…during the 46 season, he WON the televised HR Derby! In 1950 he won the All-Star game for the NL with a HR in the 14th inning. His 1956 league best fielding percentage of .9934 stood as a record for fielding for 30 years (broken by Ryne Sandberg). IN fact he led the NL in fielding % for 6 years. In June 1956 he was traded to the New York Giants to make room for an up & coming youngster, Don Blasingame. The following year he was sent to Milwaukee…..it was the final piece that the Braves needed…..they already had Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Johnny Logan, Billy Bruton, Joe Adcock, Del Crandall, Warren Spahn,  Bob Buhl, Lew Burdette. The Braves won the World Series in 1957 beating the Yankees …Red was voted #3 for the NL MVP award in 1957.The Braves lost to NYY in 1958 Series. In 58-59 off-season Red was diagnosed with tuberculosis….I still remember seeing a picture of Red being rolled around in a hospital in a huge tube around his entire body. In 1960, his average fell way off…Braves discarded him….he was picked up by the Cards  for 61 & 62 season…hit .301 and .300 primarily as a pinch hitter when he was 38 & 39 years old!! According baseball stats…Red earned a total of $509,00 in his playing career with the highest being  $46,000 in 1958. As a manager of 12 full seasons, 2 partial seasons, he won 1 world series, 1 NL pennant , finished 2nd 3 different times, he won 1041 games as a manager

Stats you didn’t know…

…Mizzou football attendance was a healthy  360,429 for 7 games…51.490 avg…not in top 30 of DI home attendance but neverthess anyone over 50000/game is drawing some people..it was a drop of 1200+/game but that horrible beginning kept away fans for a few weeks. To give you an idea the Tigers are very comparable to K-State  51,301; N. Carolina  50,071;  Arizona St 51, 380

…St Louis U baseball is listed in a couple key batting categories in Division I baseball….the Bills were 27 in D1 in Slugging %@ .450 and 40th in team scoring with 6.7 runs/game. The Billikens finished 38-20 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament due to their championship in the Atlantic-10 tournament. It was the 4th A-10 baseball championship for the Bills …1st since 2013.

…Drew Lock (Mizzou QB) led the SEC in passing yards…he was 10th in the country with 3964 yards… the offensive coordinator isn’t expected to throw the ball quite as often

 …Mizzou basketball had the largest increase in attendance throughout the NCAA D1 world….the Tigers went up 3635/game….that put them at 9,930/game which was 40th in the NCAA in basketball attendance.  Illinois was 30th in the country with  11,381/game. The Southeastern Conference ranks #3 in basketball attendance…behind #1-Big Ten and #2 ACC…no surprise there…

…YOUR thoughts are always invited (I don’t expect you to agree)….if you have trouble posting it online….send it to me….I’ll get it done for you….Thanks for reading & responding!!


  1. Kevin Niewoehner says:

    Great Cardinals Mystery of the Year: Why do we continue to trot out Fowler in right field? Bader needs to start more games.

  2. Francona hands down a better Manager than Cardinal Kool Aid Aid Matheny. Matheny tried so
    hard to manage like La Russa!
    Porter Jr should have played one more year in college @ ZOU Went for Kronke He will be a BUST!
    World Cup has been exciting Still can’t stand the flopping & the whining to the refs like LaChump James does
    SLU ⚾️ on the rise ….Can’t wait to see Geno & UCONN in Dec to play SLU
    Have a good day!

  3. Quick hits from the article and a few random thoughts…

    I could have managed the Francona Red Sox with the talent they had and the money they spent on it!!

    I think I saw he missed two years in a row there in Cleveland. Were they crucifying him them?

    Yadi is on the Juice? Next think you will tell me his buddy Albert is only 37!!

    Cubs lost four in a row to the Red’s? Fire Madden! Or, he can bring in some cute dancing bears to the clubhouse and loosen the boys up. I hear they are running all over Missouri.

    (Brendan Morrow got hurt taking his pants off in his hotel room) assume what you may….

    All the Schoendienst stuff was very good to hear/read. First class gentleman. (just like you and me)

    Not getting to see too much World Cup with the games on during work – (Remember what that was like?) I’ve only seen some of the weekend morning games.

    How about Carpenter’s rebound? Kind of impressive. Crickets from the Dexter Fowler camp….

    Cardinals have the youngest starting rotation in the MLB? Can it hold up?

    Not that I think they will be there but how disappointed will Cardinal nation be if they do make the playoffs and Matheny keeps his job? I shutter to think….

    I was thinking Manefesto was going to be out last Monday when the Brewers swept us…. but wait —– they Cardinals won the last two games on the trip then won Monday and beat Kluber last night. What the heck?

    Should I care where LeBron goes?

    I like Harrison Bader!

    Flaherty is a very S….L….O…..W…. worker. But he looks as if he may have a future, Well, until Tommy John comes along, he tweaks the oblique, the lat goes, or he has trouble taking his pants off!!

    Okay, I have rambled and bambled. I am done…


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