What’s next by Bob Ryan

what's nextNow that the Blues have made it to the Conference Championship Series, knocked off the defending Stanley Cup Champions, become the darling the Lou sports world (for at least a few weeks)…..what else could possibly happen in the sports world….

…. Brendan Moss learns to “stay off” the low inside breaking ball that he can’t hit

….the Phillies finish at .500 for the 2016 season

….the Cards use the same lineup three consecutive days

….Illinois earn a bowl bid that’s closer to New Years Day than Thanksgiving

….fans start to realize that Adam Wainwright is 34 not 24 years of age

….the leading hitter on the Mizzou baseball team, Zach Lavy, from Auxvasse, MO, (go ahead…say it out loud…pronounce that town !) fails to get drafted despite a .615 slug %, and an OPS of .401….then signs with the Cards

….in the Boston Marathon, the race is won by an American male

….Bryce Harper hires Dennis Rodman to be his PR man

….Stan & Jerry stop talking to each other…that really means that Jerry stops talking

….Matt Carpenter abandons his HR swing for power-alley doubles swing

….some NCAA football team…any team…declines a bowl invitation for a “minor” December bowl to allow more time for their players to prepare for exams….

….Mike Shannon opens a restaurant INSIDE Ball-Park Village

….a premier SEC football game is played on Wednesday night throughout the season beginning in 2018

….Travis Ford’s SLU team actually has the fans watching the game instead of “visiting”

…. Johnny Manziel ends up on an Arena football team but is released in 4 weeks after showing up late 3X

…. Curt Schilling goes into politics

….Yadi defies all critics and has a career year in 2016

….despite his quiet demeanor, fans begin to realize that Rizzo is actually the best player on the Cubs

….Manifesto challenges Joe Maddon to a chess game

….Urban Meyer has 10 players drafted but doesn’t win the NCAA title…oh…he already did that …this year!

….an Ivy League basketball team makes it to the Final Four

….Kim Anderson is fired in February of 2017

….after being released from MNF, Al Michaels becomes the PA announcer for WWE

…. Due to the resurgence of Interest of hockey in the Lou & Blues retirees $$$, SLU restarts their hockey program

….due to injuries to the starting rotation, Rosenthal becomes a starter and “Oh whatta nite” become the closer

….the Milwaukee sausage race is incorporated into the Olympics

….Cards trade Holliday, Wong, Adams and Lyons to Brewers for Braun & a couple no-names

….the NFL decides to make the draft a week long

…. Jake Arrieta signs with the Yankees in the off-season…who promptly trade him right back to the Cubs

….soft throwing, oft-injured, thus far, over-rated, Marco Gonzalez becomes the next Warren Spahn (for a game!)

…. In 2 years, David Freese opens a restaurant in the Lou and calls it “Game 6”

….in 3 years, fans are asking, “who was that Al…Almydies..guy who hit in April & May of 2016?

….the new Softball stadium @ Mizzou scheduled for a December 2016 completion gets caught up in the controversy between players, Mgr and Athletic Director and is used instead, as a place to hold Home Run Derby contests during football games

….when he is ready to retire, Albert signs a 1-day contract with Cards so that he’ll go in the HOF with a Redbird hat

….Mizzou & Illini agree to renew their football games….it’ll start around the year 2025

….Stan fires Fischer after the 2016 season for “not making progress”

 

Blues Chatter…..….Some stats to chew on through the first two series…

….to no one’s surprise, Vlady Tarasenko leads Blues in scoring with 7 goals with 6 occurring during even strength…it’d seem to me that the Blues have to find more ways to get him good “looks” on the power play

…defenseman always have more time on the ice than forwards, so it’s no surprise that 4 of the top 5 “time on the ice” belong to Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk and Colton Parayko..Alex Steen is the only forward in that top 5 group..he’s #3 in time on the ice

…along that same theme of “time on the ice”, the top 4 forwards are Alex Steen (21:27/game), Paul Stastny (20:17/g), David Backes (19:29/g), Troy Brouwer (19:14)…now this includes 5 on 5’s, power plays, shorthanded

….leaders in other stats       

goals-5on 5             goals/power play                   ast-5 on 5                ast/power play      

Tarasenko-6            Schwartz-3                              Fabbri-8                  Shattenkirk-5

Berglund-4              Backes-2                                   Schwartz-7              Tarasenko-5

Backes-4                                                                        Backes-5                 Steen-3

Brouwer-4                                                                    Lehtera-5

                                                                                           Stastny-5

….a startling Blue-note…Robby Fabbri just turned 20 in January…gosh, I think of many 20 year olds that I know..wow!

 

Going to be landing soon…as he reenters the earth’s atmosphere….

….Washington’s David Murphy…became known through his 2015 World Series play for the Mets….currently batting .405 (as I write this on Sat AM), slugging % is .649, OPS is 1.092…come on…the guy’s lifetime of 7 seasons is avg-.293, slugging %-.432, OPS-.767…now those numbers are very solid….especially for 2B….but Daniel Murphy isn’t a Ryne Sandberg

 

Wishing that they were in the AL…

…the Cards Aledmys Diaz is a hitter but as a fielder…not so much….the Cards who really struggled last season scoring runs, were anxious to find another bat…Diaz has really been spectacular for 6 weeks—in just 111 AB, he has 6 HR…project that out to 550 AB and you get 30 HR ??!!….hitting .387 with square contact generally and an OPS of 1.100…if there was ever a man born to be a DH….we’re looking at one right now….kick around this idea….what are you going to do when Peralta returns… first of all, Gyorko is exported to the outpost of baseball–Atlanta…along with the Cards chewing most of his contract…then what… does Wong alternate with Diaz or is he “out”…maybe move Diaz to 3B, Carp back to 2B…Wong might be getting his final shot in the next 3 weeks to be starter for the Birds

 

Fastest team in the NL….

….the Pirates really have great speed up and down the lineup….their entire OF possess this same lightning-like speed at the plate and in the outfield…Starling Marte, the co-leader of SB with 11 SB, is also hitting .338…it’s this speed that keeps the Pirates scratching out runs offensively while run prevention is elevated to keep the games close …that in turn, allows Pitt to play small-ball late in the game to utilize their speed

 

Where’s his punch…

….while many StL fans are smirking with joy as Jason Heyward struggles in Chicago….don’t you have to wonder where his power has gone? He has 0 HR while drawing 19 walks…has he become a lead-off batter? Heck…we wanted him to be a #3 or #5….luckily for the Cubbies, their swift start to the season has pushed the struggles of Heyward in the background

 

The Best Starter to this point….

….sure we hear all the time about Jake Arrieta who is 6-0 who has been the best in the NL. In the AL, it’s Chris Sale (CWS)   He’s 8-0, 1.67 era, in 59 IP, 53 K, 1.67 ERA, batters are hitting .167 (1 out of 6) against him and WHIP of 0.76.   With these two aces at the top of their rotation, each Chicago team is in 1st place ! Now…..wouldn’t that really be something if things stayed like that?   WE could call it the “EL” series J

 

I thought he was “washed up” ….

… I have to admit …I thought Johnny Cueto was toast….sure he had two exceptional games in the post-season for KC last year but he was really horrible for them during the regular season after they acquired him….Our favorite WWE pitcher in the Lou.. is 5-1, 2.97 for the SF Giants to this point. Cueto claims to be 30 years old….many of you know that I believe that many Caribbean youngsters who aspire to reach the MLB…knock off 1-2-or 3 years off their age to become more appealing to the MLB scouts when they are being scouted…birth certificates exist in the minds of the family….heck, I’d probably do the same to enhance my value and pocketbook…so….anyway…I doubt Cueto is 30….either way…30 or 33 or some place in-between…he’s been very good to this point for the Giants.

 

Taking a back-seat….

….when Jon Lester signed last year with the Cubs the biggest story was his inability to hold runners on 1B…this year he’s taken a back seat to Arrieta and some may have overlooked his performance. He’s 4-1..I know wins alone don’t mean much but his other stats do: 1.96 ERA, 42 K in 46 IP, batting average against him .222 and a WHIP of 1.02…a terrific #2 on ANY staff ..for most he’d be a #1

 

What Happened?

…on the other side of the pitching plate, last year’s AL Cy Young Winner, Dallas Keuchel, has to be wondering, what happened? He was 20-8 , 232 IP, 185 hits, 216 K, era-2.48 last season but this year has been a disaster..2-5, 5.58 era, 50 IP, 58 hits, 42 K. Was he overworked? Was last year a fluke? Can he finish this year above .500? All these ?? and more are popping up around the Houston hurler.

 

Another protest…

…once again, Mizzou is embroiled in another protest. This time it involves the Softball team….apparently some players are disenchanted with the Mizzou softball coach. Last Sunday, players and people outside program…sounds like parents to me.. initiated this protest. Mizzou Softball coach, Ehren Earleywine is clearly “old school”….he realizes that he’s there to win..any coach in pro, college, or sadly..HS…must come to that realization. Coach’s statement of “I’m tough on kids. I make them accountable, and there’s discipline in our program. I’m a throwback. If that’s demeaning, maybe, but it’s not about them, the person. It’s about their performance as a player.” Depicts well his approach….I’ve been shocked to learn in recent years that parents now…regularly…contact, complain, moan, etc…to college coaches. I thought that stuff ended in HS…it should have ended in elementary school…Too many of our children seem to be unable to accept facts that they “aren’t the one”… Look at the mass basketball transfers as another example of this same syndrome..of course, the NCAA enables these kids by allowing them in some..often, many cases…to become eligible immediately. I don’t know what’s going to happen…Earleywine is the winningest coach in Mizzou softball history. He knows his stuff…maybe, he’s “too tough”…if you players (who probably aren’t playing) don’t’ like it, move on or be quiet and be proud and happy to be on a very good collegiate team…if the transfers become overwhelming, the school will notice… but could we keep our State out of the Protest Spotlight? One final addendum on this topic….the feeling of many is that Gary Pinkel accelerated the timing of his “retirement” by supporting the protest…the softball players who are protesting seem to be moving towards the same goal…the removal…either by firing or retirement… of their coach.

 

…..NBA talk is few and far between in the Lou but….I have react to the San Antonio Spurs being defeated by the OK Thunder….the Spurs under Coach Gregg Popovich have been incredible. This came on the heels of a 67 win season- a franchise record. He’s coached them to 5 NBA Championships, holds record for most consecutive winning seasons, has taken his team for 19 consecutive years to the Playoffs. There is talk that the Spurs may now be losing some of the veteran stars due to age, injury, diminished skills, etc.  I’d put him right up there with the famous…or infamous…Red Auerbach for NBA coaching excellence… I do miss Red’s lit up cigar after he’d iced up another win J

 

YOUR thoughts are always welcome….respond right here on the Prepcasts site…you don’t have to agree with me.. or maybe you do…either way, it’s always good to read YOUR thoughts. Thanks.

 

 

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