Wong Must Go by Bob Ryan

stlcards logoWe’re spoiled…the Cards success since the late 1990’s has made ALL of us…including me…expecting a division title or …at the minimum…a playoff team…this Cards team seems to be racing through quicksand…going no-place fast…so….and we all have our opinions as to the reason for this inertia…I’ve come to the conclusion that the Cards must deal Kolton Wong as am impetus to “turn it around”….why….

Wong is probably at this highest value right now…relatively low salary…yea…$25mil over 5 years is close to chump change for the MLB teams…and still possesses that key word “potential”

I think that the Cards expectations for Wong were/are too elevated…somehow the glowing terms that are used about his skill set doesn’t’ seem to equate with his .248 lifetime average.

What is his strength? Hitting? Fielding? Durability? Bat Contact? Power? Speed? Range? For example…Julian Javier, the starting 2B throughout the 60’s had a .257 lifetime average but he was known for his range, his double play pivot, murdering LH pitchers. He hit 78 HR, avg of .257 in 13 years but Cards didn’t look to him for those skills…what do the Cards expect Wong to be?

Due to his youth, the Cards should…along with another piece or two or more…I really hate that word because they mean “player” not a part of a chess game…obtain a true #1 starting pitcher

I sense…never been there…but from what I read between the lines…the Cards clubhouse is a place of extended baseball study…always striving to get better…constantly…”A “ type people thrive in that atmosphere…but not ALL people…Wong apparently is a bit of a worry-wart….being unable to escape the constant pressure to study, work, think, improve, watch tape, etc may be wearing him down…looking over his shoulder constantly…now this is not a criticism of the clubhouse… merely an observation… but not every personality performs at its optimum level with this “push, push, push” attitude … and its doesn’t seem to be working for Mr. Wong

The Cards have a good team but….ya knew that there was a but…somehow the pieces don’t seem to complement each other….freeing up the middle infield and redefining the roles may help.

Frankly who saw Aledmys Diaz coming like he has done in 16? We heard in ’14 that he “wasn’t in shape…wasn’t read to play”….so…he got the message…when he did…he has forced the Cards into the trading game …some alignment of Carpenter, Peralta & Diaz will work most of the remaining games…assuming all stay healthy….Wong has drawn the short straw…so…C U later …..Maybe you have a better trade proposal…maybe you don’t want t….So here’s a wild proposal…how about working with the White Sox…go big…go for Chris Sale(get a true #1)…give up Wong, Garcia/ Wacha/ Leak ..any 2 of these starters(Reyes is on the way so they have both been replaced), Grichuk, & Moss….apparently Sale can be “had” but it’ll take steep price… ur giving up quantity, youth, 2 possible every day players, a LH DH, two starters but Sale may be the best #1 out there.. of course you’d get another prospect or two to balance the scales somewhato trade Wong..ur thoughts…but not until u get through the rest of this stuff.

….So here’s a wild proposal…how about working with the White Sox…go big…go for Chris Sale(get a true #1)…give up Wong, Garcia/ Wacha/ Leak ..any 2 of these starters(Reyes is on the way so they have both been replaced), Grichuk, & Moss….apparently Sale can be “had” but it’ll take steep price… ur giving up quantity, youth, 2 possible every day players, a LH DH, two starters but Sale may be the best #1 out there.. of course you’d get another prospect or two to balance the scales somewhat

  • Muhammad Ali….the most recognized sports figure of the 60’s & 70’s…like many things of the 60’s… he was a polarizing figure…he brought a wide range of responses from the different generations….many younger folks of the time were drawn to the swift feet , hard punching, showmanship, slick moves in & out of trouble, the clever …or sarcastic…depending on your view…quips but many of the older generation couldn’t stand his military stance on refusing to serve (since his duty would have been to entertain the troops…he wasn’t going to be an infantryman), his show-boating, his insulting remarks.
  • …some special Muhammad Ali memories..
  1. As a soldier in Germany, I got up or stayed up to watch LIVE the first Frazier/Ali fight on local TV @ 2 or 3AM…the fight was worth the wait
  2. I followed boxing back in that era…I swear that the mob, who had Sonny Liston in their pocket, lost and lost big in the 1st Clay-Liston fight… a major upset…you may recall that prior to the 6th or 7th round, Clay was blinded by something that had been put into his water—that was a signal to me …sounded fishy to me…when the rematch occurred and Sonny took a dive in the 1st round on the “punch no one could see” and then he died mysteriously with a drug injection when everyone close to him claimed his was NEVER a user…I thought that the mob had gotton their “evens” with Liston for losing that 1st fight.
  3. The beating that Ali took from Foreman in his mid-section while wearing down the giant HAD to have an effect on his life…that barrage of full shots made me hurt J
  4. The saddest Ali fight was the loss to Leon Spinks…a mediocre fighter that Ali expected to beat easily but his skills had eroded so much that Spinks..many years younger…had more life in his punches, more quickness and more durability…still…I’d never say that he “out-thought” Ali !
  • ….Last week, Mookie Betts blasted 3 HR for the BoSox and then two the next day!…that particular achievement of 3 HR has been attained on many, many occasions but…what about 4 HR in a game? Some familiar and some unknown and some unbelievable names make the list.. Players who have hit four home runs in a single game

Team- –         Opponents           career HR

Bobby Loweº May 30, 1894     Boston BeaneatersCincinnati Reds            20

Lou GehrigºJune 3, 1932     New York YankeesPhiladelphia Athletics   493

Pat Seerey   July 18, 1948     Chicago White SoxPhiladelphia Athletics    86

Joe Adcock July 31, 1954       Milwaukee BravesBrooklyn Dodgers       336

Willie MaysApril 30, 1961     San Francisco GiantsMilwaukee Braves   660

Bob HornerJuly 6, 1986         Atlanta BravesMontreal Expos                     218

Mike CameronºMay 2, 2002   Seattle MarinersChicago White Sox            278

Carlos DelgadoºSept 25, 2003Toronto Blue JaysTampa Bay Devil Rays    473

 

Josh Hamilton*May 8, 2012   Texas RangersBaltimore Orioles                 195

Shawn Green  May 23, 2002 Los Angeles DodgersMilwaukee Brewers    328

Mark Whiten  Sept 7, 1993     St. Louis CardinalsCincinnati Reds              105

Mike SchmidtºApril 17, 1976 Philadelphia PhilliesChicago Cubs           548

Rocky ColavitoºJune 10, 1959 Cleveland IndiansBaltimore Orioles         374

Gil Hodges August 31, 1950   Brooklyn DodgersBoston Braves               370

Chuck KleinJuly 10, 1936     Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh Pirates      300

Ed DelahantyJuly 13, 1896   Philadelphia PhilliesChicago Colts           101

….Sometimes it’s very hard to figure what a guy is thinking…so here’s a Harvard grad, which should seem to indicate that he has some intelligence—Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’s made the NFL and been there 11 years in the league w/o being on a playoff team, a career back-up, he’s offered $24mil/3 year contract but he’s not sure…not sure of what…does he think the Packers are going to be calling him? That suddenly his value has skyrocketed because the Jets are so bad? That he should hold out for a better deal? What IS he thinking…he’s living the dream….sign it…and sign it with a smile as you “cash in”?

…Joe Kelly is headed back to the minors….again…I don’t think that the Red Sox will trade with us again…at least in this century…Kelly & Allen Craig for John Lackey…John Lackey was very good for us and very cheap at the same time while Kelly & Craig have contributed practically nothing to the BoSox.

…Oakland Raiders moving to Vegas…..not surprising….the NFL is so deeply entrenched with the “betting game” that it almost seems logical now….after being forbidden …remember Paul Hornung,( I would have bet that he had an “I” in his name) in his prime, was suspended for gambling by Pete Rozelle….now the NFL realizes the fantasy games and the plain ol’ fashioned bets on the games with points given/taken are a major factor in the popularity of the sport across the country…maybe they could be called the Vegas Victims?…. Frankly after watching many of the NFL referees calls….I’m more concerned about the officials than the players being “on the take”…some of those fumble recoveries, on replay, do NOT appear to be called accurately…and penalties…call one every play if you want..it seems like certain teams are exempt from the “tight” calls (Pats) while others are walking into the court room in the orange outfits and chains on as they suffer game after game from some calls that a very marginal..guess who J

….Those of you who are LeBron fans…bite your tongue as you read what Arkansas Head Football Coach,  Bret Bielema, told his team “I told our guys here at Arkansas we need to be a little bit more Curry and a little less LeBron. We’ve got to be a little bit more about the team and working together and the chemistry.” Isn’t that statement true about ANY team sport? There’s way too much showboating by individuals in team sports…ultimately, does your team WIN is the key element….what any individual does is a part of that winning….not more important than winning.

….Bob Dylan said, “ the times.. they are a changing..” …June 1 marks the 9th anniversary of the Carlos Zambrano-Michael Barrett dugout brawl that spilled over into the clubhouse….needless to say…it was a totally different Cub team then…one more suited for WWE scripts…somehow Mgr Lou PInella does seem to be the appropriate type of “leader”…he fits the Bobby the Brain mold… for a team like the Cubs had in 2007…contrast that club to the 2016 club and Mr. Dylan seems prophetic !

…So Baylor has become Thug U…but..only if you can play football…don’t kid urself…Art Briles knew…maybe orchestrated some of the cover-ups…Ken Starr…he of the “impeccable” fame in Bill Clinton-Lewinski episode..gets tossed to the side like an empty popsicle stick…it’s going on in many..if not most…major-college football campuses…hopefully this will precipitate a new culture accompanied by some backbone and discipline…these are places of education (supposedly)…not NFL minor leagues or worse yet…dangerous settings for students to merely cross campus or go out socially due to the fear of assaults

…At the conclusion of the Milwaukee series, the 28-26 Cards fit in the 15 NL teams was 1st-runs; 2nd –HR; 5th-AVG; 3rd-OBP; 2nd –slug; 1st-OPS; from the mound 9th-ERA; 8th in walks; 7th in ER permitted; 5th in BatAvg—those numbers display clearly the swashbuckling, juggernaut offense that pounds weak hurlers but a pitching staff that is very mediocre…this coming off of a 2015 season that witnessed exactly the opposite type of stats?? A subtle stat …oft ignored….the Cards defense is 15th in the NL…yes…there are 15 NL teams. StL has committed the most errors of the NL with 46…maybe THAT”S why the pitching seems to be struggling….who knows maybe the Cards will be proposing to the league a new position–the FD position…a guy who only plays defense and doesn’t bat (and keep DH for pitchers only)—Dal Maxvill would have been a HOF in that set up….we do have guys that just bat…so why not just field?..or why not eliminate the DH and make all players hit and field…bet the pitchers weren’t be so bold if they had to bat!

…couple observations on the 4 HR gamers….the Babe, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds (the 3 HR Kings) NEVER did it! It only happened once in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s but escalated to 3x in the 2000 decade? Actually I would have thought that it would decrease with the increased attention and care of the bullpen these days. In my younger days, a couple of the bullpen guys were starter-wanta-be’s…they pitched only in one-sided games for extended innings…. Bob Gibson actually followed that path for a couple seasons…those guys were stranded on the mound for the duration…sink, swim, or getting bombed by the batters…. Currently bullpen personnel all are assigned a particular role/title—closer, 8th set up, 7th set up, lefty specialist (doesn’t seem to be any righty specialists?), behind-man (when behind in the game, you’ll pitch) and I guess the catch-all, mop up guy..and heaven forbid that one of them has their ERA tripled or quadrupled in a single outing…Boston Beaneaters is a “catchy” name …if ur living in poverty J …I didn’t realize that Willie Mays had 660 HR ! WOW!…so one guy hits 4 of his career 20 HR in one game? Was his little brother pitching to him? Were they playing fuzz ball?

 

Have a great week…Comments are always appreciated…

Comments

  1. John Rocco says:

    Bob, I don’t know how you find the time to put this all together. But lots of good stuff. I am looking forward to seeing Reyes pitching in the bigs. I am concerned that Wacha may never be the same as he was his first year. I’m thinking changing his motion has made him too hit able.Lastly, I’d love to see the Cards get Chris Sale, but I don’t think your proposed offers would get it done. Just my thoughts.john

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