4th of July by Bob Ryan

4th of July…may mean a lot of different things to each of us…maybe it’s remembering the Independence of our country…maybe its remembering the family BBQ’s …maybe it’s the fireworks celebrating the holiday…maybe swimming parties…we all have our own memories….well here’s a few thoughts on the 4th celebration of firework from the sports point of view for 2017….

….the top 4 All-time War Leaders as Cardinals are 1) Stan the Man; 2) Rogers Hornsby; 3) Bob Gibson; 4) Albert Pujols

…so fireworks go off  in Cubbies clubhouse when a backup catcher (Miguel Montero)  indicates that he can’t throw out runners stealing due to Jake Arrieta’s slow move home after Washington steals 7 bases….poor Miguel hasn’t learned the PC world yet…ya can’t criticize stars on ur team…or those perceived to be stars by their management…oh …and ….Miguel was released for not being a “team man”… we all know if the Cubs were in 1st place that Miguel would still be the backup catcher J

….fireworks were also booming in Oklahoma City as the Thunder acquired Paul George…with George as the #2 superstar behind Russell Westbrook (16-17 MVP) and a guy who actually guards skilled players…OKC is back in the mix as  deep-run playoff team..so it won’t  just be  Cleveland& Golden State lined up as the 2 finalists as they were this year..isn’t it sad that the Lakers & Celtics aren’t part of the NBA “real” playoff run?

…the top 4 MLB hitters in OPS on July 1 were 1) Aaron Judge-1.13;  2) Joey Votto-1.04; 3) Paul Goldschmidt 1.01 and Ryan Zimmermann 1.008…they are the ONLY guys with an OPS over 1.00 on this date

….I’m of the old school….surprise, surprise…that views wins by a pitcher as a significant stat…in my view, the total objective is to win the game….other stats can useful but how much does this pitcher win..so with that in mind….sometimes I’m a bit frustrated that Carlos Martinez doesn’t win more games…I don’t care how much “stuff” he has…I remember Jose DeLeon of the Cards (late 80’s)…they always said that he had great stuff too..he won 16 games… once… and the very next year lost 19 games…in his career he was a very sub-par 86-119—with his great stuff!…if Martinez is  a real ace….he’ll find ways to escape troublesome innings, get strikeouts when you really need them, throw the double play pitch (Gibby used to tell 3B Mike Shannon…you won’t get many ground balls unless there’s a runner on 1B…then turn the DP)…all that being said…Martinez is in the top 4 MLB pitchers in Batting Average against him….#1 Max Scherzer has batters hitting .164 against him,#2 Chris Sale allows a .197 average, Carlos Martinez is#3 at .199 (but he’s 6-6 for the year), Clayton Kershaw is .202..that’s hanging around with some elite company  in any pitching category….Carlos….go deep in games-heaven forbid maybe even a complete game, get your strikeouts, win 20 and you’ll be a real ace in the NL! Whip, ERA, quality starts, and all that other stuff is for the losers.

….only 4 MLB teams have NEVER had a CY Young winner…Cincy, Colorado, Miami and Texas.. and with the home stadiums that these 4 teams use….we won’t being seeing a Cy Young there soon

…4 questions for the Cards…1) When Fowler returns…which Card OF is shoved out—Grichuk, Pham or Piscotty? Pls don’t play the PC game of sitting one out each day…this is the Big Leagues…they haven’t paid to play (like these HS traveling teams)…we’re paying them to perform 2) Are Jose Martinez, DeJong, Voit and Mejia all being showcased?  3) Will Aledmys Diaz ever be back as a regular—his range will never increase as a 26 year old (27 on Aug 1) To me…he is clearly trade bait  4) Who’s going to be the closer ?

….Dwight Howard joins his 4th different NBA team in 6 years as he’s traded from Atlanta Hawks to Charlotte for Miles Plumlee (who?) and Marco Belinelli (who again?) and the 41st pick….apparently Atlanta was celebrating big-time after dumping the aging, highly paid center yet they got practically nothing in return…so what does that tell you about what they really thought of Mr. Howard?

…college football traditionalists are celebrating…probably more with refreshments than fireworks.. with the pre-season rankings of the top 4 college football teams….1) Bama-who else? 2) USC  3) Ohio State  4) Oklahoma….Clemson was listed as #5 – the new kid on the block…next thing I know…we’ll be seeing Penn State in the top 5 too

…Cardinal Nation seemed to be celebrating the new contract of John Mozeliak this week…Has he been kicked upstairs to get out of the way, given more authority over other facets of organization, being promoted for quality work, separating himself from this team and the manager, following the newest alignment of management….who knows…maybe all of the above J…personally, this team seems to be running-in-place….only the quagmire of the  NL Central Division teams… where no one can gain traction and all run in place…has kept them from being 10-15 games out of 1st place…which they would be in 4 of the other 5 divisions of MLB…it just seems like a very strange time to being promoting a high level administrator considering the type of season that the Cards are experiencing

…the 4 best hitters hitting back-back-back-back thus far in 2017 are Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmermann, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon

…there were loud fireworks AFTER the Manny Pacquiao & Jeff Horn fight…probably more than during the fight..many fans thought that Pac-Man got robbed… I haven’t seen the fight or a replay of the fight… some factors to consider…any time that you go to decision—anything can happen….Pac-man is 38 years old…and still fighting…he’s lost something….Horn had the entire Aussie crowd with him…maybe they influenced the judges in their cheering…Pac-Man is just 5-4 in his last 9 fights (overall 59-7-2)..I smell a rematch J If I were Horn…I’d fight some chump prior to Pac-Man to make some extra cash.

…the Blues 4 best moves in the off season thus far—acquiring Brayden Schenn (center iceman), trading Lehtera(free up cap space), drafting Klim Kosten (I have high hopes for another real “shooter” to supplement Tarasenko), having no hesitation about paying Parayko…

…the fireworks were going off for the fans of Dr Seuss as the Cardinals wore their version of the Cat in the Hat socks on Saturday night…I don’t have a count…but … it seems to me that the Cards wear their actual uniform less than they wear these tribute, special, different uniforms…. I know its all about money…fans seem to buy anything that looks different…but ..come on..enough is enough..sorry Dr Seuss

…the 4 most likely guys to get traded this summer in MLB—Martin Prado (Miami), Addison Reed (NYM)—he’d be my target if I were the Cardinals, Ryan Madson (Oakland), Mike Pelfrey (CWS)

….update on 4 former Cardinals & St. Louisans….rather sad…in an article on June 8th listing the worst player on each MLB team…players listed were Peter Bourjas (Tampa Bay), Pete Kozma (Texas),  Cody Asche (FZW-CWS) and Scott Van Slyke (LA Dodgers)..on that date, Jonathan Broxton was listed as the Cardinals weakest player….seems like he was released longer than 4 weeks ago….speaking of being released—Seth Maness was just cut loose by the Royals.

…through July 1, the 4 most surprising MLB teams to me(good & bad)…Cubs (huge downer- I expected a drop off but not them falling off the cliff), Az (51-31 record is shocking), Minnesota (they were a last place team last year),Atlanta –just 1 game under .500 @ 40-41.

…wonder why the Tigers are losing in 2017…they have 9 guys that are 30+ years old on their roster including these 4 “stars”– Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez

…fiery discussions should be going off someplace in the Cards upper levels….the Cards are 24 of 35 in save opportunities in 2017 thru today…Colorado has the best percentage  28 of 36..Phillies are worst at 11 of 35

….Fireworks in the Cards lineup again as Randall Grichuk clearly shortened his swing in the minors (btw…why isn’t that guy the hitting coach?) …Grichuk is smashing those breaking balls now…the exit velocity off his bat has always been very high… so contact is crucial.. but will he be able to adjust as the pitchers adjust to him again…look for more high fastballs, changeups, breaking pitches off the plate to him


…Now I’m getting ready for some 4th activities…your thoughts are ALWAYS welcome…I don’t expect the responses to agree with me….how boring would that be to everyone?…so have at it…Happy Independence Day to all!




  1. Vince Drake says:

    Woeful Cardinals!
    If coaches have ANY influence the Cardinals, hitting coach John Mabry and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist both have to be let go or become more of an influence on their players!
    Might not be his fault or responsibility, but Mabry’s influence is non-existent – not one hitter wants to be a contact hitter in the lineup, (where’s Sierra)?
    Are player contracts more important than playing time?
    Everyone wants to hit the ball out of the park! Move runners along, “why me”, they probably say. Only Yadie has looked like he knows how and when to do it.
    Lilliquist either doesn’t have a clue or can’t get pitchers to make changes. Apparently Matheny or Yadie are not mixing up pitches or location for the pitchers to hit their spots, or our pitchers just average guys who have been mis-judged talent? I don’t want to believe that.
    Waino’s hanging curve is hurtful to witness.
    Wacha’s fastball has no movement.
    Martinez lacks concentration and his pitching mechanics lack fluidity and cause wildness.
    Lynn has a weight problem but that can be fixed. He HAS ball movement and should continue to improve. But, does he really care about being a Cardinal for long?
    Leeke is the smartest pitcher the Cardinals have, location is very good and he is a Competitor!
    Oh, no!
    Rosey, who knows? It’s there somewhere!
    One question though, how can ANY umpire see the outside corner of the plate while always with his head to the inside of the catcher’s head? Any overhead view of Homeplate bears this out! It’s either a guessing game or knowledge by experience.

  2. jJoel Delpha says:

    Bob, Maybe you (or one of your readers who is smarter than I am) could explain what WHIP and WAR are and how they are determined. Thanks

  3. Jim Pleimann says:

    If Bryant or Rizzo would have said that about Arrietta (steroids) and didn’t mask the truth, I don’t think they would have been released the next day. Just sayin….
    I find it amazing how with one .500 or below season everybody is a manager, a hitting coach a pitching coach… We are SO spoiled here. How did we ever survive a sub-par season before. Bob, what are the four most recent bad seasons the Cardinals had and what were the years. Did people survive the summer? Were suicides up? Strokes? Heart attacks? There is SO much venom here in the Loo. Wow!! Musial, Pujols, Gibson, Brock (to name four) all had a bad season or two…
    I’d move the refurbishing of the Scottrade and the new scoreboard up the pecking order of the top four Blues moves in the off season!
    Finally I do agree that wins are and still should be a very important part of judging a pitchers worth. If you are 17-5, I don’t care if your WHIP, WAR and BS are terrible. You are +12 in the win category!!
    Grichuck will go along with Oh, Lynn and either Rosie are Carpenter unless something miraculous happens in the next few weeks. (and I don’t see that happening) Happy 4th!!

  4. Tim Miller says:

    Interesting blog, Bob. I think the Cards are not using Rosenthal correctly. He should either be their long reliever or a starter. He should be able to use more of his 4-pitch arsenal that way. That being said, I think they will trade him because, with the premium on relievers with the contenders, he should be able to deliver a nice return piece. In the meantime, if Matheny brings him in in a high-leverage situation again, I may lose it. I think Diaz will be traded. He won’t be able to dislodge any of the other infielders–DeJong is a much more efficient shortstop from what we’ve seen so far–and, unless they move him to the outfield, which doesn’t seem feasible, he is a bench player. But he too could bring a nice return for a team looking for a second baseman or a designated hitter. I think he’s gone.


    • Carlos Martinez still has a lot of growing up to do if he is going to be an effective pitcher. If you look at most of his starts, they are filled with lots of strikeouts and lots of walks. Yes he may only give up a few hits, but it seems like those hits follow a couple of walks and the opposition scores. The batting average against him is so misleading. He loses concentration on the mound and makes way too many pitches trying to spot the baseball. No way he is an All Star, if anything, Mike Leake was far more deserving for his first half performance.

      I have always been critical of the Cardinal coaches. Matheny leads the way with not teaching the fundamentals, but I am dumbfounded that they had to send Grichuk back to A ball to teach him how to hit, yet John Mabry sits on the bench every night with his pen and paper, and had no clue as to how to fix Grichuk’s swing. Who should be the hitting coach?

      thanks…don’t know why it won’t work??


    • The above is from MH … not Tim

  5. Ken Gabel says:

    Hope that Carpenter stays off of !B. Doesn’t know how to play it. Finds himself watching the play instead of covering first base. Doesn’t help the fielders when their throw is off to first base. Basically if it doesn’t hit his glove he won’t catch it. Who says anybody can play First Base?
    Good blog, Bob.

  6. Joe Parisi says:

    As always, good read Bob. Cards have abundance of OF and Infielders. Showcasing or just trying to string some wins together…. not a big fan of Mgr/ coaching staff, but don’t see any changes in staff during season.
    With Central Division still wide open, Cards won’t be sellers. Lynn will not be re- signed… Luke Weaver will take his spot in ’18 rotation.
    With FOWLER/ Wong due back soon, it will be interesting to see how line up looks.
    Pham has been a real shot in the arm. His ongoing injury/ eye issue concerns will scare off potential suitors. Jose Martinez not an everyday player…Grichuk will never hit for average. Fingers & K’s. Piscotty really a 4th outfielder.
    With Yadi signed till retirement, Carson Kelly may be the guy who can be combined in trade pkg

    Lastly, Mo will keep new GM on tight leash!
    Change more in title for these guys, mainly to keep them for leaving organization.

  7. John Sondag says:

    Bob: Yet another thought provoking blog. Always well written and dealing with pertinent issues. Regarding the Cardinals (everybody’s favorite subject), they have too many parts that just don’t work well together. Too many middle infielders–Wong, Diaz, Dejong, Garcia, Mejia, Carpenter??–Too many outfielders–Grichuk, Pham, Fowler, Piscotty, Martinez–and no clear picture who actually will be the starters. Not sure if this is another example of Matheny’s many shortcomings or if front office pushing to showcase trade material. And what is with Carpenter now playing second?? Didn’t we decide in the off season that Carp was our first baseman? and the reason we gave Matt Adams away for nothing?? Does anyone really think Luke Voit is the long (or short) term solution for first base?? Here’s hoping Mike Gersch makes his mark by trading Grichuk, Lynn. Diaz, Rosenthal and several of our youngsters for a legitimate #3 or #4 power hitter to play first, third, or RF. No one in our lineup scares any pitcher and all the others are trying to do too much. Let Wong and Dejong man the middle, and give Fowler, Pham and Piscotty regular time in the OF. My fear is we will continue to do nothing but tinker and finish out of the playoffs for yet another year.

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