New Years Eve gossip by Bob Ryan

New years 2016OK….Christmas & New Years are past us now….we’ve been inundated with 40 bowl games, more NFL games, countless basketball games, MLB trades…plenty of parties to “kick around” sports talk and sports names…maybe here’s some of the names & talk that u heard…..


…Manifesto Mike….front page article about his “disagreement” with Heyward’s assessment that the Cards core is aging seems petty to me…it seems reasonable to have those thoughts…in 3 years these leaders of the Cards will be—Wainwright-37, Holliday-38, Molina-36 (if you believe his of the Ryan theorems is add 2 years to players from countries where birth dates are unsubstantiated)….so …from Heyward’s view…who is the next core? Wong? Grichuk? Piscotty? Adams? Wacha?….there are REAL question marks behind several of those names….he didn’t blast you, the offer, the city, his teammates, it was a reasonable decision…. So Manifesto get over it.


…Frank Solich…I had completely forgotten about him…he was the one that succeeded Dr. Tom Osborne (Nebraska)…Solich was in Dr. Tom’s 1st recruiting class and was a terrific FB in the Cornhusker offense…so Solich now coaches Ohio. His Bobcats lost a tremendously entertaining early bowl game..who can remember the name… as Appalacian State kicked a FG at the buzzer to beat Ohio. But…as I thought of Solich I remembered that he was fired at Nebraska. In his 6 seasons leading Nebraska, his teams compiled a 58-19 record…yet critics moaned that that he had won only 1 Big 12 championship, that the team had only been in the top 10 in 3 of his 6 seasons, that Nebraska had been mauled in the 2001 national Championship game against Miami, that he couldn’t win big games…..that’s right….he didn’t win the national championship so they wanted his head on a platter and they got it…so how did that benefit Nebraska….they have never finished in the top 10 since Solich, never been in another championship game and frankly are nowhere near the Nebraska team’s that we knew under Osborne….all these college boosters better slow down before rushing to judgement to hire the “flavor of the month”. Replacing a coaching legend is nearly impossible….look @ UCLA after Wooden or Bama after the Bear….there was a continual shuffling of strong coaches yet no one could measure up….NU lost a good one in Frank Solich who has taken Ohio from a complete unknown to 7 bowls in 9 years, 3 MAC east division titles and while not a NCAA powerhouse, it is a solid, smaller school program that’s moving upwards following the Boise State model.


…Joe Namath…I heard one young talk show host on in the 6am hour ….so how good is he?…anyway.. this guy says “Joe Namath is the most overrated QB in history”. It stunned me….didn’t this kid know how significant the Jets win in Super Bowl III was? In the first 2 Super bowls, Green Bay had crushed both AFL opponents. With the upcoming merger, most fans thought of the AFL as inferior and that the NFL had blundered by merging with the AFL and maybe should “rethink” the merger. …In fact one long time NFL player-coach Norm Van Brocklin said, “Namath will be playing his FIRST pro game in the Super Bowl”. The opponent of the Jets in SB III was the Baltimore Colts. The Colts were heavily favored. They went 13-1, scored 402 points and gave up only 144 during the season and avenged their only loss of the season when they splattered the Cleveland Browns 34-0 in NFC Championship game. Namath’s braggadocio, as he assured anyone who would listen, amused some.. maybe many angry.. made some think that he was on drugs…or that he was having too much time with the girls (who always surrounded him)…anyway…the Jets stunned the sporting world when they toppled the Colts 16-7 and Namath earned the MVP award for the game. That achievement alone, some might argue…as I am…earned Namath tremendous respect. Other notable achievements—Namath was the 1st QB to throw for 4000 yards in one season in NFL (a season of 12 games not 16 like now) when running the football was still the preference. He passed for 27000+ yards in his shortened career. He was AFL Rookie of the Year, AFL Player of the Year. He played far beyond his knee injuries allowed…in 4 of his 12 years he played less than half the games due to knee injuries…remember modern medicine hadn’t yet made its great strides in knee surgeries. Sure passing numbers are an indicator but winning the biggest game and doing it when the merger was still hanging in the balance has to count for a great deal…so in my book he wasn’t overrated…but then again….it’s only my book..whatta u think of him?


…Will Grier is departing U of Florida…now I readily concede that most transferees bring baggage…heavy baggage with them…but….considering the state of their impotent offense…wouldn’t you try to get him to come to Mizzou? Btw….what’s going on @ U of Florida? 6 QB’s have transferred out of the Gator school…something smells to me….or maybe the QB coach doesn’t talk to the recruiters J


…talking about QB…it’s generally assumed that championship teams require a strong, very good QB…yet…consider this…when someone asks you which college program is the best…one of the names…if not the 1st name to be heard is Alabama…yet you have to go all the way back to Richard Todd (Bama’s QB in 74-75) to find a QB who has been a “star” in the NFL..Alabama has won….or been named since that time… the NCAA Champion in 78, 92, 2009, 2011, 2012…yet Bama has sent dozens of running backs, defensive players and some o-lineman to the NFL on regular basis….exceptional QB seem to be difficult to project for colleges so…maybe the NCAA coaches should check out how Bama continues to win national titles ?

Btw…other famous Bama-NFL QB were Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath, Bart Starr


…Brandon Phillips…what is he thinking?   He can be traded to Washington…usually a contender or at least trying to be one….or play for the Reds who are viewed as one of the weakest teams in the NL and are clearing out any costly, good players…why wouldn’t a guy want to do that?


…we always think the Rams are the ONLY team that can’t draft players…how about Atlanta? Their #8 overall pick has become the highest “bust” of the season… Vic Beasley a DE from Clemson was the ACC Def Player of the Year last year…this year, he is ranked #29 at his postion (DE) in the NFL…not exactly what the Falcons anticipated….btw…the Rams drafted Gurley after Donald (previous #1 choice)….so … maybe drafting the best player available rather than by position IS the way to go?


….DeMontie Cross…impressive credentials except that he’s never been a defensive coordinator. Can a 1st year head coach lean on a 1st time DC? Or will it be the other way around? Let’s hope the energy and experience of Cross makes it a success for him and the Tigers


…Serena Williams—SI Sportsperson of the year for 2015….what a sleezy cover picture…I thought for a sec I had received the wrong magazine? Aside from the picture, and this is coming from a non-golfer..what about Jordan Spieth? It seems to me that there are many, many more highly accomplished golfers on tour than highly accomplished women tennis players on that tour? Btw..Tiger Woods won this award twice…first in 1996 when he won the US Amateur & NCAA Championship…and that merited him the Sportsperson of the year award…musta been a thin sports year ??

——————————–the John Lackey section ——————————————————-

….John Lackey….it wasn’t the money (they paid much more for Leake)…it wasn’t his performance…well…in a way it was….in many ways 2015 was one of Lackey’s best…it was that the Cards wanted an extra draft pick…by getting that sandwich pick (between rounds 1 & 2) since the Cubs signed Lackey, I’m thinking…scary thought…that MO and his boys will draft another youngster but use the one of their 3 choices for a college grad (who should be closer to the MLB)…take a look at some details on the John Lackey of 2015


Year  Team   W L ERA G CG SHO     IP       H       BB     SO     AVG       WHIP     #-pit SV SVO IP H R ER HR HB BB IBB SO AVG WHIP GO/A
2015 STL   13 10 2.77   33         1       0       218       211    53       175    .256     1.21        3127 33 33 1 0 0 0 218.0 211 71


              More Lackey info

               P/IP         p/Plate App       obp       slug     ops

               14.3           3.49                   .303       .376     .679


In 2015 Lackey had career best totals in ERA, 2nd most innings pitched in a season, his WHIP tied his 2nd best year, he has now thrown 39,594 pitches in the MLB, his pitches per inning (14.3) was the lowest of his career, his ERA of 3.49 was the lowest of his career, the runs scored on his per 9 innings was the 2nd best ofh is career, Lackey’s 13 wins is just about his norm…he’s won more than 14 games in a year only once in his career (2007), the OBP was the 2nd best of his career, his hits allowed per 9 innings was the 3rd best of his career. He’s now 37 years of age.


His reliability in duration last year was amazingly consistent—

He pitched 8+ innings-3x, he pitched 5+ innings-3x (I’m not counting the 5 innings game that was “called off” after 5 inn in KC), he pitched 4 innings only once—in the playoffs and all the other starts were 6+ or 7+ innings in duration.


Maybe at 36, he turned 37 in October, claimed it was the 2nd best season of his entire career with 2007 being his career best… so 8 years later maybe he reached close to the apex of his career because the NL is just easier than the AL with no DH….or maybe Yadi’s pitch selection was a difference…or maybe it was an outlier of statistics for Lackey…or maybe he was pissed to be pitching for the MLB minimum (Cards did put in incentives for bonus payments based on innings pitched..gee, think that mattered to a guy who got $15mil in 2014?)


All in all….it seems to me that Lackey was very unlikely…considering his age…to match the stats of 2015 in 2016…PLUS the Cards got an extra draft pick. It seems much more logical now…at least to me.


….Kirk Cousins…this free agent QB could fill an immediate need for the Rammies…if they’re still here…for one…I’m hoping that we have a team…really any team. His recent remarks about the Redskins seemed to indicate his unhappiness with him.


…somehow, the absence of Lance Lynn in 2016 seems to be shrugged off, “dissed”, “no big deal” type of feeling among many fans…consider some of these stats over the last 4 years… he’s 60-38; started 132 games, pitched 12,856 pitches (over 3000 each year)—yet only 7 starts in 9 post season series, for the last 2 years his ERA has been 2.74 & 3.03…his reliability and durability will be sorely missed. Which pitcher will throw 3000 pitches this year for the Cards? Mike Leake you say? Well…he’s thrown 3000+ pitches ONCE in his career…in the last 4 years (dating starting with most recent-2015) he’s thrown 2754, 3215, 2911, 2714 pitches = 11594 pitches for the 4 years. I think Lance Lynn has been grossly overlooked by the Card fan base.


….Something’s wrong when Nebraska wins the bowl game AND STILL has a sub .500 record for the season…your thoughts are always welcome…do it right on the prepcasts page (very easy) or email me


Happy 2016 to all….




  1. Jim Pleimann says:

    Bobby Ryan stirs the pot to start off 2016…. I could see a fair comparison between Frank Solich and Bob’s favorite manager Mike Matheny. All Mike has done is win but not the big one- just like Frankie. In my humble opinion, Manifesto will be run out of town the minute he’s close or under .500 or get beat two years in a row by the team that already has ordered their 2016 world series rings. How would this be different? Why are we even bothering to play in 2016. CUBS WIN Gag Me.
    Bob, you and me and anyone over 50 should NEVER bother listening to the youngsters that somehow get airtime in the morning in the Lou. Listening will make you cringe!! Gawd it is BAD. I am sure they would think the same about me if I was hosting. Just the way it is. No prep whatsoever……
    Serena sleezy? Never would have put those two words so close together – well, okay maybe heheheh
    With Leake I believe we got 8 years younger and a top draft pick. That is okay with me. Let’s see how Lackey does in Wrigley at age 37. (I heard he has ordered his ring).
    Thanks for getting me stirred a little Bob!!

  2. John Rocco says:

    Bob, good stuff. Are you going to a 2016 predication edition? John

  3. John Sondag says:

    Very thought provoking and a great way to help forget those miserable bowl games on New Years day.
    I totally agree with you about Frank Solich. Schools get spoiled and do not appreciate consistent winning. Reminds me of how Mizzou boosters ran Warren Powers out of Columbia and we had to settle for 16 years of losing; anyone remember Woody’s Wagon??
    Regarding Joe Willie, his greatness was measured not by his outstanding stats, but more so by his pizzazz. Just think how things might have been different had he signed with the Big Red and not the AFL Jets!
    Turning to your baseball comments, you were spot on regarding Lackey. While I loved his tenacity and bulldog attitude, as well as his ability to eat up innings, I would much rather have a younger Leake who has much more upside. And Lance Lynn is definitely underrated and under appreciated. We wouldn’t have won it all in 2011 without him dominating as a set-up man. Let’s hope he comes back healthy and stronger in 2017.

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