Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pitching, pitching, pitching, but Walt: from within..

It's an unreal and very unfortunate circumstance that the Cardinals wasted a magnificent play that will now always be viewed in a lesser light.

But the fact of the matter is, talent plays up to its level. And we didn't have the talent -- toeing the rubber or at the plate -- to keep up with the Astros' starting three.

Such a painful conclusion at least eludicates why even mediocre starting pitchers like Matt Morris will be driving a Wells Fargo truck this offseason -- teams are so desperate for those shutdown players that number in the very, very few that they'll toss piles of money at even the imposters. The Red Sox are the perfect example of why this is the case: in their 2004 offseason arithmetic, they concluded that their bats could make up for a lesser pitching staff; Ramirez, Big Papi, how could that be wrong? Yet, the great Dominicans were swept away in three games.

Theo Epstein was proven wrong on this count and it's certainly likely that you could see Manny traded for pitching talent this offseason. So the cycle will continue and even more money will be wasted on the average pitchers who won't accomplish a thing in the postseason.

From the Cardinals perspective, the most damning part about the Mulder trade, other than his inept performance in NLCS Game 6, will never be Barton; certainly, we could find any number of good hitters to hit .188 in a postseason series like the other guys currently taking up spaces 4-6 in the postseason lineup. It'll always be Haren, a guy who, for the most part, showed himself to be an admirable performer in the Fall Classic.

Even if he doesn't turn out to be the total stud that some are predicting, such individuals are the most precious commodity in baseball and should not be traded under almost any circumstances. The main focus for Major League teams, thus, will never be hitters; the vast amount of resources should remain on developing postseason-capable pitchers.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

GM Larry Pleau..A Disaster, but a Mitigated One..

The NHL's free-agent frenzy has crawled to a stop as teams get set to open training camp in two weeks and then drop the puck for real in 33 days.

Only four transactions were reported Thursday, down from more than two dozen on the busiest August days.

"It was active," Blues general manager Larry Pleau said. "There were lots of spots to fill, so you knew it would be active. Most teams are going to have a lot of different faces. For the fans, it will be real exciting."

Blues fans may be among those excited about the return of hockey, but the enthusiasm has been curtailed by their team being one of the least active in the free-agent market since it opened Aug.

While I'm with the contingent of throwing Larry Pleau into the Superdome for a few nights, I'm of the mind that it's good for Blues fans that he didn't blow his wad all this year.

The fact of the matter is, there were way too many stupid contracts that did not at all appreciate the new collective bargaining agreement (Mike Modano and your five year $17.5m contract at age 35, COME ON DOWN!) and those teams will suffer mightily as a result.

Let's hope that the new owner does with Larry what should be done to Larry and the team starts off with bountiful payroll opportunities and a blessed new General Manager.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina..And LA's Crime

One could argue quite persuasively that earthquakes are a force of nature that cannot in any way be prevented or otherwise tempered. We build earthquake-proof buildings, but if one of a enough magnitude strikes, it can destroy indiscriminately any building in a city.

However, this is so damning in that Ivan should have been a massive wake-up call or hurricane prevention, a natural disaster, however rudimentarily, we can respond to. Although this situation probably couldn't have been entirely prevented, enough could have been done to allieviate the suffering and perhaps save The Queen of New Orleans.

But LA slept. Anybody in office from then to now should be excused by a large electoral mandate. If keeping your constituents safe isn't job one, what the hell is the point?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rumours are out on the Internets...

that Roger Clemens and a Red Sox (Johnny Damon?) have tested positive for steroids.

Bad for baseball? In the short term, perhaps. But more likely, it's part of the more painful and decidedly positive process of regaining integrity rather than losing it.

TSN Interview with The Rocket:

TSN: Steroids are a hot topic. They supposedly give players an advantage in their workouts, allowing them to do more, enabling them to recover more quickly. For those reasons, have you ever considered using performance-enhancing drugs?
CLEMENS: Steroids are great because for my mother (Bess, who suffers from emphysema), they are great. They keep her chest cavity strong, and she has to take them. For others, they abuse them, and they're not good for you. I hate the fact that they're just making this such a big topic because one or two guys (have) come out about it. I don't think there's any secret about the guys who were doing it -- you can tell. But to each their own.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Everybody brings green..

After an event sponsored by Harrah's with six southeast Asian Ambassadors, I sat down to have a beer at Caesars Palace. The bar was hopping just as much as a dead rabbit so chatted a little bit with the New Yawkah bahtenda.

His most memorable line: "Las Vegas is environmentally friendly -- everybody brings green." He didn't know much about the impending merger of Harrah's/Caesars and its affect on workers, but he brought up the interesting fact that the consolidation of properties will result in a harder working environment for Las Vegas. What if you get fired from MGM or Harrah's? Where will you work? You're out of the market for over half of Vegas.

A small, small town, we are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Game On...

One of my favorite stories about the Cardinals -- if you knew me in grade school, you got REALLY TIRED of this tale -- was during the 1985 season. Vince Coleman was my favorite player. He liked to run, I liked to run. There was a bond, okay?

And like any little kid, I loved my autographs. So one day, I was down there with a baseball in hand, or a card, or something, and I leaned at the rail as hard as I could, and tried to see Vince and how far along the signing line he was. The game was about to start, and he was too damn far away. This was going to end badly.

So as a kid who knew his stuff -- I, uh, knew that we were born in the same hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, but we'll deal with the Cardinals obsession later -- I yelled, "I'm from Jacksonville, too, Vince!"

And it worked. It was magic. The guy skipped over whole rows of people, signed my autograph, and went on to play the game.

Heard some parent muttering, "I've got to remember that one." It was a brilliant day.

Game on, Cardinals. Game on.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Some Non-Rocket Related Thoughts on the game today..

Everybody else is performing fellatio on Roger Clemens, so I'm going to stay out of that. Some other thoughts on today's game:

The Juicebox is horrid, horrific, use whatever word you like. The Kent HR reminded me that perhaps this game was taking place on a Little Leaguers field.

Imagine that for a second. Everything would go over the fence -- what fun. What kind of BASEBALL is that, though, when a pure home run competition breaks out? Sadly, it's not. It's a question of who can hit the ball to a middling depth. It doesn't involve strategy or a particular challenge for a major league hitter. It may be arena baseball, but the Doubleday version? Forget about it.

Steve Lyons was fond of repeating a seemingly honest quote from Jed, "that if it hit the barrel of my bat, it would be out." You don't need Johnny Cochran for that to be an indictment of the worst ballpark in MLB. (The connotation of its first name, of course, told us this as well.)

Second thought: Was Thom Brennamen on drugs? He commented during Rolen's first AB Saturday that "he broke the tie on Thursday night." Huh? He didn't "break the tie" on his first HR, and Alberto broke the second tie. Thommy went on to call Suppan a ".270 hitter" during the season. I almost lost my lunch. We all have bad days, but he just seemed a little above or below that nice little thing we refer to as reality.

Third thought: We need one more win to pretty much grab Houston by the lapel and dangle them off the cliff. And if we get that next win tomorrow, the Cards can drop them off the canyon in any of the next three games, two of which will be held at the Busch Broadway Revue. Worry not.