Category Archives: St. Louis Cardinals

Veterans Day and Every Day ….. Thank You!

Note:  This is a repost of my 2010 Veteran’s Day Blog.

Arlington National Cemetery

“But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. Ulcers, hearing defects, and torn cartilages were coveted by team owners.” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)

This and the following list of Hall of Fame Members Courtesy of  Baseball Almanac.

Baseball Hall of Fame Members  who Served in the Armed Forces.
The Civil War  
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander  United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army Continue reading

Oh It’s Good To Be Back Home Again ……

Okay, I’ll say it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my very favorite baseball moments of all time was the Opening Day Ceremonies on April 5, 2011, following that glorious 2010 World Series Championship win .  The game was between the San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals. So today was just the icing on the cake for me.  The same teams were playing, and the championship flag was again being hoisted above the park to remain for the entire 2013 season so that all who crossed  our threshold could see what a magical place they had entered. 

But today, instead of being at the game, I was watching from my comfortable chair, all decked out in orange and black, with a box of Kleenex and a paper bag (to dispose of the used tissues) nearby.  And I did pretty good until they introduced the Cards Manager, Mike Matheny, and the crowd broke into near hysteria in support of this fellow, another of my very favorites.  And I lost it, never to fully recover for the rest of the ceremony. 

music notesI’m not sure why I was so emotional today, but it probably had something to do with the affection the Giants fans feel for their team, and the entire organization for that matter, but also for anyone who has anything to do with the Giants!  The crowd cheered just as loud for each of the St Louis Cardinal players who were former Giants as they did for the current Giants themselves.   It’s been a long dry spell, this post, post-season, and finally today, after five months we have our kids back home ready to dance around the mound, and the plate and the field.  “It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you” ……..as if I was singing the song to each of them individually as they walked out onto the field.   Continue reading

It Pays to Win A World Series !! How Much Did they Make??

Reprinted from SI.COM.  

NEW YORK (AP) – A full postseason share for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants was worth a record $377,003, breaking the mark that had stood since the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.

In the first year of the expansion of the playoffs from eight teams to 10, the players’ pool was a record $65.36 million, Major League Baseball said Monday. The previous mark of $59.1 million came in 2009.

The Giants split $23.5 million, voting 50 full shares, partial shares equivalent to another 11.1, and 12 cash awards. All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera, suspended for the final 45 games of the regular season and the division series, automatically received a full share without his teammates having to make a decision.

Under baseball’s joint drug agreement, he was eligible for his share because his suspension ended in time for him to be on the active roster for a majority of the Giants’ postseason games, even though San Francisco decided not to use him. Under Major League Rule 45, he gets a full share because he was with the team from June 1 on.

Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, became a free agent last week and agreed to a $16 million, two-year contract with Toronto.

San Francisco’s full share was up from $323,170 for the 2011 champion Cardinals and $317,631 on the 2010 Giants.

A full share on the AL champion Tigers was worth $284,275, up from $251,516 for last year’s Texas Rangers.

The players’ pool included 50 percent of the gate receipts from the two wild card games, and 60 percent from the first three games of each division series and the first four games of each league championship series and the World Series.

Full shares were worth $122,558 for the Cardinals, $115,065 for the New York Yankees, $37,865 for the Cincinnati Reds, $37,045 for the Washington Nationals, $34,826 for the Baltimore Orioles, $34,325 for the Oakland Athletics, $19,609 for the Atlanta Braves and $16,999 for the Rangers.

Shares are split among the 10 postseason teams. In the past, they were divided among the eight playoff teams and the four second-place teams that failed to reach the postseason.

“Comeback Kings” The San Francisco Giants

 

“Comeback Kings” The Book

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book; it arrived Saturday and I read it in its entirety Sunday.  All of the 2010 World Series “picture books” are in my library so this was a welcome addition.  The full-page color photo’s are worth the price of the book and if you live in the Bay Area you’ve probably seen them before in the Mercury News or  Oakland Tribune.  Good stuff!  Back in 2010 Andrew Baggarly, or Baggs as he’s fondly referred to by the locals, was the lead sportswriter and his monument to the season is captured in his book “Band of Misfits”.  But Baggs is nowhere to be found in the “Comeback Kings”  since he left the organization and is now part of the Comcast group.  He’s replaced by Alex Pavlovic and  a troupe of other  sportswriters who definitely hold their own. 

“By the time the Giants were done throwing haymakers, their hands were being fitted for championship rings.”  

This is a great line by Pavlovic.  Wish I could  write like that. 

SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture” Book

My favorite 2010 World Series pictorial was from the SF Chronicle “Torture to Rapture”.   And it’s still probably my most favorite.  I’m sure they’ll come out with another for the 2012 season, but for sure the “Comeback Kings” is a great read for those of us who can’t get enough of these kids and quite simply just don’t want the season to end! 

I mean what are you supposed to do when your main source of entertainment is put on hold?  If you’re Rogers Hornsby,  you stare out the window and wait for spring.  And that’s just about it folks.  

But don’t forget the added bonus this year ~ 2013 World Baseball Classic,  March 2 thru March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA. 

“Comeback Kings” Bay Area News Group. Published Nov 2012, Available from Triumph Books and Major Book Retailers.

Related articles

Here I Go Again ……..”Oh, Those Classy Cardinals!”

“Zito handing over the ball”

This is filed under the “Just when you think you’ve seen it all” Category.  Barry Zito’s pitching was superb tonight  in Game 5 of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.   He pitched a shut-out into the 8th Inning with 115 total pitches and the Giants won the game 5-0.  I was considering not even watching the game because I figured if the Cardinals won I’d watch the next game which would be Game 1 of the World Series and if the Giants won, I’d be able to watch them play again Sunday, in San Francisco, in front of their home crowd.  That way I could avoid watching the stressful nail-biter game I was sure it would be.   But that’s not what happened.  I mean it wasn’t a nail-biter.  

Something else happened at Busch Stadium tonight that probably happens a lot  in St. Louis but honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.  It was one of those emotional moments I live for in sports, an honor to witness, via the telly of course, and I couldn’t wait to write about it.

“St. Louis Cardinal Fans”

During the 8th Inning, Bochy decided to replace Zito for whatever reason Boche decides to do these things, and Barry Zito walked off the mound after a really spectacular pitching performance, a  shut-out.  He also contributed an RBI single to his efforts. And as he walked off the mound across the field toward the dugout, those crazy Cardinal fans did something really spectacular.  During this championship series game they stood up and gave Zito, the opposing pitcher who just zapped the spirit out of their home team, a standing ovation.  They knew tonight Zito was  the guy who put a door stop in their chance at least momentarily of winning the 2012 National League Pennant.  A win tonight for the St Louis Cardinals would have propelled them right into the World Series.   But that didn’t stop them from showing appreciation for a job well done.  These fans are from Missouri, the “Show Me State” and he showed them a job well done, and they said thank you.  

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.  I’ve always had a genuine fondness for the Cardinal fans.  I wrote about it last year on opening day “Those Classy Cardinals” and this is just another little reminder that the spirit of St Louis is alive and well and so is the spirit of baseball.   

Related articles

2010 World Champions vs 2011 World Champions!

SF Giants vs. St Louis Cardinals
“Opening Day April, 2011″

On April 9, 2011, I wrote a blog titled “Those Classy Cardinals”.  It was opening day, the first league game after the Giants won the World Series, and they were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals.  It was a great game and the blog got a record number of views and comments.  It was one of my favorites.    Here’s a link to that post “Those Classy Cardinals”.

And then again, on November 14, 2011, I published a blog about the young, new Cardinals Manager, Mike Matheny, who had left baseball some five years earlier as a promising catcher with the SF Giants after sustaining a series of concussions.  He’d just been named as General Manager of the St Louis Cardinals and he was my new hero.  Here’s a link to that post “Mike Matheny ~ Leading by Example.”

“2011 Opening Day in San Francisco”

So there’s just a little bit of irony here as I’m settling in to watch the first game of the race for the 2012 National League Pennant between the SF Giants and the St Louis Cardinals.  Who knew?  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this series which I projected without a doubt would be  between Cincinnati and Washington. But the  Giants and Cards have this way of sneaking in and surprising everyone and now they’re the contenders. 

“Calm & Cool as a Cucumber”

But, seriously folks, there’s no dilemma here.    My home team is the San Francisco Giants (I’m a huge fan), and I really love those Cardinals.  And like many true blue baseball fans,  I just love to see a really great game no matter who wins and I think I’ve recovered enough after the 2010 World Series to be able to handle this ~ calm and cool as a cucumber.

But I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know when it’s over. 

Atlanta and Texas get the Bird and Turner Field gets Garbage.

Congratulations to the Cardinals and Orioles for winning the Wild Card Games and advancing to Divisional Play in the postseason.   As usual, I don’t comment on play-by-play.  You can read about the particulars on every sports page, but I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to comment on our wonderful baseball fans.    Take those at Atlanta’s Turner Field for example.

Okay let’s admit that there was a rather unorthodox call out there in the field in the 8th inning, with bases loaded no less. I mean how many times have you seen an infield fly rule called in the outfield?   You can see some of the takes on it below, but in the end the play called by the umpire stood over protest and the Cardinals ended up winning the game 6-3.

Umpire Joyce & Galarraga “after the call”.

No doubt this was a huge disappointment for the Braves fans, but this has happened before and guaranteed it will happen again ~ questionable calls by the umpires I mean.  One call in particular that comes to mind was the Jim Joyce call on an otherwise perfect  Armando Galarraga game in Detroit.  If ever fans had reason to throw something, anything, it would have been during that game.  But they didn’t.  Those Tiger fans had class.

Turner Field Trash

I always enjoyed watching the fans at Turner Field,  especially during those 2010 playoffs. That tomahawk “chop” was an awesome display of fan support and the constant chant from the stadium was like a war dance or something and it was deafening.  And that’s what fans do in support of their team and that’s what they did tonight at Turner Field in Atlanta.   But that’s when the nice Atlanta Braves fans story takes a different turn.   They started throwing things.  I mean bottles and things onto the field.  It was so bad that the St Louis Cardinals, who had  every right and reason to celebrate, for safety reasons, had to take their celebration off the field and  into the clubhouse.

Chipper Jones Final At-Bat

All season long during every game I watched the Braves play in, it was all about Chipper Jones.  Chipper’s last season, Chipper’s last at-home game, Chipper’s last hit.  Well this was sure a grand way to send Chipper out the door.  Good job Braves fans.   I somehow wonder if Chipper isn’t just a little bit glad to be going.   I know I would be.

2012 MLB Team and Player Salaries

2012 All Star Game Photo

Here’s the 2012 update to our 2011 listing published August 27, 2011.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?  For example; the Washington Nationals have the best record in the Majors this year, but have the 11th Lowest Salary out of 30 Teams.   Salary Chart Linked Here

2012 MLB Salaries  
 

TEAM

TOTAL PAYROLL
New York Yankees $ 197,962,289
Philadelphia Phillies $ 174,538,938
Boston Red Sox $ 173,186,617
Los Angeles Angels $ 154,485,166
Detroit Tigers $ 132,300,000
Texas Rangers $ 120,510,974
Miami Marlins $ 118,078,000
San Francisco Giants $ 117,620,683
St. Louis Cardinals $ 110,300,862
Milwaukee Brewers $ 97,653,944
Chicago White Sox $ 96,919,500
Los Angeles Dodgers $ 95,143,575
Minnesota Twins $ 94,085,000
New York Mets $ 93,353,983
Chicago Cubs $ 88,197,033
Atlanta Braves $ 83,309,942
Cincinnati Reds $ 82,203,616
Seattle Mariners $ 81,978,100
Baltimore Orioles $ 81,428,999
Washington Nationals $ 81,336,143
Cleveland Indians $ 78,430,300
Colorado Rockies $ 78,069,571
Toronto Blue Jays $ 75,489,200
Arizona Diamondbacks $ 74,284,833
Tampa Bay Rays $ 64,173,500
Pittsburgh Pirates $ 63,431,999
Kansas City Royals $ 60,916,225
Houston Astros $ 60,651,000
Oakland Athletics $ 55,372,500
San Diego Padres $ 55,244,700

               

A Light in the Eyes of a Giant ~ No Laughing Matter.

During the seventh inning of a Cardinals-Giants game on Monday,  a fan was arrested for shining a laser beam at Giants’ pitcher, Shane Loux .  I was watching the game on the tube and the announcers talked about the delay, but no one really knew what was going on, and eventually the game resumed.  As it turns out, the fan was a 17-year-old teenager who was with  some friends in an expensive private suite  along the first base line and maybe thought he was just having a little fun. 

“Craig Calcaterra’s Cat?”

My story’s not about the 17-year-old mis-guided laser-pointing fan.  It’s about a follow-up blog written by Craig Calcaterra on NBC’s HardBall.  The post shows a supposedly comical picture of a cat wanting to catch that “red dot”.  In the article Calcaterra says he sure hopes it’s not illegal to use those things or else he’ll have way less fun with his cat, making light of what could have been a really serious situation. 

My immediate concern was for the pitcher ~ that he could be blinded by the laser and throw a wild pitch,  injuring the batter, catcher or umpire.  When you consider the speed of some of those pitches, upwards to 100 mph, you have a potentially deady combination.  And that can be true even with perfect conditions, which doesn’t include having a laser flashed in your eye.  

But according to a Cardinals’ security spokesman there are other situations that need to be considered.  With laser-pointing, there is no way to distinguish a prank from a gunman aiming a laser-equipped firearm.  Joe Walsh, Director of Cardinals’ Security puts it this way, “… when you go into what’s been going on in the country right now, it’s totally irresponsible to pretend you’ve got laser sights on somebody”. 

The details of the incident are linked here, in a well-written article for the Post-Dispatch by Christine Byers of STL Today.com, and no matter how you want to spin the story, it’s no laughing matter.  

I sure don’t want Calcaterra to miss out on any fun with his cat, but hope he has the common sense to leave those things at home when he ventures out to the ballpark and other public places.

Best Food at the Ballpark in 2012? ~ You Decide!

"Strasburg: Last year's version with butterflied hotdog on top"

I found a great little ditty this morning at the Washington Post.  The Nationals are going to highlight special food from the visiting team’s home town each time they play in Washington.   I recommend you take advantage of  San Francisco’s special food “Garlic Fries” this year, especially since the Giants will be playing at Nationals Park on the 4th of July, and not just because they’re our namesake, but because they’re really, really good!

But for sure you gotta love the special food presented by the Washington Nationals this year, honoring their special pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.  I hear it includes 12 pickles, representing the twelve strike-outs the Stras got in his first outing.   Great article written by Dan Steinberg, from the Washington Post.

Nationals Park introduces 8-pound ‘StrasBurger’

By , Washington Post  Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 03/12/2012

 

The new 8 lb. Strasburger includes fries and a coke! Courtesy "Yardbarker"

(Marvin Joseph – TWP.) As the baseball season approaches, you know what that means on this here blog: lots of updates on the concessions available at Nationals Park.

Our first update concerns the Red Porch, and a brand-new menu item that will get lots of attention from media and fans: The StrasBurger. Via my favorite friends in Nats PR:

Weighing eight pounds total (including toppings), the StrasBurger is a monstrous all beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs). The burger is served on a large burger bun with our secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips and served with a cone basket of fresh cut fries and a pitcher of your choice of soft drink. This signature dish is the perfect entrée to share at this affordably-priced family restaurant.

In case you missed the key phrase, this burger WEIGHS EIGHT POUNDS TOTAL, which is a lot of pounds. Even if some of them are onion pounds. Every TV station in this market will have hosts merrily attempting to grapple with the StrasBurger next month. At least, I hope so.The Red Porch will also feature special food and beer pairings that will spotlight area brews, including those from Dogfish Head and Flying Dog. Any time I get to type “Dogfish Head,” I consider that a win.

Also, the Taste of the Majors stand — which has spotlighted a few items from other MLB cities — will now feature a special dish from the city of each visiting opponent while they’re actually in D.C. Those items will all be limited time only offers, obviously.  The list:

Atlanta:   Smothered Fried Chicken Platter
Baltimore:  Pit Beef Sandwich Platter
Arizona:  Dog Platter
Chicago:  Dog Platter
Cincinnati:   5-Way Cincinnati Chili
Colorado:  Mile High Burger
Houston:  Houston Nacho
Los Angeles:  Dog Platter
Miami:   Cuban Dog
Milwaukee:   Beer Brat Platter
New York (Mets and Yankees):   Coney Dog Platter
Philadelphia:   Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Platter
Pittsburgh:   Pitts Burger Platter
St. Louis:   BBQ Rib Platter
San Diego:   Fish Taco Platter
San Francisco:   Garlic Fries and Shrimp Platter
Tampa Bay:  Salty Dog Platter

Geez, this is all making me hungry!  Only 23 Days to Opening Day ~  See you at the ballpark!

St. Louis Fans Missing Pujols? ….. Not so Fast!

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge Albert Pujols fan.  But here’s another way to look at it, courtesy of Sully Videos with a little John Travolta thrown in.  Take a look ~

Baseball’s Top Ten News Items in 2011

2011 World Champions St Louis Cardinals

The media’s full of articles and videos of the most newsworthy items about baseball this past year.   You might think this would be those articles you and I found the most interesting and representative of baseball throughout the country, but not necessarily so.

I compiled a list from a survey today of the “top 10″ from USA Today, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN.

Here’s the results and below that I’ve listed my own personal “Top Ten”.  How does your list compare?

TOP TEN FROM SURVEY

  1. St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions
  2. Justin Verlander,  AL Cy Young and MVP Winner
  3. Game 162 collapse of the Red Sox and Braves.
  4. Game 6 World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers
  5. Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit
  6. Ryan Braun’s Drug Test
  7. Jim Thome’s 600th Home Run
  8. Shannon Stone Fatal Fall at Rangers Stadium
  9. Mariano Rivera all time saves leader
  10. Bryan Stow beating at Dodger Stadium Continue reading