To quote Network, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m boycotting the St. Louis Cardinals. Yesterday’s events were the final straw. In case you weren’t aware, the Cardinals acquired relief pitcher Blaine Boyer from Atlanta. What’s so bad about this? Well, let me give you some stats. The Cardinals relief pitchers have a combine ERA of 4.98. Atlanta, the team that Boyer came from, had a combined ERA of 7.36, and that was without Boyer. Boyer is so bad, that he could even make the pitching staff of a club that has an ERA of over 7! Yet the Cardinals want to add him to their relief staff. Oh yeah, and Boyer, on his own, has an ERA of 40 this season. Yes, 40. On top of that, he hasn’t actually had a decent pitching season in years. I guess he’s the perfect addition to a pitching staff full of injuries and weak arms.
The Cardinals’ front office has shown this past year that they don’t care to improve the team. They just want to take your hard earned money and pocket it instead of making a team that can win. What is even worse is now they are actively making trades that are bound to make the team worse. Why should I give over my hard-earned money to line the pockets of the front office instead of supporting a team that can win. If they were trying to improve the team and they were losing, that would be one thing, but they aren’t. John Mozeliak needs to be fired before he’s run out of town. I will not pay for a Cardinals ticket until the Cardinals organization get their acts together. They refuse to spend money, so I refuse to spend mine.
I love going to baseball games, especially if my beloved Cardinals are playing. One of the things that always amazes me about baseball games is the wave. I know a lot of people hate doing the wave, but there’s something about it that I love. I love to watch it go around a stadium, the thousands of people joining together for a few seconds to continue the awesome spectacle. Even though I love doing the wave at the games, I could never start one. I do not have the type of leadership (or drunkenness) that is required to make a stadium of 40k+ fans climb to their feet, sections upon sections in unison.
I remember I was at a game last year. It was about the 7th inning, which most fans of baseball know that the wave usually begins in the later innings, and the wave had not been started at that point. I look over to a man that was about 2 sections to my left and a guy stands up, looks around him, and starts yelling at his section to stand up. They do. It hits the next section and only about half of the people stood up this time. Then it hit my section. I make it a rule not to stand in the wave too early. There has to be just the right amount of people. The wave ended. He starts it back up, this time it goes another section before it dies. Not to be deterred, he starts it again and it goes even further. Excitement starts to build. This is when I decide to join in. He starts it again and now people on the other side of the stadium start to take notice. His section stands and sits rapidly. Then the next. Then my section. And it continues on. Will it continue? It does. It makes it all the way to the other side of the stadium. It jumps the gap! It continues on and reaches the origination section. The guy has accomplished his feat but that doesn’t make him stop. He continues the wave and it grows and grows with each turn around the stadium. Then almost instantly, the wave ends. The inning is over. For a brief moment, that guy controlled an entire stadium. People rise to their feet, but not for the wave. As Mike Shannon says, it’s time for a nice frosty cold one.
John Mozeliak recently gave even more St. Louis Cardinals fans a reason to hate him. I guess he figured that since people are already pissed at him for not doing anything to strengthen the Cardinals this season that he’d go ahead and throw professionalism out the window and insult Cardinals fans.
In a recent online chat Mr. Mozeliak fielded insults from disgruntled Cardinals fans. I am not defending the insults against Mr. Mozeliak, but he certainly should have taken the higher road and not responded with his own insults. He needs to understand that fans are unhappy with his job performance and instead of insulting them back he needs to explain his philosophy of waiting for the future. St. Louis has some of the best fans in all of baseball. We are very passionate about our team. If Mr. Mozeliak can’t understand this and handle these types of situations with some class and dignity, then he deserves the insults he receives, especially since he’s creating another disappointing season for Cardinals fans by “saving for the future.” The future won’t matter when you’ve driven away all the fans Mr. Mozeliak. When a team finishes 4th in the division we expect a little more action to make us contenders again, and when that happens we, rightfully so, get upset. Do not insult us. We pay your salary. We pay for the salaries of everyone in the organization, including players, we pay for the new stadium. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You can read the chat transcript via STLToday.
Albert Pujols has won the National League Most Valuable Player Award… for the second time in his illustrious career. From StL Today:
Increasingly perceived as a transcendent player, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols overcame his team’s fourth-place finish and a Bunyanesque second half by Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard to earn election as the 2008 National League Most Valuable Player.
Pujols, who also won the award in 2005, becomes the first Dominican-born player to earn multiple MVP titles.
Pujols, 28, amassed 37 home runs and 116 RBI in a season hampered by a strained calf that forced him to the disabled list and a nerve condition that caused him to undergo surgery last month.
Universally perceived as an overachieving team in transition, the Cardinals stayed in contention for more than five months while drafting behind El Hombre’s daunting consistency.
Pujols had finished second three times in balloting during his eight-year career — twice to Barry Bonds and once to Howard in 2006. Just as Pujols won this time without reaching the postseason, Howard won previously by keeping the Phillies in contention. Though denied a second Gold Glove Award earlier this month, Pujols is recognized as one of the best defenders at his position in the game. He also led the NL in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.114) and reached 100 walks for the first time in his career.
Howard mashed 48 home runs with 146 RBI but was doubtless hurt by a .251 batting average and 199 strikeouts. No NL MVP has ever hit below .267.
Pujols’ margin of victory was more decisive than expected, perhaps suggesting a growing appreciation for a player long consigned to Bonds’ shadow and perhaps penalized for never leading his league in home runs or RBI. Still, Pujols has hit .334 and averaged 40 home runs and 122 RBI during his career.
Today (unless it gets rained out by the major storms hitting the area this afternoon) is opening day for the St. Louis Cardinals. It should be an interesting season for the Redbirds, that’s for sure. We have many new faces on the team, most of them young talent. It’ll be nerve-racking to see how the Cards do this year with so many young players.
The time is approaching. You can hear it swimming through the air. Closer and closer. You hear a crack. A sound so familiar, but you can’t quite figure out where you’ve heard it before.
Time passes. The trees are bare. Then the noises get louder. This time the crack is accompanied by a thud. It sounds like a broom beating on an old rug. Again, it is a recognizable sound, but you still can’t figure out where and when you first heard it.
Time passes and snow covers the ground. The noise comes back, and this time, every one of your senses is bombarded by blurry visions, sounds, and smells.
The snow melts. The smells get stronger. You know what that smell is. It is a smell that you recognize as one of your first childhood memories. Visions of sunny days fill your mind. The sounds are back, and this time, you recognize them. You close your eyes and live in the moment. You look around. There are people everywhere. You smell stale beer. The kind of smell that could only come from years and years of spilt beer staining concrete. But this is not a bad thing. It reminds you of all the good times you’ve had, and the great ones to come. The noise is deafening. You hear people cheering. You hear loudspeakers, cracks, and thuds. A new smell comes over you. You inhale. When you do, memories of watching your dad cut the grass when you were little float forward. Yes, the smell of freshly cut grass overpowers the stale beer smell. Now the musty smell of wet dirt travels through the air to where you are. The loudspeaker explodes with sound. You hear names being called. People cheer. You feel like you are there. At that moment. At that place.
Time passes. The grass turns green. All those wonderful smells, visions, and noises come back. This time they are as strong as ever. It is time. You don’t have to imagine anymore.
The day comes. You stand in line, smiling. You talk with other people enthusiastically. You talk about how this is the year. You never give up hope. Neither do they. For all your differences, this is the one thing you have in common. The one thing that binds you, and fifty-thousand other people in the vicinity, together. Nothing can taint this feeling. Not talks of financial problems or drug problems. This is the perfect moment. You walk in. Your heart beats swiftly. You hear the loudspeaker. You hear those familiar names. This time it is real. You smell the great smells of stale beer, cut grass, and wet dirt. You hear cheering. You see the color that dominates the town. The color you are wearing on this day, at this moment. People continue to cheer. Thud! That?s all right. Everyone knows to lay off the first one. Then you hear it. CRACK! A line drive base hit. And the season is under way. What a great one it will be.
Dedicated to Baseball, and those that made it great. The ones that are alive in person, and those that are alive in our memories.