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.

busch stadium

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.

As you probably know by now if you’re a WordPress user, WordPress 2.5 came out today.  Along with that, received a redesign.  I won’t say much about the new version, as it seems to be the same, except an ugly admin redesign.  I will however point out that I have a new theme up here.  It probably won’t stay up too long, but I figured it’s a great theme for the season.  Cardinals opening day is Monday and the baseball season will be underway.  Just wanted to throw up a theme that celebrated the season a bit and this theme I thought was very elegant looking.  Anyway, let the baseball commence!

All throughout the Mid-West the words baseball and Buck are synonymous. For almost 50 years Jack Buck broadcasted for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a class act and could be heard, on a clear night, as far south as Arkansas and as far north as Iowa. Generations grew up listening to Jack Buck. I remember BBQing in the summer and listening to Jack Buck and Mike Shannon announce the wonderful Cardinals. As Jack’s son Joe got older he started broadcasting. He’s such a knowledgeable man in the sports arena that he is the lead announcer for the NFL and MLB on Fox. It was announced this week that he would no longer broadcast any games for the Cardinals. It will be weird to not have a Buck announce any games this year. Though I’ll miss him announcing, I’m very happy for all his success. From StL Today:

For the first time since 1960, there won’t be a Buck in a Cardinals broadcast booth this year.

Joe Buck, who had been doing the play-by-play for a few Redbirds games on FSN Midwest in recent seasons, has decided not to return in order to enjoy himself at the ballpark in a nonworking capacity.

“It’s nothing more than it feels like it’s time to make that change and to concentrate on some other things and basically go to Cardinals games as a fan,” he said Monday night. “I’m a fan, and I love to go down there with my wife and two daughters. The fun of that now is more appealing than anything to me.”

Despite Buck’s burgeoning career nationally at the Fox network, for which he is lead baseball and football play-by-play announcer, he had kept his ties to the Redbirds booth — where he got his start in big-league broadcasting in 1991 at age 21.

But he had been cutting back in recent seasons on his Cards workload, going from a busy schedule while filling in on radio while his father, Jack Buck, was ailing in 2002 to 31 FSN games in 2003 to 10 last season.

His departure ends a lengthy run of Bucks in the booth. His dad joined the club’s radio broadcast team in 1954 and was there every year except 1960 until falling ill after the 2001 season and dying the following year.

But Joe Buck said that family streak never was a reason he kept doing Redbirds games.

“I don’t think like that,” he said. “My dad’s career stands on its own. It was not a birthright of mine when I went there on a full-time basis in 1991, and it’s not a birthright now. There’s nothing written in stone that somebody with the last name of Buck has to be sitting in that booth.

“And really, we’re only talking about 10 games. … To do it just to say I’m on the list as one of the announcers is silly to me.”

FSN Midwest general manager Jack Donovan said Buck will be missed.

“We’re sorry to see him leave, but we were lucky to have him as long as we did,” Donovan said. “Unquestionably, he’s the best play-by-play guy in sports.”

Buck said the flexibility of FSN management, which allowed him to pick his schedule, was what had kept him aboard in recent seasons.

“The fact they let me do as many or as few as I felt I needed to do meant a lot to me,” he said.

He said there was another reason, too.

“I still continue to this day to feel indebted to the Cardinals for all they provided me,” he said. “I’m (not) the lead voice of the NFL and Major League Baseball on Fox if I don’t get that job (with the team), and if I don’t get that chance to grow up and learn about the game and learn about broadcasting in the Cardinals’ booth. Everything stemmed off that.”

Buck won’t be totally gone from Cardinals broadcasts, as he is scheduled to do a couple of their games for Fox. But those have a different tone than local telecasts because they air in the market of the opposing team as well as in St. Louis.

Donovan said Rick Horton, who does the commentary on KSDK (Channel 5) telecasts of Cards games, will help fill the gap created by Buck’s departure.

Horton will work with Dan McLaughlin (play-by-play) or Al Hrabosky (analysis) on about 10 FSN Midwest telecasts this season.

Horton also will continue as a regular on FSN Midwest’s Cards postgame shows.