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.

I have a feeling this is going to be a disappointing season for the St. Louis Cardinals. The new General Manager did very little, and I mean very little to strengthen the team for next season. In fact, he let some of our good players go (Eckstein, Edmonds, Rolen, Taguchi) and picked up players that are either hurt or no better than the ones we let go (Clement, Glaus). The Sporting News rates the Cardinals as 4th in the Central Division. 4th?!?! The Central Division is usually considered one of the weaker divisions (what, with the Cubs and all) and we are predicted to come in 4th. That’s sad. Also, what’s really sad is to know that the outfielder that we have with the most experience is Chris Duncan. That’s just not right. It’s also not right that the only two starting (everyday players, not pitchers) Cardinals that are returning this year are Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols. Unless by some miracle this mediocre team is able to pull off some wins, this is going to be a very depressing season.

Another post about St. Louis history. This one involving my favorite sport, baseball. Many St. Louis people may already know this because a St. Louis baseball fan isn’t just a fan. We are usually historians on the topic.

Today we wear Cardinals’ Red, but it could have been Maroon’s maroon.

In 1884, St. Louis millionaire and baseball aficionado, Henry Lucas attempted to bring the National League to St. Louis. But his attempts were thwarted and the league did not grant him a team. Not to be out done, Lucas decided to draw upon his personal fortune and create his own league, which became the Union Association.

St. Louis’ team, the Maroons, were clearly the best team in the league and their owner, Lucas, did not hide the fact that he loaded the St. Louis team with as much talent as possible. While this made for a successful team in St. Louis, it did not bode well for the rest of the league. The Union Association lasted one season.

According to Christopher Gordon, Director of Library Archives at the Missouri Historical Society, soon after the league folded, Lucas’ luck continued to go down hill.

“He had built Union Park, which was the baseball stadium for the Union League. In the midst of all this, fireworks during a fireworks display, the stadium caught on fire and he had no insurance so the last of his money was wiped out,” said Gordon.

Well, it would have. But you lied. So it won’t. I’m of course talking about Barry Bonds, who has just been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for perjury and obstruction of justice. There was a great article in the Post-Dispatch this morning that I’d like to share with you all. It sums up Barry Bonds and this situation quite well.

Let the rationalizing begin.

Barry Bonds’ day of reckoning drew much closer Thursday. Actually, it arrived.

The question of whose lineup will include the free-agent left fielder next season has become secondary to which judge will find Bonds on his or her docket.

At the end of a four-year investigation into rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs by elite athletes, the feds hit the game’s all-time home run king* Thursday with four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice because of lies he allegedly told a federal grand jury. Major League Baseball knew this train was coming but until now remained unsure when it would reach the station.

A marvelously gifted talent who has tarnished his career by showing contempt for teammates, media, the game’s integrity and the truth now stands formally accused.

Thursday’s federal indictment will cause Bonds’ supporters to trot out well-worn excuses, mail-order legal degrees and a race-based defense of a man who has never embraced anything other than himself.