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UCB Roundtable Question: Patrolling the Grass

Below is my question to the group for this installment of the United Cardinal Bloggers’ Roundtable. Follow the links posted here for some great writing on the St. Louis Cardinals from a fan perspective. Also, visit the UCB website for links to previous Roundtable questions, and check back often because there’s plenty more to come…the Roundtable goes all month! And if you have any thoughts about this question, by all means share them in the comments section below. Now, on with the show…

Patrolling the Grass

No, this is not about Colorado’s new hobby. We’ve already had some great roundtable questions, and a couple of them led me to start thinking about the Cardinals’ outfield. Yes, things are pretty set for 2013–but a lot figures to happen next season that influences what the squad looks like beyond that. So I’m asking you to give me the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2014 Opening Day outfield–starters and backups, if you think the bench guys are already on the roster–and any corresponding moves you think the team will make prior to 2014 to make it happen.

 

“I would suspect Carlos Beltran won’t be resigned for 2014. That immediately means at least one change, in right. Who replaces him might depend on whether Allen Craig stays with the team and whether he can fend off more injuries. The other prediction I think can safely be made is that Oscar Taveras is seen at the major league level in 2013, and is ready for continuous duty in 2014. Who that displaces remains a bit of a mystery. If Jon Jay can avoid being trade bait, then he’s more than likely just excellent pop off the bench at first. I wouldn’t expect him to remain in that role for long, he’s too hot with the bat. Unfortunately, that means the inevitable: At least one trade in the OF in 2014. It would seem like Jay might be the casualty.”  –Wes, Keene on MLB

 

“I’m taking Holliday in LF, Jay in CF, and Taveras in RF for the starters.  Beltran and Schumaker are likely gone to help make room, and maybe the winner in the cage match between Chambers and Robinson stay as the true 4th outfielder.  It seems like Allen Craig could see more OF time than either of those guys, but someone besides Garcia has to pinch run when Matheny goes with the double switch to take a big hitter out of the lineup in the 6th inning.”  –Dennis, Pitchers Hit Eighth

 

“Holliday, Jon Jay, and Oscar Taveras.  If Oscar is as good as they say he is, Carlos Beltran will not be resigned.  It’s possible that Jay gets shifted from center to RF.  Skip is signed through the end of 2013.  Unless he gets traded, and I doubt he will be, next season will probably be his final year in a Cardinal uniform, even though he turns 33 in February.”  –Daniel S., Redbird Rants

 

“One scenario no one has talked about with Beltran is him sliding to first base in 2014 if he’s still a 30/90 guy in 2013. Craig could man a corner OF spot, and Taveras spot start for him and Jay to get some quality MLB playing time. If Taveras truly is a Pujols-esque talent (as Mo referred to him as) then the team can save money, let Beltran go, and slide Taveras into RF everyday in 2014.

I see a Jonny Gomes type as a reserve bench player in 2014, as well as Adron Chambers.”  -Chris M., Birds on the Bat ‘82

 

“I’m going with the majority of a Holliday-Jay-Tavares outfield in 2014.  Beltran will not be resigned, I believe Craig will not be a Cardinal by 2014 and Skippy is gone.  Shane Robinson and Chambers will both find some playing time and be on the squad.

I don’t think Jay moves from center.  Tavares has played center, and done so fairly well, but he is now and always has been projected as a corner outfielder.  Shane and Chambers are good enough to be extra outfielders, though I could see the Cards picking up a free agent or trade.

Speaking of outfileders who could play first, Jason Bay, anyone? :)”  -Bill, I-70 Baseball

 

“I believe 2014 finds Holliday-Taveras-Ramsey.

Jay will be traded and Beltran gone. The Cardinals ETA for James Ramsey is 2014 and I believe that is where he will be and likely a lead-off hitter.”  -Tom, Cardinals GM

 

“2014 Outfield, that’s a leap and a bounds considering the health
history of this club combined with the developmental strides the org
is taking, but I’ll play ball on this one:

Holliday is locked in, for numerous reasons. Oscar Tavares will be the
starting right fielder, by ’14 at the very, very latest (upset call at
some point in 2013 for me…but that’s  a later convo).

Jay, I’m not as certain of. He became a nice defensive surprise in
2012, but there’s a lot about his approach out there that needs work.
The highlights were there, but the arm is still trash and his set in
the lineup is still is a man out of place at the top of it. This is a
team that needs to get faster, especially in the style that Matheny
employs, and that along with shortstop, are the easiest places to do
so. I don’t say any of this to rag on Jay, but I think he’s the answer
to a different question…

Fourth/Fifth outfielder. He’s perfect there by profile, and I don’t
have any beefs with having a solid defender that can play all three
outfield spots and be a singles hitter coming off the pine. I will use
this to completely rag over the entire organization if Shane Robinson
and/or Adron Chambers are long term fixtures here. They’re better than
that, and at least one of them should be replaced by a veteran
right-handed hitter THIS winter.

By 2014, I’m hoping for some speed, or at least an extra base hits
threat in center by then, along with a higher talent base, or better
youngster as OF outfield mix by then.”  –Matt, Cheap Seats Please

 

“Most everyone has hit on it, and I agree that Holliday-Jay-Taveras seems the most likely, though I have some reservations about Jay still being here at that time.  I’m not sure why he wouldn’t be or where he wouldn’t have gone, but I just wouldn’t be shocked if that’s the case.

You’ll likely have one of Robinson or Chambers as a backup then, but not both.  Perhaps a one-year deal of a veteran as another backup.”  -Daniel, C70 At The Bat

 

“Holliday for sure and unless Taveras stops being awesome he’s in as well. As far as the 3rd spot Jon Jay is definitely the front runner to complete the trio. I, like a lot of folks keep waiting for Jon Jay to slide comfortably into that 4th outfielder role that’s had his name on it for the last few seasons but he continues to resist. Some of our topics leading up to today’s question could obviously factor into this with trades, available free agents, etc. but I would still go with these 3 with Adron Chambers coming off the bench. I’m not as sold on Shane Robinson still being in the mix in 2014 but I won’t even take a stab as to who else would be in the mix.”  -Dustin, Welcome to Baseball Heaven

 

“Awesome question, Chris.  This makes us think about a number of dominoes falling
properly.  I love it.

The two corner positions are easy, it is Matt Holliday and Oscar Taveras.  Sure,
there are plenty of questions, but for projection purposes, Holliday is likely
to still be awesome at the plate and serviceable in the field, and Taveras will
be the 2014 Rookie of the Year and winner of the Vlad Guerrero swing like a
maniac and hit the ball a mile contest.

Center field is where things get fun.  I will go out on a limb here and give
that spot to Adron Chambers.   I think he is that spark that is missing from the
every day lineup.   His defensive skills are improving (showed of a pretty
impressive arm) and he could be a terror on the bases, with some coaching from
Lou Brock or Ozzie Smith.

So, the outfield bench – that’s where things get tough.

Schumaker and Jay are both gone.  Tommy Pham is still on the minor league
disabled list.   That is a joke – the poor kid has had a rough time. Chris
Swauger will be my dark horse for the outfield bench spot.  He will hit just
enough in Memphis next year to get a shot at the bench in 2014.  With that much
youth, I could see the Cardinals opting for a free agent as the final spot over
Shane Robinson.  Somebody like a Preston Wilson.

A good question, lots to think about.“  -Bob, On the Outside Corner

 

“In 2014, the starting outfield will be Matt Holliday in left, Jon jay in center and Oscar Taveras in right.

Backing up that group will be Mike O’Neill (after another top-notch season in the Cardinals’ system in 2013), Matt Carpenter and Ryan Jackson (converted from infield to outfield as Kolten Wong starts at second and Asdrubal Cabrera starts at short).”  -Mark, Retro Simba

 

“I really wish I had some sort of bizarre diversion from the most well-traveled path, something like Ken Griffey Jr. receiving cyborg transplants and playing center, but I sure don’t. I’d assume that 18 months from now we’ll see Holliday, Jay, and Taveras; that’s a good thing, though! Holliday is one of the better players in baseball, Jay has found ways to blend defense and sneaky on-base ability, and Taveras loves making baseballs hurt. 

As for the reserves, I sure hope they’re sexier than the current choices. Adron Chambers has speed and minor league OBP success on his side, and Shane Robinson has a nice enough glove, but there certainly isn’t any thump. An injury to a starting outfield member in 2014 could be deadly without change. Perhaps we should get on that cyborg Griffey thing.”  -Brian, StanGraphs

 

“I’m with the hivemind.  Holliday, Jay, Taveras.  Beltran will not be re-signed to play outfield or otherwise.  I am also hopeful that Mo can pick some low hanging fruit to back up the outfield, or someone breaks out.  I am not comfortable with Adron Chambers or Shane Robinson as a starting outfielder in any prolonged capacity.”  -Nick, Pitchers Hit Eighth

 

“Late to the party, but it’s hard to disagree with Holliday in LF, & Tavares in RF.  Jay is obviously a solid plus defender, but his home/road splits remind me of Jamie Garcia.  If Jay is to remain, he’ll need to improve in some of the road numbers & spend more time getting on base in ballparks not named Busch Stadium.  I’m not saying he’s out, or won’t/can’t be the everyday CF on this team for the next few/several years.  But when I look at the 3 spots, I think we can all agree that the contract keeps MH in LF, the club is going to find a way to get Tavares’ bat in the lineup and RF is probably how, but Jay might not be such a solid lock.  Maybe.  Who knows.  Maybe he will.  Just a thought.”  -Dathan, Cards Tied For First

 

Well, there you have it. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how varied the answers would be but I thought it a pertinent question based on Matt Holliday’s long contract, Carlos Beltran’s short contract, and the Cards’ significant depth when it comes to outfielders. The members of the UCB rarely disappoint, however, and today was no exception. They gave me a lot of similar answers and a lot of different ones. Can’t ask for much more out of a roundtable discussion.

My thoughts about the 2014 are somewhat incomplete. I like what Jon Jay has done with the glove in centerfield, but his arm is not that of a centerfielder. Matt Holliday also has a wet noodle attached to his shoulder. If Oscar Taveras does indeed have a cannon and can patrol center close to the way Jay does, I’m fine with the Cards moving Jay. And I don’t necessarily mean to right field—l mean, moving him to the bench or trading him, because Taveras is on the team by 2014 regardless. But you also want a strong arm in right field to gun down those fools who think they can go first-to-third. Does Allen Craig have that arm? Does Matt Carpenter? It’s hard to say. As for the fourth and fifth outfielders, I like Adron Chambers because of his speed and I like that Shane Robinson can play center. If they could morph into one guy—and that guy learned how to hit—he’d be a great weapon off the bench. But that’s not the case. I’d like to see Chambers continue to develop and I’d like another outfielder to be picked up via free agency. It doesn’t have to be a solid glove guy, either. But the Cardinals’ bench is woefully inadequate from the right side. They need a presence that will keep the other manager wondering when Mike Matheny will stick him in to pinch hit—kind of like Carpenter. They currently do not have that on the right side. That is how they need to find their fourth outfielder.

–Chris @birdbrained

It’s UCB Roundtable Time!

This is always a favorite of mine. The members of the United Cardinal Bloggers—which I am—get together (virtually) to have a roundtable discussion on the state of the St. Louis Cardinals and, sometimes, baseball in general. Today it was my day to ask a question, but this has been going on for over a week now. For a complete list of participating blogs and their questions and answers, hop over to the UCB website. Tomorrow I’ll be posting the question I posed to the group along with all the answers I receive. I encourage you to participate as well in the comments section after the post. Leave your own thoughts, comment on what someone else wrote—whatever you want, as long as you keep it civil. I know what you’re thinking: What’s the question? Well, you’ll have to come back here tomorrow to find out.

OK, I guess I can give you a hint so you can prep a little: Outfield.

–Chris  (@birdbrained)

UCB Weekend: Success

Saturday night, members of the United Cardinal Bloggers—which includes yours truly—gathered at Patrick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar (Formerly Pujols 5…blech) at Westport for the annual UCB Dinner. Food, drinks, and good times were had by all. And the Cardinals sure know how to treat their keyboard-pounding fans, as Sunday at Busch Stadium was “Blogger Day,” which included a pre-game presentation and all-inclusive suites for the game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The UCB dinner was great. It’s always good to get to put faces with names or, in some cases, Twitter handles. Parts of the evening were sponsored by Burton History Trees and Any City Sports Fan (more on both in future posts). But as much fun as we had, I think everyone was really looking forward to Sunday’s events at Busch Stadium.

That's me way over on the far left!The Cardinals’ social media gurus are Lindsey Weber and Ron Watermon, and they did a great job putting the day together. A pregame program featuring appearances by Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III and General Manager John Mozeliak highlighted the day. They conveyed a little bit of team news, talked Ballpark Village, told us their thoughts on what we do out here in the online ether, and took questions from the crowd. Then we hustled up to the party rooms, where we were treated to some big time food and drinks. The menu included the usual ballpark favorites, plus pulled pork mac-n-cheese with buffalo sauce, jalapeno cheese brats, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Needless to say, I did not have any ballpark favorites. Oh, and the beer was free. The Cardinals definitely know their audience.

To top it all off, the Cards on the field turned what was heading toward a crushing defeat into a walk-off winner in extra innings. It wasn’t a pretty victory, but it counts the same in the standings. All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. I’m not one of the bloggers that makes any money off of this little hobby, so perks like this are definitely appreciated. And it’s even better when the Cardinals toss a little official recognition our way.

Now, about those press credentials…

–Chris

UCB Weekend: The Live Blog

Here we go! The Blogger Event at Busch Stadium is about to get under way. If you’d like to partake in the Live Blog with me and a number of my blogging co-conspirators, this is your chance:

St. Louis Cardinals 2011 Blogger Event

Thanks for reading!

—Chris
@birdbrained

March UCB Roundtable: Weigh in on Wainwright

Once again, it’s time for the United Cardinal Bloggers to get together for another roundtable discussion. Today is my day to pose the question to the troops…so here it is:

Time to shove all your chips to the middle of the table. Adam Wainwright’s injury and surgery guarantees he will be on the DL at the end of the year and, consequently, his options for 2012 and 2013 are no longer automatic. But Wainwright is still young (turns 29 in August), and has a lot of career left after rehabbing. From the position of what’s best for the team, what should the Cards do with Wainwright from a contract perspective (pick up options but that’s all; pick up options and attempt to add years; decline options and try to sign an extended deal; decline options and let him walk) and, if they keep him, from a role perspective (give him 15 months to heal and let him start after 06/01/2012; bring him back in 12 months as the closer for 2012 then go back to a starter for 2013)?
 
“The one thing that they can’t do is let him go to free agency.  I don’t care that he’s hurt, the odds are that he’s going to come back at the same level in the next couple of years and he’s at a pretty good price.  If nothing else, they need to pick up the options at the end of the year.  Hopefully, though, they’ll do something where he gets a smaller salary the next couple of years with some incentive clauses and then a third year that is more in line with the market.  That way they keep him under control but can hedge their risks a little bit.” – Daniel Shoptaw, C70 at the Bat

 

“I’m already on record as stating that I’m fine with the team picking up the options as a way of sending a couple different messages.  Message 1 is that the team has faith that he’ll be back, and the team takes care of its own.  That message (loyalty) won’t be lost on a certain guy at first base, and it won’t be lost on other players around the league, either.  Message 2 is that a reduced base salary plus incentives will nearly be the $9M Waino would be guaranteed to make in 2012 anyway.  Why not just guarantee the money and take the pressure off Waino to earn it all by spring training next year?  He’s already earned his place on the team, so don’t risk pushing the guy away, and tell him that his name is on the 25-man roster in black ink.  Toss in the $12M in 2013 for good measure, because he’ll be back with a vengence by then.   
 
If the team wants to hedge, then I understand, but this is the same team that is paying Lohse $11.875M both this season and next.  Wainwright has already been way more valuable than that.  Even coming off of Tommy John surgery, Waino is a far better investment than Lohse ever was.  I know that I’d buy stock.” – Dennis Lawson, Pitchers Hit Eighth
 
“If there is one player on the Cardinals roster that the front office needs to go all in over, it is Adam Wainwright.  I would like to see them restructure his existing contract to extend it a few years, while he is out of pocket.   Wainwright has become the pitcher that we all hoped he would be, and it is now time to lock him down for his prime years.  The mentoring opportunity for some young pitching prospects like Shelby Miller are too valuable to leave to chance – lock him up.

At this point, Tommy John surgery is not something scary that goes bump in a night.  The rehab timetable and general prognosis for recovery are well known, and there is a lot of experience with it on the Cardinals roster right now.

I would let him do his normal recovery and start working him in as a starter in 15 months.  Don’t even mess with the idea of turning him into a closer.

If you want to mess with anybody in the closer role for 2012, it might be his mentor, Chris ‘Old School’ Carpenter.” – Bob Netherton, On the Outside Corner

 
“Assuming that Wainwright returns for most of next season, the double option on his existing contract is still team-friendly. I agree with Dennis that the Cardinals should therefore exercise it — but only because it would be a smart move for the team, not because it is necessarily a sign of loyalty (though if it’s taken that way, so much the better) or because it will somehow convince Albert Pujols to stay (because it won’t). 
Although Wainwright stands a good chance of returning to his old form, I’d hold off on restructuring or extending the contract until after next season because of the risk.” – Matthew Phillip, Fungoes
As always, great feedback from the UCB crew. Personally, I believe the Cardinals should explore an extension with Wainwright. The 2012 and 2013 options are worth $9 million and $12 million, respectively. Both would be a bargain for a healthy Wainwright, to be sure. But what if he isn’t ready to start at the beginning of 2012? The generally accepted timetable for pitchers to return from Tommy John surgery is 12 months for relievers and 15 months for starters, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the earliest he could return is June 2012. With that in mind, I think the Cardinals should decline the options but sign Wainwright to two years (at the same $9 and $12 million salaries) plus another option or two with similar triggers. This would give the Cards a couple more of Wainwright’s prime years yet still protect them from the injury risks. As for next year, with Ryan Franklin’s contract up, I think the Cardinals should talk to Wainwright about coming back to the team as the closer. If he did it all year, he could then prepare for 2013 (and beyond) as a starter but still contribute for all of 2012 in what will be an area of need. Maybe he can beat the odds and return as a starter in 12 months. But should he? It’s been said before that starters sometimes need two full years before they feel totally back to normal. Why take that chance with the team’s ace?
 
–Chris

January UCB Project: Top 5 Cardinal Headlines in 2011

It’s United Cardinal Bloggers project time again. This month, we put on our prognosticator hats and try to come up with what we believe will be the top five headlines Cardinal fans will see in 2011. I decided to play this one straight, because I think the Cards could be at a bit of a crossroads this season…Albert Pujols hasn’t been signed yet, David Freese is coming back from inury, Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman are new kids on the block, and Chris Carpenter is in the last guaranteed year of his contract. So without further ado…

1. St. Louis Cardinals Sign Albert Pujols to Record Contract – No, not a recording contract; we’re talking Guinness-type stuff here. I’m not sure if the total value of Pujols’ next deal will be the highest ever, but he will make more per season than any player ever has…and he will make it wearing the Birds on the Bat.

2. Punto Named Opening Day Starter; Freese to Report to Extended Spring Training – All this offseason, I have advocated the Cards signing a “true” third baseman to back up Freese in case he isn’t ready for Opening Day. Now that they have signed Nick Punto, I believe this is the ultimate sign that the Cards know they needed this insurance because Freese could need more time before he is 100%. I put Freese’s Cardinal debut sometime in the month of May.

3. Yankees Confirm Interest in Chris Carpenter – Carp still has an option for 2012 left on his current contract, but it is a pricey one: $15 million. If the Cards re-sign Pujols, I have no idea how they can afford that. Now if the team is in contention and Carp is pitching well, I can foresee the Cardinals declining that option and extending Carpenter for a couple more years at less per year. But if the Cards tank in the first half of 2011 for whatever reason, expect the Carpenter trade rumors to start flying. Regardless, the New York Yankees figure to be in the market for a big acquisition because they didn’t make one in the offseason and the Boston Red Sox made some serious upgrades this winter. Carpenter will almost certainly be one of their targets because of his contract situation. The Cards’ response will depend on if they are winning or not.

4. Albert Pujols Collects Hit #2000 – This one is a slam dunk, barring a catastrophic injury–Pujols currently sits on 1900. But it brings up a good point: Pujols will get his 2000th hit sometime in his 11th season in the big leagues. If his season hits totals continue to average somewhere in the mid 180s, he should get to 3000 in about six years, and he probably would still have at least three or four good seasons ahead of him. That puts Stan Musial’s 3630 within reach. And if that number really is that likely to be passed again, I want it to be done by another Cardinal.

5. Cardinals Clinch Playoff Berth – Notice I didn’t say “Division Crown.” The truth is, the NL Central will be a much better division overall this season. Everything hinges on player health, of course. But no team in the division has the 1-2 punch of Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina is still the best catcher in the league in terms of defense and calling a game, and there’s only one Albert Pujols. That gives the Cardinals an edge, even if it is only a slight edge. But the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs cannot be counted out. Could the Wild Card team come from the Central? With all the pitching upgrades, why not? I see the Cards making the playoffs this year but I’m not ready to go all in with a division championship prediction. It could be a knock-down, drag-out year in the NL Central this year.

What do you think…how many of these headlines do you expect to see in 2011? Do you expect to see some I haven’t listed here? Comment away!

-Chris

Join me for the UCB Radio Hour!

Since you’re sitting at your computer reading baseball blogs, why not listen in on some bloggers talking and chatting about baseball online? The United Cardinal Bloggers Radio Hour starts NOW and I will be one of the featured guests, talking about the Cliff Lee signing and potential ramifications for the Cardinals! It’s free to listen so check it out here.

The 2010 UCB Awards

Every year, the United Cardinal Bloggers cast ballots on all the best the St. Louis Cardinals and its merry band of citizen journalists has to offer. My picks are bolded & underlined, and some explanation for each vote appears in italics below it. I didn’t offer any commentary for my votes on the blogs because I believe you, the reader, should visit them. I think you’ll see, in each case, the blog I voted for speaks for itself.

 

 

Cardinal Bloggers Awards

2010 Ballot

 

 

1. Player of the Year

-Matt Holliday
-Albert Pujols
-Colby Rasmus
-Write-in: _______________

 

Like there’s ever any doubt.

 

2. Pitcher of the Year

-Chris Carpenter
-Jaime Garcia
-Adam Wainwright
-Write-in: _______________

 

He’s the Cardinals’ ace. He’ll be here for a while, and they need to build the rotation around him.

 

3. Game of the Year

-April 5 at Cincinnati-Opening Day, 2 HR from Pujols, slam from Molina
-
May 30 at Chicago-Pujols three home runs
-
July 18 vs. Los Angeles-Five runs in eight and ninth to win
-
July 19 vs. Philadelphia-Four home runs
-August 10 at Cincinnati-Brawl, home run from Molina
-Write-in: _________________

 

I think this game represents the best of the 2010 Cardinals; unfortunately it was also a turning point in the wrong direction.

 

4. Surprise Player of the Year

-David Freese
-Jaime Garcia
-Jon Jay
-Write-in: ________________

 

I think “cautiously optimistic” is the most anyone would say about Garcia before the 2010 season. In 2011, the question will be whether he can still be an effective #3 starter. That’s quite a jump in perception.

 

5. Disappointing Player of the Year

-Kyle Lohse
-Dennys Reyes
-Brendan Ryan
-Write-in: _________________

 

What was most disappointing about Ryan was that stretch where even his defense wasn’t good. Ryan’s increased offense in 2009 was probably an aberration, unfortunately. Now we know.

 

6. Rookie of the Year

-Jaime Garcia

-Jon Jay
-Fernando Salas
-Write-in: _________________

 

There’s really nothing to say here…easy call.

 

7. Acquisition of the Year

-Aaron Miles
-Brad Penny
-Jake Westbrook
-Write-in: ________________

 

In April, the Penny signing looked like it was going to make the Cards the favorite to go all the way. The rotation looked completely unstoppable. But that didn’t last very long. Westbrook brought stability, and now he’s a Cardinal for at least two more years. That may not have happened without being traded to STL in 2010.

 

8. Biggest Off-Field Story

-Jaime Garcia’s shutdown without him knowing
-Mark McGwire’s return to baseball
-Colby Rasmus’s trade request
-Write-in: _____________

 

This was just weird. Rasmus looked bad, Tony LaRussa looked bad, and the team suddenly appeared even more chaotic than everyone speculated. It will be interesting to see how things play out next season.

 

9. Most Anticipated Cardinal

-Zack Cox
-Lance Lynn
-Shelby Miller
-Write-in: ________________

 

I’m going to go ahead and say it: Shelby Miller will make his St. Louis Cardinals debut in 2012, and will be a full member of the rotation in 2013 alongside Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia. We may see the other two guys before then, but Miller is a lock. Write it down.

 

10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog

-Write-in: Fungoes

 

11. Best Team Cardinal Blog

-Write-in: Joe Sports Fan

 

12. Best Media Blog

-Bird Land
-Cardinal Beat
-Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer
-Write-in: _______________

 

13. Best UCB Project

-Cardinal All-Decade Team
-Progressive Game Blog
-Roundtables
-Write-in: ______________

 

The roundtable discussions really are my favorite. I love getting a preview of everyone’s thoughts on a topic, especially how those thoughts relate to my own. It’s the closest thing to live debate we have at UCB.

 

14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog

-Write-in: C70 At The Bat

 

15. Funniest Cardinal Blog

-Write-in: Cards Diaspora

 

16. Rookie Cardinal Blog of the Year

-Cardinal Diamond Diaries
-
i70baseball
-RetroSimba
-Welcome To Baseball Heaven
-Write-in: _______________

 

–Chris 

UCB Roundtable: Still watching?

It’s time once again for the United Cardinal Bloggers to gather in the virtual meeting room and tackle a roundtable discussion. Here’s the question I posed to my UCB brethren, inspired in part by my InsideSTL column on Monday:

 

The 2010 Postseason is in full swing, and for the third year out of the last four Cardinal fans are watching someone else play baseball. Or are they? What are you doing with your Cardinal-free October? Are you still interested in the Postseason? Are you rooting for or against specific teams, and why? Are you protesting the playoffs but still staying glued to the rumor mills for hints about the Cards for 2011 and beyond? Or have you given up on baseball altogether and shifted your attention to football and hockey?

 

–I will pull for whoever wins tonight to beat the Yankees, and root for the NL to win the World Series. -Mike, Stan Musial’s Stance

 

A couple weeks ago, I guess I was being bitter and had very little interest in watching postseason baseball.  However, I convinced myself that at least I needed to root for the Reds to lose (of course); not necessarily rooting for the Phillies to win.  And, thanks the almighty powers of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, that happened; the Reds were swept right out of the postseason.  So, I am happy.  I wanted the Braves to win, only for Bobby Cox.  Now that the Giants are in the NLCS, I guess I am being forced to root for the Phillies again.  Although I haven’t really followed the games closely, I can’t help but pay attention – sports will always run my life. 


As far as the Cardinals in October – I am doing my best to avoid listening to rumors regarding contracts and free agency, at least for right now.  I would like for us to get to November before we really start in on all that.  (Let’s face it; the rumors will be flying for this team this offseason.)  After this year, I think we all need some breathing room/re-grouping since we have all were crowded around the ledge for some time.

 

Rooting for two things: Giants lose, Yankees lose.  I guess I would be OK with the Phillies winning the World Series since they are in the NL.

 

P.S. yeah, I am in hockey season now – Go Blues! -Cadence, Cardinal Diamond Diaries

 

I try to watch as much postseason baseball as I can. It’s definitely not as high on my priority list as it would be if the Cardinals were in it. I went in cheering heavily against the Yankees and Reds but have also developed more and more of a dislike for the Giants. As far as the Cardinals off season is concerned, well it’s time for Mozeliak to have a productive one. He’s got a lot on his plate that’s for sure. I love hot stove time so I’ll be tuned in for that and everything surrounding the winter meetings. In the meantime I’ll have college and NFL football to pass the time along with Blues hockey. We only have 4 months or so until pitchers and catchers report. -Dustin, Welcome to Baseball Heaven

 

–I do not watch post season baseball if the Cardinals are not in it. I follow all the rumor mills and read all the blogs and suck up all the winter activities I can find. There are too many other sports to watch now with NHL, NFL and NCAA football for me to look in on the other teams. It just kinda makes me throw up a bit in my mouth to see some of those teams playing! -Tom, Cardinals GM

 

–I want the Cardinals to remain the last team to win 3 consecutive NL pennants (1942-44). So I’m rooting for the Giants. -Mark, RetroSimba

 

–I’m a sports fan, so I’m really into college and pro football. I always participate in way too many fantasy leagues. I’m psyched that the Rams are showing improvement and the Chiefs are doing so well. As a Mizzou alum, I try to attend as many home Mizzou games as possible. I’m also a Gator. I love watching the big games of the week. I’m a huge hockey fan as well, so go Blues!

 

But all that doesn’t preclude me from staying up to date on all the Cardinal scoop. I want to know everything that’s going on. I enjoy watching the baseball postseason. I don’t watch all the games as much as I do when the Cards are involved. I despise the Yankees, so I always want to see them get beat. I watch the NL games more because the AL is not real baseball. The DH is an abomination. I like the Giants and the Phillies so as long as one of them win the Series, I’ll be a happy camper. Now sign Albert and all will be right with the world. -Jacqueline, Cardinal Diamond Diaries

 

–I still watch the playoffs. Every year. Of course I’m without a doubt upset that the Cardinals aren’t competing, but at the end of the day, I’m still a baseball fan. There’s no better baseball than playoff baseball. I have a deep appreciation for the game of baseball and I love seeing magical moments happen. That’s sure to happen during the post season.

 

I usually find a team to root for – one with a good story, or one that has assumed the “underdog” role. This year, I found myself rooting for the Braves for the Bobby Cox story. Now that they’re out, I root for anyone who isn’t the Yankees or Phillies (except when the Phillies played the Reds). If it comes down to Yankees vs. Phillies (like last year) I tend to side with the Phillies (lesser of two evils). It’s not an ideal situation like it would be if the Cardinals were playing, but it’s still fun to watch. For those of you who chose not to watch, you missed history in Game 1 of the Phillies/Reds series. I’d hate for you to miss more by simply not watching. -Cole, Redbird Report

 

–While there is always disappointment and frustration when your team doesn’t make it, I can never get enough of the baseball playoffs. Whether my team is playing or not, nothing tops October baseball. I guess I just love baseball enough that I can find a reason to be excited. It doesn’t take much when the World Series is on the line. The point is every year is making history. Another team gets etched in history and the moments that led to that pinnacle are all a part of the game’s history and I don’t want to miss out on that because I was sulking about my team’s failures. How can you not get chills watching Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter in the playoffs? And then be excited to talk about it all day until the rest of the games start at night. I know I am and I can always feel it every October. How can’t you at least get a little emotional watching Bobby Cox talk at a post-game press conference for the last time? There has to be something to grab you in the postseason. Your favorite team is what brings out the passion in the game. But the game alone is why you have that favorite team and that passion. It’s still baseball and it’s the best baseball of the year, so I’ll be watching year in and year out regardless of the competition. And when my team’s in it, I’ll be even more interested and I’ll be rooting like crazy to see them win it. When they’re not, the interest will still be there. -Ryne, Redbird Rants

 

–I think great minds think alike. Here is my Monday post for a website called “More Hardball”.

 

To elaborate:

 

I am enjoying a great post-season despite by birds being on the sideline.  I always keep my eyes peeled for Cardinal news throughout the year, that is a 365 day addiction for sure. As for Football and Hockey, I am not a Hockey fan at all and, while I watch football, it will not get my full attention until Baseball crowns it’s world champions.

 

I hope that helps, great questions, let’s just not start saying “Wait until next year”, there are a group of fans that phrase belongs to. -Bill, I-70 Baseball

 

–There are other sports?  Really?

 

I’ll kinda keep up with how the Razorbacks are doing, but that’s the extent of my following of other sports.  Don’t get me started on how football is over-hyped and overrated. As for the playoffs, I’ve not been able to see as much of them as I’d like.  I’ll catch moments here and there, but not as much as if the Cards were still in it.

 

Basically, I just spend my time with my various baseball related projects–this roundtable, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, the blog, the UCB Radio Hour–and keep whiling away the time until the Hot Stove League really kicks off. -Daniel, C70 At The Bat

 

I am watching and following the post-season. My only favorite team I am rooting for are the Rangers. I am hoping the Rangers are able to make it through the Yanks and meet the Phillies in the World Series! -Joe, The McBrayer-Baseball Blog

 

I’m watching every possible game of the playoffs, and my interest has nothing to do with placing a pre-season wager on the playoffs.  Nope, it has nothing to do with any such hypothetical wager that never, ever took place.  I never even considered picking the Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, and Reds (WC) in the NL.  (Maybe the AL picks would’ve been more accurate, but this conversation never took place.)

 

I’m done rooting against the Reds, because they were dropped like a wingman at midnight.  I’m still hoping for a Rangers/Yankees ALCS, because that match-up intrigues me more than Yankees/Rays (they play each other enough as it is).  If there is a Yankees/Phillies WS rematch, I’ll probably spend my time focusing on something compelling like starting a chain letter to John Mozeliak and Mr. Dewitt about coughing up the money for Cliff Lee. Oh, there will be plenty of college football, hockey, and professional football. Multitasking at its finest. -Dennis, Pitchers Hit Eighth

 

Wow! As usual, various viewpoints and great answers. If you are unaware of the UCB and the individual member blogs (most of which are linked above), make yourself aware pronto! All it will cost you is some fantastic fan journalism if you don’t…

 

As for me, I have to side with the watchers. While I’m excited about the St. Louis Blues and encouraged by the St. Louis Rams, I can’t seem to turn away from baseball while it’s being played. That’s especially true about playoff games. Maybe I don’t sit down and devote undivided attention to every inning, but I’m into it. Now that the NLCS and ALCS teams are set, I’m in full underdog mode. The Texas Rangers may technically be seeded higher, but almost any team playing the New York Yankees in the playoffs can’t be an overwhelming favorite. And the Philadelphia Phillies will be tough to beat, but I’d really like to see the San Francisco Giants get a chance to erase 50+ years of World Championship drought.

 

But even if it’s a Phillies-Yankees World Series rematch, I’ll be watching.

 

–Chris

Monday Links

Good evening and welcome to my blog. I’ve been lazy lately so I’m brainstorming ways I can post more often without devoting all of what little free time I have to this site (and others). So, without further ado, check out a couple of links:

 

  • Head over to InsideSTL.com for my latest column: Big Test, Small Results.
  • Over at C70, where the United Cardinal Bloggers’ fearless leader resides, an epic has been constructed. Check out this ultra-comprehensive guide to the Cardinals’ blogosphere.
  • Pay the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a visit for these updates: Felipe Lopez hits the DL, Allen Craig heads back to AAA Memphis, and Tyler Greene and Jon Jay get the call to the Major Leagues according to The Commish. Also, here’s tonight’s starting lineups as the Atlanta Braves pay a visit to Busch Stadium to play the Cardinals. This is the first in a four game series. I get to go to tomorrow night’s game–my first of the season!

–Chris

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