Saturday, November 27, 2004

My Favorite Play

I'm all about hustle. I love second basemen diving for a ball up the middle. I scream for a well-turned double play. I adore working the count. My single favorite at-bat ever was Benes in the playoffs showing bunt, pulling back, showing bunt, pulling back; totally psyching out the other team. My personal favorite play of 2004 was that pickoff at second base. But my favorite play, always and forever, is the strike 'em out throw 'em out.

Maybe it's the name- "Strike'emoutthrow'emout"-so elegant. Much nicer than "Routine Fly Ball." It must be a term coined by a tobacco and gin-stained newspaper beat writer in a time when game logs weren't written by the AP-they were poetry. There's just something about the combination of a strikeout and a pickoff. Everything has to go right. It requires not only the pitcher to locate the pitch, but the runner to mis-read the situation. The catcher and the infielder have to be in perfect sync. The third strike has to be on target. The batter can't get in the way. The runner has to be far enough off the base. The catcher has to make a perfect throw. The baseman has to apply the tag. And the umpires have to get the calls right.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Kick Kirkwood's ass.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Legends and Enigmas

It's a surprisingly busy November Sunday for the Cardinals.

First things first. Happy Birthday to The Man. I don't remember who, but someone said he looked like "a kid peeking around a corner" when he was batting. I like that image. Like he's daring you to find him in a game of hide-and-seek, but he knows you'll never catch him. Who are the 23 nimrods who didn't vote for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

I know I wasn't the only one combing the internet for Puerto Rican Winter League info. So far I've found two places

The Cardinal Nation (link also on the right) has links to USA Today's stats, standings, and box scores and Ebaseballpr-it's in Spanish, but box scores are box scores.

Of course, the reason for all my googling is to find out how Yadier Molina and Rick Ankiel are doing. And Friday's game was finally posted. Rick pitched four innings, allowed three hits, one walk, struck out three, and hit one batter. The stats show Molina's hitting .333 (Cardinal Nation says .375-I'm not sure where the discrepancy comes from) with a double and no errors.

This morning on KMOX, Walt said Haren and Ankiel to Arizona was a complete fabrication and questioned the integrity of the writers who suggested it. GM's, especially one as savvy as Jocketty, don't show their hands, so this is an unusually vehement denial. One of them might still be in the deal, but I say give the D'backs Marquis, La Russa and Duncan seem kinda pissed at him.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Player Watchability Factor

Everybody out there is rating players with Value Over Replacement Player, Win Shares, Runs Created Above Average, etc. Sure, I could throw those numbers around, but they don't really help with the most important part of baseball. So I am introducing the Player Watchability Factor (PFW). I feel this will help determine a player's true value. Below are the criteria:


  1. Defense
    i. Hustle – Dives for grounders up the middle? Prevents extra bases?
    ii. Agility – Scoops balls out of the dirt? Throws on the run?
    iii. Catcher – Self-explanatory
    iv. Awareness – Spatially as well as situationally
    v. Defensive Stance – Always ready or picking flowers?
    vi. Pitching Face – Nobody looks good while pitching, but some don’t look terrible.
  2. Offense
    i. Hustle - Always goes for the extra base? Runs out infield grounders? Goes hard into 2nd? Reckless or judicious?
    ii. Batting Stance/Face – Repetitive nervous ticks? Sticks ass out? Off-balance? Grimace? Knowing smile? Sneer?
    iii. Power & Average - Chicks dig the long ball. But we also dig seeing boys wiggle leading off of first. This one’s tough.
    iv. Line Drive v. Fly Ball – You pop up, you do push-ups.
    v. Chatty – Friendly banter or bitching?
    vi. Selflessness – Advances the runner? Pads own stats?
  3. Dugout/Clubhouse
    i. Press Conferences – Coherent?
    ii. Quotes – Witty or stupid?
    iii. Chatty – Silly? Headcase? Loner?
    iv. Fights – With teammates or for teammates?


  1. Personal Hygiene
  2. Commercials (local)
  3. Commercials (national)
  4. Commercials (MLB)
  5. Dress
  6. Rumors
  7. Awards

Each criterion was given a point value for the "average" player. For example, every player starts off with five points for Offensive Hustle. If a player regularly gets thrown out trying to take an extra base, he will lose points. If he regularly runs out infield grounders, he adds points, up to double the given average. If a player is a goofball in the dugout, more points, if he sits on the bench between at-bats and sulks, fewer points (Leon would get a zero in 3.iii but a 6 in 3.ii). Additionally, two categories are all or nothing: 5 points for being a catcher, 5 points for not looking like you’re being attacked by a lion while pitching.

Every player starts off with 110 points. If somehow, there was a magical player who could both pitch and catch (I’m not including Cody McKay because he is NOT magical), the most possible points would be 210. Theoretically, a player could have a total of zero, but unless he’s a zombie, it’ll never happen.

Take for example…oh, let’s say Jim Edmonds. We all know about his up-to-now quantifiable offense, and we’ve all seen him play center. But is he really Watchable? (Starting Averages in parenthesis)


  1. Defense
    i. Hustle (5) I’d say about 90% of the time, yes. 9 points
    ii. Agility (7) For a 34 year-old, Jimmy’s pretty limber. 12 points.
    iii. Catcher? (5/0) No. 0 points.
    iv. Awareness (4) Again, he has his moments, but yeah. 7 points.
    v. Defensive Stance (6) He leans over nicely. 11 points.
    vi. Pitching Face (5/0) No. 0 points.
  2. Offense
    i. Hustle (5) He also runs nicely. 7 points.
    ii. Batting Stance/Face (6) Jim gets extra points here because of his swing. Unfortunately, they’re negated by his tendency to stand in the box like he’s at a cocktail party at least once a game. Plus, he doesn’t really have a "Batting Face" unless you count playing with his contacts. 9 points.
    iii. Power & Average (6) Jim doesn’t GIDP much. But he strikes out a lot. 10 points.
    iv. Line Drive v. Fly Ball (3) How about both? 6 points.
    v. Chatty (3) Jimmy’s very chatty. He talks to the catcher, umpire, first baseman. Or, he bitches to the catcher, umpire, first baseman. 3 points.
    vi. Selflessness (7) This is a big one. If a player is willing to sacrifice an at-bat, his body, or his pride-mmmmm. 12 points.
  3. Dugout/Clubhouse
    i. Press Conferences (4) You know, I can’t remember, so I’m gonna guess. 4 points.
    ii. Quotes (4) I don’t think Jimmy’s the sharpest tool in the shed. Nice, but not so bright. 4 points.
    iii. Chatty (4) I can’t remember seeing him goof around that much, but it’s always nice to see him smile. 4 points.
    iv. Fights (3) Let’s look at 7/19/04: HBP twice, took his bases without saying a word. He’ll backup teammates. 4 points.


  1. Personal Hygiene (8) Sometimes Jim doesn’t shave (in a lovely Indiana Jones way) and he no longer highlights his hair. He wears a half-shirt. 13 points.
  2. Commercials - local (4) Nope. 0 points
  3. Commercials – national (5) Nope. 0 points.
  4. Commercials - MLB (5) Yep. And he looked gooood. 10 points.
  5. Dress (5) Aside from the terrible, terrible half-shirt incident (my corneas are still recovering), not too bad. 7 points.
  6. Rumors (3) Oh, there are some juicy rumors about our guy Jimmy. 6 points.
  7. Awards (3) Bling is good. 5 points.

Jim Edmonds gets a total of 137 points. Sounds pretty good, but to put this into some sort of context we have to compare him to other players. Let’s take National League MVP Barry Bonds. We know how they compare in traditional statistics. And I will be objective.


  1. Defense
    i. Hustle (5) Errr, not so much. 4 points.
    ii. Agility (7) Ummm, not so much. 6 points.
    iii. Catcher? (5/0) No. 0 points.
    iv. Awareness (4) He’s been around long enough. 7 points.
    v. Defensive Stance (6) Too bulky. 8 points.
    vi. Pitching Face (5/0) No. 0 points.
  2. Offense
    i. Hustle (5) When he wants. 6 points.
    ii. Batting Stance/Face (6) Easy swing. Looks pissed. Not pleasing. 8 points.
    iii. Power & Average (6) Duh. 12 points.
    iv. Line Drive v. Fly Ball (3) Duh. 6 points.
    v. Chatty (3) I suppose he says stuff to catchers when he’s being walked, but it’s probably not nice. 3 points.
    vi. Selflessness (7) Nope. 4 points.
  3. Dugout/Clubhouse
    i. Press Conferences (4) Surly. But does smile. 4 points.
    ii. Quotes (4) The good ones are self-serving and sometimes mean. 3 points.
    iii. Chatty (4) Not terribly. 4 points.
    iv. Fights (3) Fights with teammates in the dugout. 0 points.


  1. Personal Hygiene (8) Bad jewelry choices, but otherwise good. 14 points.
  2. Commercials - local (4) Doesn’t he have a thing where they can’t use his image? 0 points
  3. Commercials – national (5) See 2. 0 points.
  4. Commercials - MLB (5) See 2. 0 points.
  5. Dress (5) I think he’d look quite nice in a well-tailored suit. 7 points.
  6. Rumors (3) Yes. Bad rumors. 0 points.
  7. Awards (3) More bling is better. 6 points.

So PumpkinHead ends up with 113 points, mainly on the strength of homeruns and cleanliness. Let’s try someone else. How about Bo Hart (using 2003)?


  1. Defense
    i. Hustle (5) Yep. 8 points.
    ii. Agility (7) Not too bad. 8 points.
    iii. Catcher? (5/0) No. 0 points.
    iv. Awareness (4) He was a rookie. 4 points.
    v. Defensive Stance (6) He, too, leans over nicely. 10 points.
    vi.Pitching Face (5/0) No. 0 points.
  2. Offense
    i. Hustle (5) Yep. 8 points.
    ii. Batting Stance/Face (6) He was so damn excited. No batting gloves=man’s man. 8 points.
    iii. Power & Average (6) Not great. 8 points.
    iv. Line Drive v. Fly Ball (3) Meh. 3 points.
    v. Chatty (3) Again, very excitable young man. 4 points.
    vi. Selflessness (7) When he could. 9 points.
  3. Dugout/Clubhouse
    i. Press Conferences (4) Don’t think he had any. 0 points.
    ii. Quotes (4) Cliches, but entertaining. 5 points.
    iii. Chatty (4) Yeah. 6 points.
    iv. Fights (3) Can’t recall. 3 points.


  1. Personal Hygiene (8) Very All-American. 10 points.
  2. Commercials - local (4) Nope. 0 points
  3. Commercials – national (5) I’m cheating here. ESPN loved him. 2 points.
  4. Commercials - MLB (5) Nope. 0 points.
  5. Dress (5) Very minor leagues. 4 points.
  6. Rumors (3) None. 3 points.
  7. Awards (3) Only fan signs. No bling. 0 points.

Hart gets 103 points. Here we are limited by the curse of every statistician: small sample size. Hart's a cutie, and fan favorites are more Watchable, but it can only take them so far.

I hope this tool can be used to settle the age-old bar debate: Who’s Hotter? Throughout the off season, I hope to get to current Cards as well as anyone we sign or trade for. By the end of Spring Training we will know who is, in fact, the hottest Cardinal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Run Ray King Run!

Major League Baseball screws up a lot of stuff. World Series home field advantage being determined by the All-Star Game, for example. Or certain aspects of the Wild Card system. They left the Expos in limbo for two years after trying to get rid of the Twins.

But they have done one thing I really really like. Right now I'm watching the Sept. 12 game against the Dodgers. It's so nice to see Carpenter pitch. And it's the Dodgers' TV feed, so you've got Scully, which is great. Except for the fact that my heat's on, it could be summer, but I'll take what I can get. It's a solid B+ effort by MLB (points deducted for limited airing hours and for leaving commericals in games from 2004).

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Helen Lovejoy

All these Randy Johnson rumors have me very concerned. I’m not keen on giving up a huge chunk of our young pitchers. I do not want to lose Molina. But considering the fact that the Cards have a Very Old Outfield (with not much help for that in the minors apparently) and a Long Term or Free Agent Infield, it looks like it would have to be a pitching-for-pitching swap.

But those are minor quibbles. What really has my panties in a twist is the potential to see this headline: “Big Unit Lands in Busch.” Yes, it’s crude, but you just know that every pithy writer out there is going to try to get it past their editor, and at least one will probably succeed. Won’t Walt please think of the children?

If the home team does somehow manage to trade for Bird-Killer without including the entire Memphis organization, I’ll miss whoever was traded, but only until Johnson kills his first bird as a Bird. Or until his first no-hitter, whichever comes first.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Most Valuable Barry

No surprise here. He changes the game, he puts up crazy numbers, blahblahblah. I'm sure ESPN will have a lovely ass-kissing article, if you want to check it out. But quickly, shouldn't defense count? I shouldn't expect consistency from sportswriters, but didn't Albert lose last year cause the Cards missed the playoffs? I guessed as much for our boys. The votes weren't as even as I thought they'd be (Albert-247, Scott-226, Jimmy-160), but it does seem like Scott and Albert split each other's votes. Personally, I think Beltre should have won. And look what happens when JD Drew avoids hangnails--#6 in votes!

I don't like Bonds. It's not just that he's a jerk or that he licks his bat or that he stole Sheffield's chef (which is just weird). I also don't like him because I think he's playing for the wrong reasons. Sure, he wants to win, but he wants to win for himself. I find his body armor annoying. It allows him to stand incredibly close to the plate, making the strike zone Eddie Gaedel-like. So of course he's gonna walk a lot.

I don't know if he's used steroids or HGH, although the evidence is not in his favor. People point to his size and when you see pictures of him as a Pirate versus now, it is remarkable. But not being a professional athlete or 40 years old, I can't say that Bonds' physical transformation is anything other than GNC-aided. Except for his head. Whose head gets literally bigger? In the wire story about the MVP award, Bonds said,
"I don't have answers, I really don't. I don't really care about all this stuff. I really don't," he said. "I don't owe anyone a response to anything."
about the BALCO situation. Uh, ok. The prosecutors might take exception to that. But he does have some fans, right? The people who pay him? I guess they aren't owed anything other than honor of being able to inhabit the same planet as the greatness that is BondsPumpkinHead.

Yeah, he's an arrogant, prima-donna asshole who's probably done something he shouldn't have.

Besides, he once said Albert Pujols should play a single position before getting any awards. Prick.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

If you have a fantasy team, you'll need to check out Rick Paulas' advice. Some of the information is specific for the 2004 season, but we can all learn valuable lessons from his Nine Tips to Playoff Victory as well as how to perfect our heckling techniques.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Supernatural Envy


GM meetings in Florida. Sportswriters making up crazy stories. And no really real news.

Well, Santana got the AL Cy Young. Good for him. He was outstanding. I mean, he didn't lose after the all-star break!! I saw one game in the Metrodome in the mid-nineties. The Twins were bad and rivaling the Expos for attendance records. We had cheap seats, but still, what a crappy place for baseball. So, I've had a thing for the Twins since then; I felt bad for them. But now, now they've won three division titles in a row (yeah, yeah, against the White Sox, Tigers, Royals, and Indians, but still). And they're all good these days, with the pitching and hitting and defense. Even with 1987, I can't hate the team or The Cities. So I'm happy for Johan and the Twins and their fans.

That's what the Cardinals need. Some guy who is 25, doesn't lose, and is years away from free agency.

It's still very early days; after all today's the first really free free-agency day, but I'm ready for something, anything to happen.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


I'm always a little confused when economists come out with productivity reports. How do they get that information? I know many, many people who spend most of the day playing computer games. During the six hours I wasn't being a useful member of society today I was on the internet. There's only so many times you can check the traffic report.

There were a couple of things that made me laugh, however. It seems the Cards are on some sort of list. What makes this so amusing is that both Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker are "acceptable." If Pedro thinks those guys have similar managing styles, it's time to lay off the hair product, dude. The other funny item was this from Fox. It's just some guy's wacky idea and maybe I'm too sentimental when it comes to Rick Ankiel, but, um, I don't think so.

And then there's Bernie, playing insider over at his little domain. It looked bad when I first read this, but then I remembered that he's largely full of it. I'd really hate to lose Edgar, but if he wants to chase the money, I doubt the Cardinals can keep up. Just please, god, don't go to the Cubs.

And now I see Peter Gammons is saying Beltran's going to Chicago. The day just gets funnier and funnier.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Believe In the Church of Baseball

Having come through the long, national nightmare of Red Sox worship (whorship?), I am ready to think well of the Cardinals again.

Just to let you know, right off the bat, I don't really know stats, I don't really follow the minor leagues. I don't really care about other teams-it's not like I don't know things about them, they're fine organizations all (except the Cubs), I just don't really care.

I do really like the Cardinals. And that's all this is: my thoughts on the baseball team with the most World Series titles outside of the Yankees, the nicest uniforms, a sauna instead of a stadium, crazed fans, and some damn good players. I mean, how many other teams have an ESPN special on their 3rd base coach?

This blog isn't affiliated with The St. Louis Cardinals, Major League Baseball, or anything else. If I put a picture or something up, I'll give credit. So no suing. Please?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Because you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much pitching.

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