A Little Water Never Hurt Anybody

I live in St. Louis. Not within the city limits of St. Louis itself, but in the St. Louis area–my kitchen is about half an hour from Busch Stadium. In 2008, the Mississippi river flooded, and flooded badly, and much like in 1993, I remember serious damage & disruptions throughout the region. Traffic had to be diverted due to many roads being underwater, businesses had to close, and many people even had their homes washed away in the floodwaters. It’s impossible to describe in just a few sentences, but look at these two pictures.

Taken during the flooding of the summer of 1993

“Normal” conditions on the arch grounds

The picture on the left was taken in the summer of 1993, and the flooding is obvious…unless you don’t have a frame of reference to make a comparison. There is a parking lot, then a sidewalk, then a road for traffic, followed by another sidewalk, and steps between the archgrounds and the river…that is, when conditions are normal.

I’m writing this article on a laptop computer. It’s lightweight, has a fast processor, a beautiful screen that displays millions of colors, and I can even use it to watch baseball games live. Bluetooth technology, the iPhone/iPad, keyless remote entry, digital photo frames…all are fascinating pieces of technology, and who knows what “they’ll think of next”. But the simplest thing can render each of these devices useless. The same thing can ruin priceless art, take human life, and as aforementioned, wash away homes.

What is it? Water.

You wouldn’t have to drop your iPhone in the toilet, or watch a firehose douse the Mona Lisa to understand what I’m talking about. But this natural, most basic element in our ecosystem can wreak tremendous havoc, as I’ve just described. Of course there are also less serious, yet highly complicated ramifications in certain contexts when it comes to water…take “rain” in the context of “baseball”, for example.

Rain can be a big problem in terms of pitching. Imagine a typical week in baseball for a given team:

Tue-7pm; Wed-7pm; Thr-1pm; Fri-7pm; Sat-12pm (could vary 1, 3, 6, 7pm); & Sun-1pm (could vary also)

If your Tuesday night game is rained out (like the Cardinals this week), then the domino effect takes over in a big way…especially if the game is made up the next afternoon as the first of a doubleheader. On Monday, the Cardinals pitching was set up to look something like Tue-Westbrook; Wed-Garcia; Thr-Lohse; Fri-KMac; Sat-Carp; Sun-Westbrook. Then the heavens opened up. Westbrook was pushed to Wed afternoon, Garcia still had Wed evening, the rest of the week & weekend stayed the same, except now Westbrook would be slated to pitch on short rest Sunday. That alone is less than ideal. Now, add to that the fact that Westbrook took a beating, lasting just 3 innings on Wednesday afternoon, surrendering 7 earned runs, and taxed the bullpen, requiring them (by committee) to mop up the final 6 innings of the game.

Now the Cardinals have used up some of their bullpen arms in game one, and things get even more complicated. Franklin’s no longer your closer (and no single guy has been named), so you’ve got to really manage the late innings (never a problem for TLR), but with no clear closer or “long guy”, the shuffling gets more complicated. Oh yeah, and with Tallet on the DL, Trever Miller is your ONLY lefty out there…with the Reds (Jay Bruce & reigning NL MVP Joet Votto are both left-handed hitters) coming into town for the weekend.

Did I just see you glance at the Memphis roster? Be sure you know what you’re getting into–there are rules that govern how long a player has to “stay up” or “stay down” when bouncing between AAA & the Major League club. (A fellow UCB member discusses that nicely here) Plus, (yes, there’s yet one more level of complication) after the game Sunday, the Cards are off Monday as they head to Houston. They then play games on 13 consecutive days, and 29 of the next 30, including sets against the Cubs, Brewers, Reds, Phillies, & Braves–all of which are important in their own right.

So, challenge yourself a little & play armchair manager (or GM, or both) BEFORE this stretch of games & situations, and comment below as to what you’d do in this situation–at the very least it can generate some good discussion here.

“A little water never hurt anybody”? Tell that to John Mozeliak, Tony LaRussa, & Dave Duncan.

2 thoughts on “A Little Water Never Hurt Anybody

  1. Winning each series is more important than winning each game. If Westbrook continues to pitch like he has, Sunday will be a loss, but the first two games should be winnable for the Cards with K-Mac and Carp. Good read man, talk at you tonight on twitter.

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