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United Cardinal Bloggers 2012 Spring Roundtable

Straight from the horse’s mouth, here is what the UCB website has to say about this project:

Didn’t we just leave this party?

With a postseason that joyously ran long and a participation level that was through the roof, the United Cardinal Bloggers spent from the end of October until  just before Christmas rehashing and discussing.  Now, as the calendar turns to February, it’s time for us to take up the discussions again.

This time, however, there’s a twist.

In an effort to engage our readers and followers a bit more, we are encompassing the UCB Twitter feed (@utdcardbloggers if you aren’t following it) into the discussions.  Every day, the question that the bloggers are discussing via email will be also put on our Twitter account.  Answers that are received will be eligible to be added to the transcript when the blogger posts it.

To keep things organized, we ask that you use the proper hashtag when responding to a question.  To answer the first question, use #ucb1.  The next day, use #ucb2 and so on.  The hashtag will be listed with the schedule below.

Then, during the last week of the roundtable, we are letting you–well, turn the tables seems pretty cliche there, doesn’t it?  We’ll ask you to submit a question you want the bloggers to bat around.  The best one will be put into the system and the transcript will be posted here on this site.

So that sets us up.  I-70 Baseball drew the question that would be asked last Friday and posted on Monday, February 13.  After some thought, I crafted the following question for my fellow new media writers:

The collective group here is obviously one of the foremost knowledgeable on Cardinal baseball.  You know your in’s and out’s and all about the players.  So, I am going to ask you to look at something other than the Cardinals for a second…
Brandon Phillips, Nyjer Morgan, Johnny Cueto…the Cards have had a few “enemies” over the last few years.  At the same time that these three guys still exist in this division, there has been quite a bit of change with the other teams this year.  So peer into your crystal ball for a two part question:
The answers to these can be names that are listed above or they can be new names added to the list.  All I ask is that you stay in the Central Division with your picks…
1 – Who is the biggest “Cardinal Killer” in 2012 (ie who does his talking on the field and just seems to always do his best against the team)?
2 – Who becomes the biggest mouthpiece about the Cardinals in 2012 (ie who gets on your nerves because he hates this team and is going to end up with a Carp fastball in his ear)?

Let’s get into their answers, shall we?

Corey Noles: The Daily Statesman
 I think the biggest Cardinals killer may likely be Brandon Phillips. It sure seems that he feeds off of the boos he gets when he comes to St. Louis. The funny thing about Phillips is, now don’t stone me, that he would be a great fit for the Cardinals. Through this whole mess I haven’t been able to help thinking that about him.

As far as who is the biggest tool in the NLC, that’s a tough one. I would like to think Morgan had his comment shoved hard enough in his face that he will likely shut up, but I’m never surprised by idiots. Truth be told, I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head who will likely shoot his mouth off. Frankly, at this moment in time no one is in a position for smack talk. If I have to name one though, I’m going to go with Morgan just due to his general lack of class.

Daniel Shoptaw: C70 At The Bat
I’m with Corey on the second part–I don’t figure we’ve heard the last of Nyjer Morgan.  For a man that has multiple “personalities”, I can’t imagine a little thing like reality will deter him.  He might not be as covered, especially if Milwaukee doesn’t stick around with the Cards in the divisional race, but he’s the most likely candidate.

As for the “Cardinal killer”, I’m wondering about Brett Wallace.  He’s done pretty well against the Redbirds in his time in Houston and, while the Astros won’t contend, I could see him turning around a couple of close games and sending the Cards home downcast.

Rodney Knuppel: Saint Louis Sports
Nyjer Morgan is not good enough to be a Cardinals killer. That guy is a clown. Brandon Phillips, while a good player – doesn’t put up great numbers against the Cardinals. I look for Votto or someone else to carry that load against STL.

My answer to the Cardinal Killer goes to Aramis Ramirez. Granted, he will have to try to kill the Cardinals. I just think if he is healthy, he kills STL pitching. Now, with Milwaukee, he is in a pennant race(hope not), and the hate the Brewers/Cardinals have is at a different level than the pretty boring rivalry lately of Cardinals/Cubs.

Ramirez is 33 years old. I think he still has alot of baseball left in him. I know many people think he is washed up,or simply overrated, but the guy has a career .284 batting average, over 300 homeruns and 1,100 runs batted in. Without Fielder, he will need to be an offensive force for the Brewers. Now, if Braun is out those first 50 games – ALOT of the load will land on Ramirez, and if we remember right – he is a slow starter. The Cardinals see the Brewers several times early, so it would be advantageous to keep him in check early in the year, and maybe get off to a good start against Milwaukee.

As far as the biggest mouthpiece against the Cardinals. I think the Morgan and Phillips thing will hopefully die down with Matheny at the helm. Hopefully these two clowns are not a factor for this team. I think we will see less and less “hatred” with LaRussa gone. LaRussa did alot of things to bring on the hatred, and I don’t think Matheny will. So, I don’t have a good answer for the mouthpiece. I’ll go with Albert Pujols – as the Cardinals and Angels will meet in the World Series, and El Hombre will talk bad about the Cardinals :)

Bob Netherton: On The Outside Corner
There is one player in the NL Central that makes me ill every time he steps up to the plate.   It is Casey McGehee of the the Pirates.  If he played against the rest of the National League like he does against the Cardinals, he would already have a multi-year contract in place, buying out all of his arbitration years, and still be in Milwaukee.  The Cardinals have given up the most hits, doubles, home runs and RBI’s to the former Brewers third baseman.Fortunately for the Cardinals, McGehee’s offensive numbers are going downhill faster than a box of frictionless bearings.

Nyjer Morgan is like Mikey from the Life cereal commercials.   The youngsters might have to google that one, so I’ll save you the trouble.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgB25WBeBxA   The point is that Morgan is a punk with just enough talent to stay in the big leagues, but not enough to let his playing do the talking.  But it’s not limited to the Cardinals, he is pretty much a punk to all the teams in baseball.  His own team is just as likely to put a fastball in his ear if the Brewers struggle during a possible Ryan Braun suspension.   So we can scratch Morgan off the list.

For getting on the Cardinals nerves, there is a seemingly endless supply of such players over in Cincinnati.  Even though the Dusty Baker/Tony La Russa personal vendetta is not longer in play, there is enough carryover to fuel a brawl or two.   Something tells me that we haven’t heard the end of Johnny Cueto, just yet.

So my answer is Johnny Cueto and I’ve already put all of the Cincinnati games on the calendar, so that I don’t miss a minute of any of them.

Chris Reed: Bird Brained
If he gets enough playing time, I could see Ryan Ludwick being a thorn in the Cardinals’ side. You have to figure the Cards and Reds will play every game tough as nails if they truly are the best two teams in the division, so the maneuvering will be fast and furious. Whether it be a late-inning appearance off the bench or a regular starting role, Ludwick is a guy I expect to be hitting in big-time situations. And a lot of those could be against the Cardinals.

The mouth-runner is tougher to pin down. After last year, I’m not sure what Nyjer Morgan could possibly chirp about anymore but I wouldn’t put it past him. Phillips definitely has more discretion in his trash- talk, and certainly backs it up better with his play on the field (plus he’s in a contract year…yikes). I still maintain that if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to also walk the walk. Phillips can do that. Morgan cannot. I expect to hear more from Phillips this year.

Angela Weinhold: Diamond Diaries
As far as a “Cardinal Killer,” I always say Aramis Ramirez. It doesn’t matter how much he has declined, even when he has been having a slump it seems like all it takes is a visit to Busch for him to break out of it. Even when the Cubs were terrible (isn’t that every year?) I feel like the Cardinals find ways to get beat by the lovable losers a few times a year. Seems to me like Ramirez has earned a couple of those wins singlehandedly.

Of course, I have been accused of holding grudges more than once…

For the mouthy one, it’s Nyjer. The sad thing is he has never been an overly talented player, but his mouth keeps his name in the papers. It doesn’t seem to matter how bad *he* is playing, if the Brewers are near the division lead I expect him to find new and creative ways to run his mouth. Unfortunately the crow he ate last year can’t shut him up forever. ;)

Aaron Hooks: Cards Diaspora
The biggest Cardinal Killer? ALBERT PUJOLS.

We’ve been busy giving the Cardinals verbal fellatio over not having to pay 30M a year in 2021 to the Angels first baseman that we’re forgetting that the dude is still in his prime, pissed offed about how he thinks he’s perceived around baseball, and is still the best player alive.

Carlos Beltran? Nice addition. But if we’re thinking that he’s going to fill the shoes of Pujols, we’re mistaken. We’ve taken for granted the fact that NOBODY wants to see the Cardinals 3 spot come up in the order and they’ve played accordingly. Now? It’s game on. That’s going to hurt.

And Brandon Phillips will still be the biggest irritant. He loves the attention and with the Reds expected to contend for the NL Central, he’ll get the digital ink he thinks he deserves.

Dathan Brooks: Cards Tied For First
Morgan’s not much more than a mouthpiece.  The guy sells his face on T-shirts and stuff, and shamelessly promotes himself in ways that makes Bill look like a monk.  By comparison, and I might get some crap for saying this, but I see Phillips as more of a guy who is having fun with the game more than I see him as a true jackass, like Morgan.  And FWIW, I tend to agree that BP & Carp are similar in that they can both (accurately, I think) be described as “that guy who you’d love to have playing with you, but you hate him if you play against him”.

Cardinal Killer?  Bud Norris, who else?

Ray DeRousse: StL Cardinal Baseball
Cardinal killer? Has everyone forgotten Bud Norris? Actually, the Norris thing needs to finally end this season.
As for biggest mouth, I fully expect Nyjer Morgan to (spoiler alert) do something dumb now that his exposure is increased on that team minus Braun and Fielder. Someone that dumb simply cannot help himself.

Matt Whitener: Cheap Seats Please
1. Biggest Actual Cardinal Killer: I think it has to be somebody who can actually make a difference in a game with a direct benefit for his team vs. ours in the race for the division, so Bud “Big Train Jr.” Norris is out.

I think it has to be Phillips. He may not have the greatest overall numbers against the club, but he delivers when it counts (that walkoff last year still stings now) and that’s all you need.

A darkhorse here for me is Ryan Ludwick, I think he’s going to have some at-bats when it counts against us and will deliver. Same for Scott Rolen.

2. As for biggest mouth, Morgan talks so much that it just blends together and is like the hum of an air conditioner; it’s just always there, so it doesn’t matter as much.

For actual talk & backup, I’m going back to Phillips. Because he’ll talk everywhere from on-base to Twitter, but will still be an All-Star with our biggest competition in the division, so he’ll actually be backing it up. Big difference.

Nick: Pitchers Hit Eighth
Can I choose more than one “Cardinal Killer”? As in, any left-handed pitcher with a fastball that sits 87-89? Chris Narveson, maybe?

I think the biggest mouth in the division might wind up being Dusty Baker. With Tony La Russa riding off into the sunset, Dusty becomes the elder statesman in the NL Central, and is certainly no stranger to dust-ups with the Cardinals. I could envision Dusty trying to push some teams and managers around a bit in a division that the Reds should contend in. What will be entertaining is watching Dusty try to “school” Mike Matheny strategically (remember last season’s rain-affected start against Cincy with the Miguel Batista deke?) and still failing miserably and wasting three pitchers on accident.

Kevin Reynolds: Cards N Stuff
Hmmm…for some reason, I keep thinking of Carlos Lee as the Cardinal killer…and Joey Votto emerging as a mouth :)

But it’ll probaby still be Phillips and Morgan again.

Miranda Remaklus: Aaron Miles’ Fastball
I can’t just pick one! I think Ryan Braun, once he gets his stuff straightened out, will once again but tough against us. Probably the Panda from the Giants. And Eithier or Kemp from the Dodgers.

This one is pretty easy! I think Nyjer retains the title of being the biggest…. mouthpiece! Carp will nail him in the ear this season. I can feel it! Ha! I don’t think Brandon Phillips will be that bad. He was a jerk but he seemed to chill a little with the Reds losing ways. Almost humbled him! ALMOST! B.J. Rains lovely … bordering on homer … reporting of him has softened me to BP.

Mark Tomasik: Retro Simba
1.       Got a feeling Ryan Ludwick is going to pound Cardinals pitching this year. He likes being with Cincinnati and he’s been embarrassed by his performance of the last year or so. Got a feeling he’s going to launch some longballs against the Cardinals in that Great American Ballpark bandbox.
2.       Brewers still have a burr in their saddle about being kept out of the World Series by the Cardinals in 2011. Maybe Rickie Weeks takes the instigator role and earns the Carpenter fastball in the back.

Tom Knuppel: Cardinals GM
Nyger is a tool and will be the one that gets the fastball inserted into his ear.Aramis Ramirez is the Cardinal killer.Looks to be interested series’ with Brewers.

Christine Coleman: Aaron Miles Fastball
My opinion matches what many have already said.

1 – Even though on a different Central team, I think Aramis Ramirez will continue his Cardinal Killer ways in 2012 as a Brewer.

2 – My thought is the biggest mouthpieces of last season, Nyjer Morgan and Brandon Phillips, will continue in those roles in 2012 – mostly because the broadcast media (and particularly Fox Sports Midwest) won’t ever let those storylines drop. Look at all the games last year where we had to listen to Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky going on and on (and on and on) about Phillips. And, even though his talking and tweeting amounted to nothing in the end last season, Morgan will just have to start back up in 2012 – and get attention for it as well. They’re both media whores who know how to play to the broadcasters … and those broadcasters are ever so eager to give them both what they crave the most: attention.

Daniel Solzman: Redbird Rants
I think it’s either Brandon Phillprs or Nyjer Morgan.

JE Powell: STL Fear The Red
For the first part of the question I am going with the consensus. I think Brandon Phillips is a great 2nd baseman and seems to hit well against the Cards. For the second part of the question, I am going with the consensus again.  Nyjer Morgan is a loud mouth who, in my opinion, will be fueled by the fact that he ended up watching the Cardinals on TV, not the other way around as he so incorrectly predicted. I look to see more of Morgan running his yap in 2012, loud mouths usually get louder when proved wrong.

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