UCB August Project: Making A Lineup
The UCB is a group of bloggers, the United Cardinal Bloggers, that come together to share content, ideas and otherwise collaborate. The roster features a myriad of voices from all over the world. Each blog brings a unique and dedicated approach to their craft. Some bloggers hope to make a career of this. Some do it because they want to write. Others enjoy the hobby and the community it creates.
Each month, the UCB comes together on a single idea. A project, if you will, that is assigned out for each writer to post on their own website. What forms is an amazing collaboration of ideas that shows the variety of mindsets various fans can produce. For August, a new idea was brought up. From the official UCB website:
If you made out a lineup of Cardinal bloggers, who would make the cut? Who would be the cleanup hitter or the fireballing ace? Who would be behind the plate or up the middle?
Wonder no more! For their August project, the United Cardinal Bloggers took on this task.
Some have taken this task to create a full roster. Others have used it to form a lineup card. One thing is for sure, all of us that participate are doing our best to honor the blogs of which we are truly fans. Alternatively, if my fellow writers are anything like me, we are trying not to offend anyone in the process.
Before I start, let me take this moment to thank anyone who is including me in their posts. The kind words are more than appreciated.
Here is a look at what I personally put together…
Let’s make sure we have someone to keep all these guys (and gals) in line. First and foremost, our manager is Daniel Shoptaw and his blog C70 At The Bat. If not for Mr. Shoptaw, the UCB would be a wild bunch with no rules, regulations or guidelines. He keeps his players happy, keeps us from being too upset at each other and, quite frankly, the man knows his baseball. One of the most consistent writers in our group, Daniel leads the pack for sure.
I am a firm believer in constructing my roster “up the middle” first. That means I need a catcher, a shortstop, a second baseman, a center fielder and a pitcher to anchor both my bullpen and my rotation.
The catcher is my field general. He is the guy that can run the team from the field, an extension of my manger. Catcher – Dan Buffa, who writes for more sites than I could ever imagine one person writing for, is the guy I turn to when I need a Cardinal fix. He is an excellent prototype of a leader by example.
My double-play combination is comprised of my two favorite writers, Matt Whitener at second and Tara Wellman at shortstop. Matt writes here at i70baseall as well as his own site, Cheap Seats. Tara runs her own little corner of the internet, Bird Tales, as part of the Cardinals Conclave. I personally enjoy the content both of these writers create and wouldn’t dream of having a team without anchoring it with their talent.
Rounding out my position players up the middle is another favorite of mine, Ben Chambers in center field. You can find Ben writing his stuff at The View From Here and it is easy to connect to the passion a fan brings despite being physically located away from his favorite team. Ben can cover multiple subjects and change hats very quickly when he needs to. I’ll admit, the hardest challenge for most of us is to win an argument with someone like Ben.
I need a strong arm to lead my rotation and I couldn’t imagine anyone better than Ace Pitcher Christine Coleman of Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Christine is consistent, fun and you can tell she truly enjoys her craft. She’s a great writer and her site is a great place to drop by and read some content any day of the week.
If Christine is going to lead the rotation, that would mean that Closer Mark Tomasik of Retro Simba will be closing the door in the ninth. With my friend Bob Netherton not writing as much lately, Mark is where I turn for my historical fix on baseball. Very seldom does something happen on the field today that doesn’t remind Mark of a great story from yesterday.
Rounding out the roster, let’s put some heavy hitters at the corners.
Outfielders Nick Waeltz and Jon Doble, of Pitchers Hit Eighth and Redbird Dugout, cover a lot of material and always knock it out of the park. I’m putting the two of them in my outfield to flank Ben in center.
I’m going with family holding down the corner infield and giving the middle of my lineup to First Baseman Tom and Third Baseman Rodney Knuppel. Rodney is at St. Louis Sports and Tom pens his own work at Cardinals GM. Between the two of them, pitchers will have a hard time getting through the middle of my order without solid contact and a few runs being scored.
Every team needs a superstar that isn’t afraid to tell you he’s a superstar and that man for me is Pitcher Daniel Solzman. Many joke that I’m the “king of shameless self promotion” but I don’t hold a candle to this guy. Check out Redbird Rants to form your own opinion. If that doesn’t convince you, contact Mr. Solzman, he’ll tell you all the awesome things he gets to do and why he’s better than most. I’ll put him in my rotation behind Christine.
Let’s round our the rotation with some folks that can do some good, steady work for us. Matthew Philip of Fungoes fame is one of the best personalities in this group, hands down. Wes Keene is always a good read over at Keene On MLB. Finally, I need someone like Kevin Reynolds and his work at Cards N Stuff to keep me going.
Filling out my bullpen gives me a chance to engage with the newer writers to the group. Doug from Baseball Geek in Galveston, Cole from Caught Him Looking, Tiffany from Party Like It’s 1982 and Harrison the Cajun Cardinal bring much needed life into the bullpen. They will bridge the gap between the starters and Tomasik for the save.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Dathan Brooks and his work at Go Crazy Big Boy or Aaron Hooks and his work at Cards Diaspora. Two guys that I met through this crazy world of writing about baseball. Two guys that I couldn’t imagine my life turning out the way it did without their input and dedication. I need them on my coaching staff to help me continue being me.
Finally, you save the best for last. I could not find a spot for John Nagel that made any sense beyond naming him my scouting director. I am envious of his work bringing so much minor league material to the masses on a regular basis. If you bookmark just one site in this list, make it Cardinals Farm. You’ll be glad you did.
That’s it for my list. If you’re not on it, as many are saying, no offense intended. These are the folks that I read as much as I can.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
Follow him on Twitter.
Note: Clicking a person’s name in the above post should take you to their Twitter feed. They are all highly recommended follows. Clicking on a website’s name should take you to that site.