Tag Archive | "Bloggers"

Sign Up For The Birds Eye View

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The St. Louis Cardinals will open the season with the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 1.  Last season, the group of bloggers known as the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) pulled together to provide fans with an easy way to preview each series the club would participate in.  The collaborative effort became known as The Bird’s Eye View.

 

The UCB has once again drawn their collective talents to bring fans this newsletter service at the beginning of each series.  People who register for The Bird’s Eye View will receive an email on the first day of each series providing an in depth look at pitching matchups, key components and emerging news for the Cardinals and their opponents in the series.

The writers here at i70baseball are proud members of the UCB and will contribute to The Birds Eye View periodically throughout 2013.  We invite all of our readers to sign up for this email report by filling out the form located here.  Don’t worry, your email address will only be used to send you a copy of The Bird’s Eye View before each series the Cardinals play and will not be used for any other purposes or promotions.

 

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UCB Roundtable: The Designated Hitter and Perpetual Interleague Play

February brings Spring Training, baseball games, and baseball discussions back into the forefront of our minds.  Meanwhile, every February the United Cardinal Bloggers host their first roundtable discussions of the year.

The premise is simple, one writer asks a question and the other writers from around the UCB get a chance to answer with their thoughts about the St. Louis Cardinals.  This continues from day to day for three weeks and concludes with a question from the man himself, Daniel Shoptaw.  You can follow along over at the official UCB site by clicking here.

This year, i70baseball was tapped on the shoulder to open the discussions up.  The question I posed to the group centered around the changes in baseball this year:

This year, Major League Baseball will engage in perpetual interleague play.  For the first time, interleague games will be played throughout the season, taking away the ability to adjust rosters based off of new requirements.  No longer can the Cardinals send a pitcher out for the week to pick up an extra bat.

With players like Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, the DH has been used often in the past as a way to get a veteran an extra “day off” without losing his production in the lineup.  Some players are uncomfortable with the routine of a DH, sitting and effectively pinch hitting three of four times a game, and would prefer to be more involved.

So the question is this:

Will perpetual interleague play help or harm the Cardinals this season?  Why do you feel the way you do?

The answers are displayed in the slide show below, with the author’s site logo being displayed with their answer.  Please take the time to look through all of the answers and visit the various author’s websites to read through the various voices of the UCB.

<b>Aaron Miles Fastball</b>

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Christine - Aaron Miles Fastball

My opinion is it’s not really going to affect them much either way. As Dathan said, it’s not just the Cardinals facing this in a vacuum – every other team is as well, so every other manager is going to have the challenge of balancing his lineup differently. To me that’s the key: how Mike Matheny is going to handle it. It’s more of a responsibility for him to find the right piece to plug into the DH spot on the right day for it to not be a problem. The pieces are there – it’s what he does with them that will make the difference. Supposedly weak bench or not, I certainly haven’t heard or read any of the “experts” saying the Cardinals will be weak offensively, so having to use a DH at other times beyond the previous set interleague games shouldn’t make a difference.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Royals Fans Need To Embrace A Chance

We have all been embarrassed by our own family. Whether it’s an overzealous parent, a misbehaving kid, a drunken uncle, or a senile grandparent…we all know the feeling. It’s uncomfortable because we love our family and we understand them better than anyone. It’s also uncomfortable because it usually happens in public, in front of people that don’t love or understand the offending party. That’s exactly how I’ve felt on Twitter the past 24 hours.

I get it, I really do. Wil Myers is going to be Dale Murphy, at least. Just like Alex Gordon was George Brett (I wrote that), Eric Hosmer was Albert Pujols (me again), and Luke Hochevar was a right handed Tom Glavine (okay, no one really said that). Baseball loves prospects and nowhere is that more true than in Kansas City. There are several reasons for that, not the least of which is the fact that prospects are seemingly all we ever have.

Another reason is that we have an incredible network of bloggers in this town that have a great grasp on talent evaluation and advanced metrics. This reason gets overlooked because for the most part these bloggers are looked down upon. They’re seen as cynical, all-knowing nerds that eat pop tarts in their parent’s basement. I’m obviously not in the business of disparaging bloggers, and I love reading what they write. I truly believe we have one of the most knowledgeable networks of baseball bloggers in MLB. That being said, their reaction to the Kansas City Royals’ trade for James Shields has been embarrassing.

For 25 years now we’ve watched and bemoaned the fact that the Royals are always on the opposite side of this trade. Even as recently as two years ago we were trading away Zack Greinke for a wheel barrow full of prospects and jokes about this franchise as a farm club for the rest of MLB remained alive and well. Well, that farm club has been extremely productive recently and we find ourselves with an abundance of position players with potential and nary a pitcher.

The obvious answer in a small market like Kansas City is to turn those prospects into the missing piece(s) for your ball club. Dayton Moore did just that…and he’s being crucified for it. Now I know my community of bloggers and I know that they value being right more than just about anything else. The whole pursuit of advanced statistics is just a pursuit to see who can find the truest “right”. Unfortunately, Dayton Moore has been wrong so many times that in second guessing him, we now always think we’re right. Here are the three main arguments, and my problems with them.

James Shields is not an ace. This is the one that’s gotten me most fired up this week, but it’s also the easiest to debate. After all, what is an “ace”? There is no standard definition. You could say that it’s the #1 starter for a major league team, but that would mean that Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar have both been aces. You could say that it’s an exclusive club of Cy Young winners I suppose, but that seems too stringent. I don’t really care how you choose to define it, Shields is an ace. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press thinks so. So does Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports. Whether he fits your definition of ace or not, there’s no denying he’s one of the 20 best pitchers in baseball, meaning for the first time since Greinke left our ace would also be an ace on several other teams.

We gave up too much. Wil Myers may be a Hall of Famer…but the odds are against it. Jake Odorizzi may turn into James Shields, but no one is predicting that. The Rays are going to fix Mike Montgomery…well we sure couldn’t. The fact that all of these things are still possibilities is precisely because none of these players have done anything at the major league level. We may one day come to find that we did give too much, but it’s ridiculous to presume you know that now. How many times have we been on the flip side of this? How many times have we complained that we’re always giving up something real for something hoped for? We got the real side this time guys, get excited!

We can’t compete with the Tigers even after this move. This may be the most reasonable of the arguments, but it still irks me. If you truly believe this (of course I don’t) then nothing Dayton Moore does matters. The Royals weren’t going to compete with Wil Myers, no matter how awesome he is, and the current pitching staff. Jake Odorizzi could have maybe been a #3 starter, Mike Montgomery was going nowhere fast in this organization. I’ve heard several say we should have picked up Anibal Sanchez and kept Myers. That works except Sanchez is MUCH more expensive, may not even want to play in KC, and IS NOWHERE CLOSE TO THE PITCHER JAMES SHIELDS IS!

The fact is we gave up a lot of potential for two starting pitchers. One of those starting pitchers ranks ninth in WAR over the last two seasons (slightly ahead of Zack Greinke) and struck out 15 batters while walking NONE in the last game he started. This same pitcher has postseason experience, eats up innings like Prince Fielder eats bratwursts, and seems genuinely happy to be a Royal. We also go a guy that just turned 27 that is markedly better than Luke Hochevar will ever be.

The other fact is we reacted as if Dayton Moore had just traded Ed Hearn for David Cone. While some national pundits are praising Moore for taking a chance…While baseball executives are saying they liked the deal for the Royals…we threw a hissy fit for everyone to see. We diminished Shields’ possible impact to the point of saying that Wil Myers would have made as much of an impact as Shields will….in 2013!

I’ve often said that Kansas City is a great baseball town, and that if we built a winner we would support them as well as any city in America. Well, David Glass has spent the money. Dayton Moore has put his job on the line. Are we going to sit around and complain about losing a prospect or get excited about our new ace? There’s been plenty of time to complain and second guess. We’ve been right plenty of those times too. Now it’s time to support our new pitcher, support our new contender, and go win a damn division!

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United Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot 2012

Every year the group known as the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) come together to vote for a bevy or year-end awards.  In the interest of transparency  each member posts their ballot live to the masses with explanations for their choices.  What follows is i70baseball’s entry in the 2012 awards voting.

Player Of The Year
Nominated: Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday

The nod from i70 goes to Yadier Molina.  Not only a presence behind the plate as the field general for the team, but his offense has steadily increased and this year was no exception.  He became a middle of the order hitter that more teams feared while continuing to be the catcher that baserunners refused to steal against.

Pitcher Of The Year
Nominated: Kyle Lohse, Lance Lynn, Jason Motte

I am going with Jason Motte here.  For the first time in years, there was confidence at the end of the game.  With Motte locking down the ninth inning, this team was able to shorten the starters and have clear, defined roles for the bullpen guys.  Motte at the back end of ball games improved the entire pitching staff.

Game Of The Year
Nominated: 6/13 vs. White Sox (1-0 Lynn win), 7/16 vs. Brewers (9th inning rally), 7/21 vs. Cubs (12-run inning)

I’m going with the 7/16 contest with the Brewers.  It’s not that the other games were not impressive, but this team needed a come-from-behind victory against a legitimate foe in a big way.  The team proved that it could win games even when trailing, that it could pick up a pitcher from a loss, and that it could do so against a team that seemed to have their number.

Performance Of The Year
Nominated: Chris Carpenter’s five innings against Chicago, Adam Wainwright’s shutout of San Diego, Shelby Miller’s first start vs. Cincinnati, Carlos Beltran 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI vs. Washington

I want to go with Carp, I mean the guy did give a rib for this season.  But, I cannot deny my excitement watching rookie Shelby Miller take a no-no five innings deep in his first start in The Bigs.  The future with this kid looks bright and that game, though utterly meaningless, gave us just a small glimpse.

Surprise Player Of The Year
Nominated: David Freese, Jon Jay, Pete Kozma, Lance Lynn

Personally, I have to go with Jon Jay.  I really felt this guy was destined to continue to be a fourth outfielder and not quite able to grab the opportunity in front of him.  For the first time, Jay solidified himself as a legitimate starter in this lineup.  It was something I didn’t think he was capable of.

Disappointing Player Of The Year
Nominated: Lance Berkman, Daniel Descalso, Rafael Furcal, Marc Rzepczynski

I don’t know that I was really disappointed with any of the Cardinals this year.  Honestly, most of them performed as I anticipated.  If I was forced to choose, and in this case I am, I would have to go with Lance Berkman simply due to his extended injury time this year.  He remained a positive influence on the youth of this team and a refreshingly honest product of the game, but the team would have been much better if he would have remained on the field throughout the season.

Rookie Of The Year
Nominated: Matt Adams, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal

This is a close race between Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal, but my vote goes to Kelly.  He had a greater impact on the team for a longer period of time.  Otherwise, I don’t think Rosenthal even lost his rookie status this year, so I hold off to include him next year with a full season under his belt.

Acquisition Of The Year
Nominated: Carlos Beltran, Edward Mujica

I was surprised that the team was as quiet as it was this year.  Given his production, his leadership, and the amount of pressure put on him to produce in the wake of Albert Pujols leaving the franchise, Carlos Beltran has to be the acquisition of the year.  If he produces well in the second year of his contract and avoids being the next Berkman, he will quickly become one of the best moves that John Mozeliak has made for this team.

Most Anticipated Cardinal
Nominated: Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong

The future Cardinals may be one of the most exciting things in Cardinal baseball right now.  The two that jump out at me are Taveras and Wong, both for different reasons.

First of all, Wong is a player that this franchise needs.  The second base position has been a merry go round of sorts that has featured players from all over the diamond in the last few years.  If Wong can become a solid option at second for many years to come, he has a profound impact.

That being said, the most exciting of these options and my pick for Most Anticipated Cardinal is Oscar Taveras.  He projects as a corner outfielder with speed and a middle of the order presence.  He could give the team the flexibility to deal from a core of talent that shows some power to supplement the team in other places.  If he is as good as the hype, St. Louis will have a new star to fall in love with very soon.

The rest of the ballot is devoted to our fellow blogs around the United Cardinal Bloggers, recognizing the hard work that we all put into the sites that you enjoy.  The passion among this group for baseball, for the Cardinals, and for sharing those thoughts is nothing short of extraordinary.  I am proud to share my thoughts on some of my contemporaries.

Best Individual Blog

My vote has to go to The Godfather himself and C70 At The Bat.  While it can easily be brushed off as being an easy choice to pick the leader of our group, it truly is the best choice out there.

Over the last few years, Daniel Shoptaw and I have joined forces on multiple projects and have changed places in the “leadership” chair more than once.  When it comes down to it, the content, the frequency, the passion and the quality of Daniel’s work inspires me on a regular basis to continue doing what I love and to do it to the best of my ability.

Best Team Blog

If Daniel has inspired me individually as a writer, the group of guys at Pitchers Hit Eighth inspired the creation of i70baseball in the first place.  They continue to produce funny, informative, and on-point content on a regular basis utilizing some of the best voices of all of baseball writing.

Best Cardinal Media Blog

The fine work by Derrick Goold at Bird Land for the St. Louis Post Dispatch is funny, personal, and informative.  He finds a way to connect with his audience on a personal level, something very rarely seen in today’s media.

Best Cardinal Rookie Blog

Though I personally don’t delve into the subject matter often, advanced statistics are a big part of the game of baseball.  The guys at StanGraphs have brought advanced statistics and “Sabermetrics” to the Cardinal corner of the internet in a fresh and fun way.

Post Of The Year

I strive to connect with my audience, to let them see into my life and to utilize the bridge of baseball to bring it all together.  When I look for a “post of the year”, I want that special something that jumps out from the normal posts and transcends into life and baseball.  To me, “We Don’t Get To Write The Endings” from C70 At The Bat was precisely this type of post.

Best UCB Project

It is a mainstay for years now and happens before and after the season, but I personally enjoy the roundtable discussions that circulate through multiple blogs, polling the “pulse” of so many of us on everything from the stadium to the jerseys to the prospects and veterans on the field.

Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog

Throughout the season, as discussions and frustrations reach their highest points, we are consistently reminded of the history of the game and how this franchise has overcome situations of surprising similarity in the past.  Our resident historian is quick to spin a Twitter tale or a quick post and for that, I give the most Optimistic Blog to Bob Netherton at On The Outside Corner.

Best UCB Podcast

It almost comes across as a “cop-out”, but the UCB Radio Hour pulls together a large amount of bloggers from the UCB and puts a high-quality discussion together consistently every week.

Best UCB Twitterer

This was a tough one for me.  What goes into this decision?  Talking great baseball?  Of course.  Humor and being able to back up your arguments is another quality I admire.  Being able to get your point across in the briefest of settings is another.

All things considered, Dennis Lawson, better known as gr33nazn on Twitter is a good follow that has become a good friend over the years.

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UCB To Provide Series Previews

You know the United Cardinal Bloggers for their fine writing and their passion for the Cardinals. Now they want to inform you even more. Beginning with the July 23rd series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the UCB will be providing a series preview email entitled “The Bird’s Eye View.” This preview, written each series by a different blogger, will get you up to speed on the next few games. Each preview will have its own style and voice, but will always bring you great information and links that you need to be ready for the upcoming series.

So, if you want to get this exciting collaboration mailed straight to your inbox, please fill out the form below and make sure utdcardbloggers@gmail.com is on your approved senders list. Then sit back and enjoy!

You can also access the sign up sheet by clicking here.

In case you want to know, participating bloggers as of this moment:

Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball
Bill Ivie, I70 Baseball
Randy and Ryan Knuppel, Saint Louis Sports
Tom Knuppel, CardinalsGM
Chris Mallonee, Birds On The Bat 82
Bob Netherton, On The Outside Corner
J.D. Norton, Bleed Cardinal Red With Me
Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat
Tara Wellman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball

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Dave Veres on Darryl Kile

It has been 10 years since we were all shocked to find out that Darryl Kile had passed away, in his sleep, in a hotel in Chicago.  The St. Louis Cardinals lost another member of the “family”, players lost a teammate, and the world lost an amazing man and father.

All of this is well documented and I do not feel I can bring more to the subject.  I admired him.  I enjoyed his career.  I mourned his loss.  I, much like other fans and pundits, have moved on.  Sooner or later you simply run out of words.

About a month ago, I was co-hosting a radio program on my network, pinch hitting for a host that could not make it.   The show featured former Cardinal reliever Dave Veres, a guy I had watched as I grew up and I was excited to interview.  Before the interview was over, the subject of Darryl Kile was raised, and I could tell there was a bond.

When the United Cardinal Bloggers decided that the June project this year should be to look back at Jack Buck and the man many of us now know as “DK57″, I was not sure what to write.  I sent a few emails and some requests but ultimately was denied or met the common “I’m not sure what more I can say”.  My email to Dave Veres, however, was answered kindly.

 I did reach out to former Cardinal beat reporter, Matthew Leach, for his thoughts.  He told me that he would be running them on his blog, but he did not have a “favorite memory” of Darryl Kile.  Leach has said many times that Kile was “hard to cover” and explained why.  He did come up with a memory, and you can read that story over at Obviously, You’re Not A Golfer.

I asked Veres two questions: 1 – what is your favorite memory, on or off the field, of Darryl Kile and 2 – What can you tell me about that fateful day ten years ago.  What I got back but funny, beautiful, inspiring and sad.

On his favorite memories of Darryl Kile, Dave Veres shared the following
As you have most likely heard about Darryl and his on the field accomplishments and how he was such a great teammate and competitor. My favorite memories of Darryl were more off the field since we spent more time in the winter together with our wives and kids being so close.

One was when we were in AAA with Tucson and I think we were playing Tacoma and we would go fishing in the mornings. So one morning we are out and being in the Northwest they had plenty of rain, so we were hiking back to get to a fishing hole and instead of going through a couple inches of water I decided to go across a muddy area instead because I didn’t want to get my shoes wet. Well, needless to say, what looked like a little bit of mud turned out to be about a 4 foot mud hole. I remember as I was sinking and was asking Darryl to help. He basically said “I’m not going in there”.  Luckily, for my sake, I finally hit the bottom. Then he held out his fishing pole for me to grab onto. Of course then it was funny and, needless to say, I went into the water anyway to rinse of the mud.

So, now we are in the big leagues and both live in Houston and Darryl and I would golf or play “mortal combat” and the wives would go shop or whatever. Of course it was only fitting that they were both pregnant at the same time, too. So on Jan 15th 1997 my wife and I are going to the dentist and I get a call from Darryl and he says he and Flynn are going to the hospital and wants me to go by the store and pick up a camcorder so they can record it. Nothing like going into your best friend’s wife’s room and setting up a video as she’s getting ready to give birth to twins. Thank goodness since it was twins and a high risk delivery there were plenty of doctors in there.  I could set up without having to “see” anything. Later that evening we are at home and my wife is feeling some labor pains, I think it’s just because she watched Flynn deliver. Well about 8 hours after their twins were born we had our daughter. And when Darryl signed with the Rockies the next year they traded for me a few weeks later and we all moved to Denver. So we spent nearly every Christmas and birthday’s together for the 4 years.

On June 22, 2002 – The day Darryl Kile was found in his hotel room
Well, I can say that morning may be the worst day I have ever been through. Since Darryl and I usually lockered by each other and he was always one of the first guys at the clubhouse, it was pretty clear when I arrived at the ball park he wasn’t there yet. So I tried calling him and, when I couldn’t reach him, I called my wife to go to his room and try and wake him up. I knew his brother came to town and just figured he over slept. So she banged on his door and there was no answer.  So she asked one of the maids to open the door since he was late for the game. Luckily for my wife’s sake he had the security latch on,otherwise she would have found him. But, that’s when we knew he was in his room. So they had to get security and I think they called the Cardinals and let them know something was up. As we were out at BP the clubhouse guys came and got me and said there was a “family emergency”.  It was my wife on the phone and told me that Darryl had passed away in his sleep. I didn’t know what to do or say,I just kind of went numb or in a daze. A little while later Tony came in with the team and that’s when they told everyone else.

Those next few days were so exhausting. The emotional drain on us, if anyone watched the game the next day against the cubs on ESPN it was like a bunch of zombies. I’m not really sure why they aired that game. I think being a father my first thoughts went out to Flynn and the kids,I couldn’t imagine them not having their father any longer.

I still think about him pretty much daily, usually a DK or 57 will pop up or a story will remind me of him. We ran into Flynn and the kids last year in Anaheim at a volleyball tournament that our girls were playing in. Even though we don’t talk as much it was still we hadn’t missed a beat when we saw them,except there was no Darryl in person.

We appreciate Dave sharing such personal stories with us.  After the stories, he included one quote that stuck with me:

He was truly one of the nicest and genuine people you could have ever had the privilege to know. Also one of the greatest competitors, I don’t think he missed a start in 10 years,so that why when Tony got us together and we realized that Sunday night game would have been Darryl’s start,we needed to play it in his honor.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Win Cardinals Tickets

If there is one thing we love to do, it is to give away things to our loyal readers.

We give away books, movies, swag and much more on a regular basis.  Today, we were presented with the opportunity to award our fans with what they really want: the ability to go see their team play in person.

In conjunction with some of our favorite blogs, C70 At The Bat and Pitchers Hit Eighth, and on behalf of Sports Vacation Guys, we give you just that opportunity.

“Our friends, the Sports Vacation Guys have a pair of tickets to give away to one (well, two) lucky Cardinals fans for Monday night’s game against the Padres at Busch.  Currently, their website is being re-vamped, so while it’s under construction, they’ve asked us to help give these tickets away.”
To enter, just tell us
  1. If you could go see the Cardinals play a road game in any other MLB park, which one would it be?
  2. Who would you take with you?
  3. Why?
  4. They will need to provide their name & email address, and may either enter by commenting on your site, or by emailing their entry directly to: Contest@SportsVacationGuys.com

The winner will be announced this weekend on the United Cardinal Bloggers website.

What are you waiting for?  Enter.  Now.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Whiteyball To TLR

I enjoy this time of year as a writer. Part of the reason for that is the United Cardinal Bloggers and their Roundtable project.

The project itself is interesting. One person asks a question and, this year, 30 writers from around the internet chime in with their opinions. All of the responses get gathered and posted onto one of the United Cardinal Blogger sites. Anytime you get that many opinions, you come up with some great material, some fun debate, and every once in a while another idea comes up.

I credit this year’s roundtable for this article.

Throughout the many discussions I have heard about Tony LaRussa over the last week, it seems that most of the fans out there have a large amount of respect for the man, even if they did not necessarily like him a whole lot. What I hear quite often, however, is how fans were not sure if he was the right man because of his complete opposite approach to the game from former skipper Whitey Herzog.

Fans remember The White Rat fondly and rightfully so. The decade of the 1980′s were a remarkable one for St. Louis. In his tenure, Herzog put three new pennants firmly in place in St. Louis and followed one up with a World Championship. Herzog’s has a spot on the wall for the Cardinals and a spot in most fan’s hearts.

The problem is, as much as we would all like to forget the time period between them, Tony LaRussa did not take over the team from Whitey Herzog. Whitey resigned from the Cardinals in 1990 and LaRussa took his position at the helm to start the 1996 season. Between them, as most of us know, whether we want to admit it or not, was Joe Torre.

Torre took over as skipper for the Cardinals with 58 games left in the 1990 season. In September of 1989, the Cardinals laid to rest one of their greatest fans. August “Gussie” Anheuser Busch Jr, who was instrumental in buying and keeping the franchise in St. Louis, had finally reached the end of his 90 year old life.

When 1990 rolled around, the ownership of the franchise had lost interest in owning a baseball club and it became apparent on the field. Free agents were not being attracted to the team, the goal had become very business oriented, and Torre was the figurehead that most fans seen as the problem.

The years that Torre was in charge would see the Cardinals finish second in their division one time and then never finish above third place again. Amazingly, Torre was able to produce a 351-354 record in his tenure with the team, playing the game with very little star power outside of shortstop Ozzie Smith. That’s not to say that the team did not have some quality players, but our friends at Baseball Reference list the top player in each of Torre’s years as follows: Willie McGee (1990), Ozzie Smith (1991), Bob Tewksbury (1992), Greg Jefferies (1993), Mark Whiten (1994), and Brian Jordan (1995). Not exactly the best players in the league at any point.

Torre was a good baseball man with a strong history in the game that was stuck with an ownership group that would not put the right pieces on the field for him to manage. His first full year in charge of the team they would finish 84-78 and in second place, the best finish of his tenure. He would be the first manager in St. Louis with at least five years as their manager to not make the World Series since Branch Rickey ran the team from 1919 to 1925.

We have since watched Joe Torre move on and accomplish great things in New York and perform adequately in Los Angeles before taking a position with Major League Baseball. We know he is a good manager and a capable baseball mind.

The brewery sold the franchise to a group of investors prior to the 1996 season. Torre had been released the year before and the new ownership group brought in manager Tony LaRussa to lead the team, which immediately made the playoffs that season. Brian Jordan was once again the best player on the team that season, but a transition was starting to happen under the new leadership. The ownership would invest in the ballclub and LaRussa would lead them.

Joe Torre was simply a victim of circumstance. A guy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is a shame that his time is all but forgotten because of it.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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I-70 To Participate In UCB Progressive Game Blog

The following is the press release from The United Cardinal Bloggers home page. I-70 will be hitting leadoff and discussing the first inning this year.

UCB Announces 2011 Progressive Game Blog

Photo By Erika Lynn

For the fourth consecutive year, the United Cardinal Bloggers are conducting a project that is unique to the Cardinal blogosphere, the Progressive Game Blog. This year, the game in question will be Saturday’s tilt against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Progressive Game Blog allows for one game to be seen through many eyes. Each blogger will write up an inning, discussing it in their style and using it as a jumping off point for any other stories or tangents they wish to get into. All the blog entries will be linked together, so a reader can see one game through many different eyes.

“The PGB is one of the things that helps define what the UCB is all about,” said Daniel Shoptaw, founder and organizer of the group. ”It’s original, it’s collaborative, and it’s baseball. It’s always a lot of fun to see how other bloggers see a slice of the game, especially when they view it in a much different fashion than you do.”

This is not a live blog, but all entries should be posted by Saturday evening. A list of all the blogs participating and their inning can be found at www.unitedcardinalbloggers.com as well as below.

The United Cardinal Bloggers is a loose association that brings together Cardinal bloggers for various projects throughout the year as well as building community and communications between the bloggers. You can find the UCB on Facebook as well as Twitter.

The roster for this year’s Progressive Game Blog is as follows:

Pregame: United Cardinal Bloggers
First: I70 Baseball
Second: Aaron Miles’ Fastball
Third: The Redbird Menace
Fourth: Fungoes
Fifth: STL: Fear The Red
Sixth: El Maquino
Seventh: Cardinal Diamond Diaries
Top Eighth: Cards ‘N Stuff
Bottom Eighth: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Goodnight
Ninth: Pitchers Hit Eighth
Extra Innings/Postgame: C70 At The Bat

Past PGBs include:

2008–St. Louis vs. Chicago
2009–St. Louis vs. Kansas City
2010–St. Louis at Chicago

Just a curious note, the first two of these games were pitched by Kyle Lohse, with the third one being his start if he had not just gone on the disabled list. Saturday’s scheduled starter? Kyle Lohse.

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LaRussa To Hit Berkman Fifth

As the Cardinals set into full squad camp for 2011, there is little debate out there. The starting eight are set. The bench has a little flexibility, but not a lot. The starting rotation is well in place. The bullpen, with a few exceptions, looks to be in place. Spring Training, for the first time in a long time, seems to just be a workout period for the established players.

Writers, bloggers, and avid fans hate a spring like this. What is there to talk about? I cannot talk about Jaime Garcia forcing his way into the rotation, who is the fourth outfielder, or what rookie will break camp. It takes the wind out of our sail and leaves us scrambling to come up with a few words for you.

In that interest, many of us have taken to looking at the batting order. We all know Albert will hit third and Holliday fourth, but there is little certainty after that. When the manager himself was confronted with it lately, he added another certainty – Berkman will hit fifth.

Since the Berkman signing, few things have been debated more than where Big Puma would hit in the lineup. During analysis of the signing, he seemed to fit the mold of a Tony LaRussa number two hitter. He provided the “pop” that Tony likes from that spot in the order, he provided a high on base percentage in front of the big hitters, and he was a patient hitter that would benefit from hitting in front of Pujols. He seemed to be, historically, exactly what the team hoped Colby Rasmus would become (and still hopes he will become, yet).

With the middle of the lineup set, it leaves to debate the placement of Colby Rasmus and David Freese more than any of the other eight. Skip Schumaker or Ryan Theriot will surely lead off. Yadi will hit no higher than seventh on a regular basis and most likely hit exactly there. Freese is best suited, in my opinion, to hit sixth. If that is the case, then the skipper would hit Rasmus in the two slot, at least initially. The alternative to that is to hit Schumaker or Theriot – whichever one is not leading off – second, bump Rasmus to sixth, Freese to seventh and Molina to eighth. It makes far more sense to me to hit Rasmus second, Freese sixth, Molina seventh, and the loser of the leadoff man sweepstakes at the bottom of the order.

Spring Training 2011 will not be full of exciting moments or events to debate, but at least with Tony LaRussa at the helm, we can analyze the lineup for Opening Day. Of course, he will change it on day two….and three….and four…

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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