Tag Archive | "Cardinal Players"

Cardinals Announce Details Of 2013 Social Media Night

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (May 28, 2013) – The St. Louis Cardinals announced that Social Media Night in the Budweiser Bowtie Bar at Busch Stadium June 4th will focus on fan engagement, including giving fans the opportunity to take over the team’s twitter account (@Cardinals) for the game.

“Like radio in the early days of baseball, social media enables fans to follow the team, but with a modern twist that allows them to also be the voice of the Cardinals,” said Ron Watermon, Director of Public Relations. “We thought it would be fun to let fans in our ‘Twitter booth’ to help us call the game.”

The Cardinals will allow fans to tweet the play-by-play and story of the game during Social Media Night by selectively re-tweeting fans that include the hashtag #STLFanTakeover in their tweets.

Fans who buy a special ticket to the Social Media Night event at Busch Stadium will receive access to a pre-game Q&A program featuring Cardinal players who are active on social media. All fans may submit their questions for the players prior to the event via the Cardinals Facebook page (facebook.com/cardinals) and Twitter (@Cardinals, #CardsSocial).

Social Media Night is a great chance for fans of all ages to interact with their favorite “tweeting Birds” face to face, as well as engage with other fans and team officials. In keeping with the fan engagement theme, the team ran a social media contest on Tumblr to have fans design and select the t-shirt that will be given out as part of Social Media Night. For $25, fans receive a Left Field Porch Ticket for the 7:15 p.m.game between the Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks, access to the pre-game program featuring Cardinal players, the fan designed t-shirt, the chance to win autographed prizes and more. Tickets are still available at cardinals.com/socialmedianight. Social Media Night is presented by Budweiser.

Social Media Night at Busch Stadium is one of several unique personalized theme ticket promotions planned for the 2013 season.  Theme tickets are customized promotions that allow a select number of fans to celebrate a common interest while enjoying access to a unique promotional item and/or an exclusive pregame event.  Fans can learn more about Cardinals theme nights at cardinals.com/theme.

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Cardinals Spring Training Pics From InsideSTL

Our friends over at InsideSTL spent last week hanging out at a picnic table, and eventually under a tent, in Jupiter, Florida and talking with any Cardinal players that came by and were willing to sit down for a few minutes.

What resulted were some great candid shots of the guys as well as a very candid interview with Adam Wainwright about his contract situation.

The images below were posted to their website and are being shared here with their permission.

Carlos Beltran

Picture 1 of 62

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

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Ready…Set…

The St. Louis Cardinals start their regular season in less than a week in Miami against the Marlins.

Just has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

The 25-man roster is set as of Friday. Sure, a few wrinkles have to be ironed out…no one is really sure who will hit leadoff, the second slot also may be up in the air, Rafael Furcal is not himself so far this spring, who is going to play the majority of games at second base, and how will a bench full of youth rise to the occasion when called upon to get a hit when the team is in a tight spot?

All of those lingering decisions come to a head Wednesday evening when the Cards open their season with a semi-ridiculous single game at the Marlins’ new stadium. Then it’s off to Milwaukee, where the Cardinals will kick off a stretch of 27 games in a row vs. the NL Central.

It is really hard to focus in on only positives or only negatives at a time like this. The Cardinals saw significant turnover—in terms of who left, not how many—this past offseason. They will open the 2012 campaign without Chris Carpenter, Skip Schumaker, or Allen Craig. But they also have Carlos Beltran set to make his Cardinals debut. The pitchers who are still with the club have looked pretty good so far. And they have three players (Erik Komatsu, Shane Robinson, Matt Carpenter) who will be on a Major League roster on Opening Day for the first time in their careers, which confirms the Cards’ system continues to churn out talent.

The biggest key to the 2012 campaign for the Cardinals will be health and durability. They already have three solid contributors on the disabled list to start the season; consequently the organizational depth is once again tested from the get-go. But the list of Cardinal players who have extensive, recent injury issues and the 25-man roster look strikingly similar. Is this a team that will be proven to be made of glass? It’s easy to lean on the idea of “Hey, the 2011 season started out pretty rough but look how that turned out!” but that only gets a team so far. If half the active roster appears to be made of glass, no amount of personnel shifts will ever be enough.

Ah, but that’s why they play the games (and so many of them). The MLB season truly is a marathon, not a sprint. The Cards could end up with a healthy and complete lineup by the All Star Break and be in good shape for the second half of the season. Why not?

Game number one in 2012 is just a couple days away, and all questions will begin to be answered.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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The Winter Warm Up Files: Spring Has Almost Sprung

Spring Training is about a month or so away for the St. Louis Cardinals, and plenty of intrigue surrounds the team as they head for Florida. Last weekend at the Winter Warm Up, much of that was discussed with Cardinal players, coaches, and members of the front office. But the fact of the matter is, much of the 2012 team promises to also have to answer questions of “living up” to predecessors. For instance, exactly how does one improve on a World Series Championship? And just for good measure, some competition for pivotal roles will be thrown into the mix as well.

Obviously, one of the major departures is Albert Pujols. And while that subject has been beaten to death from every possible angle, the Cards do have a quite capable replacement at first base in Lance Berkman. After proving he still had plenty left in the tank with a monster comeback season in 2011, Berkman is ready, willing and able to step back into the post he held for so many years in Houston. So with the on-field hole filled, what about the offensive production missing with Pujols’ bat no longer in the lineup? The Cards went out and signed Carlos Beltran, and he certainly will contribute power to the lineup. But he also brings an element of speed—albeit not what he once had in his prime—and versatility as a switch-hitter. Beltran can be dangerous and effective hitting anywhere from 2nd to 6th in the lineup.

Of course, Beltran and Berkman are not spring chickens any more, and both have a recent injury history that cannot be ignored. Such is the case with Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Allen Craig. All these players are expected to have major roles on the field for the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals, and every season’s success is dependent on the old axiom, “Well, if everyone can stay healthy…” No one can guarantee the health of any player or players. But with the lineup the Cards at least expect to run out onto the field on a daily basis, they have to stack up favorably with any team in the league.

What could be bigger than losing a Hall of Fame player? Why, losing a Hall of Fame coaching tandem, of course. And it just so happens the Cardinals lost both in the same offseason. Replacing Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan is impossible. But the Cards must find a way to move on, because they are not coming back but there are still games to be played.

Mike Matheny takes over as the team’s skipper and says he is ready to learn a lot. He has already spoken to most of the players and tinkers with potential lineups every day. He also appears to have a grasp on some of the Cards’ shortcomings from 2011 and wants to formulate a plan to remedy those issues for 2012 starting in Spring Training. “There’s going to be a lot of bunting going on,” Matheny said, when asked about his approach. “There’s going to be a lot of fundamental situational hitting. There’s going to be team fundamentals that are going to have a focus. I think it’s going to cover the whole gamut…We’re going to have some guys come in from the past who have been extremely good baserunners and are going to help us out for the first part of spring.”

Derek Lilliquist has some tough shoes to fill, too, taking over for Duncan as pitching coach. Adam Wainwright spoke of Duncan in glowing terms echoed by the rest of the staff: “Dave Duncan is the best big league pitching coach I’ve ever had. Dave’s philosophy has just been bred into us…Not that we don’t need Dave, but we understand what we want do out there now. I think Carpenter and myself, Lohse, Westbrook, Jaime…I think we’ve got five guys who have learned from the best in the business, and continue to learn from each other, too.” But he also thinks Lilliquist understands pitching really well, and believes his philosophy is a lot like that of Duncan. “When you look at what Lilly brings, we’re still really excited about our pitching coach,” Wainwright said.

Arguably the biggest unknown on the field going into Spring Training is the second base position. Both Matheny and John Mozeliak anticipate an open competition between Tyler Greene, Skip Schumaker, and Daniel Descalso for the starting job. Matheny spoke numerous times about “healthy competition” and how it would benefit the team and the players involved. Mozeliak also expects all three to challenge for the job, but feels the opportunity is Greene’s to seize. “We do want to see Tyler Greene get a strong opportunity there,” Mozeliak said. “We look at his athleticism and what he’s capable of doing and I do know we want to give Tyler a very good chance at playing and getting a lot of AB’s in Spring Training…(Greene) has never really had an opportunity at the ML level to be given that job. It’s understandable because we’ve always had competitive clubs and players that were playing better than him. So it’s just about opportunity.” But the GM stopped short of giving Greene any sort of leg up before the preseason gets underway. “It’s a different situation this year—second base is open so that’s where we’re going to try to give him a shot.”

Other positions remain unsettled until the team heads to Florida. Beltran, Craig, and Jon Jay figure to be a part of some sort of rotation or platoon in center and right. The Cards signed Koyie Hill to a minor league deal, and he figures to be the defensive dark horse for the backup catcher job. But the team already has two younger backstops in Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson who have had a taste of the majors and are no doubt chomping at the bit to win that supporting role. And the bullpen has a lot of returning faces staring at a young corps who makes it increasingly difficult for the Cardinals to keep sending them back to the minors.

Expectations will be high for the Cards in 2012, but that is normal after a World Series win. These players have already proven they can execute. Now they have to go out and stay healthy enough to do it again. The NL Central appears weaker on paper than it did last season, aside from the overhauled Cincinnati Reds. But not many picked the Redbirds to make the playoffs last year, either. The Cardinals appear poised to make another serious run at the division title. Getting into the playoffs is tough for any team, but once you’re in…well, you know.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he wants. Follow him on Twitter at @birdbrained.

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Social Media Night Returns To Busch Stadium

The St. Louis Cardinals have hosted numerous Social Media Nights over the last few seasons. During these events, they invite your favorite blogs, new media sites, Twitter personalities and Social Media experts to the park to mingle with fans and talk baseball for an evening. I-70 Baseball will have representatives in attendance that night.

Today, the team announced the next event, which will occur on August 25th at the Bowtie Bar in the Left Field section of the ballpark.

Fans can begin buying tickets on August 15th by going to www.cardinals.com/bowtie

Tickets will be $20 each and will feature the following:

  • A Lower Left Field Box Ticket for that night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • $5 in Cardinals Cash, loaded directly on to your ticket
  • Access to a pre-game program featuring current Cardinal players.
  • Giveaways and prizes

The pregame program is to be held in the Budweiser Bowtie Bar on level 2 in Left Field. In addition, fans (21 and over) will be able to buy a 12 ounce “Bottoms Up” draft for $5 throughout the evening.

You can keep up with all the news and happenings surrounding the event by searching for #CardsSMN and #Bowtie on Twitter. Look for additional information on the various Social Media channels for the Cardinals throughout this weekend and leading up to the event.

Here is how you can keep track of the Cardinals various Social Media Channels:

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

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Surprising Frustrations: The Cardinal Players Of The First Half

At the halfway mark in the 2010 season, the Cardinals have not lived up to the hype. A team that was expected to run away with the division finds itself in second place to a Reds team that has surprised many. However, all is far from lost in Cardinal Nation. Some players have struggled, and many have shown that they are above their pre-season projects. Let’s take a look at the some of the players on either side of the line and see how the team stacks up.

Unnecessary

Say what you want about Aaron Miles, Randy Winn and Jeff Suppan. Whatever it is, it probably is not a kind review. The team started the year with the ‘Baby Bench,’ made up of several players that were key members of the 2009 AAA Memphis Redbirds team. Slowly but surely they were all shuttled back to Memphis, despite solid play by Jon Jay and Allen Craig, among others. Instead, ownership and the coaching staff made moves for the three veterans, all of which have been designated for assignment at some point in this season. Their play is inconsistent and has seen much better days, but they are constantly being run out there by Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan. It is frustrating and, ultimately, unnecessary for pretty much all three players to be on the major league roster.

Frustrating

Brendan Ryan: The entertaining and fairly well-loved shortstop has not been able to get it together this year. His bat, which had steadily improved since arriving on the major league scene a few years ago, has plummeted. His batting average is hovering around .200, frustrating the emotional player to the point that his defensive play has also lapsed. His defense, which was so good that he was a dark horse candidate for a Gold Glove at the beginning of this year, seems to be made of swiss cheese at times. Plays that seem routine he throws wildly, using a sidearm throw that looks more like a slingshot than a throwing motion. He still has stellar range and makes great plays, but poor Brendan is, in his own words, just not having any fun out there.

Skip Schumaker: The outfielder turned second baseman is also having a bizarre year. The team’s .300 hitting leadoff hitter has dropped off the map, also watching his batting average drop into the lower .200’s. While his replacement level defense was solid enough to be accepted when he was hitting as a consistent leadoff hitter, less than stellar defense and struggling at the plate is cause for Skip to lose his hold on the top spot in the order. He now finds himself out of the order altogether more often, and hitting in the seventh or ninth spots when he does start.

(Dis)honorable Mention: Yadier Molina. Yes, I have an All-Star starter listed as ‘frustrating.’ Yadi is also struggling at the plate, middling in the .220 range for a good portion of the season, when he had been in the .300 range for much of the past two seasons. His defense is still outstanding, gunning down runners that dare to challenge him with a nonchalant air, and calling such a good game that Jaime Garcia admitted in an interview with FOX broadcaster Tim McCarver that he has only shaken off Yadi’s call once. What happened? “It didn’t go very well for me. I don’t shake off Yadi anymore.”

Slightly Frustrating

Albert Pujols: Yes, another All-Star. Buckle up; it will not be the last. I chronicled in my first piece here at i70 Baseball that Albert has had a rather un-Albert like first half, but what the counting numbers don’t show is that he has also expanded his strike zone more than necessary. While he continually contests that there is no issue with his surgically repaired elbow, Albert has taken some ugly swings and has often looked like he is just missing pitches he usually clobbers into the upper deck. Very few want to contest that Albert Pujols is struggling, because usually the day after someone ventures to suggest it we see a 3-4 and 3 RBI day, but this season as a whole has not lived up to normal Albert standards, and he will be the first to agree.

Chris Carpenter: One of the toughest pitchers in baseball, Carp has been through it all in a big league uniform. He has won a Cy Young. He has missed entire seasons. He has won the Comeback Player of the Year Award… twice. This year, there have been several games where that dominant pitcher has looked somewhat lost. His curveball, one of the best in the game, has been hit around a little, and he has lost a little velocity on his fastball. I will say this for Carpenter: the man is a beast. His fire and intensity on the field means he will battle through it all and work his way out of some tough situations. However, you can tell by watching him though that something is not quite the same as it used to be.

Matt Holliday: I want to glaze over this one because so much has been made of Holliday’s ‘slow’ start to the season, the first season since signing the richest contract in Cardinals’ history. Right now Matt is putting together a very solid road trip, stringing together hits, making solid contact and driving in runners. Matt has agreed to participate in the Home Run Derby over the break, and considering his current hot streak, he should be ready to go to swing for the fences.

Slightly Surprising

Colby Rasmus: Last year was a decent rookie year for the young center fielder. Due to inconsistent playing time and getting used to the grind of the long season, Colby struggled to find his footing. This year he has been a much more consistent and patient hitter. His walk rate has gone up, which has led to a higher on-base percentage. He has faced more left-handed pitching this year and had more success there as well. Although he has been largely overlooked in the grand scheme of things, Colby has been a quiet contributor on this team.

Adam Wainwright: It hardly seems fair to say that a pitcher who was third in the Cy Young voting last year is having a surprising year this year, but the fact remains. Adam has been better! He has been more economical in his pitches, while striking out more and walking fewer batters per game. He has had four complete games already this year, one of which was a two hitter against Milwaukee in early June. His eight strong innings Friday against Houston has moved him ahead of teammate Jaime Garcia for second in the National League in ERA, sitting pretty with a 2.11.

Jon Jay: It is hard to say what I would give to see Jay on a more consistent basis. The rookie performed well in limited at bats at the beginning of the season, hitting roughly .300 in mostly mop-up and late game replacement duties. When the Cardinals brought in Miles and Winn, Jay was one of the ‘Baby Bench’ that got sent back down to Memphis to make room. The company line was that Jay was going down to get more consistent at bats in the minors and be able to play every day, which was not the case when he was in St. Louis. Now, with David Freese and Ryan Ludwick both on the disabled list with various injuries, Jay is back, and carrying a 10 game hitting streak into Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros. This is one rookie that wants to stay with the big club, and has played well enough to do so.

Surprises

Jason Motte: Last year, everyone thought that Motte was going to be given the closer’s job, but after a shaky start to the year he was quickly removed in favor of Ryan Franklin, who retained the job heading into the current season. In the meantime, Motte has put together a very strong season, at one time retiring 32 consecutive batters, spanning from May 11 to June 6. His flame throwing ways and intense antics on the mound have earned him the nickname ‘Mayhem,’ and he has been causing plenty of mayhem on the diamond. He has finally become the flame-throwing reliever the organization wanted him to be.

Blake Hawksworth’s last few starts: After a rough last half of May, which eventually saw Hawk’s ERA to balloon to 6.11, he was thrust into a starting role due to the injuries of both Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse. Make no mistake – Blake is not the most stellar pitcher on the team. Far from it. However, a pitcher that had been reduced to mop-up duty earlier in the season has made good, making it at least five innings and allowing three runs or fewer in all three of his starts since joining the starting rotation at the end of June. Considering he was a last resort, Dave Duncan has been pleased with what Blake has been able to accomplish, and has agreed that every start has been good enough to earn him another.

David Freese: After a frustrating 2009 season in which he missed much of the season with various injuries, Freese came into 2010 having much to prove, both to a fanbase that was judging his character after a DUI earlier in the year and to an organization that was willing to give him a shot to play every day on the major league team. After a few rough defensive innings in Milwaukee in early April, Freese has silenced the critics in a major way, hitting just under .300 and flashing a stellar glove. Unfortunately, after a misstep rounding the bases rolled his ankle, Freese has been sitting on the disabled list for the past few weeks. Hopefully he will make a return to the lineup soon!

Jaime Garcia: I would be remiss to end this list with anyone besides young Garcia. The rookie has been simply amazing. He began the year fighting in Spring Training for the opportunity to start, and made his way from third in line for the fifth spot in the rotation to the top of the pile, outlasting bullpen stalwart Kyle McClellan and free agent signee Rich Hill. Since then he has been in the top five in the NL in ERA all season, mixing in several solid pitches and having 14 quality starts (6+ innings pitched allowing 3 runs or fewer) in 17 starts. Oh yes, to top it off, he has done all of this after spending all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and is now making a strong case for Rookie of the Year.

As a whole, the Cardinals honestly do have more ups than downs among the players. The problem has become that on any given day, the lineup is unable to hit consistently, the defense breaks down, or (on rare occasions) the bullpen or starting rotation simply gives up too many runs for the bats to overcome. At times it seems that right as one thing comes together, another falls apart. Thankfully it is a long season, and there are still many games to play. Whether or not the Cardinals make a push depends on the surprise players to keep on going and the players dealing with some frustration to rise above their first half issues. Time will tell for these Cardinals, but time could run out quickly if the team is not watching.

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