Tag Archive | "Forefront"

Jack Clark Says Albert Pujols Juiced

It sure didn’t take long for Kevin Slaten and Jack Clark to open up the doors to controversy on the new 920 AM.

AlbertPujolsFlexing

The subject of performance enhancing drugs is clogging sports talk radio, and for good reason.  The Biogenesis scandal has brought it back to the forefront of everyone’s mind.  When Kevin Slaten brought it up on the air and suggested that he always suspected Albert Pujols of using, Jack Clark was quick to jump in with his thoughts.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch broke the story this morning and you can read Dan Caesar’s take by clicking here.

Clark states that Pujols former trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, offered to provide Clark with steroids as a part of his exercise routine.  Mihlfeld went on to explain how well it was working for Pujols, whom he had been working with since college and projected to be a “big star” someday.

Is this shocking to anyone?  I mean, we all want Pujols to have played a clean game over the years and believe that he was the super-human he portrayed to be early on in his career, but are we sticking our collective heads in the sand?

I can recall Pujols final season here in St. Louis.  In June of that year, he broke his arm in a play at first base.  We we warned that he would miss time and that he would take some time to rebuild his strength based on the type of injury .  It would cause a good portion of his season to be a struggle.  He was slated to miss 4-to-6 weeks with the injury but i70baseball’s Mike Metzger noted in this article that he recovered in just over two weeks, referring to his recovery as much quicker than that of a “mere mortal”.

Pujols did some amazing things while he was in St. Louis and I sincerely hope he did them the right way.  He was exemplary on and off the field.  He was a childhood hero to many fans.

Say it ain’t so, Albert.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
He is a freelance writer that publishes work for InsideStl and Yahoo Contributor Network as well.
Follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (2)

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.

Posted in CardinalsComments (1)

Negro Leagues Get Well Deserved Attention

It is a subject matter that is ingrained deep inside of the i70baseball history. St. Louis and Kansas City both played important roles in both segregated and desegregated baseball. The history of the Negro Leagues lays deep inside of Kansas City, more than most any city in the nation.

SNLDB

Consistently, the long lasting issue of the National Negro League has been the lack of accurate statistics. There has simply been little way of telling what actually happened.

Among the injustices visited upon the ballplayers of the Negro leagues, the lack of a statistical record of their accomplishments might not leap out as one of the worst; but it has proved one of the most lasting. The Negro National League was founded in 1920; it has taken 91 years to find out for sure that Cristóbal Torriente was the batting champion, that Sam Crawford struck out the most batters, that Dave Brown compiled the best ERA, Pete Hill collected the most walks, and Oscar Charleston garnered the most win shares. – Micheal Lynch, Seamheads.com

As of this morning, the website Seamheads.com has made a major announcement concerning this material, this injustice, and their desire to bring some of the nation’s best players back to the forefront of our minds.

We at Seamheads.com and The Baseball Gauge have an exciting announcement to make regarding a new feature we launched this morning – The Seamheads.com Negro Leagues Database, powered by The Baseball Gauge (http://www.seamheads.com/NegroLgs/index.php).

We are creating the first comprehensive statistical encyclopedia of the great black baseball teams and leagues that operated behind the color line in the days of Jim Crow segregation. The database also collects a vast amount of biographical information about these players, much of it previously unpublished.

Lynch was complimentary of the people that put in long hours to bring this project to fruition and focused on letting fans know just what they can expect when they delve into the database.

Many thanks and much credit should go to Gary Ashwill, Scott Simkus, Kevin Johnson and Dan Hirsch for putting this together. Gary compiled all the statistics for the seasons we’re starting with and he and Scott have done a fantastic job chronicling the Negro Leagues at their respective websites, “Agate Type” and “Outsider Baseball Bulletin.” In fact, according to my friend and Major League Baseball’s official historian, John Thorn, “Gary Ashwill and Scott Simkus are the class of the field these days.” Kevin has also written extensively about the Negro Leagues and created some fantastic databases in his own right, and Dan is the coding genius who puts it all on the site. Even if you’re a Negro league aficionado, you’ll find something new here, from unknown great teams to unknown good pitchers to unexpectedly bad hitters.

This is the beginning of the project, which will grow by leaps and bounds in the near future.

Here at the beginning of our project, we’re presenting four seasons of pre-Negro league play, 1916 to 1919, and the first three seasons of Rube Foster’sNegro National League, 1920 to 1922. You’ll see the likes of Oscar Charleston and Cristóbal Torriente at their very best, as well as two-way star Bullet Rogan. We’ve also got nine seasons of the Cuban Winter League, from a slightly earlier era (1905 to 1913). Cuban pro ball was racially integrated, and featured some of the very best African American ballplayers of the time, like Cyclone Joe Williams, John Henry Lloyd, and Pete Hill. So these numbers give us a rare glimpse of these players in their prime.

We are in the act of putting this encyclopedia together; it’s very much a work in progress, which we’ll be adding to little by little, game by game, season by season. Along with additional seasons Gary has nearly ready – the database will soon be expanded to include Major League and Negro League exhibition series from 1904 through 1915 and pre-Negro Leagues data from 1908 through 1915 – other researchers will be chiming in with their work soon as well. So check back frequently as we post new years and new information. Watch the all-time leader boards change and Hall of Famers’ careers gradually take shape in a way nobody has seen before.

As a special thank you to the loyal readers of Seamheads and to sites like i70baseball for helping to spread the word, Lynch including this free copy of Outsider Baseball Bulletin for our readers.

Bill Ivie hosts Gateway To Baseball Heaven every Sunday night at 930 p.m. Central Time on the Seamheads National Podcast Network.

Posted in Classic, FeaturedComments (0)

Winter Warm Up: Chemistry Lessons

Personality Goes a Long Way

Much was made about perceived chemistry and personality issues within the 2010 Cardinals’ clubhouse. Players and coaches alike insisted that was not the case, but clearly players like Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot were brought in to reinstate a professional atmosphere and provide veteran leadership in addition to what they can contribute on the field.

Friend of the site Cadence with Chris Carpenter

That said, Kyle Lohse doesn’t allow the “chemistry” excuse to fly regarding last year’s team. “If we’re winning, chemistry is not an issue with that same group,” he said. “It’s only when the team is struggling as a whole and people are looking for reasons. I don’t think we had big cliques and everybody got along but when times are going tough of course it’s going to be quiet. I don’t think it was any one person or a few people’s problems.” He went on to say the players never really talked about any chemistry issues in the clubhouse; they were too worried about playing the game. “It’s not something that was in the forefront of our minds; we were worried about what we were doing that night and how to get out of those funks we were in.”

Although he acknowledged it is always a benefit to the team when quality veterans are brought in, Carpenter also refused to blame the 2010 squad’s shortcomings on team chemistry. “We had a good clubhouse last year and guys enjoyed being around each other…we just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win,” he said. “We had the talent, I think, we just didn’t play well. It was the same going into Spring Training last year, talking about the series against the Dodgers (in the 2009 NLDS). We had the talent to win then; we just didn’t play well. And we didn’t play well last year.”

When pressed about why the team didn’t play well in 2010, Carpenter offered a sentiment that is no doubt shared by the rest of the team, the entire coaching staff, the front office, and all of Cardinal Nation. “Last year was last year. I’m excited about spring and I’m excited about our players.”

Indeed it is exciting, because it is a new year…and pitchers and catchers report in less than a month.

Chris Reed is a freelance writer from Belleville, IL who also writes about the Cardinals for InsideSTL on Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he wants. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (1)

Cardinals Host Social Media Night

This past week I was fortunate enough to attend a new event at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals hosted an event known as “Social Media Night”, inviting bloggers, internet writers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and even guys like me to come down and rub elbows with team officials, beat writers, and each other.

Bill Ivie and Derrick Goold

It has been a long time since I attended a game with so much anticipation. Driving to St. Louis, I kept fans of the site updated on my progress as we came closer to the stadium and the event. My Twitter account was bombarded with well wishes, invitations to meet up during the event, and some jealousy from those who could not make it.

Attending with me was fan of the site Greg Dowler, BaseballDigest.com’s Matt Wilson and i70baseball.com’s Justin Hulsey. We settled into our table front and center to listen to the likes of John Mozeliak, Matthew Leach, Derrick Goold, and representatives from Skorch, an agency that helps companies with their social media presence.

My first opinion and comment here is to thank the St. Louis Cardinals for organizing this event. It was informative, fun, light-hearted, and entertaining. While there were some minor flaws, I think the organization is doing a great job reaching out to the fanbase and showing some appreciation to people who keep the team at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. They have expressed an interest in making this an annual event and I fully believe that it will allow them to build on the success of this year’s event.

Bill Ivie and Matthew Leach

All that being said, after listening to the guest speakers and shaking a few hands, I had the opportunity to rub elbows with some people I admire and look up to. When the Cardinals formed the event, I am sure they expected a swarm of internet pundits to gather around the speakers they had lined up and embrace the opportunity to speak with some of the team’s executives. I am not saying I did not take the opportunity to meet Matthew Leach, Derrick Goold, and Terry Rodgers among others; we had some very good conversations and made some great contacts. In this instance, however, my mind was set to get face to face with the people I drove four hours to see.

You see, I spend most of my days reading the same sites you probably do. I bounce around the Cardinal “blogosphere” and read the various sites and voices every morning, placing my finger on the pulse of the fans and being entertained by some of the most creative people out there.

Daniel Shoptaw, the “godfather” of the United Cardinal Bloggers, worked very hard and very closely with the Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest in order to achieve this gathering. Because of this, he and Nick (PitchersHitEighth.com) and Mike Metzger (StanMusialsStance.com) were invited as guests of Fox Sports. You can read Daniel’s account of his amazing day over at his site, C70 At The Bat.

While the majority of us sat and listened to John Mozeliak answer questions, Leach and Goold tell us how much Twitter has changed the game of journalism, and the other speakers, the UCB guys were still busy with Fox Sports. The real goal and focus of the event became apparent as a low murmur rolled through the seats during the event as Shoptaw, Nick, and Metzger emerged and arrived in the area set aside for the evening’s festivities. While everyone in attendance enjoyed listening to the speakers that the team had arranged for all of us, most of us were truly there to meet each other for the first time.

As the event came to a close, the opportunity I was waiting for had finally arrived. I shook hands and posed for pictures with the United Cardinal Bloggers. I talked baseball, New Media, and internet radio with Daniel Shoptaw, Justin Adams, and Tom Knuppel. I got the opportunity to meet Cadence, the new Diamond Diaries lady. I put faces with names and voices with words for the first time in years of reading their work. We shook hands, we took pictures, we settled in to watch a Cardinal victory and we began talking like old friends. I felt like I had known these people for years and immediately connected with them like we simply had not seen each other in a long time.

L-R Front row: Pip, Fungoes Second row: Joe, The McBrayer-Baseball Blog; Nick, Pitchers Hit Eighth; Justin, i70baseball; Daniel, C70 At The Bat; Bill, i70baseball; Tom, CardinalsGM Back row: Chris, Bird Brained; Mike, Stan Musial's Stance; Matt, Baseball Digest; Justin, Rising Redbirds (and others); Steve, Play A Hard Nine

Social Media, New Media, Email, Phone Calls, whatever medium had introduced us all, it was baseball that gave us a bond and baseball that held us all together.

A very heartfelt thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals for putting together an event that I hope to be a part of for years to come.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (7)

The Royals Are All A Twitter

Twitter. An interesting concept. 140 characters to answer a simple question, “what’s happening?” To be honest, my initial reaction when I first heard about twitter was it was pretty stupid. Why would anyone care what I was doing? But after several years in the twitterverse, I can’t imagine a world without twitter. And it appears I’m not alone, politicians, celebrities, journalists, corporations and many others are embracing this social media tool to engage with their target audience, communicate their message and simply get closer to those they want to connect with. Many athletes have joined the ranks of those who are diving into the twitterverse and to be honest, it is a fans dream when the athlete provides a glimpse into the real world of their daily lives, and on occasion actually connects with the fan.

The NFL and NBA have been on the forefront of embracing twitter. Those athletes on twitter include Paul Pierce, who started a twitter frenzy when he offered Celtics tickets with this tweet “first 5 people who meet me at the garden in the players parking lot entrance at 445 with my jersey on get free tickets password is truth” . Five lucky fans watched the Celtics beat the Oklahoma City Thunder from Pierce’s personal suite. Celtics guard Stephon Marbury is also part of the Twitter community. He already posts personal videos on his website, starbury.com, but saw this as another outlet to spread his own message with statements like: “i like the direct connection to the fans. no espn, no local news, just me and twitterland.”

I’ve been a long time follower of Kerry Rhodes, Arizona Cardinals defensive back. Kerry and I connected over our attention to our moms, and he will often give a shout out to my mom in the twitterverse.

Steven Jackson is another NFL player who engages with his fans, often talking directly to them to ask how they are doing, or like Kerry, giving a mom shout out.

The MLB has been a tad slower than the NFL and NBA to embrace this new way of engaging with their fan base, but they are beginning to catch up. Players across the league are beginning to dabble with this tool and figure out ways to communicate and connect with their fan base. And for those of you who are Royals fans, well, if you are not on twitter, you need to jump into the twitterverse and follow the players who have decided to dive into the social media waters. It can be a tad scary to jump in and converse with tweets. Once you tweet, it is out there in the public stream forever. You can’t take it back, and many an athlete, celebrity, politician, news anchor or ordinary tweep like me has learned the hard way with a tweet gone bad. But despite the risk of a bad tweet, for the fan and for the athlete, twitter is a wonderful way to connect and engage with each other.

The good news for Royals fans who are on twitter? Well, there are players who are on twitter and several of which actually are following some people, including a few fans. The bad news, they don’t tweet often, but perhaps over time as their comfort level grows in the twitterverse, this will change. One player on twitter is Billy Butler (aka, @BillyButlerKC) with approximately 5765 followers and currently following 49 tweeps. Billy doesn’t tweet often with most of his tweets promoting different Royals events, but occasionally he does engage with a fan as in the tweet to @KnytFyre.

Coco Crisp (aka, @coco_crisp) is also on twitter with 8463 followers and following 23. Coco doesn’t tweet often and doesn’t engage with fans, but when he does tweet, it is appreciative of Kansas City and insight into his daily life. A sample tweet…

Another Royals player on twitter, Joakim Soria (aka, @joakimsoria) who has 4453 followers, but not following anyone. Joakim does not tweet often and rarely engages with his fans.

The most engaging player on twitter, in my opinion, is Josh Fields (@OkieFields) with 1568 followers and following 17. Josh gets this thing called twitter. I would love to see him tweet more, but his tweets are truly conversational with many fans. Hands down, he is the Royals player to follow and the one who could teach the others how to truly use twitter to connect and engage with their fan base.

The good news is some of the players are trying twitter out and for those fans who are on twitter, these players are a good follow to allow a fan some insight into the life of a professional baseball player. It is good to see theseRoyals players on twitter, though it would be great if they tweeted more often. The important thing is that they have twitter accounts and have some tweets. Fans should also not be afraid to engage the players because who knows, the fan might get a tweet from the player engaging them in some conversation. That’s what twitter is all about, the online conversations.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)


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