Tag Archive | "Foul Ball"

Time Capsule: Cardinals Videos From The 1980s

Spring Training games are in full effect with all 30 teams,  including the St. Louis Cardinals, took to the field to start getting ready for the season.  Meanwhile, Major League Baseball has opened the vaults and given the world access to video clips that were previously locked away.

The Cardinals were a powerhouse team in the National League in the 1980’s.  Three appearances in the World Series, including winning the championship in 1982, as well as some key moments throughout the decade had many people watching the team very closely.

Today, i70baseball brings you nine classic moments from the Cardinals in the 1980’s, courtesy of Major League Baseball.

Use the navigation controls below to take a look at each of the videos.  Leave us some comments and tell us the moments you most remember from the 1980’s in St. Louis.

<b>Bruce Sutter Closes Out 1982 World Series</b>

Picture 1 of 9

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

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Backyard Dreams

In the backyard of many suburban homes, the game plays out in entirety by one young kid with a dream.

He strides across the yard of green grass worn brown in spots from constant activity. Pulling at the brim of his hat to lower it down, he taps his sneakers with the skinny, plastic yellow bat and causes a puff of dust to appear. He digs in his back foot as the soundtrack begins to play so vividly in his mind that his mother can almost hear it as she peeks out the kitchen window to check on him.

Bottom of the ninth. Two outs. The home team comes to bat in a tie ball game, The Kid steps to the plate. It all comes down to this.

The white plastic ball leaves his hand and goes high in the air, crashing back down to the earth as it escapes the path of the bat. He picks it back up, taps the bat on the broken pan that Mom has allowed him to use as his home plate, and digs back in.

The pitcher has his sign. He comes set and delivers.

The ball sails from the bat, hooking just to the left of the oak tree that serves as third base. A foul ball that the batter runs to retrieve, the whole while imaging the scene around him. 50,000 fans rising to their feet chanting his name. Another tug of the bill of the cap and he digs in, this time with the look of determination in his eyes. The pale white sphere rises into the sky and meets the yellow bat on the way down, this time soaring straight over the fence that separates the neighbor’s yard from their own.

It’s high, it’s deep. Get up, baby! Get up! Gone, a home run and this victory belongs to the home team.

A high five to the first base coach that only he can see, a finger point and fist pump as he rounds the swing set that poses as second base. A low five as he turns past the oak tree and crouches low as he jumps into the sea of imaginary teammates to celebrate his amazing feat.

Boys and girls everywhere play out this same story and soundtrack in their backyards every day. Home runs are hit, strikeouts are thrown, and legends are born in the dreams of baseball’s youthful fans. The situations change but the story rarely does. The hometown boy or girl comes through as the hero for their local team. Every now and then, dreams come true.

Just over seven years ago, Jim Edmonds launched a mammoth home run into the right field seats at the stadium known as Busch II. The homerun hit by Jimmy Ballgame won game six of the National League Championship Series and forced a game seven against the division rival Houston Astros. The Cardinals would win that game seven before going on to lose a four game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. Edmonds was not a native of St. Louis, but this town adopted him as one.

In 2007, injuries and time would begin to catch up with the outfielder that had a flare for the dramatic. The Cardinals would make a decision to move Edmonds and his salary, if they could find a bidder. They found one in San Diego, who shipped a once promising prospect that had fallen out of the spotlight in exchange. Many fans despised the trade of a fan favorite ballplayer and the return that it garnered left little confidence in most minds.

David Freese would join his hometown team for Spring Training 2008. He grew up attending Lafayette High School in a suburb of St. Louis. He would play baseball there alongside Ryan Howard. He would dream of someday getting the opportunity to wear the birds on the bat.

When he gained that opportunity, he never imagined he would be in the situation he found himself in during game six of this year’s World Series. In front of a sellout, home town crowd, Freese would be down to his final strike in the ninth inning. With two runners on and his team trailing by two, he launched himself from hometown boy to hero with a game tying triple. His team would battle from behind once again in the tenth and give him the opportunity to stride to the plate in the eleventh with a chance to win it all. A pitch out over the plate, a drive into deep center field, an announcer, as real as can be, with a call that sounded amazingly similar to the call the announcer’s father had made 20 years prior echoed through homes everywhere.

We will see you tomorrow night for game seven.

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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Sometimes You Just Have To Be A Fan

When I started writing on a regular basis and beginning the arduous task of attempting to make a career of it, I was hired for a brief time to put together a staff for a large website that was trying to get a solid start. While putting together the staff for that site, I asked for the writing sample that I prefer to ask for from all my writers, “Why I Love Baseball”.

Building a staff that size, I was not prepared for the answer that started coming up more and more frequently.

“I don’t enjoy baseball anymore, I have been covering it for too long.”

It was the worst thing I could hear. I have grown up on the game, been raised with the game, and love this game above just about anything else. The thought that I would, at any point in my life, find myself not able to enjoy the game terrified me. I asked questions. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what they would do different, if they could. No one could really answer.

I challenged writers across the country with a plan to overcome this. I challenged writers to put down their computers, pens, voice-recorders, and media guides. I asked them to forget everything they were doing and just go watch a game. Little league, high school, minor league, or major league, I did not care. Just buy a ticket and go watch a game. Clap along with the organ player. Talk with the fans around you. Catch a foul ball and give it to a kid. In the midst of it all, remember why you started writing about this game. Remember what made you fall in love with it.

Earlier this week, I stopped by the ticket office of the Springfield Cardinals and purchased tickets to take my 7 month old son to his first baseball game on Saturday. On Friday night, I received the press release that the Cardinals and the Frisco Roughriders had been rained out and they would play a traditional double header on Saturday, with the first game starting at 2 pm.

So, this past Saturday, that is exactly what I did. I took my son to his first game. We sat four rows from the field and watched two, seven inning games. The home team dropped the first game, though they found themselves with a dramatic come back in the final inning. The second game would see a huge home run from the home team’s first baseman and a good effort by both teams that ultimately resulted in a win for the home team.

In the midst of it, I met a photographer for a major trading card company. I yelled at the poor umpiring and inconsistent strike zone of the home plate umpire. My son had his picture taken with the mascot. I met people from around the area and talked baseball. I cheered and yelled. I joked with the players and even heckled a few of them. I kicked back and had some fun. Through it all, I realized something…

…I love this game.

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Juan Encarnacion And Line Drives

Luis Salazar was struck in the head by a line drive Wednesday. It made me think of Juan Encarnacion.

The events are eerily similar, in addition to the Cardinals being involved in both. As you recall, Aaron Miles hit the foul ball that struck Encarnacion. Kyle Lohse was pitching when Braves catcher Brian McCann lined the ball into the Atlanta dugout. Both events happened near the first base dugout. Both men were standing within 50 feet of the batters box, Encarnacion in the on-deck circle and Salazar, well, in the dugout proper. Both took the ball off the face, around the eye.

Salazar’s injuries are not life threatening, thankfully. He was knocked out by the force of the blow and fell hard on the concrete floor of the dugout, further injuring his head. He regained consciousness late Wednesday and, while suffering from a pretty serious concussion, does not seem to have any brain damage from the event. He was also lucky from the perspective that the ball hit him closer to his nose, as opposed to flush on the eye.

Juan Encarnacion was not so lucky. Miles’ liner found his left eye, crushed the eye socket and caused severe trauma to the optic nerve. The injury ended his baseball career. It was initially reported he had been blinded in that eye, but to my knowledge those reports have not been substantiated. Encarnacion retired to his native Dominican Republic.

I-70 did a ‘Where are they now’ series last week, and in that spirit I looked on the internet for Juan Encarnacion news. According to his Wikipedia page he has become active in Dominican national politics. Other than that, the internet is quiet on his comings and goings since that awful day in 2008.

After Mike Coolbaugh was hit by a line drive while coaching first base, and subsequently died from a brain aneurysm, baseball mandated that base coaches wear batting helmets while on the field. Juan Encarnacion’s and Luis Salazar’s injuries would not have been prevented by the wearing of a helmet, although in Salazar’s case a helmet would have helped lessen the trauma he suffered by falling. It is difficult to say what the right answer is to prevent these kinds of injuries. So what should Major League Baseball do, if anything?

MLB could ban players from exposing themselves at the top rail of the dugout, requiring them to sit on the bench. The additional 6-10 feet of distance between the hitter and the player sitting on the bench does not provide enough added time to get out of the way. MLB should seriously consider encasing the entire dugout in netting so any ball hit in there is deflected, and install some sort of access door at the far end of the dugout for players entering and leaving the field. Given their reluctance to extend the net behind home plate further up the baselines (like over the dugout, for instance) to protect the paying customer I doubt that’s going to happen either.

For years, players have creeped closer and closer to the plate while on-deck in order to get a better sense of what the pitcher is throwing and adjust their timing. Enforcing the ‘stay in the on-deck circle’ rule would help, but much like the ‘off the top step’ rule in the preceeding paragraph would not add sufficient time for a player to react if a line drive was hit right at him. Besides, Encarnacion was in the on-deck circle when he was hit. Juan Encarnacion is the only player I’ve ever heard of or seen hit by a batted ball while standing in the on-deck circle, so baseball has apparently decided it was a one-time random event and moved on. The only real way to protect the on-deck hitter is to get rid of the on-deck circle entirely. I am not advocating for that with this post, but is there really any utility to having the next hitter stand out there waiting while an at-bat is in progress? He’d get a better look at the pitcher from watching the TV feed in the dugout.

Like the paying customers, baseball players and coaches stand on the field at their own risk. Injuries like those Luis Salazar and Juan Encarnacion suffered are rare, but devastating. We hope for a speedy recovery for the Atlanta Brave coach and minor league manager.

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