Tag Archive | "Gold Glove"

Cardinals Release Promotional Schedule


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (January 8, 2013) – The St. Louis Cardinals have released their much anticipated 2013 promotional schedule, consisting of at least 34 giveaways and highlighted by a series of bobbleheads and jerseys, including a replica of the brand new 2013 “St. Louis” home alternate jersey.

From Stan Musial to Allen Craig, the 2013 promotional schedule celebrates Cardinal greats of the past and present. Highlights include the Stan Musial harmonica (April 12th), a 28”Allen Craig bat presented by Rawlings (April 27th) and a pair of Cardinals High Sports Socks (May 19th) – a uniform classic re-popularized last season during “High Socks Sundays” by players like Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso and Jason Motte. The Edward Jones Hall of Fame Weekend features commemorative items highlighting St. Louis’s most popular hall of famers including the Ozzie Smith Gold Glove Bobblehead presented by Ameren Missouri (July 19th), a wearable adult replica 1940’s Red Schoendienst Jersey sponsored by Delta Air Lines (July 20th), as well as a one-of-a-kind Replica Musial Bronze Statue – just like the one displayed outside of the Busch Stadium Team Store – courtesy of Edward Jones (July 21st). Fans will even receive Fredbird-themed giveaway items at his first-ever Birthday Bash Weekend in August, including a Team Canvas Print presented by Coke Zero (August 23rd), Fredbird Kids Cap sponsored by Ice Mountain (August 24th) and Build-A-Bear Workshop Fredbird stuffed bear (August 25th).

Tickets for many of the 2013 promotional item game dates are already available by purchasing one of several specially tailored ticket packs themed around the promotional items. Highlighted ticket packs include the Bobblehead Pack, featuring all four of the 2013 bobblehead collection and the Jersey Pack containing all six of the replica jersey giveaways this season. All Cardinals Ticket Packs are on sale now at the team’s website, cardinals.com/packs.


Bobblehead Pack – Tickets on sale now at cardinals.com/packs
Tue. April 9 vs. CIN  
Sun. April 28 vs. PIT Carlos Beltran Bobblehead (First National Bank)
Fri. July 5 vs. MIA Mike Shannon Bobblehead with voice chip
Fri. July 19 vs. SD Ozzie Smith Gold Glove Bobblehead (Ameren Missouri)
Fri. Sept. 13 vs. SEA Mike Matheny Catcher Bobblehead (Coca Cola/Dierbergs)


Jersey Pack – Tickets on sale now at cardinals.com/packs
Sat. April 13 vs. MIL Adult Replica Alternate Jersey (Lumiere Casino)
Mon. April 29 vs. CIN  
Sat. May 11 vs. COL Women’s Replica Mike Matheny Jersey (AT&T)
Sat. June 1 vs. SF Kids Replica Molina Batting Practice Jersey (Powerade/Shop ‘n Save)
Wed. June 19 vs. CHI  
Sat. July 6 vs. MIA Adult Replica Holliday Home Jersey (Tickets.Com)
Sat. July 20 vs. SD Adult Replica 1940’s Red Schoendienst Jersey (Delta Air Lines)
Thu. Aug. 8 vs. LAD  
Sat. Sept. 7 vs. PIT Adult Replica 1980’s Willie McGee Jersey
Tue. Sept. 24 vs. WAS  


Again this season, all Friday night home games are Budweiser Bash Fridays (formerly Busch Bash) with past and present Cardinals players, music, games and prizes in the Ford Plaza starting two hours prior to the game. All Sunday games are Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sundays where fans can enjoy fun, games and North Star frozen treats in the Ford Plaza starting two hours prior to the game. Also returning for 2013 is the fan-favorite, Ice Mountain Autograph Night series. On five dates throughout the season, fans, ages 20 and under, can get current player autographs before the game, and all fans can get autographs from former players.

Below is a complete listing of the season’s fun-filled events and promotions, with additional details and photographs being posted at the team’s website, cardinals.com/promotions as they become available.


2013 Promotional Schedule



Monday, April 8 vs. Cincinnati, 3:15
Fans, ages 21 and older
Whether home or on the road, keep track of your Cardinals games with a convenient 2013 schedule magnet, compliments of Busch Beer.



Friday, April 12 vs. Milwaukee, 7:15
Fans, ages 16 and older
Take this one-of-a-kind collectible home and try to master “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” just like Stan the Man.



Saturday, April 13 vs. Milwaukee, 3:15
25,000 Fans, ages 21 and older
The players aren’t the only ones who get to wear the new Cardinals jersey this summer. Thanks to Lumiere Casino, fans at this game can take home a replica alternate jersey.



Sunday, April 14 vs. Milwaukee, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Rawlings is sending fans home with a replica of Yadier Molina’s gold and platinum glove award. This item is sure to stand out in your Cardinals collection!



Friday, April 26 vs. Pittsburgh, 7:15
All fans entering with a ticket
Relive the excitement of the 2006 World Series! Fans at this game will collect their very own wearable 2006 World Championship replica ring, courtesy of Scotts.



Saturday, April 27 vs. Pittsburgh, 3:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
Hit like the pros and Cardinals slugger, Allen Craig, with a 28” Rawlings bat.



Sunday, April 28 vs. Pittsburgh, 1:15
25,000 Fans entering with a ticket
Calling all bobblehead collectors! Carlos Beltran is ready to join your collection. Thanks to First National Bank, fans of all ages can take this right fielder’s bobblehead home.



Friday, May 10, Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day)
The first homestand in May is a weekend fit for the female fans. Pre-game entertainment, activities and giveaway items are sure to please the ladies of Cardinal Nation.



Saturday, May 11 vs. Colorado, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
AT&T will provide 25,000 fans, ages 16 and older, with a women’s Mike Matheny jersey at this Saturday game of Ladies’ Weekend.



Sunday, May 12 vs. Colorado, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Diet Coke and Schnucks are excited to give fans this one-of-a kind Cardinals sun hat. It’s a sure fire way to stay shaded when you’re enjoying a game at Busch Stadium.



Friday, May 17th vs. Milwaukee, 7:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Show off your Cardinals spirit in style with this trendy baseball cap, courtesy of U.S. Cellular, the Official Wireless Provider of the Cardinals.



Saturday, May 18 vs. Milwaukee, 6:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
Coca Cola and Pasta House are proud to provide kids, ages 15 and younger, with a Cardinals pennant and coupon, valid at The Pasta House.



Sunday, May 19 vs. Milwaukee, 1:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
“High Socks Sunday” is popular with Cardinals players and has become a fan favorite over the past seasons. Kids, ages 15 and younger, will receive their very own pair of high sports socks at this Sunday game.



Thursday, May 30 vs. Kansas City, 7:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
MLB Network wants you to gear up for the season with a drawstring bag to bring to and from each Cardinals game while always keeping up with your baseball news on MLB Network.



Friday, May 31, Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 vs. San Francisco
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
A weekend full of fun for kids and families, presented by Ritz! Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all kids will receive a free ticket to a future home game.



Friday, May 31 vs. San Francisco, 7:15
The Cardinals are proud to present Fireworks Night at Busch Stadium. Bring the entire family to watch the Cards take on the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants in an NLCS rematch. Stay in your seat after the game to watch a dazzling fireworks display with the St. Louis Arch as the backdrop.



Saturday, June 1 vs. San Francisco, 6:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
Gear up for Cardinals games and support Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina with a replica batting practice jersey, just like the one he wears, courtesy of Powerade and Shop ‘n Save.



Sunday, June 2 vs. San Francisco, 1:15
Kids, 48” and under
What a great way to start summer! Kids, 48” inches and under, receive a free ticket to Six Flags valid Monday – Friday through Sunday July 5th.



Sunday, June 2 vs. San Francisco, 1:15
Kids, 48” and under
The Family Attractions card offers thousands in savings at local area attractions, restaurants and lodging – perfect for families looking for lots of summer fun and activities.



Friday June 21 vs. Texas, 7:15
25,000 Fans, ages 21 and older
Budweiser is bringing fans, ages 21 and older, the third stein in the Championship series, highlighting the Cardinals very first World Series win in 1926.



Saturday, June 22 vs. Texas, 6:15
Fans, only with a special ticket, will be allowed to bring their dog to a designated section of the ballpark. Stay tuned for information regarding a pre-game full of activities to get your tail wagging.



Saturday, June 22 vs. Texas, 6:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Don’t forget your furry friends! 25,000 fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a Cardinals food bowl mat to keep your pet’s feeding area nice and tidy.



Sunday June 23 vs. Texas, 1:15
25,000 Fans entering with a ticket
25,000 fans will receive this one-of-a-kind replica ticket from Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.



Friday, July 5 vs. Miami, 7:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
“Get Up Baby!” It’s time to add Mike Shannon to your bobblehead collection. Take home the voice of Cardinals baseball with this unique voice-chipped bobblehead.



Saturday, July 6 vs. Miami, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Make sure you get your ticket for this game against Miami. Tickets.com and the St. Louis Cardinals are giving fans, 16 and older, a Matt Holliday replica jersey.



Sunday, July 7 vs. Miami, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older and Rawlings
Show off your Cardinals spirit from the comfort of your own home. Sponsored by AT&T, this Cardinals flag is the perfect addition to any fan’s front porch.



Friday, July 19, Saturday, July 20 and Sunday July 21 vs. San Diego
Commemorative items all weekend long, highlighting some of St. Louis’ most popular Hall of Famers.


Friday, July 19 vs. San Diego, 7:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Pick up a ticket to this game to receive a bobblehead honoring Hall of Famer, Ozzie Smith, and his 13 Gold Glove awards. This bobblehead, presented by Ameren Missouri, is one you don’t want to miss!



Saturday, July 20 vs. San Diego, 6:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
A replica 1940’s Red Schoendienst jersey is just what any longtime Cardinals fan needs in their jersey collection. Thanks to Delta Air Lines, it’s just what they’ll get at this game against the Padres.



Sunday, July 21 vs. San Diego, 1:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
Continue your collection of the Cardinals bronze statue series with this one-of-a-kind replica of Hall of Famer Stan Musial, just like the one displayed on the corner of 8th and Clark.



Friday, August 23, Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25 vs. Atlanta
Come celebrate Fredbird’s Birthday all weekend long with activities for the kids and special promotional items featuring Fredbird.



Friday, August 23 vs. Atlanta, 7:15
25,000 Fans entering with a ticket
Add this canvas print of the team photo to your Cardinals cave! 25,000 fans will receive this item, courtesy of Coke Zero.



Saturday, August 24 vs. Atlanta, 6:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
The kids of Cardinal Nation will love sporting their beloved mascot right on their head. Ice Mountain and the St. Louis Cardinals will give 12,000 kids, ages 15 and younger, the unique cap at this Saturday game.



Sunday, August 25 vs. Atlanta, 1:15
12,000 kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
The Build-A-Bear Workshop works overtime to make sure that 12,000 of our young Cardinals fans take home their very own stuffed Fredbird bear.



Saturday, September 7 vs. Pittsburgh, 6:15
25,000 Fans, ages 16 and older
This 1980’s Willie McGee replica jersey is sure to spice up your Cardinals closet. The throwback look never goes out of style at Busch Stadium.



Sunday, September 8 vs. Pittsburgh, 1:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
Kids, ages 15 and younger, will receive a collectible Cardinals pennant, compliments of Coca Cola and Pasta House.



Friday, September 13 vs. Seattle, 7:15
25,000 Fans entering with a ticket
Coca Cola and Dierbergs proudly present the Mike Matheny catcher bobblehead. 25,000 fans will receive this collectible honoring Matheny’s playing days from behind the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals.



Saturday, September 14 vs. Seattle, 6:15
Prior to the game, fans will be allowed on the field to get up-close and personal photos of their favorite players, coaches and Fredbird. Field access is on a first-come, first-served basis. Weather permitting.



Sunday, September 15 vs. Seattle, 1:15
Kids, ages 15 and younger entering with a ticket
As summer is winding down, kids, 48” inches and under, have one last chance to receive a free ticket to Six Flags valid any Sunday through October 27th.



Friday, September 27th, Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29 vs. Chicago



Sunday, September 29 vs. Chicago, 1:15
All Fans
Cardinals fans can start planning ahead to the summer of 2014. During the last regular season game of 2013, Shelter Insurance will give every fan a schedule for the Cardinals 2014 season.



Sunday, September 29 vs. Chicago, 1:15
All Fans
All fans will receive a free ticket to a 2014 Cardinals regular season game.



All Fridays, starting two hours prior to every home game, enjoy music, fun, prizes and past and present Cardinals players in the Ford Plaza, sponsored by Budweiser.



All Sundays, starting two hours prior to every home game, enjoy free North Star ice cream (while supplies last) in the Ford Plaza.


Prairie Farms RUN THE BASES

On the following days, kids 15 and under will be allowed to run the bases after the Cardinals game (weather permitting):

Saturday, April 27 vs. Pittsburgh, 3:15

Sunday, May 19 vs. Milwaukee, 1:15

Sunday, June 2 vs. San Francisco, 1:15

Sunday, July 7 vs. Miami, 1:15

Sunday, August 25 vs. Atlanta, 1:15

Sunday, September 15 vs. Seattle, 1:15



Fans, ages 20 and under, can get current player autographs before the game from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Then from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. all fans can get autographs from former players, on the following dates:

Wednesday, May 15 vs. New York, 7:15

Wednesday, June 5 vs. Arizona, 7:15

Wednesday, July 10 vs. Houston, 7:15

Wednesday, August 7 vs. LA Dodgers, 7:15

Wednesday, August 28 vs. Cincinnati, 7:15


All fans will be able to get a haircut, with all proceeds going to Cardinals Care, on the following dates:

Thursday, April 10 vs. Cincinnati, 12:45

Thursday, May 1 vs. Cincinnati, 12:45

Tuesday, May 16 vs. New York, 12:45

Thursday, August 15 vs. Pittsburgh, 12:45

Thursday, September 25 vs. Washington, 12:45

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Cooperstown Choices: Sandy Alomar

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2013, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty four men on the ballot for the first time this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2013 menu at the top of the page.

In this article, we take a look at Sandy Alomar


Sandy Alomar
The older of the Alomar brothers, Sandy stayed in baseball a few more years than his brother Roberto.  Over his 20 year career, he would play for seven major league teams, most notably with the Cleveland Indians where he won the Rookie Of The Year award in 1990.  He would win his first and only Gold Glove that same year and make his first of six All Star rosters, all with the Indians.

1988 SDP 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100
1989 SDP 7 19 1 4 1 0 1 6 0 3 3 .211 .318 .421 .739 109
1990 CLE 132 445 60 129 26 2 9 66 4 25 46 .290 .326 .418 .744 108
1991 CLE 51 184 10 40 9 0 0 7 0 8 24 .217 .264 .266 .530 47
1992 CLE 89 299 22 75 16 0 2 26 3 13 32 .251 .293 .324 .618 75
1993 CLE 64 215 24 58 7 1 6 32 3 11 28 .270 .318 .395 .713 91
1994 CLE 80 292 44 84 15 1 14 43 8 25 31 .288 .347 .490 .837 115
1995 CLE 66 203 32 61 6 0 10 35 3 7 26 .300 .332 .478 .810 107
1996 CLE 127 418 53 110 23 0 11 50 1 19 42 .263 .299 .397 .696 75
1997 CLE 125 451 63 146 37 0 21 83 0 19 48 .324 .354 .545 .900 128
1998 CLE 117 409 45 96 26 2 6 44 0 18 45 .235 .270 .352 .622 59
1999 CLE 37 137 19 42 13 0 6 25 0 4 23 .307 .322 .533 .855 111
2000 CLE 97 356 44 103 16 2 7 42 2 16 41 .289 .324 .404 .728 83
2001 CHW 70 220 17 54 8 1 4 21 1 12 17 .245 .288 .345 .634 64
2002 TOT 89 283 29 79 14 1 7 37 0 9 33 .279 .302 .410 .712 82
2002 CHW 51 167 21 48 10 1 7 25 0 5 14 .287 .309 .485 .794 106
2002 COL 38 116 8 31 4 0 0 12 0 4 19 .267 .292 .302 .593 48
2003 CHW 75 194 22 52 12 0 5 26 0 4 17 .268 .281 .407 .689 78
2004 CHW 50 146 15 35 4 0 2 14 0 11 13 .240 .298 .308 .606 58
2005 TEX 46 128 11 35 7 0 0 14 0 5 12 .273 .306 .328 .634 66
2006 TOT 46 108 8 30 8 0 1 17 0 3 14 .278 .292 .380 .672 70
2006 LAD 27 62 3 20 5 0 0 9 0 0 7 .323 .323 .403 .726 84
2006 CHW 19 46 5 10 3 0 1 8 0 3 7 .217 .255 .348 .603 52
2007 NYM 8 22 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .136 .136 .182 .318 -18
20 Yrs 1377 4530 520 1236 249 10 112 588 25 212 499 .273 .309 .406 .716 86
162 Game Avg. 162 533 61 145 29 1 13 69 3 25 59 .273 .309 .406 .716 86
CLE (11 yrs) 985 3409 416 944 194 8 92 453 24 165 386 .277 .315 .419 .734 92
CHW (5 yrs) 265 773 80 199 37 2 19 94 1 35 68 .257 .291 .384 .675 74
SDP (2 yrs) 8 20 1 4 1 0 1 6 0 3 4 .200 .304 .400 .704 100
NYM (1 yr) 8 22 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .136 .136 .182 .318 -18
COL (1 yr) 38 116 8 31 4 0 0 12 0 4 19 .267 .292 .302 .593 48
LAD (1 yr) 27 62 3 20 5 0 0 9 0 0 7 .323 .323 .403 .726 84
TEX (1 yr) 46 128 11 35 7 0 0 14 0 5 12 .273 .306 .328 .634 66
AL (17 yrs) 1296 4310 507 1178 238 10 111 561 25 205 466 .273 .310 .410 .721 88
NL (5 yrs) 81 220 13 58 11 0 1 27 0 7 33 .264 .286 .327 .614 56
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2012.

Why He Should Get In
Alomar’s career was embodied behind the scenes.  A field general and leader, he was another coach on the field.

Why He Should Not Get In
In short, his numbers just don’t stack up.  While it would be easier to stomach the low offensive numbers based on his presence defensively, he would need to have a few more awards from that side of the diamond.  With out the Gold Gloves to back him up, the offensive shortcomings will keep him from election.

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

Posted in Cooperstown Choices 2013, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

Cooperstown Choices: Shawn Green

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2013, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty four men on the ballot for the first time this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2013 menu at the top of the page.

In this article, we take a look at Shawn Green

Shawn Green
Green’s 15 year major league career spanned four franchises, most notably the Blue Jays and Dodgers.  He would be named to two All Star rosters, in 1999 as a Blue Jay and again in 2002 as a Dodger.  He would also win a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in 1999.

1993 TOR 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100
1994 TOR 14 33 1 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 8 .091 .118 .121 .239 -38
1995 TOR 121 379 52 109 31 4 15 54 1 20 68 .288 .326 .509 .835 115
1996 TOR 132 422 52 118 32 3 11 45 5 33 75 .280 .342 .448 .790 99
1997 TOR 135 429 57 123 22 4 16 53 14 36 99 .287 .340 .469 .809 110
1998 TOR 158 630 106 175 33 4 35 100 35 50 142 .278 .334 .510 .844 117
1999 TOR 153 614 134 190 45 0 42 123 20 66 117 .309 .384 .588 .972 144
2000 LAD 162 610 98 164 44 4 24 99 24 90 121 .269 .367 .472 .839 116
2001 LAD 161 619 121 184 31 4 49 125 20 72 107 .297 .372 .598 .970 154
2002 LAD 158 582 110 166 31 1 42 114 8 93 112 .285 .385 .558 .944 154
2003 LAD 160 611 84 171 49 2 19 85 6 68 112 .280 .355 .460 .814 116
2004 LAD 157 590 92 157 28 1 28 86 5 71 114 .266 .352 .459 .811 113
2005 ARI 158 581 87 166 37 4 22 73 8 62 95 .286 .355 .477 .832 114
2006 TOT 149 530 73 147 31 3 15 66 4 45 82 .277 .344 .432 .776 95
2006 ARI 115 417 59 118 22 3 11 51 4 37 64 .283 .348 .429 .778 95
2006 NYM 34 113 14 29 9 0 4 15 0 8 18 .257 .325 .442 .768 97
2007 NYM 130 446 62 130 30 1 10 46 11 37 62 .291 .352 .430 .782 103
15 Yrs 1951 7082 1129 2003 445 35 328 1070 162 744 1315 .283 .355 .494 .850 120
162 Game Avg. 162 588 94 166 37 3 27 89 13 62 109 .283 .355 .494 .850 120
TOR (7 yrs) 716 2513 402 718 164 15 119 376 76 206 510 .286 .344 .505 .849 117
LAD (5 yrs) 798 3012 505 842 183 12 162 509 63 394 566 .280 .366 .510 .876 130
ARI (2 yrs) 273 998 146 284 59 7 33 124 12 99 159 .285 .352 .457 .809 106
NYM (2 yrs) 164 559 76 159 39 1 14 61 11 45 80 .284 .346 .433 .779 102
NL (8 yrs) 1235 4569 727 1285 281 20 209 694 86 538 805 .281 .361 .489 .850 121
AL (7 yrs) 716 2513 402 718 164 15 119 376 76 206 510 .286 .344 .505 .849 117
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2012.

Why He Should Get In
Green had a span of five to seven years of top production.  His career numbers in doubles (445), home runs (328), runs batted in (1,070) and hits (2,003) paint him as an elite ball player.

Why He Should Not Get In
Elite ball player is accurate, but he would have needed a few more years to translate that into being an all time great ball player.  His numbers are good, but not quite good enough for Cooperstown.

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

Posted in Cooperstown Choices 2013, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

Royals All-Star Update

The All-Star game will be coming to Kansas City on Tuesday July 10. About a month ago, we took a look at 4 players who could be in position to to make the team. While it doesn’t appear that any Royals player will be voted in, it does appear that they still have 4 players in position to possibly make the team. Only one of those is different than a month ago.

Billy Butler
“The Butler” is proving to be the best hitter on the team, and the most clutch performer as well. Starting in St. Louis on Father’s Day when he hit the game-tying home run in the top of the 9th, he has continued to get big hit after big hit. Most recently, he homered in today’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the bottom of the 8th to put the Royals ahead 5-4 and help secure the 3-game sweep. Butler has stiff competition at the DH position. It appears that David Ortiz will win the fan voting, and Butler will be competing agains the likes of Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion for a spot. Both of whom are having outstanding years. Butler will have the advantage of being the hometown guy though, and would be a great choice to participate in the Home Run Derby as well.

Mike Moustakas
“Moose” has continued to swing a hot bat just about the entire year. Along with that, he has played surprisingly stellar defense at 3rd base. It looks like the fan vote is going to go to either Adrian Beltre or Miguel Cabrera. Along with those 2 players, the Anaheim Angels’ Mark Trumbo is also having a terriffic offensive year. Moustakas has his work cut out for him to make the team, but like Butler, the hometown advantage will help his cause.

Alcides Escobar
Relative to the competition at the position, Escobar is the most deserving Royal. As of now, it appears Derek Jeter will get the nod as the starter. He is having a fine year, but Escobar has been phenomenal. Along with playing a gold-glove caliber defense, he is hitting .315/.353/.427 with 12 stolen bases. There are other shortstops having good years like Elvis Andrus and Asdrubal Cabrera, but nobody has been as good all-around in the American League at the position as Escobar has.

Jonathan Broxton
Broxton is quietly putting together a very good year. He currently ranks 4th in the American League in Saves with 19 and has blown just 3 all season. Royals fans have been treated to a few tense moments by the man they call “Johnny Drama”, but overall, he has been a very solid door-closer all season. While Broxton is somewhat deserving, he is more of a longshot and it would be very disappointing if the Royals only got one all-star and the spot wen to him.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

Wil Myers on the move

With Wil Myers, the prize prospect of the Kansas City Royals organization, much-anticipated promotion to Omaha last week, conversations began swirling about his future with the franchise.

An injury-plagued scuffle at Northwest Arkansas last season knocked Myers a bit off schedule. Instead of starting the season at Triple-A, he returned to Double-A to prove himself. Prove himself he did.

After a torrid 35-game start in Northwest Arkansas in which he hit .343 with 13 homers, he got the call to Omaha. There wasn’t much more to prove at Double-A. Myers had more homers in 35 games than he had in 99 last year, and he was driving in nearly a run per game.

But here is where his path grows uncertain.

Going into this season, the Royals’ corner outfield spots were settled. Those positions are currently manned by young but experienced team-leaders who hit with power, run well and play Gold-Glove caliber defense.

Might Myers’ future be in centerfield? Perhaps, but that’s where a position battle is shaping up between Jerrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain.

And to further confuse matters, the Royals tried Myers at third base before his most recent promotion, and some even speculate it might be his most natural position. The Royals justified the experiment by saying proven versatility would benefit Myers in the future.

Myers made the transition from catcher to outfield just last year. Would another position change be in his best interest? Or might the constant shuffling hamper his growth, as it might have Mark Teahen’s a few years ago? Some would argue a top prospect should just be settled into one position to simplify the matriculation process.

Developing Myers at third base would only make sense for one reason – to set up a trade.

It is absolutely no secret that the Royals are desperate for pitching help. If Myers proves a capable third baseman, would the Royals consider trading Mike Moustakas?

Or are they trying to put a little more shine on Myers in order to shop him around for pitching?

There are no sure things in baseball. But Myers’ bat appears to about as close to a sure thing as you can get.

The way Royals pitchers are breaking down, however, it appears that developing pitchers couldn’t be any further from a sure thing.

I personally would prefer the team not deal Myers (or Moustakas) for pitching help. Developing pitchers is too much of a crapshoot. There are just too many questions marks regarding the outfield, and Myers brings too upside to the table to justify the risk.

Myers is definitely on the move, but it’s up to the Royals to make the right moves on his behalf.

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)

Molina deal done, Cardinals fans can exhale

A man who wears a mask the majority of the time we see him may have just become the new face of the St. Louis Cardinals franchise.

Yadier Molina, who broke into the big leagues with the Cardinals back in 2004, will keep the bird on the bat logo across his chest through the 2017 season, with an option for 2018, at which time Molina would be 36 years old. The five-year extension is expected to pay the game’s best defensive catcher $75 million dollars, with a $15 million option for a 6th year.

And with that, Cardinals fans, you can drop your guards. You will not have to spend the next 10 months fretting over whether or not another one of St. Louis’ baseball icons will leave the team at the altar.

In the wake of Albert Pujols’ abrupt move to the Los Angeles Angels, Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, insists he didn’t feel any added pressure to get a deal done for Molina. If he really didn’t, he probably should have. Molina is the single most admired, appreciated, and beloved member of the Cardinals organization right now. Cardinals fans in minor league cities from Palm Beach to Memphis watched him grow up. Fans in St. Louis watched him persevere at the plate, where he started his first season as the Cardinals’ starter in an 0 for 25 slump before eventually breaking through. His confidence at the plate continued to rise, and eventually Molina turned himself from an offensive liability into one of the best hitting catchers in the game today. In 2011, he hit .305 with a career high 14 HRs and 65 RBI.

Along the way, Molina provided Cardinal fans with exhilarating moments, from game-changing pickoff throws to his game-winning home run in the 9th inning of Game 7 in the 2006 NLCS. Molina has been a key part of two World Series Championship teams, and is a four-time Gold Glove.

With Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols out of the picture, this is now Molina’s team. He and Chris Carpenter share the title as longest tenured Cardinal, both joining the team in 2004. But Carpenter is in the twilight of his career, and his current 2-year deal may very well be his last.

So yes, he wears a mask, but Yadi is the new face of the franchise.

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Molina Brings Consistency To Cardinals

Nearly complete with our look around the St. Louis Cardinals we land on catcher this week.  With the absence of both Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan, Yadier Molina’s role might be more important than any other Cardinal heading into 2012.

New manager Mike Matheny originally joined the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2000 season and stuck around through 2004, bringing great stability and defensive prowess behind the plate for St. Louis. He handed the reins of the pitching staff over to his understudy, Yadier Molina, in 2005, and the rocket-armed, Molina has been there ever since.

The four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina enters spring training this year a lifetime Cardinal seeking a long-term extension, just like Pujols a year ago. Molina is heading into the final year of his contract and he would like to stay in St. Louis.

The 29-year-old Molina, the youngest and most talented of three brothers to catch on in the major leagues, is coming off perhaps his best season. In addition to a strong year behind the plate, he set career offensive highs with a .300 average, 14 homers and 65 RBIs, then added nine RBIs in the World Series. This in addition to his handling of the Cardinals pitching staff and assault on base runners

However this season presents another challenge for Molina. One he has been able to avoid so far in his Cardinal Career.  Whether or not his contract talks affect his play will take time to tell. One thing is for certain. Molina enters this spring as the best back-stop in the National League, let alone his own division.

Geovany Soto, Cubs.  Catcher Geovany Soto slumped in 2011, hitting .228 with 17 homers, 54 RBIs and 46 runs scored.  Soto struggled with injuries early in the season and never got on track, striking out 124 times in 421 at-bats. There is still plenty of power in his bat and Soto could collect more hits in 2012. 20 to 25 home run potential.  Just know he could hit anywhere from .215 to .290 any given season.

Ryan Hanigan, Reds. Hanigan appears to be a good bet to pair in a catching tandem next season, splitting time with Devin Mesoraco.  After hitting .354 in August, Hanigan came back to Earth with a .235 average in September. With a .267 average and minimal to no power Hanigan will be fighting for his job most of the spring and regular season.

*Devin Mesoraco, Reds.  Super prospect failed to impress in his September call-up.  Maybe this will keep him under the radar, because he has all the tools to be a top 5 catcher for years to come.  He hit .289 with 15 home runs in AAA last year.

Jason Castro, Astros. Missed all of last season after undergoing major knee surgery, will miss the first part of Spring Training after undergoing surgery in December.  He hit .205 with two homers and eight RBIs in 195 at-bats in his Major League debut in 2010. Still, the injury casts some uncertainty over Houston’s catching situation entering spring camp. Castro, the club’s first-round pick in 2008 out of Stanford, is slated to be the starter next year in what would be his first full season in the Major Leagues.

Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers. Lucroy put together a fine sophomore campaign with 12 homers, 59 RBIs and a .265 average.  Lucroy went deep five times in May but didn’t show a lot of power the rest of the way. His .247 average after the break will cast some doubt on his 2012 value but regular playing time should help him.

Rod Barajas, Pirates. Playing for the Dodgers, where he started 85 games behind the plate and batted .230 with 13 doubles, 16 homers, 47 RBIs and a .287 on-base percentage. He missed nearly a month during the summer while recovering from a right ankle sprain.  A short-term commitment for the Pirates, who are hopeful that top catching prospect Tony Sanchez will be ready to ascend to the Majors in the next year or two.

Yadier Molina, Cardinals. Molina’s ability to hit for average and supply respectable power makes mixed with his superior work behind the plate means that he will continue to get as much playing time as he can handle.  In 2011 the Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina slugged 14 homers, stole four bases, drove in 65 runs, scored 55 times and hit .305. Career highs across the board.

By the time 2012 is said and done here is how I see things shaking out amongst the NL Central backstops. Here more than any other position I factored non-batting statistics and play into the equation.

  1. Yadier Molina
  2. Geovany Soto
  3. Jonathan Lucroy
  4. RobBarajas
  5. Ryan Hanigan
  6. Jason Castro

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King Midas: A Royals Fan

Offense puts them in the seats.  Pitching and defense gets them to come back.  Yes, if you score a lot of runs and have a lot of flashy offensive numbers the fans will surely come and watch your team.  But wins are what fans are looking for and that is what defense achieves.

The 2011 Royals showed vast improvement in their play on the field. Having such a young team will be a test for players who are stilling learning how to play at such a high level. But by all means having those players play a full season could have even a bigger impact in the field this season.

In his first full season in left field, Alex Gordon, proved that a position change may have been exactly what he needed to give his career the spark it needed.  In 1309 innings, Gordon had 20 outfield assists with only three errors, earning him a Gold Glove. Not only that, the outfield for the 2011 Royals as a whole racked up 51 total assists. Of those 51, 13 came from now San Francisco Giant, Melky Cabrera. So Lorenzo Cain has some shoes to fill in the monstrous outfield inside of Kauffman Stadium.

Now for the guys on the dirt.  First basemen, Eric Hosmer, showed not only last year that he can hit but that he as skills with the leather as well.  With such a young infield, Hosmer was able to save some of his compatriots a few errors of some wild throws.  Something that he will have to continue to accomplish throughout his career.

One of those young guns on the diamond is Alcides Escobar.  He proved to everyone last season why the Royals front office wanted him when they traded away pitching ace Zack Greinke in the winter of 2010.  He was everything defensively that Royals fans heard about.  Making stellar plays throughout the 2011 season as a whole.

The other two players in the field more than likely being, Mike Moustakas at third base and Johnny Giovotella at second base, need to be consistent defensively and not make many mistakes.

Behind the plate, Salvador Perez will not only need to continue to throw out runners attempting to steal bases but also become the defensive leader on the team.  With his ability to play the position and call games Perez will set the tone for the team in the 2012 season.

So who will take the Gold Glove bragging rights from Alex Gordon this season? Or will King Midas touch of few of the young players on the 2012 roster?

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Infield Depth Is A Big Question Mark For The Cardinals Heading Into Spring Training

Much like last season, the St. Louis Cardinals will enter spring training with a little bit of uncertainty, but for the most part the team should feel comfortable and confident. The Cardinals are, after all, the World Series champions. They currently have seven viable options for the starting rotation (if you include Kyle McClellan and Marc Rzepczynski) and could still land Roy Oswalt on top of that. They have four legitimate outfielders in Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, and Carlos Beltran. The bullpen is stacked with young arms and just enough crafty veterans. Behind the plate, there’s a Gold Glove catcher anchoring the team.

That just leaves the infield.

At first glance, the infield seems to blend in with the other strengths of the Cardinals. You have Comeback Player of the Year Lance Berkman at 1st base, World Series MVP David Freese over at 3rd, a decent hitting shortstop with a solid glove at short, and a bit carousel over a 2nd base, but a couple of good ball players nonetheless in Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso.

On paper, that’s an infield that can help get the Cardinals back to the playoffs. But can that group actually stay on the field? And if not, who’s ready to step up and take their place?


The Cardinals’ projected starting infielders haven’t exactly had the best run of luck when it comes to injuries. David Freese missed 65 games last season, and 92 the year before that. Lance Berkman only missed a couple of weeks last season, but missed 66 in the two years prior and turns 36 this month. Rafael Furcal, 34, had missed an average of 70 games per season dating back to 2008, and missed 75 games last season alone. Skip Schumaker, 32, missed more than a month last season due to injury, not including the injury he suffered during the playoffs.

Do the math, and you’ll find that on average, the Cardinals’ four projected starting infielders have missed a total of 424 games over the past two seasons, an average of 53 games per player, or roughly one-third of the season. Yikes.

Backup Infielders

If the worst should happen, who will fill in over the course of the season?

We’ve already mentioned Daniel Descalso, who may very well be ready to snag a starting position this year similar to the way Jon Jay did in the outfield. Descalso hit .264 in mostly part-time duty, with 24 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs in 326 ABs. Those aren’t exactly Earth-shattering numbers, but Descalso has a steady glove, can play 2nd or 3rd, and every Cardinals fan will tell you that it felt like each of his 28 RBIs were driven in the latter innings of close games. The guy is clutch.

I suppose we could list Allen Craig as an infield reserve, and the whole world found out just how great he can be last October. But… Craig also spent his fair share of time on the disabled list last season, appearing in only 75 regular season games. He’ll also miss at least the first month of the upcoming season due to knee surgery, and might not return until June.

Beyond that, the team has a trio of prospects in Pete Kozma, Mark Hamilton, and Tyler Greene (though Greene doesn’t really qualify as a prospect anymore). Living in Springfield, Missouri, I’ve had the chance to watch all three of these players perform at the Double-A level, and none of them came across as players with great Major League upside.

Pete Kozma is a career .237 hitter in the minor leagues, and had consecutive 34-error seasons in 2009 and 2010. Last year, Kozma cut that number to 14, but hit just .214.

Mark Hamilton is an interesting little case study. A career .285 hitter with average power, Hamilton hit .298 with 20 HRs in 2010, then saw his average jump to .345 while his power dropped to just 2 HRs in 2011. Hamilton played both of those seasons at Triple-A Memphis, making the numbers all the more puzzling. In 61 career at-bats in the majors, Hamilton has been overmatched, hitting just .197 with no home runs.

And then there’s Tyler Greene. What are we to make of the Cardinals’ former 1st round pick? He tears the cover off the ball in the minors, but just cannot seem to rise to the occasion in St. Louis. Greene has hit .295 in nearly one-thousand minor league at-bats over the past three seasons, so that’s no fluke. But in the big leagues, he’s a career .218 hitter. Then there are the brutal errors, including two game-changing dropped pop-ups last season alone. Is he the only big leaguer to drop pop ups? Of course not. Off the top of my head, I can think of two pretty crucial dropped pop ups in Game 6 of last year’s World Series. But Matt Holliday and David Freese can get away with that because they are solid hitters. Tyler Greene? Not so much.

What’s It All Mean?

The Cardinals said goodbye to two pretty solid infield reserves this offseason in Nick Punto and Ryan Theriot. Both brought a good veteran presence to the clubhouse and the plate, and could come up with key hits when called upon.

For the first two months of the season, the Cardinals will have one such reserve with a relatively solid track record in the big leagues, Daniel Descalso. The rest are all question marks. What will happen if one or more of the starting infielders go down to another injury? Who will fill in? Will they step up? Or will the team be forced to make a mid-season trade to fill the gaps?

Right now only one thing is certain: after last year’s injury-plagued season, the Cardinals know how to make it work and get it done, no matter who’s out with injuries. But it would sure be nice to have a little insurance in the infield.

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Is It Really Time For A Gordon Extension?

I want to be as clear as possible from the start: I am a huge Alex Gordon fan. I was there before the Kansas City Royals even drafted him, watching You Tube clips of that dreamy swing and praying Allard Baird didn’t mess up the chance to draft the prodigy that was Awesome Alex.

Alex Gordon courtesy of Minda Haas

I was also there on Opening Day, with the bases loaded, a sell-out crowd on its feet, and expectations very few would have any chance of meeting. My wife has his jersey, my kid has his rookie card…our family is all-in on Awesome Alex. That being said, I do have to wonder; is now really the time to give him a contract extension?

For a Royals’ fan, this question may seem equivalent to blasphemy. We waited so long for him to become what we’d dreamed he could. We went through ridiculously long slumps, excruciating injuries, broken promises and position changes. So before I go any further, I want to say I am not questioning if the Royals should extend Gordon at some point. I hope Gordon is a Royal for life and proves to be every bit the savior we anointed him back in 2007. But think back just 12 months ago, before his breakout season of 2011. Gordon was on his last leg and it would not have been completely absurd to suggest the Royals give up on him ever becoming the player they’d drafted him to be. Then came the declaration. Many scoffed and almost all of us felt uneasy when Gordon told the world he planned to “dominate” in 2011, but then he went out and did it. Gordon in 2011 was everything we’d hoped he’d be from the beginning. I don’t think I need to recite his statistics any more than they already have been but just consider a couple:

– His 140 OPS+ was the highest by a Royals’ everyday player in 10 years

– His 5.9 WAR (per baseballreference.com’s metrics) was the highest in 8 years

– He not only won a Gold Glove but actually received 3 votes on the MVP ballot, for a team that lost 91 games

– He set career highs in every single major offensive category

That seems like a good time to stop, because it brings me precisely to the root of my question. Did Alex Gordon just have a breakout season or a career year? Baseball history is full of players who have put together seasons as good as, and much better than, Gordon without ever really coming close to repeating the performance. Even Royals history has a few shining examples. Of the 11 Royals to put up an OPS + of 140 or better, only 4 (George Brett, Danny Tartabull, Hal McRae, Willie Aikens) did it more than once. The other 8?

Amos Otis – 31
Mike Sweeney – 28
Bob Hamelin – 26
Bo Jackson – 27
Darrell Porter – 27
Wilson Betemit – 28
Richie Schleinblum* – 29

*Schleinblum may be worthy a post of his own some day. He put up his 140 OPS in 1972 in the only season in which he was ever given more than 500 at bats. He also made the All Star game that year. He was then sent to the Reds as part of the Hal McRae deal, traded to the Angels 6 months later for a PTBNL, and traded back to the Royals in ’75 for Paul Schaal. From 1970-1975 Schleinblum played for the Indians, Senators, Royals, Reds, Angels, Royals, and Cardinals.

The numbers you see by the players’ names are their age when they had their career year. Notice how none of the one-timers are under 26? All of the players to do it more than once were 26 or younger, other than McRae. Does this mean Alex Gordon, who was 27, will never put up another season this good? No, not at all, but I do think it points out the probability is better that he just had his career season.

This matters for many reasons, most notably being that the Royals really don’t need to be in the business of signing players to multiple year deals based on the numbers put up in their career year. I expect Gordon to be a good player this year and moving forward, but I don’t expect him to do as well, relatively, as he did last season. If that does turn out to be the case, why the rush to pay him now when you still control him for two more seasons? Jeff Francouer is already locked up for 2 more years, Lorenzo Cain for the next 5, and you have phenom Wil Myers hopefully making a push to join the club in 2013. There are so many possible outcomes with those four players heading into 2012, why lock yourself into a long term deal? Well there are 2 reasons:

For one, this fan base, while energized and optimistic, is also leery of owner David Glass. Glass is viewed as cheap by many and detached by even more. If fan-favorite Gordon were to leave Kansas City and find the same success that Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye did nearly ten years ago it would be a hard pill for the fans to swallow. Not signing Gordon, after all the talk about it this offseason, could signal to fans that this is the same old Royals that can’t afford to keep any of their homegrown talent.

The second is related to that, if not directly. No one really knows what Gordon’s mindset is. I know he has said publicly that he wants to stay a Royal…Damon said the same thing. What I do not know is whether or not Gordon and his agent are pushing hard for an extension this winter. Is he going to be insulted if the Royals do not put something together for him? If he is, how will he react? Many a player has had a career year trying to prove to management they are worth the extension they did not get. Just as many have pouted and their performance has suffered because of it.

Personally, I see Gordon as the type of player to excel in this situation. The struggles at the beginning of his career have hardened him and I have a hard time seeing him pouting, especially if this team is successful early. Many clubs would have given up on Gordon after his terrible 2009-2010 and wanting to wait until next offseason to get an extension done should not totally erase the goodwill that has been built. If I were Dayton Moore, I would wait to sign Alex Gordon, knowing that if he duplicates, or improves upon, last season I will be digging even deeper into David Glass’ pockets next winter.

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