Tag Archive | "Highlight"

Cardinals Coach In Super Bowl Ad

Phillip Wellman, the hitting coach of the Springfield Cardinals, once had a monumental tirade on a baseball field.


That tirade has made it’s rounds on the internet and television for many, many years.  It resurfaced around the Cardinal corner of the internet a few years ago when Wellman was named the hitting coach for the Double A franchise.

Not sure what I am talking about?  Here you go:

Fast forward a few years and, thanks to Volkswagen and a Super Bowl Ad, and Wellman has found new life for an old tirade.

The following commercial ran during the 2013 Super Bowl.  At the :20 mark, we see a brief clip of the above “highlight” and by the 1:08 mark, he’s tossing bases around the grassy hill.

Don’t worry, I will always keep a look out for a little Cardinal baseball, even during the Super Bowl.

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

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Matheny, Freese and Molina: Cardinals Winter Warm-Up wrap

The final day of the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up brought on a few heavy hitters, with some highlight topic as well. The chief among them all was manager Mike Matheny, who is has a spotlight over him entering his second season at the helm. As can be expected, he addressed a wide range of topics, from positional battles and pitching projects, all the way to his publicized financial losses and the passing of Stan Musial.

Mike  Matheny

  • Matheny stressed a very involved method of learning from his first season on the job, including keeping contact with his players throughout the winter. He’s placed importance on their feedback as part of his preparation, as well as speaking with coaches from other sports for perspective as well.Looking back at last season, Says the difference between a plenty of wins were small things that can be fixed and focused on. Says it’s a waste of time to dwell on them, and “it’s a matter of controlling things you can control, and that’s where I come in.”
  • Approaching this season, he is confident in the evolution of the club: “I think we have made some adjustments to our club. Some of our younger players are different players now with the experience they have, and I think we have a chance to be much better than 88 games.”
  • In regards to player usage, there was a focus on resting players more often but within reason. Stresses that it is a case by case with managing players. Also there is the situation of understanding how to enable younger players to know how to battle.
  • One of the players that benefited in this fashion a year ago was Allen Craig. Matheny stated he learned how to “grind through and push through times when he probably wouldn’t have in the past. And what that does for the respect level in the clubhouse.” Said he has few holes in his swing, and that he has the chance to be an elite level hitter.
  • Going back on what was indicated by John Mozeliak earlier in the weekend; Matheny says that second base is open, but that the healthiest thing to do is for everybody to walk into camp ready to compete, regardless of position. “Second base has certainly presented some opportunities, and the competition should be fun to watch.”
  • In regards to the reported losses his sustained from a real estate venture before signing with the ballclub last year, he stated that much of that story was misreported. Explained it had no impact on his managing, and that there were “There were no woes, financially.”
  • Regarding the loss of Musial, Matheny said he first met him 20 years ago as a minor league ballplayer and he feels strongly about making a visible tribute to him on the uniform this year. “I think everybody gets how important Mr. Musial was, and still is and will be to this organization and community.

In addition to the skipper, David Freese and Yadier Molina showed up to address the direction of the club headed off a tough ending to 2012. John Mabry made an appearance to discuss his new role with the club, and both contenders for the second base slot were in attendance as well.

  • Matt Carpenter described having more confidence in place with the organization after last season. Says he loves playing in St. Louis and “We’re envied by a lot other players. Guys are always talking about what it’s like to be Cardinal.”  Is going to take the same mindset into the spring as any other year, and is focused on winning second base job. He is okay with playing there a few times a week, or not at all, as long as he can contribute somewhere.
  • Daniel Descalso acknowledged having a lot of struggles offensively, but felt like he squared the ball more often down the stretch, which led to his success. Said he is excited about working with John Mabry, and expects it to be a seamless transition between him and McGwire.
  • Yadier Molina expressed he is excited about working with the young pitchers that will compete for a place on the team, and that developing their understanding of the game is just as important as their play. “When I came up my first couple of years, my mind was my real test. I use that for the young guys. You have to work with their mind and give him confidence. If they so you not confident, they are going to feel that way too.”
  • He expressed an excitement in playing for his homeland of Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, and that playing in the Puerto Rican winter league, as well as spending the winter residing in Jupiter, Florida close to the club’s spring training facilities was part of his advanced preparation for the season, due to the time he will miss in camp participating.
  • John Mabry said that his promotion to hitting coach was a surprise, but “I’m still home. And if I was to go back into baseball it would be with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that drafted me and developed me.” On his philosophy for the preparing batters, he feels “The separation point between players is the mental approach, and good and great, great and awesome. Staying with your game plan, and not deviating from it unless forced to.”
  • Continued on that Says there are surprises coming, and that Oscar Taveras is the club’s best hitting prospect since Albert Pujols. The hope is that he doesn’t come up right away, because that means everybody is healthy. You don’t want to have a talent like that on the bench. Says infielders Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia will come to camp and get more at-bats due to the WBC, and will have opportunities to improve their stock.
  • David Freese said he had a much slower offseason than last year, which he enjoyed, but that the way the season ended is still sticking with him. “It was very disappointing. As a St. Louis Cardinal, you expect to make the playoffs but also reach the World Series. But you think about game 5, 6 and 7 and you realize it wasn’t meant to be.”
  • On the experience of playing in the first Wild Card play-in Game, expressed it as a unique and high pressure scenario and a strong incentive to play to win the division every year. “I haven’t really been around too long, but that’s insane. I rarely get nervous, but I was nervous that game. We were 7 games behind Atlanta, and we’re playing them. It was crazy.”


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Are the 2012 Royals a bad team?

Are the 2012 Kansas City Royals a bad baseball team? This question that was asked frequently during the notorious twelve game losing streak. Because the losing streak happened so early in the season it is a legitimate question. I know the 2012 version of the Royals is not a good team. Good teams don’t go on twelve game losing streaks and have starting pitchers with ERAs above 7. However, does this Royals team have the potential to get near .500 like we anticipated in March? Or are we looking at another 100 loss season? There is only one place to find these answers: Baseball-Reference.

The Royals have had four 100 loss seasons in their history. Let’s see how the 2012 Royals would stack up if they were in a division with those four teams after 25 games:

Year W L GP GB
2002 8 17 25 –
2004 8 17 25 –
2012 8 17 25 –
2005 7 18 25 -1
2006 5 20 25 -3

As you can tell the 2012 Royals are in some bad company. You can tell me this team is more talented than those teams. You can tell me that their Pythagorean W-L shows a record of 10-15 and that the Royals have been “unlucky” so far this season. The team is playing better and has won 5 out of their last 8 since ending the losing streak. Including what I consider to be Mike Moustakas’ emergence as “player” on the major league level. Yes, injuries have been a major problem and I expect this team will play a lot better when Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, and Felipe Paulino return from the disabled list. However, other major league teams have injury issues too. Even the 2005 Royals had a stretch from May 31st to Jun 16th where they won 11 of 15, including a 3 game sweep of the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. I remember that sweep well; it was the highlight of that season.

The reality is this team has real pitching problems. It’s not like we didn’t know pitching could be an issue. It became apparent early last season that the pitching at the major league level and in the minors was not going to be enough open a “playoff” window anytime soon. It is such a major story line for me I wrote about it four times last season: here, here, here and here.

If the Royals are ever going to contend be a mediocre team instead of terrible they will need to add pitching. Danny Duffy has made some strides this season at becoming an ace pitcher this team needs. However, Duffy is just one pitcher. Felipe Paulino has shown some promise but a long way from a sure bet. I don’t see Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar as long term solutions.

It’s frustrating that six years after Dayton Moore said “pitching is the currency of baseball” not much has improved among the starting rotation. There needs to be more pitching. Pitching is expensive whether you trade for it, or pay for it. The problem is, Even if ownership approves such a costly move, which is up for debate in the first place. I don’t have confidence in this front office to execute such a deal. Dayton Moore has been flat out schooled in trades at the major league level.

That is why I’m leaning toward this version of the Royals being a bad team. The glaring holes in the roster configuration have not been fixed from last year. Not to mention this team seems to lose focus a lot more than last year. I think the likelihood that this is another 100 loss season is greater than the Royals turning it around and getting near .500. The next question is, can the front office get enough pitching before it’s time for this young nucleus to chase their free agent contracts?

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Chasers Collect Fourth-Straight ‘Best of Omaha’ Award

Chasers Collect Fourth-Straight ‘Best of Omaha’ Award
Omaha Magazine readers tab Storm Chasers as Omaha’s Best Sports Team

OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha Storm Chasers have been named Omaha’s Best Sports Team by the readers of Omaha Magazine, continuing a four-year run as the first-place selection. The announcement comes on the heels of the Chasers’ Pacific Coast League Championship season and the highly-successful opening of brand-new Werner Park in 2011.

“Even though we received several national accolades throughout the 2011 season, being named Best of Omaha is perhaps the most fulfilling for our organization,” said team president and general manager Martie Cordaro. “The overwhelming positive support from fans and readers of Omaha Magazine throughout the metro area is special. This award signifies the endorsement of all our efforts over the past few years and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

This year’s contest, the 20th in the history of Omaha Magazine’s Best of Omaha program, garnered more than 424,000 votes by just over 20,000 readers – both all-time records. The 424,000 votes cast is just shy of the Storm Chasers’ total attendance this past season of 425,742, the club’s highest total since 1997.

Check out the Omaha Storm Chasers Franchise Highlight Sheets by clicking here. (PDF File)

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Naturally Speaking: Development Slow For Prospect Myers

The urgency for the Royals to find outfielders seems to have lessened considerably.

Perhaps the highlight of the season for the Royals has been the surprising play of its three primary outfielders. Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur have been hitting, running, fielding and throwing like they mean to stay in KC for some time.

That is good news for a team searching for answers. But it may mean those angling for outfield spots in the future will have a battle on their hands.

Before the season, there were some overly impatient fans calling for Wil Myers to be given one of those outfield spots at some point in 2011. As it turns out, Myers will have to wait his turn. And he’ll have to prove that the lofty accolades accorded him were deserved.

Currently listed as the number one prospect in the KC farm system, as well as the number four outfielder and number 18 prospect in all of minor league baseball, Myers hasn’t exactly played a starring role this season.

In fact, he’s struggled at the plate and hit for little power, while developing slowly into an adequate corner outfielder, having shifted there from catcher during the off-season. Reputed to have an “advanced bat” for his age, Myers is hitting just .251 with only five homers.

But Myers isn’t about to call the season a failure just yet.

“I’ve dealt with some injuries early on, but so far it’s been a good learning experience for me. I’d like to have a little bit better average than I have right now, but so far it’s still been a good season.”

One particular injury threw Myers off track early in the summer, and he may have yet to fully recover. In late April he suffered a severe cut on his knee in an off-the-field accident – one that required two stitches and four staples. More than three months later, he says he is still dealing with soreness and swelling.

At this point, Myers says the injury is no longer affecting his hitting or running, but rather his comfort in times of inactivity.

“It’s not affected my baseball, I don’t think, but it just gets sore a lot of times like when I’m driving or just sleeping at night. It just has some aches and pains in it. So it’s not when I’m running or anything, but more like when I’m just doing nothing.”

Though Myers has struggled at the plate, he’s not blaming the injury.

“I don’t think it’s slowed my development,” he said. “I’m just learning the game at this level, learning the pitchers. I don’t think it’s really hurt me at all.

“It’s just about making the adjustments at every level. There’s better pitching, better players at this league, so it’s about making those adjustments.”

Myers rocketed through two levels of the minors last season. Therefore, he won’t turn 21 until December, and he is one of the younger players in the Texas League. He does admit he’s facing significantly better pitching at the Double-A level.

“That’s definitely different. These guys are more developed. These guys have more good pitches and they can throw them for strikes. So it’s definitely different to be up there knowing that those guys can throw any pitch at any time.”

The Naturals have brought Myers along slowly this season. In addition to time off due to injury, Myers has been given plenty of days off – he’s played in just 81 of the team’s 117 games. Perhaps the play of the trio of outfielders in KC has made Myers’ development seem less urgent. But his struggles have shown it would be wrong to rush him at this point.

Expectations were so lofty prior to the season that anything short of spectacular was bound to be a disappointment. But Myers is doing his best not to let those expectations affect his performance.

“I try not to worry about those things,” he said. “I don’t feel any added pressure. I just try to go out and get better every day, get key hits when I can, work with my coaches, and make adjustments along the way.”

Compounding the difficulty of recovering from injury and adjusting to tougher competition, Myers has added a position change to his workload. Prior to this season, Myers had played only catcher in the Royals system. But so high was the opinion of his work with the bat that it was decided he would advance more quickly if he were an outfielder.

“Switching to outfield was a good switch for me,” said Myers. “I don’t think it’s helped or hurt my development (at the plate). They just moved me out there so that hopefully I could move a little quicker.

“I played a little in the outfield growing up. In high school I was a shortstop/pitcher guy. I never even caught in high school. So they switched me this year to the outfield and I think I’m taking it well.”

Tall, strong, and relatively fast and athletic, Myers has the potential to be a well-rounded outfielder. He knows he has a lot to learn, however,

“I think it’s one of the easier positions, honestly, to learn. But it’s harder than what people think. Reading the ball off the bat, knowing the spins, knowing how hard people are going to hit it, getting jumps off it.

“I’ve had the coaches stick with me and they’ve helped me out a lot.”

Prior to the season, many thought Cabrera and Francoeur were just keeping outfield spots warm for Myers, Lorenzo Cain, Jerrod Dyson and David Lough. But the two veterans, still in just their mid-20s, have shown they still can play and have expressed they want to do so in KC.

That’s good for KC. And it might just be good for Myers, as he appears to need a good deal more seasoning.

He will most certainly be promoted to Triple A Omaha for next season. But it would be nice if he could finish off his Double-A career worthy of his lofty reputation.

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