Tag Archive | "Super Bowl"

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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9 Days: Until pitcher and catchers report to Spring Training.

23 Days: Until the start of the Cactus League.

55 Days: Until Opening Night.

We have reached the abyss in the sports world that is marked by the Super Bowl at the beginning and Spring Training at the end. There isn’t much going on in the sports world that I care about. No, I’m not real excited about Truck Day. It’s so bad that I watched an NBA game for .05 seconds. It almost like I’m injured. Like I need some sort of assistance to help me get through these few weeks known as The Sports Abyss. What I need is some crutches.

I think I’ve found them. These crutches come in the form of College Basketball. Living in Kansas you get weird looks when you tell people you would rather listen to a meaningless spring training game on the radio over watching the NCAA Tournament. I have done this numerous times. However, if the splintering of Royals Nation into their respective college camps doesn’t entertain you, you just don’t like sports.

Basketball is not even my fourth favorite sport. There so much college basketball inventory on television it’s hard to miss. It’s on seven nights week. Even baseball and it’s 2430 regularly scheduled games takes a few nights off during the season. If you’re going to survive the winter you might as well learn to like college basketball. Why favor college basketball over the NBA? College Basketball is only two 20 minute halves. It’s quick and simple. There are a lot of teams and stories to follow. But mostly, it’s the smack talking border skirmishes that happened between two passionate fanbases. College Basketball isn’t baseball. But it is appropriate that the College Basketball regular season ends the same day exhibition baseball starts. That is why College Basketball is the crutch that gets me from the Super Bowl to Spring Training.

The picture above was created by my friend James Tyree. Earlier this week he got some of his work mentioned on HardballTalk. He’s a big Royals fan and you can expect more work from him in the future. Check out his graphics blog here

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Ozzie’s Shadow

In sports, music, and entertainment, legends come along every so often that need only a first name. The Babe, Pele, Madonna (or Lady Gaga’s mom as many of my friends commented during the Super Bowl), Usher, Prince, P Diddy/Daddy/Dandy or whatever the latest name is. If we are talking about basketball and I say “MJ”, you immediately know who I am referring to. If we are talking music, and I say “MJ” you know immediately who I mean.

In sports, those one-name figures cast a shadow so large that it takes a long time before it feels right to watch anyone else play “their” position on “their” team. I was flipping through the channels just the other day, and stopped on the Chicago Bulls game for just a few minutes. Derrick Rose is one of the NBA’s best players, no question about it. For me, it still just does not feel right watching a Bulls superstar not named Michael, even though he has not worn a Bulls jersey since 1996.

In Cardinal Nation, there is a larger-than-life player that also walked away from the game in 1996. He also needs only one name to be remembered; of course I am talking about Ozzie. Ozzie (Smith) was Rookie of the Year in 1978, won an astounding 13-straight Gold Gloves from 1980-1992, played in 15 All-Star Games, was runner-up MVP in 1987 despite not hitting one home run, and was eventually voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In what I consider the most telling stat, Ozzie led the team in WAR (wins above replacement) each season from 1983-1995 (check out Derek Goold’s piece for a great read on this). No other Cardinal has led the team in WAR that many consecutive seasons.

*Quick sidenote: Just as a means of showing the effect of inflation and free-agency on the game, Ozzie made $31.5M during his 15 seasons with the Cardinals.

More than incredible stats, he was the face of the Whiteyball era, and provided 15 years of excellent shortstop play that has not been matched since. He was the back-flip to start the game. He was the guy that kept you glued to the TV not knowing just what he might do next. It still does not feel quite right to me watching anyone else play shortstop for the Cardinals. It takes time to fill the shoes of the legend…actually that is not correct…it takes time to be OK with them not being filled. Ozzie’s shadow still looms large.

This article will look briefly at Ozzie’s career, the shortstops since Ozzie, and what we can reasonably expect from the shortstop position this season with Rafael Furcal as the starter.

During Ozzie’s 15 years with the Cardinals, he had 1944 hits, 644 RBIs, 433 SBs, and a .272 BA. He was the perfect offensive spark during the Whiteyball era of manufacuring runs. Let’s take 1995 and 1996 (age 40 and 41 seasons) out of the equation for a minute and look at average production between 1982-1994.

During those years Ozzie averaged the following line per season:

Ozzie Smith 1982-1994

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

521      72     25    4      2        49      32    64   .273

While these are good offensive numbers, he would not be a Hall-of-Famer simply based on this offensive production alone.

Average WAR 1982-94: 4.42      Total WAR 1982-94: 57.5

WAR by Season

1982: 4.0   1983: 3.0   1984: 4.4   1985: 5.7   1986: 5.3   1987: 7.1   1988: 5.5   1989: 6.3   1990: 2.8   1991: 4.7   1992: 4.3

1993: 2.5   1994: 1.9

WAR factors in defensive play (runs saved above replacement level), and Ozzie’s D was a huge factor in his outstanding WAR levels during his Cardinal years. Only once since he retired has a Cardinal shortstop (Edgar Renteria 2003) had a season WAR higher than Ozzie’s average WAR as a Cardinal. No Cardinal shortstop has topped his season total of 7.1 in 1987. That is impressive.

Here are the season averages for shortstops post-Ozzie. If they were the primary starter all year, only their stats will be measured. If multiple players started a significant number of games, their numbers will be combined for the year(s) being measured. All stat lines are an average per season of the year(s) measured.

Royce Clayton 1997

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

576     75      39    5      9         61     30   33   .266

WAR: 2.6

Royce Clayton, Luis Ordaz, David Howard 1998

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

546      83      25    2      6        49     21    64   .214

WAR: -1.5

Edgar Renteria 1999-2004

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

560      83      35    2     12      75      25   51   .290

Average WAR 1999-2004: 3.0      Total WAR 1999-2004: 18

WAR by Season

1999: 1.4   2000: 2.2   2001: 1.2   2002: 4.2   2003: 6.5   2004: 2.5

David Eckstein 2005-2006

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

565      79      22    4     5         42     9      43    .293

Average WAR 2005-2006: 3.2      Total WAR 2005-2006: 6.4

WAR by Season

2005: 4.2   2006: 2.2

David Eckstein, Brendan Ryan 2007

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

614      88      32     0     7        43      17   39   .302

WAR: 3.2

Cesar Izturis, Brendan Ryan 2008

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

611       80     19     3      1        34      31   45    .264

WAR: 1.8

Brendan Ryan, Julio Lugo, Tyler Greene 2009

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

646       88     33     11    7       57     23   45    .277

WAR: 3.9

Brendan Ryan, Tyler Greene 2010

AB        R       2B    3B   HR    RBI    SB   BB   Avg

543     64     24     3      3         46     22   46    .223

WAR: 1.4

Ryan Theriot, Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, Rafael Furcal 2011

2011 saw each of these four guys start at shortstop at some point. Everyone but Descalso saw significant playing time at another infield position so short of going through 162 box scores, there is no easy way to split out production from shortstop position for 162 games. For the sake of this article, we will look at the WAR totals for each of the four players that manned the position at some point

Theriot 2011 WAR: 0.00    NIck Punto 2011 WAR: 1.5   Descalso 2011 WAR: 1.2   Furcal 2011 WAR: 1.4

The numbers above show the Cardinals have not received anywhere near the production at shortstop they had during the Ozzie years. Save a couple of Renteria’s seasons and one of Eckstein’s, the Cardinals shortstops have produced at average to below-average levels.

Cardinal fans hope that changes in 2012. Reversing that trend falls on the shoulders of Rafael Furcal. He will have the opportunity to be the everyday shortstop this season, and gives the Cardinals a prototypical leader hitter they have not had in a number of years.

While Furcal will certainly not be Ozzie this year (age 34 season), he does provide hope for good, consistent play that is long overdue at shortstop. If he can stay healthy and approach career norms, he could give the Cardinals better production at the position than they have since 2003. Going back to Furcal’s rookie season of 2000, he has posted the following WAR totals in seasons where he has been healthy:

2000: 3.6   2002: 2.1   2003: 4.9   2004: 2.6   2005: 5.9   2006: 3.0   2007:  1.3   2009: 2.4   2010:  3.8  

A return to 2010 production would exceed the average of the Renteria, Eckstein, and Clayton years. A return to 2005 production, while very unlikely at age 34, would be the best season for a Cardinal shortstop since 2003 and 1989 before that.

Ozzie’s shadow still looms large over the Cardinal shortstop position. He was a once-in-a-generation shortstop. We may never see another like him wear the birds on the bat. But there is hope at shortstop for the 2012 season. There is also a kid by the name of Ryan Jackson that will be at Memphis this year. He is pretty darn good, and will have his chance to be the shortstop of the future. Ozzie’s shoes can never be filled. Furcal and Jackson, however, could be a significant upgrade over what the Cardinals have seen for the last 15 seasons.

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Our Season Is Almost Here!

It is Super Bowl Sunday.  This year on I-70 we will mark the end of the football season, which is subsequently the beginning of the baseball season, with guest posts from various writers.  The writers will provided with one subject to write about: Why Baseball Is Better Than Football.

What follows is from Rob Harris of Blue Batting Helmet.

Today there’s snow on the ground, and the air is cold. Winter is a tolerable season, but hardly much more than that for me.

I can understand why football fans love this time of year. There’s the NFL playoffs, topped off by the Super Bowl and all of the hype that surrounds it. Football is certainly king on this day, just as it is on Super Sunday every year. And this year’s marquee matchup of Brady vs. Eli Manning makes the drama that much more compelling.

Right now, at the end of all this buildup, there is exactly 60 minutes of play left in the entire football season. No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime, and it probably won’t happen this year, either. But baseball–on the other hand–is just about to awaken from its offseason hibernation.

Spring is the annual time of rebirth, for nature and for baseball, and it will be here before we know it. Football fans, however, will soon have a long offseason ahead of them. I know whose shoes I’d rather be in tomorrow.

I can sum up why baseball is better than football in three words: “Who’s On First”
–David Henderson

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