There’s been a lot of talk about this year’s voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame among the baseball media. Perhaps you’ve noticed?
This year’s ballot was the first to include recent players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa, and it seemed like practically every member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America felt the need to pontificate on steroids and why/why not a certain player would/would not receive a vote.
This year’s list of 50 includes several former Cardinals — Mark McGwire, of course, as well as Ken Boyer, Will Clark (his brief Cardinals career is even mentioned), Keith Hernandez, Jim Kaat, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre as a player and Larry Walker.
The full list is interesting, with a top five of Tim Raines, first-timer Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Alan Trammell.
We all knew it was coming. In fact, most people agreed it was a fair deal for both parties. If the Cardinals and Skip Schumaker could both be helped by a trade …
That doesn’t make the reality easier to grasp. I know, I’m looking at it through the emotions of a Cardinals fan who grows to love every guy that wears the uniform. Especially one like Skip who plays the game the right way, works hard, does whatever he’s asked, strengthens the clubhouse resolve and unity, and makes a difference in the community.
Baseball is a business, yes, but one that inevitably toys with the emotions. This prospective deal has been on the table since the end of the season, really. Where did Skip fit into the 2013 blueprint? Any way you slice it, he hardly fit at all. So when I saw the internet buzzing last night with the news that, pending a physical today, Skip Schumaker will be heading to LA and sporting Dodger blue, it was an odd thing to try to handle.
Schumaker has spent his entire nine-year career in St. Louis. He’s been present for two World Series victories, and five total playoff runs. There was, perhaps, no bigger moment for Skip than the RBI double that scored Rafael Furcal to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Yes, that game. That season. That at-bat. Ten pitches, and the biggest hit of his life? Probably.
It’s that kind of memory that makes it hard to let Schumaker go. But, his place with the Cardinals was limited. And even as a backup at second base and center field, he’ll likely see more playing time with the Dodgers. That’s all he wanted when his manager approached John Mozeliak about a potential trade. He didn’t want out of St. Louis, necessarily. He just wanted on to the field.
He appears to be getting more than that, though. This move will be a homecoming of sorts for the Schumakers, as Skip is from Southern California. Plus, Mark McGwire is there. Long-time friends, Schumaker and McGwire have worked together for years. If you’re going to have a new team, it’s definitely a plus to have a familiar face along for the ride. » Continue reading “SoCal Bound — Schumaker Traded To LA”
From Joe Strauss and Derrick Goold in the Post-Dispatch:
Though the Cardinals withheld comment Friday, McGwire notified numerous players and members of the club’s baseball operations of a pending announcement as well as his appreciation for the time spent as hitting coach in St. Louis.
The club extended McGwire the opportunity to return, but the geography and family ties led him to pursue an opportunity on Dodgers manager Don Mattingly’s staff.
Strauss further reports, in the way only Joe Strauss can, that the Cardinals “may also announce assistant hitting coach John Mabry’s promotion as McGwire’s replacement” on Monday when they “are expected to confirm” that Blaise Isley will be promoted from pitching coach at Triple A Memphis to Cardinals bullpen coach.
With baseball’s off-season officially here, one way to fill the 100-plus days remaining until pitchers and catchers report for spring training in February is looking back at the just-completed season. (Another way is to look ahead to 2013, which we’ll also be doing plenty of in the days ahead.)
What one Cardinal surprised you the most in 2012 — player, manager, coach, GM, whichever one you choose?
So, it’s Monday. We’re still happy about the sweep of the Royals and that the Cards are only two back in the NL Central. What better way to celebrate than with more pictures?
And, since we obviously like alliteration — as you can tell from all the Matheny Monday posts — we’ll stick with the theme, though take a break from our manager for today. (What? Pictures of him have been everywhere lately — last Monday’s post, last week’s Monday Morning Motivation, this week’s Designated Hotter, all those dugout shots …) Instead, some of our other favorite Cardinal M’s, starting with Mr. Molina, obviously, but also taking a trip down memory lane.
NOTE: MLB Fan Cave finalist Kelsey Shea Weinrich spent yesterday in Jupiter, Fla., and shares the story of her day with us. Voting for the Fan Cave ends tomorrow – vote for Kelsey here.
By Kelsey Shea Weinrich
On Monday morning, I awoke with the giddiness of a kid on Christmas morning … except for one small detail. My stomach was in knots. What on earth was I going to say? How was I going to play it cool around these guys?
I had been attempting to mentally prepare for the past 48 hours, but you just can’t prepare yourself to meet the people who’ve been running bases in your mind for the past few years – and a heck of a lot longer if you consider the entire history of the Cardinals organization.
When I arrived at the gate to Roger Dean Stadium, Spring Training home of the St. Louis Cardinals, I almost couldn’t go in. I was too star struck by the whole situation! So … I went home …
Did I get you? Of course I didn’t go home!
I walked inside, legs trembling, found Rene Knott from KSDK, and got that golden ticket – that press pass – he had promised me! It was beautiful.
I had been fortunate enough to get a small preview of what was to come two days prior when Rene allowed me inside for a few minutes. I had a very fun conversation with Jason Motte and was even introduced to who we hope will be the man of the year. That’s right, Adam Wainwright! As if that wasn’t enough …
As St. Louis Cardinals fans, we obviously love our team … on Valentine’s Day and every other day too. And those of us who are bloggers especially love the Cardinals — we willingly spend our free time watching, thinking, writing, tweeting and writing even more about them.
So, with our question for the latest United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable falling today, we couldn’t resist a question focusing on this holiday.
Our question for our blogging cohorts: what one Cardinal, past or present, would you send a Valentine to this year and why?
My first response to this question was Willie McGee. I really wish McGee was more a part of this organization, and if my Valentine could move him to do that, then I’d send it to him. I love you, Willie!!!
Given that my plan probably wouldn’t work, I’d send my Valentine to John Tudor. He was inspirational to me in 1985. I was learning to pitch at the time (rather than just throw),and Tudor was my major influence. Watching him work that year was like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistene Chapel. In my mind, it’s the single best Cardinal pitching performance in my lifetime (just missed Gibby).
Besides that, Tudor was a true competitor who was humble and self-deprecating. I just love the guy and always will.
You can list them without even thinking about it — those indelible plays that immediately come to mind when someone asks about great moments in St. Louis Cardinals history. You even remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when they happened.
That’s exactly what the January project of the United Cardinal Bloggers is: to name our choices for the top five iconic Cardinals moments. It didn’t require much thought to determine them, nor any discussion, although there are certainly more we could have listed. But, five was the rule.
So here’s this week’s Friday Five, presented in chronological order. 1. “Go crazy, folks, go crazy!”
Game five of the 1985 NLCS on Oct. 14, Dodgers vs. Cardinals at Busch Stadium, series tied at two games, score tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth …
We all know what happened next. Ozzie Smith stepped to the plate. The count ran to 1-2. Ozzie swung, the ball went flying and then came the famous Jack Buck call: “Go crazy, folks, go crazy!”
That was a winner — a very famous walk-off winner.
Only I didn’t enjoy it at the time. No, I was a (misguided) Cubs fan back then so was rooting for the Dodgers while watching the game in my college dorm room. And probably said a bad word or two about Ozzie …
You can see the mischief on those faces! (Photo credit: Dave Bug via Flickr)
All year long, we see our team’s baseball players as they push toward a common goal — a World Series title. We watch for news of business transactions, cross our fingers for healthy spring training workouts, cheer, critique, and occasionally complain through the season’s twists and turns. Ultimately, we expect them to take everything they are to another level, including their professionalism and character.
But, we rarely get to see their personalities. When we see them, they’re all business. Yet, they all have some kind of life outside the clubhouse (… or even in it, as you’ll see!), right?
Right. As evidenced by this video. It’s dated Spring Training 2010, so you’ll quickly see faces who are no longer with the team. In fact, the premiere camera man is none other than Brendan Ryan.
He and BFFs Joe Mather and David Freese (with cameos from Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Jason Motte, Adam Wainwright, Ryan Ludwick, and Mark McGwire, among others) shared some of their ST adventures that year with Fox Sports Midwest. Just this week, though, the “series” made its way to YouTube.
The gang had their share of fun when they weren’t busy practicing. They invented a new game, stopped to check on some wildlife, interviewed Ryan Ludwick, ambushed Adam Wainwright on live TV, got caught in the pouring rain … they did it all. It makes you wonder how goofy guys get in Florida in February!
And to stumble across it in January (even two seasons later!) is a good way to spend too much time on YouTube. But yet, it’s so worth it for the chance to see their real personalities.
Here are some highlights.
Fun, right? But really, go watch them all! They crack themselves up with their shenanigans, and it’s hard not to laugh along! As we wait for the new season to begin (38 days and some change!), it’s nice to just sit back and watch our put-together, professional athletes just be “the guys.”
You know what they say, boys will be boys!
Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.
Long time Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa will be back in town this weekend for Winter Warm-up as well as an event he and broadcaster Bob Costas will headline at the Peabody Opera House that includes TLR’s annual variety show and a special event called “World Series 2011: A Champ’s Perspective.”
“The event will feature quite a bit of nuts-and-bolts baseball talk, and that has La Russa especially enthused. He’s looking forward to breaking down the tactics and strategies that went into many of the key moments of the Cardinals’ charge to the postseason and run to the world title.”
Here’s a little more on the event from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.
* The guys at the Post-Dispatch are pondering what a full season with a healthy David Freese could bring. I don’t know… maybe some more of this! That never gets old! Here’s the ponderings!
* With 20-percent or 112 votes, Mark McGwire missed the Hall of Fame again this year. Big congratulations are in order for great Reds SS Barry Larkin for getting in on his third ballot with 86-percent or 495 votes. Here’s more on that from SBNation St. Louis.
* Ryan Madson is another pitcher the Cardinals are rumored to be looking at for relief. Really don’t know how to feel about this … the guy was looking for Johnathan Papelbon money. We’re talking multiple years and around $50 million. But with all the money flying around this off-season, the market for closers seems to have crashed a little.
What’s that mean? That means he’s in the Cards price range. Bet you are giving a big cheer to those prospects, huh! He’s going to be happy to be taking less than expected AND he won’t be taking Jason Motte’s job as The Closer? Oh well, that’s just another one of the many wait and see things we have to look forward to this season! Here’s more from NBCSports.com on Madson.
Miranda Remaklus is lead St. Louis Cardinals contributor to Aaron Miles’ Fastball. She’s also senior reporter at Aerys Offsides in the NFL section. Follow her on Twitter, @missmiranda.