20 Questions With Baby Bird Jeremy Schaffer

This week’s 20 questions is with Chiefs’ 1st baseman Jeremy Schaffer. Jeremy played 75 games for the Chiefs in 2013.

Jeremy Schaffer (@jschaff8)

schaffer (2)1. How did you get started in baseball?

I always loved baseball since I was a kid a played a lot of it with encouragement from my parents.

2. Who was your biggest influence growing up?

Both of my parents, they have always been there for me.

3. When/how did you decide you wanted to pursue this career?

I realized in high school that it was a possibility so I just went for it from there.

4. How did you react when your dream of playing pro baseball was first achieved?

Excited and overwhelmed because it’s something you work so hard for.

5. What do you remember from your first professional game?

I started off 0-2 and then got my first base hit against the Greenville Astros in Johnson City. Continue reading

20 Questions With A Baby Bird

It’s no secret that Cardinals’ success has come in large part to the development of the minor league system. Near the end of the regular season, Tara Wellman (with the help of the Peoria Chiefs’ staff) had a chance to get to know some of those minor league players, Q & A style. We’ll be posting those interviews over the next several weeks.

20 Questions with CF Charlie Tilson (@tilson4)

  1. How did you get started in baseball?Tilson

    1. Playing wiffle ball in the backyard with my brother and friends

  2. Who was your biggest influence growing up?

    1. My older brother. He was into baseball and we are around the same age so we spent a lot of time together as kids and still are very close.

  3. When/how did you decide you wanted to pursue this career?

    1. I knew as a little kid that I wanted to play baseball.

  4. How did you react when your dream of playing pro baseball was first achieved?

    1. There were a lot of hugs; it was a great family moment and celebration.

  5. What do you remember from your first professional game?

    1. It was a very eye-opening experience

  6. What has been your favorite moment in baseball (professional or otherwise)?

    1. Winning the State Championship with my high school team in 2009.

  7. Who is your biggest fan?

    1. My father Continue reading

Catching Up With The Cardinals: December Edition

If you’re like me, the quietness of the Cardinals’ offseason combined with the business of the holiday season lends itself to feeling out of the loop.

No worries! Let’s catch up on the latest news together, shall we?

saint_louis_cardinals_logoThe biggest story this week is one that ended without actually ending. The Cardinals appeared to be all set to finalize the purchase of the Memphis Redbirds, as announced in mid-November. With John Mozeliak in attendance at last night’s City Council meeting, the plan was to finish up the details and obtain the council’s approval.

That plan hit a snag when the council members began arguing they hadn’t had sufficient time to review the changes to the plan or the Xs and Os of how it would/could all work.

With a Dec. 31 deadline to complete the purchase, the timeline grows tighter and tighter with each delay, this time until the council reconvenes on Monday. Continue reading

Say It Ain’t So! So Long Freese

That collective gasp you heard Friday afternoon was reaction to the highly anticipated news that 2011 World Series MVP David Freese was traded.

Freese was traded to the LA Angels of Anaheim … or whatever they go by now … along with disappointing reliever Fernando Salas for OFer Peter Bourjos and minor league prospect, OF Randal Grichuk.

As much as I love Freese, I think the Cardinals got the best end of this deal. A top prospect  in Grichuk and a speedy, good hitting, young outfielder in Bourjos. Freese gets a fresh start. And he gets to be teammates with that one guy that used to play first base for the Cardinals. What’s his name! And Salas. Yeah. He gets a clean slate with a new team.

Now to say good bye to him, I will share a few of my favorite pictures of Freese!

Freese

Freese Continue reading

A New Deal: Matheny Earns 3 More Years

As usual, when the Cardinals announce a “baseball operations” press conference, the rumor mill starts churning.

Chris Carpenter’s retiring? Matt Carpenter’s extension? The finalization of the purchase of the triple A team? The first off season trade?

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Well, sort of.

Chris Carpenter is retiring. But, that was the secondary announcement of the presser.

photoThe spotlight story was Mike Matheny, not Matt Carpenter, getting a three-year extension.

Bill DeWitt Jr. introduced the new deal by reiterating his belief that the best way to operate and maintain a franchise is to retain the “core pieces” of its success. Matheny, both he and John Mozeliak said, is an integral part of that success.

“Why now?” Mo said, anticipating the question before it was asked. The answer was simple: the organization knows now that they want Matheny for the long haul. There’s no sense in dragging out the inevitable or – more importantly – letting it be a distraction during the 2014 season. Continue reading

MVP: Making The Case For Molina

Tonight and tomorrow, the Baseball Writers Association of America will be able to announce the winners of the two most prestigious post-season awards, and the Cardinals are well represented in both categories. Though Adam Wainwright is not expected to win the Cy Young Award (Clayton Kershaw seems to have it all but locked up), the battle for MVP is developing into quite the hot topic.

DSC_0332Most “experts” seem to believe Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, who led his team to its first winning season in over 20 years, will land at the top of the ballots. An award that generally follows the path the numbers create favors the center fielder whose .317 average in 583 at bats, complete with 97 runs, 21 homers, 84 RBI, 27 stolen bases, an 8.2 WAR (not to mention his fielding percentage, runs saved, etc.) — especially as a center fielder — make him an easy favorite.

Now, I know my perspective is dripping in bias, but I don’t think it has to be in order to make a convincing argument in favor of Yadier Molina. It does, though, require a willingness to look beyond just the numbers to what “value” really means. Continue reading

One Week Later – Time To Reflect

A week ago this morning, the butterflies were already building. I was nervous. The reality of winning two games in Boston with the Red Sox on the verge of a history-making win seemed slim. But hoping beyond reasonable hope is what sports fans do. Michael Wacha gave the Cardinals as good a chance as any, and the law of averages seemed to imply that the offense was “due,” as they say.

It could happen. Crazier things had.

That was then.

looking backNow, I’m finding it gradually easier to look back. Just as fans hold out hope until the bitter end, they also feel the hurt when the fairytale ends. It’s not technically our loss, but it stings like it is. Our summer is invested in the success or failure of our team; we inhale and exhale — quite literally! —  based on what our players do; attitudes and emotions can be swayed because our team is up … or down.

As I watched Game 6, as our team’s World Series hopes slipped further and further out of reach, I said aloud to my dad, “Sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much.”

Admittedly, I have a tendency to care too deeply about pretty much everything. Cardinals baseball is no exception. When they’re up, I’m up. When they’re down, I’m down. When they are confident (a la Adam Wainwright’s comments before heading back to Boston), I can be confident. When they’re disappointed, I’m devastated.  Continue reading

So, This Is It.

Fenway awaits. Bring it on, Boston.

Fenway awaits. Bring it on, Boston.

“It starts with Game 6…” Adam Wainwright said, after predicting a “legendary” comeback for his Cardinals.

The team ace and Game 5 starter was certainly not satisfied with his performance in the final game at Busch Stadium. He knew that his leadership could have shifted the series in favor of the Birds. Instead, the offense that has been sputtering came nearly to a stop. (Kind of like the plane the team sat on for roughly six hours yesterday awaiting their takeoff to Boston…)

And with that, it all comes down to this.

…no pressure or anything, guys.

As a Cardinals fan, October baseball is almost expected these days. As a baseball fan, it’s never taken for granted. Continue reading

Nightmare Game One Sets Cards Against The Odds

alexanderYuck.

Last night was a “Murphy’s Law” kind of night — not what the Cardinals wanted (or expected) in Game 1 of the World Series.

It was ugly all around. Adam Wainwright struggled as much as Waino ever does. Pete Kozma — in the game for his defensive abilities — had a pair of mistakes through two innings (one of which ended up in an overturned call at second base), and Shane Robinson bobbled a ball that resulted in three early runs.  Waino and Yadier Molina reinacted Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran’s lack of communication from the NLCS, watching a pop up drop between them. Beltran made a sensational leaping catch to rob Big Papi of a grand slam in the second inning, only to leave the game with a rib contusion from slamming into the low outfield wall.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, David Freese played the opposite of World Series hero and bounced right into an inning-ending double play. The next inning, with runners at second and third with two away, it should have been Beltran’s at bat. Instead, it was Jon Jay who, despite coming up with some big hits before, wasn’t a likely hero against lefty Jon Lester.

Oh yeah. They were facing a lefty, too. Continue reading

Twas The Morn Of Game One

2013 WSTwas the morn of Game One, when all through the land
Every creature was scurrying ’round, every fan.
The schedule was cleared for that evening with care,
With hopes of a Cardinals win finding them there.

The ballpark sat ready, all quiet and snug,
But, soon it’d be roaring with noise from above.
Ringing through Fenway, from foul pole to foul pole
As 40,000 strong cheered loudly, with one goal.

For Boston or St. Lou, the die-hards would clatter,
Two cities alike, two rich histories that matter
Because, as they worked for a trophy, a ring,
They played for those lost, who could no longer sing.

A summer of victories, some home, some away,
Had led both the Sox and the Cards to this day.
As the hour crept closer, the sun fading fast,
The mission grew clearer, each knowing their task.

With Wainwright and Lester, the battle begins
Strikes early and often will help their team win.
Matheny will watch from his perch on the step,
Carefully planning which move he’ll try next.

Now Waino! Now Yadi! Now, Beltran, and Adams!
On David! On, Matt-squared! On, Jay, Pete and Allen!
To the top of the Monster! To the top of the wall!
Now smash away, mash away, bash that baseball!

Two teams that reflect one another’s best traits
Two fan bases ready to jump, shout and pace.
Since 2004 this reunion’s been wanted.
Revenge for the Birds, from the series that’s haunted.

The butterflies flutter, the energy builds
The team that we love soon will take to the field.
It’s this that they’ve worked for. It’s now that they can
Set the stage, stake their claim, finish the plan.

It’s the best time of year, it’s the autumnal classic
And baseball’s best teams hope for October magic.
With a chorus as one, clad in red fans will call,
“Let the series begin! Let’s go now! Let’s PLAY BALL!”

Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on twitter @tarawellman.

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