Goodbye, Joe Kelly – A Look Back At His 2013 Season

Change — it’s never easy, yet so often in baseball, it’s necessary. Change was definitely necessary for the 2014 Cardinals with the way this season has gone, and I found myself agreeing with Joe Strauss’s use of the words “complacency and entitlement” at the end of his column today.

So, John Mozeliak made changes. Welcome, John Lackey, and goodbye to Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Allen and Joe are great guys, obviously, who’ve done much for the Cardinals and were definite favorites — I’ve watched Joe since his days with the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2010. But, as fans, we’ll always have our many memories. Here’s a look back to some of those Joe memories in an article I wrote for the 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers publication (still available for only $2.99 at Amazon).

Joe Kelly: Team Clown, Yet Serious On The Mound

Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Joe Kelly?

Is it the post-National Anthem standoff with Scott VanSlyke just before Game Six of the National League Championship Series that garnered him plenty of national attention?

Or the ever-popular gif of his dance moves in the outfield during batting practice?

joe-fox-midwestMaybe the video bomb of him doing the worm behind Shelby Miller’s interview with Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest? The photobombs in the Fox Sports Midwest girls pictures?

Perhaps the letter from his childhood that surfaced this summer, which Joe entertainingly discussed on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” during the World Series — the letter in which he predicted he’d be a pitcher when he grew up … and a handsome boy?

Possibly that time he donned an old man mask and interviewed Nelly?

Of course it actually could be his pitching that comes to mind, especially the way Kelly was such a stopper for a stretch midway through the season when he became part of the rotation in early July after losing out to Shelby Miller during a spring training battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Because, obviously, were it not for his pitching, we wouldn’t know about Joe Kelly The Entertainer at all.

Joe Kelly The Pitcher does take things seriously when he’s on the mound. At least he appears to take it seriously. No funny faces, no winks to the camera. Just throwing, and throwing hard, with a fastball that averaged 95 mph. And his final numbers for 2013 reflect the seriousness. Continue reading

Choosing My New Favorite Cardinal

Everyone has a favorite player, right? That’s part of the enjoyment of watching the Cardinals or any sports team you like, keeping up with the individual accomplishments of your guy along with the team overall.

collage3-3As time passes and seasons go on, however, your favorite eventually, and unfortunately, goes on also — to retirement, to another team. And then what?

That’s where I’ve found myself with the official retirement of Chris Carpenter. Ever since I saw him standing in the dugout before a game at old Busch Stadium in 2004, he was my guy … and I was never shy about stating that. And even though he didn’t pitch much after Game Seven of the 2011 World Series, he remained my favorite Cardinal. Sure, there were others I enjoyed watching during those 10 seasons — outfielder Rick Ankiel and Lance Berkman — and enjoy now, like Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal. Peter Bourjos and his high socks are making a strong first impression too. But no one whose jersey I’d buy (especially since my Chris Carpenter jersey is still in fine shape, thank you).

Yet I’ve found one now. And, not surprisingly, he’s a pitcher.

I’ve always admired pitchers. Not that any player on a big league roster isn’t worthy of admiration just for making it to that level, but the way a pitcher — good or bad — controls a game is just something I find appealing.

Michael Wacha obviously can control a game quite well, as everyone discovered last season. Easy choice for a new favorite, right?

Continue reading