Just Four More Days …

Ah, April at last! And while a year ago today, we already had an opening day win to savor, we now have 4 more days to wait for this year’s first regular season game. The current No. 4, however, certainly provides us with much to talk about, doesn’t he?

Then again, what is there to say about Yadier Molina that hasn’t been written here before? There’s been a love letter, there have been not just one, but two “Molina Monday” posts, he was our BAMF for the 2012 season¬†(and, though unwritten, for 2013 and 2014 — and probably 2015 too), click the link in the first paragraph to read about his heroics last March 31 against the Reds … he’s likely the most written about Cardinal in AMF’s four-plus year history.

And why not?¬†Yadi is the heart and soul of the Cardinals team, taking charge when he’s on the field and, just as likely, when he’s at the plate. What Cardinal fan doesn’t love him?

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He’s also rather svelte this spring too. (You can probably get a smaller size uniform pants now, Yadi …)

4-1We’ve watched him in action many times during games, taking that walk to the mound to calm and console a pitcher. It certainly appears to be a role he takes seriously — even during spring training, as the photo from this spring with now-fifth-starter Carlos Martinez shows. Continue reading

Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Chris Carpenter Edition

What was expected was made official yesterday afternoon, with the announcement of Chris Carpenter’s retirement. Even though we haven’t seen him pitch on a big league mound since October 2012 and attempt to pitch anywhere since July when he was in Memphis, it’s still a sad day.

CC-2But we all knew it was coming — probably no one as much as Chris himself.

That’s why it was great to see him with the team this season after his own comeback attempt ended in late July. He was there, on the road and at home, with his watchful gaze focused on his young teammates — here he is in Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, watching Joe Kelly — offering advice and encouragement and likely preparing for a coaching future. And what a crop of kids he had the chance to view up close and mentor this season.

Yet it certainly looked like he was just enjoying being part of a team one last time as a player too.

CC 9-1There were tweets from Derrick Goold and others about him taking grounders in the infield during batting practice. In Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, he was very much interested in just where the hot dogs the Parrot was shooting into the crowd ended up — as you can see here. (Yes, he really was that serious about watching flying hot dogs.) But even that was cool to see. Taking in the experiences, enjoying the moments especially since the Cards didn’t know then it wouldn’t be their last trip to PNC Park for the year. (And, yes, I did watch the game that day … but also obviously spent time watching Chris. How could I not? He was right there.)

Chris Carpenter is no doubt the player we’ve written most about here at AMF, and I already said much in a tribute to him following his ceremonial first pitch before Game Two of the NLDS against the Pirates in October in “On Chris Carpenter, Baseball Moments and Storybook Endings.”

So here’s a look back at some of his Cardinals highlights via pictures (yes, some you’ve seen before … perhaps many times!)

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Your Choice: Who Was The Best Cardinal In June?

Ah, July — a new month, time to leave the mediocrity of a 14-14 June from the Cardinals behind with 81 games of 2013 still ahead.

Yes, we’ve reached the official halfway point of the season, since yesterday was game 81. And a record of 49-32 for the first half is certainly terrific.

June BAMFSecond-best in the majors, as a matter of fact, yet also second-best in the National League Central thanks to the how-do-they-keep-winning-games-like-that Pittsburgh Pirates, who won their second consecutive 2-1 game over the Brewers yesterday for their ninth straight victory and 51st overall.

Still, there’s so much baseball left to be played (plus so much against the Pirates and — let’s not forget about them, the Reds) that it’s going to be an exciting rest of the season. Right?

And despite the disappointment of the Cardinals .500 record last month after such a terrific May, there were some definite standouts throughout the month. Which means it’s time to present our June BAMF award.

But this time, you get to vote — and there are plenty of nominees. In fact, you might just read through all these numbers and wonder “wait, how did they lose 14 games for the month?”

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