If We Can’t Watch A Game, Did It Really Happen?

Oh, where to begin with last night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game?

Or should I say alleged game? For all I know, it could have been an elaborate hoax like a modern day version of “The War of the Worlds” since the game was only on the radio for many of us.

And perhaps I wouldn’t have gone to such dramatic lengths to find and keep up with the game were that contest not the one chosen for the annual United Cardinal Bloggers Progressive Game Blog — I had the first inning to recap, so knowing exactly when it started was obviously of prime importance. Here’s more on the UCB progressive blog, plus an intro for the game. This is the eighth year for the project, and the game chosen is traditionally one on FOX that’s available to all the bloggers involved regardless of where they live (since many of us don’t live in St. Louis).

Unfortunately, FOX did not cooperate with the UCB plan in choosing their games and who would see see what in their home market. That was the first glitch, as evidenced by the broadcast schedule from 506Sports.com.


Yes, lots of Cardinal red on that map — much of the U.S. would see the game. But I live in the Quad Cities, which is represented on the map above right on the border of Iowa and Illinois with the QC … in green. Yes, green for Royals and Cubs as my FOX game of the week. Because we didn’t have enough of those teams last Saturday, apparently.

Yet as game time approached, I discovered Mother Nature must be a Cardinals fan — the Royals and Cubs were rained out. Hooray! That had to mean I’d get the Dodgers-Cardinals game, right? There’d be no way I’d end up with the Red Sox-Rangers, not when that was being shown in so few markets.

Then we discovered Mother Nature must really be a Sawx fan, or perhaps a Josh Hamilton fan. Because she made it rain in St. Louis too. Enough that everyone got to see the start of the Sawx-Rangers. Not that I really paid attention …

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My Choices For Top 5 Cardinals Stories of 2014

With 2014 drawing to a close tonight, it’s the perfect time to look back at the year that’s ending — as well as time to close out 2014 with the United Cardinal Bloggers annually December project, the Top 5 Stories of the Year.

It was certainly an interesting Cardinals season. Definite highs, with another division title and fourth consecutive trip to the National League Championship Series, yet also a shocking and devastating low. And, though it doesn’t make my list, a lot of angst and frustration about the team mostly because of Mike Matheny — which I wrote about several times (Hey Cardinals, Are You There? Do You Even Care in early June and This Year’s Cardinals Don’t Do Much For Me after the All-Star break) that culminated in their final game of the season, The “Because Matheny” Season Ends Because of Matheny. (Honestly, I’m getting tense again just looking back at those posts. Maybe it should have been one of my top stories …)

Anyway, here’s a look at my choices, listed chronologically.

1. The debut of Oscar Taveras on May 31

532360868e088.preview-300From that day: “As you’ve no doubt heard by now, since rumors began circulating during last night’s game, the moment every Cardinals fan has been waiting all season for is finally here: Oscar Taveras is coming to the big leagues.”

Then there was the game — the first hit in the second at-bat, which you can see again here. That swing, the raindrops, those cheers, that smile, the curtain call … Such promise right then. So much was written everywhere that my own post was merely a wrap-up with links to those.

The season for Oscar didn’t go as gloriously as that first hit did, though he definitely continued to have a flare for dramatic homers in the few he did hit, and obviously Oscar unfortunately makes my list again. But on May 31, and with that beautiful home run, the anticipation for what could be ahead was tremendous. Continue reading

Cards NLDS Win Is So Much Deja Vu

The Cardinals against Clayton Kershaw — again.

The Cardinals trailing the Dodgers in the seventh inning — again — with Kershaw dominating — again.

Matt Holliday leading off the seventh with a single off Kershaw, followed by Jhonny Peralta singling — again.

A big hit by a Matt to stun Kershaw and the Dodgers and give the Cardinals the lead — again.

In Game Four, however, it was Adams instead of Carpenter — and he launched a no-doubt-about-it-even-Joe-Buck-got-crazy-excited-3-run-bomb into the Cards bullpen (which of course you want to see again and again even though you’re already watched it countless times).


Another classic Cardinals postseason home run, this time from Matt Adams (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huy Mach)

In the ninth inning, Trevor Rosenthal in for the save and makes it interesting — again.

Yet that’s a winner — again!

And a win that’s a division series clincher — again, like in 2013. And 2012. And 2011. Continue reading

Matt Attack! Cardinals Score Four In The First

If you were going to create a perfect Saturday afternoon for baseball, chances are good it would look a lot like St. Louis did yesterday afternoon — bright blue skies, sunshine, temperature of 83 degrees at 3 p.m. on July 19.

collageOf course you’d want a really compelling match-up to go with your perfect afternoon, like two teams battling for the top spot in their respective divisions.

All those elements came together yesterday, with the 54-44 tied-for-first-in-the-NL-West Dodgers and the 53-44 one-game-behind-the-Brewers-in-the-NL-Central Cardinals doing battle. Since it’s a Saturday home game, the Cardinals are wearing their alternate uniforms (which just add to the perfect day ambiance even more).

Plus, to make it even better for people like me who will take any available television option besides Dan McLaughlin on FOX Sports Midwest, the game is being broadcast on FOX Sports 1 with Kenny Albert and Eric Karros announcing — in addition to FOX Midwest with McLaughlin and Tim McCarver.

Oh, and this game just happens to be the United Cardinal Bloggers annual progressive game blog — and I’m leading off the coverage with the first inning.

O happy day! Hopefully, that is …

Yes, the Dodgers and Cardinals are back at it again after Friday night’s 3-2 Cards win in which Matt Holliday drove in all three runs with a double and home run, Kolten Wong scored the two runs Holliday didn’t, Lance Lynn allowed two runs and struck out nine, and the bullpen — Seth Maness, Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal — threw three scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.

In addition to the bright blue sky and sun, the green of the field looks extra vibrant on the FOX 1 telecast — much more than on FOX Midwest, as I had to change the channel and check once I noticed. Hmmmm, guess FOX 1 has some super-duper extra-green camera.

The starting pitchers, Zack Greinke and Joe Kelly, have faced each other before — last October, to be exact, in Games One and Five of the NLCS. Game Five was the last time Kelly faced the Dodgers, while Greinke started against the Cards three weeks ago today in Los Angeles. Here’s to a better performance from Kelly, as he gave up four earned runs that last game and was the losing pitcher, and a worse one from Greinke, who gave up one run, four hits and struck out 10. Continue reading

Finally, Cardinals Baseball Again Starting Tonight

dodgers_logoThe All-Star break seems like it’s been going on forever but, at last, the Cardinals are back in action tonight at Busch Stadium to begin a five-game homestand.

First up: three games against the Dodgers, who haven’t played in St. Louis since last October and the National League Championship Series. While these games don’t have exactly the same magnitude, the Dodgers currently are leading the National League West by just one game over the Giants and the Cardinals are only one game behind the Brewers in the National League Central.

To help prepare you for the series, here’s a preview courtesy of the latest issue of The Bird’s Eye View from the United Cardinal Bloggers, which I wrote. If you don’t yet receive these previews before each series, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the second half of the season.

Birds Eye View Header

Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (52-44)
July 18-20, 2014
Busch Stadium

Let the second half begin! Or, more accurately, let the final 40 percent of the season begin! (That really doesn’t have the same effect, does it?) Regardless of the schedule-related math, the All-Star break is finally over. Time to get back to real baseball that matters, where we don’t have to hear about That Guy Who Plays Shortstop In New York And Is Retiring for a while (although, hey, it’s his final start to the second half of the season tonight!) nor hear the words “pipe shot” anymore. (Hopefully. Thankfully.)

Tonight it’s back to National League baseball at Busch Stadium, where the pitcher bats and these games really do count for something: the Dodgers battle for the top spot in the NL West and the Cardinals fight for the same in the NL Central. Yes, the Dodgers return to St. Louis for the first time since last October’s National League Championship Series for these next three games. Let’s take a look at what’s ahead … Continue reading

A 5-Sentence Summary of Today’s Loss

Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher — he’s won two Cy Young Awards; threw a no-hitter on June 18; plus allowed a grand total of 4 earned runs while striking out 48 and walking 2 this month coming into today.

Cardinals Loss 2The Cardinals offensive struggles are continuing, as they’d scored just 4 runs on 18 hits while striking out 28 times in the first three games in this Dodgers series, so today was going to be a tough challenge anyway.

Yes, the Cards beat Clayton Kershaw twice last October in the National League Championship Series — which mattered not at all today.

Updated Cards totals for the series: losers of 3 of 4 games, 4 runs, 21 hits, 41 strikeouts.

But at least Jorge Rondon finally got to make his MLB debut — third call-up is the charm.

Mariano Rivera, Skip Schumaker and Michael Wacha — Oh My!

What do the just-retired greatest closer of all time, a Cardinal-turned-Dodger-now-turned Red and the Cardinals rookie sensation all have in common? Nothing, it would seem — yet posts we wrote about those three were what you read the most at Aaron Miles’ Fastball in 2013.

12-31 collageAfter looking at our picks for the top five stories of the year yesterday, we close out the year today with a look at the most-read posts. And, as you can already see, it’s certainly not a Cardinals only list — although of course they dominate the list. Just not at the top.

No, our No. 1 post of the year (in terms of readership numbers) is one about the man who is used to ending things instead of starting them, Mariano Rivera. Watching the All-Star Game tribute to Mo on July 16 reminded me of the time my Yankees friend Kat and I went to Busch Stadium in 2005 for the Yankees-Cardinals series. We had the opportunity to see something very few people probably even noticed before that Sunday’s game, which I wrote about in The Tale of Mariano Rivera and The Ball Thrown Out of Busch Stadium. It was a fun, entertaining post — and it ended up in Deadspin (which was a surreal moment, and one I had to capture via screenshot). So lots and lots and lots of people ended up reading about what Mo did that day, and it was by far our most read post of the year.

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Good, Better, Best Of Another Cardinals Classic Game Six

Six is storied number for the St. Louis Cardinals. The retired number of the greatest Cardinal Stan Musial, of course. A serious number, as we all know from the commercials. And October Games Sixes are pretty special as well.

3914_st_louis_cardinals-champion-2013Yes, “Game Six” immediately calls to mind the 2011 World Series — rightly so, as it’s one of the best World Series games in history with the majestic ninth and 10th inning comebacks and walk-off “we will see you tomorrow night!” 11th-inning moment.

But we can’t forget Game Six of the 1985 NLCS — against the Dodgers, no less — was another classic thanks to a ninth-inning game-winning pennant-clinching home run from Jack Clark. Or Jim Edmonds and his 12th-inning walk-off homer in 2004’s NLCS Game Six against the Astros.

Now we have another classic Game Six victory to remember fondly — and no home runs were necessary.

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Cardinals Are National League Champs!

Thats a winner-LGThat’s a National League pennant winner for the St. Louis Cardinals!!!

Yes — for the second time in three seasons, third time in eight seasons, fourth time in 10 seasons and 19th time overall the Cardinals are going to the World Series!

And, after all the national media talk/hype that seemed to dominate these past couple days, it’s what happens on the field that really counts. Which was the Cardinals dominating Clayton Kershaw with a 4-run third in which Michael Wacha batted twice and then scored 5 more in the fifth. Kershaw was charged with seven of the runs in the Cardinals 9-0 victory!

Once again, Michael Wacha was outstanding — allowing just two hits to the Dodgers all night and striking out five. Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal followed Wacha yet again, allowing no hits and striking out three.

Not surprisingly, Michael Wacha was named the NLCS MVP after his two scoreless and amazing performances — yes, the kid drafted last year, just in case you’ve forgotten! (Of course you haven’t!)

And, at last, Carlos Beltran is finally going to the World Series! At the same time, Yadier Molina is going to his fourth! It will be either a rematch of the 2004 World Series against the Red Sox or the 2006 World Series against the Tigers. (Go Detroit!)

What a team! What a ride–oh, wait. That was two years ago. What a team, though, for sure! And look for more on our 2013 National League champs tomorrow!

Clinching A Pennant At Home Would Be Better Anyway

There is a bright side about yesterday’s Game Five loss. Now the Cardinals can win tomorrow night, at home, in front of the Busch Stadium fans and enjoy.

At least that’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself.

Becaus      e while regular season losses are bad and October losses are even worse, NLCS losses when a win would clinch the pennant are awful. Horrible. Dreadful. And any other similar word you can think of.

Because, as you might remember and have heard over and over (and will continue to hear over and over from the sports media until the team wins tomorrow night), we’ve been in this situation before — up a particular number of games (I don’t even want to go into it) and then, um, not winning again.

Yesterday’s 6-4 loss to the Dodgers was painful, although the Cards absolutely showed some encouraging, play-a-hard-nine, never-give-up spark in the ninth inning. Which was awesome — until Adron Chambers stepped in to pinch hit.

Why him?

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