A New Appreciation of Baseball’s Family Ties

Most of us love baseball because of a family connection — our dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, uncle, aunt or cousin sparked our interest in the game as kids in some way, then that interest took hold and grew. For me, there are several family members: my Grandpa who taught me to play catch, my Dad who taught me to keep score and, later, my Uncle Jim who taught me about the Cardinals and their history.

For Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, it was his grandma.

jose fernandezI will readily admit to not knowing much beyond the basics about Fernandez — his terrific stats during this rookie season, sure (especially since I picked him up for my fantasy baseball team early on), his age and that he’s Cuban. Plus I knew how he did against the Cardinals this season: he won one game (the first of the Marlins three-game June sweep in Miami) where he struck out 10, and lost at Busch Stadium as Matt Holliday homered and stole second in a rundown as Carlos Beltran stole home. Beyond that, though, there is only so much baseball I have time to keep up with, and the Cardinals rookie pitchers were my priority.

So, last week, when I heard the story of Fernandez’s surprise reunion with his grandma the day before he was named National League Rookie of the Year, I was incredibly touched. Take a look at the photo above — even that tells you at least part of the story.

Continue reading

Frustrating Cardinals Weekend Is Just That: A Bad Weekend

Frustrating weekend of St. Louis Cardinals baseball? Absolutely.

Most disappointing series thus far in 2013? Yep.

Discouraging that the consecutive-series-wins streak came at the hands of the — gasp — Miami Marlins? Of course.

The end of the baseball world? Nope.

keep-calm-because-nothing-lasts-forever-3Here are the facts.

The Cardinals, even after losing 2 of 3, still have the best record in MLB at 44-25. They are still atop the National League Central standings and have 2 1/2 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and 3 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even with the starting pitching struggles over the weekend, the Cardinals still maintain the best starter ERA in the majors at 2.97. And, while it’s cutesy and all to refer to the Marlins as a minor league team, truth is they have a winning record in June at 7-6.

(Just as a frame of reference, the other “minor league” team so many love to mock also — the Houston Astros — are 8-7 this month and have won 4 straight.)

And, while not a fact but instead just a trite expression, a baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint.

Continue reading