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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Seeing Chris Carpenter At His Best Again? I’d Go Back

During these winter days where spring training is still on the horizon and regular baseball is months away, thinking and dreaming about baseball is the way to get through. Which is why the January project for the United Cardinal Bloggers was definitely well-timed.

cc2009The topic was actually one I suggested: if you could attend any game in Cardinals history, what would it be? And it’s something I wrote about last January, choosing Game Seven of the 1926 World Series. That would still be my top choice of any game, for all the reasons I stated last year. So, for the UCB project, a caveat: if I could attend any regular-season game in Cardinals history, which one would it be?

Still so many options. The double-header where Stan Musial hit five homers, or the game where he had hit No. 3,000 at Wrigley Field. Bob Gibson’s no-hitter. One I really thought about choosing: Sept. 8, 1998, where Mark McGwire hit homer 62. And then I had a different idea: what about going back to a game I’d attended, just with today’s knowledge and insight? A serious contender was April 5, 2000 — my first game at Busch Stadium since I was in high school (then a Cubs fan) and the one that sealed my decision that becoming a Cards fan was absolutely the way to go. The Cardinals won 10-4, Jim Edmonds hit his first Cardinals homer, Rick Ankiel pitched two innings in relief since his first start of the year was still several games away and he hit a triple that had the entirety of old Busch, minus my Mom and the other Cubs fans, giddy.

Then I realized the obvious selection: Sept. 7, 2009, Labor Day at Miller Park. My first-ever time seeing Chris Carpenter pitch in person — and it was an absolutely stellar game.

At the time, the Cardinals had a commanding 11 1/2 game lead in the National League Central. Carpenter was in the midst of an incredible comeback season, entering the game with a 15-3 record and 2.28 ERA after having pitched just one game in 2007 and four in 2008 after undergoing two surgeries. He’d be named Comeback Player of the Year and finish second in Cy Young voting. (Damn you, Timmy Lincecum.) Continue reading

A First Coming Up In Pittsburgh This Weekend

Ah, Pittsburgh … and here the Cardinals are, back there again.

PNC Park - Sept. 1, 2013

PNC Park – Sept. 1, 2013

We all know PNC Park is beautiful. If you’ve ever been there, you know it’s true and even if you’ve just seen it on television, you can tell also. Plus the FOX Sports Midwest announcers remind us of that fact every single game that’s there.

We’ll be hearing a lot about how beautiful the ballpark is on Sunday, I’m betting, plus a lot about the 2013 Pirates’ success since it’s a monumental game that night: the first-ever broadcast from PNC on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

There’s more on that in the preview below, which is the latest issue of The Bird’s Eye View e-newsletter, produced before each series by a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers — and I wrote this one.

If you don’t yet receive our e-newsletter, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the season.

Birds Eye View HeaderSt. Louis Cardinals (18-17) at Pittsburgh Pirates (14-20)
May 9-11, 2014
PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Okay, who predicted that the Cardinals would be four games behind the Brewers in second place in the National League Central and the Pirates would be 7 1/2 games back in fourth place when the two teams met for the third time of the year and second time at PNC Park? Or even that the Brewers would be in first place on May 9 and tied for the best record in baseball?

Needless to say, the season isn’t off to the kind of start any of us were expecting. (Probably. Someone will no doubt say he or she knew it all along.) The good news: it’s May 9. The Cardinals have played only 35 games. There’s plenty of season left. Continue reading

Stay Informed This Season With The Cardinals Bird’s Eye View

Of course you want to be as knowledgeable as you can about your favorite team. One way that you can guarantee that is by signing up for The Bird’s Eye View e-newsletter.

St_Louis_Cardinals_1998-present_logoProduced by the United Cardinal Bloggers, The Bird’s Eye View will arrive in your in-box before each series throughout the 2014 season — for as long as the 2014 season lasts. (More playoff previews? Another World Series preview? No problem!) With each issue you’ll get a look at the games ahead written by a different blogger, meaning you’ll get a different perspective in that person’s style.

I am one of the contributors again this year, and my first edition of The Bird’s Eye View will be coming soon — for the season’s second series, against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Sign up now so you don’t miss any of the scoops (oops, does Dan McLaughlin have that word trademarked?) on the 2014 Cardinals. If you’ve subscribed in the past, no need to do anything — you’re still a subscriber.

Just the other day, a season preview of The Bird’s Eye View was sent — including the preview below I wrote on the bullpen. (Researching the spring numbers on the bullpen before writing was what led to this, and we can probably answer “no” to that question now. Right?)

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Your Chance To Win “Purpose, Perseverance and Power Arms: The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals”

While sunny images of Cardinals pitchers and catchers and Peter Bourjos definitely make it seem like the 2014 baseball season is actually here, the weather throughout too much of the country tells us winter is still upon us.

71dpIfiVoPL._SL1500_So what better way to make it through more cold, snow and ice than looking back on the wonder that was the 2013 pennant-winning Cardinals season?

The United Cardinal Bloggers have published our fourth annual season recap, “Purpose, Perseverance and Power Arms: The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals.”

And 2013 wasn’t just another year for the Cardinals — it was another deep run into October, all the way through the World Series as they stormed past Pittsburgh and Los Angeles to become National League champs.

From the first days in Jupiter to that last night in Boston and beyond, the United Cardinal Bloggers chronicled and analyzed St. Louis’ season and now are bringing that knowledge to you in this collection. From the season of Shelby Miller to the career of Chris Carpenter, from the MVP-worthy work of Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter to a recap of each postseason series, the UCB prepares you for the upcoming season with a look back at the successful season that we don’t want to forget.

With a foreword from Will Leitch, senior editor at Sports on Earth, Cardinal bloggers from across the Internet present “Purpose, Perseverance and Power Arms” to give you a unique look at the team. It features a variety of work from 17 different bloggers, plus a capsule on every player who wore the Birds on the Bat in 2013. Plus you’ll get an overall look at what’s to come in 2014.

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What Grade Would You Give Mike Matheny For 2013?

As we continue to look back at the 2013 season, one area to review is the job done by Mike Matheny in leading the team. We’re all well aware this was just his second year managing anywhere, and the Cardinals improved on their 2012 NLCS performance to make it to the World Series.

MathenyWith the United Cardinal Bloggers off-season roundtable kicking off today, our question to the group focused on the manager: what letter grade would give Mike Matheny for his job managing the Cardinals throughout 2013, regular season through last Wednesday’s Game Six, and why?

Here are the responses — and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Mark Tomasik, RetroSimba

He gets an A-minus. Just looking at it big-picture, he managed the Cardinals to the National League pennant even though, for most of the season, he lost two starting pitchers (Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia), two closers (Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs) and a starting shortstop (Rafael Furcal). Plus, he lost his RBI leader (Allen Craig) for a month down the stretch.

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Meet The Writers

20130831-161018.jpgThis month’s United Cardinal Bloggers project gave us the chance to get to know not one, but two fellow Cardinals writers via an interview format. Every fan has their own story about falling in love with the game, and every writer has a story about … well, pretty much anything!

So, without further ado, let us introduce you to Mark and Dathan.

Mark Sherrard of Cardinals Fan in Cubs Land

1. When did you first become a Cardinals fan? Was your family into baseball?

I became a Cardinals fan as a result of my dad, who grew up as a Cardinals fan as well. He lived in Clayton, MO for a time when he was growing up and once saw Dizzy Dean pitch against Carl Hubbell. Each summer, our family would make a trip down to St. Louis to catch a game or two (as we got older, we expanded it to a weekend series). Although my dad has passed away and my brother and sister never shared my passion for baseball, its something that my mom and I still share.

2. When did you attend your first game at Busch Stadium? What do you remember most about that game?

I cannot remember if it was my first game, but the first game I remember was a game I saw back in 1979. I was a huge fan of Lou Brock and was sad to hear that he was retiring after the season. So, it was extra special moment for me that he lead off that game with a single, promptly stole second base and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

3. Who was your first favorite Cardinal and why?

Lou Brock was my first favorite, but I didn’t get to see him for long as he retired a few years after I became a fan. My other favorite at that time was Bob Forsch. I was playing little league around that time and loved to pitch. Forsch was the guy I identified the most with at the time. He wasn’t overpowering, but knew how to get guys out.

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Who Would You Choose For a Cardinals Hall of Fame?

The official Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will open as part of Ballpark Village next spring, and construction is moving along nicely. Last month, the United Cardinal Bloggers gave our ideas on what we’d like to see in the museum — our choices are here. This month, we take a look at the five individuals we’d like to see inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Like any election, we had rules to follow. All those who the Cardinals have already honored by retiring their numbers are already included in the Hall of Fame. A player must be retired, or seem to be retired (such as, for example, Scott Rolen). And there’s no limit on service time.

So, with those in place, here, in alphabetical order, are the choices for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Jack clarkJack Clark

By Michael

No player compressed more moments into three years than The Ripper. People don’t remember, but when the Cardinals lost Bruce Sutter as a free agent to Atlanta after the 1984 season, most everyone was predicting them to finish last or well below .500. But when the Cardinals got Jack Clark for pretty much nothing in a trade with the Giants, I knew better. I knew how great Clark was — he was the NL’s Eddie Murray, the most dangerous guy at the plate in the league.

And he proved it in Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS — top of the ninth, Cardinals looking like they’d face Orel Hershisher in Game 7 in LA, two runners on. First pitch, boom.

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What Should Be In The Cardinals Hall Of Fame?

The Cardinals obviously have a long and rich history that deserves to be well represented within its own Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, which will be part of Ballpark Village currently under construction across from Busch Stadium.

In April, those of us in the United Cardinal Bloggers had the opportunity to hear about the plans for the Cardinals Hall of Fame (and Ballpark Village overall) from team president Bill DeWitt. And for our June project, the UCB is creating our own ideas of what we’d like to see in the Hall of Fame and Museum.

Stan's locker

Stan Musial’s locker at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

I’ve been fortunate to visit Cooperstown, N.Y., and the National Baseball Hall of Fame (and I definitely want to go back — too much to absorb in one visit) as well as the previous Cardinals Hall of Fame that was across from Busch Stadium II. Having had the chance to see what was in both of those gave me some ideas, and Tara had some as well.

Here, in no kind of order at all, are a few things we’d like to see in the new Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Audio calls of past great Cardinals moments: Often just hearing a call brings the moment back to life — “Go crazy, folks, go crazy!” So an area where you could select and listen to calls of great moments in Cardinals history from the radio broadcasts would be terrific. Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Harry Caray, even Dizzy Dean if recordings are available — the Cardinals radio broadcasting history is long and historic too, so hearing those voices would be great.

Videos: Obviously there is much that could be represented here — both from regular season and postseason games as well as other unique moments. Clips or an overview from every World Series — even something like this from the 1926 World Series — are a must, of course, and need to include the 11 winners as well as those other ones too. Video highlights of each Cardinals Hall of Famer would be good, and educational too. Even great All-Star game moments from Cardinals, like this one of Stan Musial’s walk-off winner for the National League in 1955. And final outs of no-hitters.

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Hey, That’s Not An Adam Wainwright First Inning

Expectations — we all have them, especially when it comes to St. Louis Cardinals baseball. An Adam Wainwright start? A rematch of the two starters from April 13 (which was one mighty impressive performance by Waino)? Yovani Gallardo and his 1-11 record/6.86 career ERA against the Cards?

UCB_11The expectation was that our first inning for the United Cardinal Bloggers progressive game blog was going to be very simple to write.

The Cards would come out slugging against Gallardo, because that’s what they do. The Brewers would go down one-two-three against Wainwright because that’s what they do.

Baseball. You never can predict it, damn it. (Except when it comes to the Cubs — but that’s for another day.)

Matt Carpenter and his 3-for-7-.429 batting average against Gallardo stepped in to lead off as FOX’s scouting report told us Yovani just needed to forget what team he was pitching against. And, for this inning, he did. Carpenter hit the third pitch directly to center fielder Carlos Gomez — so straight at him that Gomez didn’t even have to move.

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