With the Cards floundering, fan interest….even the Cards devout fans…..beginning to fray, the team playing some horrendous baseball games in the past 3 weeks, the Cards ownership pulled the trigger on Saturday night….no it wasn’t a Saturday night massacre…but the Cards dumped Mike Matheny.
….after the bad loss to Cincinnati on Saturday….for one of the rare times…watched the post-game interview with Matheny….”we’re not out”, “we have good pieces”, “we have the ability for multiple long runs”… I couldn’t determine if he was delusional, in denial, reading off a mental script, or confused as to which team had won the game…or what…some reasons…
1) Continued “blow out” games……it HAD been another really bad loss….8-2 — seemingly overmatched by the opponent, coming on top of other “stinkers”that the team appear to be inferior to several other teams…11-3 shellacking to Brewers on June 21, the 11-4 beating on June 30 to Atlanta, 13-8 loss to SF on July—close game but very, very poor play
2) Look around at what change can do……maybe it was coincidental…but …Cincinnati…after dumping their manager….has been a vastly improved team over the last month….and in fact…right now…the Cards are closer to Cincy (last place) -5 games than the Cubs in 1st place-7 games away
3) of course….MONEY…..I’ve always thought that the DeWitt’s would only make a “move” if their bulging pocketbook began to feel the impact…..well…last night….and I know it had long rain delays….for the last couple innings, the most striking part of Busch II was the thousands of empty seats. It had been a sellout….most seats probably purchased long ago but the in-game profits….consider this…if a person averages $20/game in concessions (rather modest probably)….45000 fans = $900000 in concession sales for each game…so we’re talking…in general terms of $1m/game on concession sales with either more than 45000 fans or fans spending more than a $20/average. That income was “taking a hit”.
4) Clubhouse environment eroding….the Bud Norris-Jordan Hicks spat….much more on that below… written prior to the scalping
5) Had players lost confidence in his “moves”?….questioning the “when’s” and “why’s”…. when that happens ….you’ve lost the team….could you imagine Cardinal players doing that under TLR?
…I’ll be surprised if Jose Oquendo isn’t named the manager
…I do wonder why the hitting coaches were dumped…..I suspect that the players “couldn’t relate” to them…or maybe viewed as Matheny’s “guys”.
…Whoever assumes the reins to drive this RED wagon is inheriting a roster that plays poor fundamental baseball, bullpen is shallow in quality, defense & base running seem below winning teams standards. …Lucky….I hope so….right after the break the Cards have a plethora of games against the Cubbies…the Cards could reemerge from this hole and pop right back into the race with a strong 2 weeks…or… they could be looking more behind them than in front of them.
Does this sound like an exhibition game in Florida? Starting Pitchers pitch 2-3 innings, new relievers are employed almost each inning…not due to ineffectiveness…. but they’ve done their job. Most starting field players are out of the game by the 4 or 5th inning….they got their work in. Managers seldom use bunts, hit-run, pickoff attempts because it’s not the regular season….the winner of game is saluted but not much more….no one cares an iota about who wins the game….Well….it COULD describe an exhibition game in March but it also describes the current All-Star game to a tee.
The MLB showcase event…the All-Star game… has become an exhibition…..not an actual game. Players and the Manager could really care less who wins the game. The MLB has attempted to bring some significance to the game in a variety of ways….but as time rolls along….it become more and more an exhibition… ….how did we get here?
….back in 1933, it was the idea of several NON-baseball people who “drove the deal”. How did it begin in Chicago? Chicago mayor Edward Kelly …who was leading the drive to make the World’s Fair that was being held in Chicago in 1933 a huge success to help raise the hopes of the common person coming through & out of the depression…wanted to add a major athletic event in conjunction with the World’s Fair. He approached Robert McCormick the publisher of the Chicago Tribune with the idea. McCormick turned it over to the sports editor, Arch Ward. Ward knew that attendance in the MLB had skyrocketed in the 20’s but dropped off severely between1930-33 (depression related no doubt). He wanted to call it the “Game of the Century”! He also recognized that the man who had built baseball, Babe Ruth wouldn’t be around much longer….he had turned 38 in February of 1933..so they had to start this type of thing quickly. He was so sure that it’d be a success that he told McCormick to take any losses out of Ward’s own paycheck. With his boss on board, the Chicago contingent had to convince MLB commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. One of the convincing points …but not the major point….was that all of the money generated would be donated to a charity for retired players, he argued, they could show the country that Major League Baseball was not, as some had suggested, embracing a culture of “decadence” while ordinary Americans suffered financial ruin. Eventually, Landis agreed and it was decided to try this idea in Chicago on July 6, 1933. There were 25 players on each team. As the date approached, Ward wrote one story after another in the Tribune, hyping the game and encouraging the public to participate by voting for the actual teams..yes…fan voting back in 1933!! Ballots were printed in 55 newspapers across the country, and fans cast several hundred thousand votes for their favorite players, with Babe Ruth drawing 100,000 leading the way. In addition to the Bambino, fans elected stars like Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin to AL roster. The NL had Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, Chic Hafey on NL roster. On July 6, 47,595 fans packed into Comiskey Park I, where some of baseball’s most historic moments had taken place. This would be another. The game, which ended in a 4-2 victory by the American League, did not disappoint, thrilling the crowd with its star-studded roster and the drama of excellent baseball players competing at the highest level against each other. Indeed, for many of the players, this was their first chance to meet and compete against some of the players from the other league. Arch Ward’s All-Star Game proved so popular that its organizers held another “midsummer classic” the following year. Since then, it has become an annual fixture of the baseball season, bringing together the sport’s most talented and beloved players every year with the exception of 1945, when it was cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions to compete against each other. You probably won’t recognize too many names…especially National League names….here was the lineup and batting spot for the NL: 1 Pepper Martin-3B 2 Frankie Frisch-2B 3 Chuck Klein- RF 4 Chick Hafey-LF 5 Bill Terry-1B 6 Wally Berger-CF 7 Dick Bartell-SS 8 Jimmie Wilson-C 9 Bill Hallahan-P
The AL batting order (and spot) looked like this:
1 Ben Chapman-LF 2 Charlie Gehringer-2B 3 Babe Ruth RF – fittingly– hit 1st HR –bottom of 3rd inn
4 Lou Gehrig-1B 5 Al Simmons-CF 6 Jimmy Dykes-3B
7 Joe Cronin-SS 8 Rick Ferrell-C 9 Lefty Gomez-P
It’s more going on ever since…but the “battle” for winning the game has taken a major dip.Why? How?
…..TV– MLB games allows baseball fans to watch 1st hand many …if not all… the major stars in action on a daily basis on cable TV.
…..Interleague play now permits fans to see players from both teams in person
…free agency which began in the early 1970’s open the gates to players jumping leagues to a new set of fans
… trading players across league lines…which happens frequently now… w/o anyone blinking an eye….in the 30’s-40’s most trades were players from the same league…the guys that you saw all the time.
….So….the competition between the leagues really doesn’t exist any longer. Neither league…or the players…give 2 hoots about demonstrating that they are the “better” league. The game itself is an exhibition….. Meanwhile, starting players …it seems to me …are more intent on ducking out to see who can get the earliest flight out… after…or during the game.
How about these changes…..
…first of all …with the current 33 man roster (instead of the original 25) there are 50% more substitutes sitting on the bench …the total of subs has risen from 16 subs in 1933 to 24 subs currently. The silly, inane idea that all of the 33 players need to play ??!! Play the best players…the starters a minimum of 6 innings. Don’t flood the field with the 2nd or 3rd guy voted into that position.
….with the magnificent salaries that the players command these days($545,000+ minimum)….is it really necessary to supplement the “players” pension fund? Don’t they have ample opportunity to provide for themselves after their career? Why not give ALL the money to charity?…I mean real charity…heck, make that an event on TV….for example…..draw out names or spin a wheel…. of the winning charitable organizations of the money….Maybe divide it up so many organizations will benefit….e.g. the winner of 25% of the proceeds is “need it now” organization; spinning the wheel again….do we need Vanna White to do it? The winner of the 15% of the proceeds is “it looks bleak” organization…etc. until all 100% is donated to charity. If players refuse to play, they MUST donate 5%(or some other %) of their salary. Period.
….more ideas for actually playing the game..
…cut the rosters back to 25 players and remove the requirement that each team be represented. Are you really upset if you don’t see a Chicago White Sox , or Tampa Bay, or Kansas City player? Go ahead..give me the best player on each of those teams……I can’t!!
….Pitchers are not scheduled to bat …..This is the perfect game for a DH .
…if a pitcher enters the game, they must face a minimum of 4 or 5 batters.
…have the voting end 2 weeks prior to game, instruct managers that they are NOT permitted to use an All-Star pitcher on the Sunday prior to the game.
…NO more of this ridiculous …”last man in”voting rule…..
….voting should be by the players…… do the fans REALLY know the skills of the players as well as the actual players do? Do YOUR customers indicate which employees should receive recognition? ……Sooo…..it’s assumed that the fans won’t watch the game because THEY didn’t pick the rosters?…come on….this voting is …for the most part ….a real farce. Most don’t vote at all while some fans vote multiple times. Now I could understand that style if we played in Chicago every year
…if a player claims injury or indicates that he can’t/won’t play in the game, then ….he may not play any regular season games after the all-star game for 10 days or 2 weeks after All-Star game
…if you really want the players to give maximum effort….give the winning team a financial prize for winning and the losing team nothing!
The weekly review of our Cardinals….outside of the firing…..
….How did Ozuna win a gold glove last year? He frequently seems to misjudge fly balls and his accuracy at throwing to the bases…any of them, even 3B…..is woeful.
….When you look at these salaries, you realize that young players are looking at these players making millions while the youngsters…in some cases…carry the load: Yadier Molina $20m; Jed Gyorko $9m, Dexter Fowler $16.5m, Greg Holland $14m—4 players earning $60m meanwhile, 11 players are earning less than $600, 000. On the successful teams, the players earning the highest salary ARE the best performers. This rests on MO for his acquisitions of these overpriced, underperforming players.
…Wong & Bader make the Cardinals SO MUCH better defensively….they must be played…we’ve given away far too many games due to our defense this season.
….Tommy Pham looks “shaken” to me in the batters box….I don’t think that he’s EVER experienced this type of plunge in the batters box….the All-Star break should really benefit him.
…I would suggest that the Cards give Luke Weaver 5-6 days off between starts…in an attempt to keep his arm fresh in the 2nd half….his production has dropped significantly after mid-May.
What were We thinking?…..
…Soooo….following up on an idea mentioned above….I’m giving Matheny a break here…..He had a veteran, Bud Norris helping him “mature” a young, talented, undisciplined player—Jordan Hicks….just has he had done in 2017 for the LA Angels. This is a common practice on all major sports teams. However, It clearly came across …on 1st read… at least to me….that Norris was hassling Hicks. What were we thinking….I’m thinking now that at least one of the Cardinals…maybe more…. provided this info to the sports writer to shed bad light on Matheny, Norris and/or the Cardinals. I would surmise that it’s a disgruntled player(s).
….What were we thinking when we thought bringing in two top level coaches would change the inept play of our MLB team…..the players made…and or still making ..the mental and physical mistakes that lead to poor play. Frankly….I don’t think that we have a good roster…too many holes across the board.
….What were we thinking when we thought Jose Martinez would be an All-Star? He began his career in 2006 in the Venezuelan league..has played on 15 minor league teams and in the Venezuelan league 9 years…does a guy with those credentials suddenly become a MLB All-Star?
….What was Kolton Wong thinking?….in Saturday night’s game….a ground ball up the middle on SS side….DeJong gets to the ball…but Wong isn’t covering the base??? He was chasing the ball….even Danny Mac had to say,”one has to wonder what Wong was thinking on that play”
…What were you thinking when you thought that this was a short blog?