Nothing is Coincidental

Anyone has who watched the NCIS show knows that Leroy Jethro Gibbs has many rules of for his staff. One of those rules is “Nothing is Coincidental”. It’s true in baseball also…
….was it coincidental that the youngest, least likely team to make the playoffs, seemingly undisciplined team, and a team surrounded by “hot spots” of the virus, goes off the rails with multiple COVID cases (now 21). It’s not coincidental that the Miami Marlins were THE 1st team to bring the MLB face-face with the virus.
…is it coincidental that one of the best MLB teams, that DOES play by the rules and still wins big (but not the World Series) respects the actions of Joe Kelly. The LA Dodgers had to have some pay-back sometime for Houston! The MLB hierarchy seems frozen into inaction by fear to actually admit that there was cheating that changed the winner of the World Series. Kelly threw a pitches up & in, in the vicinity of the head of Alex Bergman and Yuli Gurriel and mocked Carlos Correa after striking him out as he walked off the field! Kelly has been suspended for 8 games (equivalent to 22 game suspension in a regular season). Meanwhile, the Asstroes have NEVER been fined individually or as a team, never suspended or never had any wins taken away for their team efforts at stealing and relaying the pitch information to their batters to fraudulently lead them to the World Series championship! Does the scale of justice seemed tilted in the wrong way here?
…is it coincidence that the Cardinals 2020 batting marks are sinking below MLB norms (22nd-avg, 26th in runs,22nd in HR, 24th in OBP, 18th in slug%, 19th in OPS during the tenure of John Mozeliak. Mo has held the reins since 2007 and has followed, religiously, the path described by Bill DeWitt. DeWitt demands that the Cards draft, sign and develop players and then use them until the end, or close to the end, for 6 years (the number of years prior to free agency). If followed closely, this clearly is the golden road to fiscal success. As a result, the franchise has risen in value by ten-fold under Mr. DeWitt. MO is unable, unwilling, or not allowed to acquire many “stars” who are close to their peak. Walt Jocketty, MO’s predecessor (1995-2007), had a 13 year career as Cards GM. Jocketty assumed the job in October, 1995 after the Cards had finished 4th in the division with 1.7m in attendance! And…that wasn’t an aberration—in 1994 the Cards were– 53-61, in 1993—87-75, 1992—83-79, you get the idea of the mediocre level of the team. Jocketty came into the job with the Cards and was able to acquire “star” players with good years left in the tank. He acquired Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Edgar Renteria, Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen, and Larry Walker. He also drafted Albert Pujols & Yadier Molina during his tenure. With the acquisition of McGwire, the attendance catapulted to 3m…..and has remained there over 20 years with the only exception being 2003 when it slumped to 2.9m. In addition, Jocketty hired Tony LaRussa. LaRussa was a proven, veteran, expensive manager who led the Cards to the mountaintop several times in his career. Mozeliak’s significant acquisitions, to this point, were Matt Holliday & Paul Goldschmidt. Holliday remained a star & valuable contributor for several years. Goldschmidt is too early in his contract to reach a decision. Meanwhile, MO has hired two consecutive managers with absolutely NO MLB managerial experience. That alone reflects the conversion of the Cards from a team with the highest aspirations to a team that is pleased to make the playoffs and then take their chances on “hitting a HR” in the playoffs. Now….the Cards have done well in the playoffs, probably far better than one should expect under MO. But, is it a coincidence that this 2020 edition has 2 unproven OF starting, 1 over-the-hill OF, either an unproven or an aging 3B, a 40 year catcher and a star, clean up hitter who…sadly…who really has only 1 batter behind him in the order. However, the MLB playoffs have been expanded so the Cards will be boosting of reaching the playoffs again. Is it a coincidence that the MO years have led us to THAT goal and not acquiring a star player, here & there, that could REALLY push us to the top?
…Does it seem coincidental that Notre Dame football program is probably going to enter into the ACC in football? No way! The Fighting Irish realize that an independent team has an extremely slim chance of EVER getting chosen for the NCAA Football Playoffs by the NCAA committee. Why? Because very good NCAA teams don’t want to play such a talented non-league opponent and get knocked out of high rankings and large bowl games with huge payouts. From the Notre Dame perspective, who already competed against many of the ACC teams in football, ND sees conference play as the avenue to travel to reach the playoffs. It will be a boost for the ACC as well—acquiring a “big name”, perennially strong team that draws huge crowds and TV ratings and lives in the top 20 rankings (often top 10) annually.
….is it coincidental that Carlos Martinez struggled in his opening 2020 game? Sure, it was a good Twins team but they arent’ the 1927 Yankees either. In 2015-17 years, Carlos averaged 95+ mph fastball. Last week, Carlos’ fastball averaged 92.1 mph. When he was in trouble, the fastball bumped up to 93mph. It seems trite & trivial but those 2 to 3 mph are crucial to the success for a pitcher. Let’s hope that Carlos’ can crank it up higher next outing.
…is it coincidental when a team loses a key offensive batter…2nd RBI, 3rd-HR, 3rd-Slug%, 3rd-runs scored from the 2019 season and doesn’t replace him with another quality batter that the offense will struggle? Marcel Ozuna, who drove me crazy with his poor defense & weak arm but could hit, refused the Cards off-season offer & walked away. Ozuna, now in Atlanta, is 8 of 22 (.364 average), 4 rbi’s, 2 HR, .OBP-.500, slug-.773, OPS 1.273 in the early stages of 2020. Those numbers, IF he was still a Cardinal in 2020, would be 1st in average, tied for 1st in rbi, tied for 1st in HR, 1st in OBP, 1st in Slug%, 1st in OPS. Yes….it IS early…so don’t rush to judgment but we’ve played 10% of the season already. Meanwhile, the Cardinal offense appears to be driving on 3 wheels with no help on the way.
…is it just coincidental when spring training is missed that some most MLB batters, including some really good ones, missed those repetitions in Florida/Arizona and are struggling BIG TIME in the early days of the season? Christian Yelich is 1 of 27….and of course, he’s on my fantasy team!!….Gary Sanchez (NYY) is 0/12; George Springer 1/21; Kris Bryant 2/22; Miguel Sano 1/14; Stephen Piscotty 1/13; Bryce Harper 2/9 are just a few of the proven MLB hitters who are beginning 2020 in a dismal way.
….is it coincidental that a ground-breaking gender barrier is broken in California? Alyssa Nakken assumed SF Giants first-base duties in an exhibition contest on July 20 and became the 1st full-time female coach in MLB history.
…is it coincidental that the Cards, who seem to have some speedy players, don’t bring up stolen bases in their descriptions any longer. Is it because the Cards a) don’t excel in that category b) don’t want to use the SB weapon more often because it doesn’t always succeed c) aren’t a MLB leader in the category?. In 2019, Tommy Pham…as a Tampa Bay player…..finished 5th in the AL in stolen bases with 25 stolen bases. The Cardinal leader last year was Kolton Wong with 24 stolen bases which the Cards seemed to keep as a secret. Especially with the Cardinals possessing such a flimsy power team that features 1 run home run, the Cards need to get those runners into scoring position in another way. Use the Stolen base…then a single could result in a run! Tommy Edman was 2nd on the Cards last year with 15 SB in just 92 games. Now …if the Cards could just get Bader on base, along with Wong & Edman, the Cardinals COULD use…and talk about…. stolen bases as a weapon again in 2020.
….is it coincidental that Eli Drinkwitz, Mizzou’s football coach, has received good press? No…he’s earned it…. seemingly a strong recruiting class which used signed recruits to assist in recruiting other prospective recruits. A nice blend of coaches—many young, some experienced. He is the only SEC coach, thus far, who agreed to a pay cut (10%) due to the virus and lack of income for Mizzou. He seems very enthusiastic & positive in nature. However, since all the non-conference games were cancelled this year, it will be a much steeper hill for him and his team to climb to reach bowl level status.
…is it a coincidence that we’re wrapping it up? Nope….it’s that time again. Check our site at http://www.bobryansportsblog.com to find any of the blogs that you’ve missed along the way. Please respond to any part of the blog on my Facebook page, email to me or on my website.

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