Falling….for the 1st time

We’re in the Fall….so leaves fall daily….it seems to me, at least in my backyard….tons of leaves! But…each leaf only falls once! At any rate, there are other things falling in the sports world also…many for the 1st time.
Some….maybe many…. Cardinal fans are starting to have their hopes for a strong 2021 season fall…if not for the 1st time—the 1st time in a long time. We’ve all heard about the 2021 cost-cutting measures required around the world as well as in the MLB. Coupled with being spoiled for almost 2 decades, the high expectations for yet another championship “run” are falling..and falling sharply… for the 1st time in the DeWitt regime. It sounds like the Cards are “staying in house” for the most part. Carp & Fowler will be glued to us for yet another summer….and they MUST be given at-bats. Tommy Edman is already penciled in at 2B. Apparently Cards management has “heard” the rumble of the discontented fans about losing 2 icons from the team. Yadi would be harder to replace. Maybe, mgmt. reasons, half a loaf will do! Yadi may still end up wearing the Birds on the Bat. But…. I still can’t see StL going much over $10m/year to keep him. From my crystal ball….partially covered by falling leaves at the moment….if the Cards start slowly in 21, we’ll start seeing the “changing of the guard” in some positions. The Management will HAVE to find a way to light a fire for the frustrated fan base so that attendance and interest doesn’t FALL too far. I think we’ll see Ivan Herrara (20 years old) be brought up to alternate behind the plate with or without Yadi. I also feel like the Cards will bring up 22 year old Eehuris Montero to DH or play 3b. Montero has been under the radar. Neither Nolan Gorman nor Montero, both 3b, have hit real well thus far in their careers in the minors. The Cards seemingly have higher hopes for Gorman so I think that they’ll want to protect him from failing in his debut in the MLB. Soooo…..Montero basically will buy time for Gorman…or at least until Gorman raises his batting level. If Montero hits well ….he’ll be kept to DH.
….some around the MLB are now calling the latest MLB batting fad, the “3 outcome swinger”– Home run, strikeout, Walk is the result that you usually see from many… maybe most… MLB batters. These continual outcomes lead to falling interest in many fans…some for the 1st time in years, even decades. Look @ some Cards in this respect, Matt Carpenter—48 strikeouts, 23 walks, 4 HR in 170 plate appearances—that’s 44% of his AB’s!! Dexter Fowler 28 strikeouts, 10 walks, 4 HR in 101 Plate Appearances—42%. Tyler O’Neill 43 K’s, 15 walks, 7 HR in 157 PA—41% of his AB’s. Paul DeJong 50 K’s, 17 walks, 3 HR in 174 plate appearance=40% of his AB’s are HR, K, Walks. Harrison Bader 40 K’s, 13 walks, 4 HR in 125 plate appearances=46%. Brad Miller(he was 4th in plate appearances in 2020)…46 k’s, 25-bb’s 7hr in 171 plate appearances=46%. Even Dylan Carlson—35 K’s, 8 walks, 3 HR in 119 PA=39%. So…. You wonder why so many fans are having their interest FALL off?
…the recent NL MVP voting reveals how far the talent level has fallen in the Lou. In 2020, Paul Goldschmidt received 9 total points, 15th place in the NL– 1vote for 7th, 1 vote for 8th and 1 for 9th. Each voter may vote for 1st,2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th places. Looking back… some surprising Cardinals received votes in the last 10 years in the NL MVP voting. In 2019, Jack Flaherty was the Card with the most MVP pts at 13th place in the league voting while Goldschmidt & Wong were tied for 20th overall. 2018 MVP voting found 1 Cardinal—Matt Carpenter @ 9th in the voting. In 2017, the only Cardinal receiving MVP votes was Tommy Pham @ 11th place. 2016– Yadi Molina received 2 pts to finish 23rd in the voting. In 2015 Matt Carpenter was 12th & Trevor Rosenthal 17th. 2014– Adam Wainwright was 8th while Matt Holiday & Jhonny Peralta tied for 14th place. In 2013, 5 Cardinals finished in the top 25—Yadi Molina-3rd, Matt Carpenter-4th, Allen Craig-18th, Adam Wainwright-20th, Matt Holliday-23rd. In 2012, the Cards had 4 players in the top 26—Molina-#4, Holliday-#11, Allen Craig-#19, Carlos Betran-#26. The Cards had 3 players in the top 21 in 2011—Pujols-#5, Berkmann-#7 and Molina-#21. In the years prior to 2011, Albert received a high number of votes for several consecutive years. It’s clear from these MVP votes over the last decade that the Cards talent has clearly fallen off the talent tree. Now we have 1 player with no voter higher 7th best in the NL.
….talk about hopes and plans FALLING quickly and dramatically. Tony La Russa recently named CWS manager really fell into it when he was arrested for DUI for the 2nd time. Apparently, he kept mumbling about being a HOF’er. The policeman didn’t care…and why should they? The choice of LaRussa was already being criticized. Some think that he’s too old, possibly out of touch with this young Sox team, would he have the stamina? Aside from those baseball questions… It’d be a shame for Tony’s career to culminate with a huge FALL like this.
….For some coaches….but not many….they just seem to roll along on their reputation without falling…year after year posting sub .500 records after winning “big” someplace else. Their winning production has really taken a steep FALL. One such Coach is Lovie Smith. Lovie had success in the NFL from 2004-2012 he was 81-63 as the HC of the Bears. He took them to 1 super Bowl & 1 NFC Championship. Next he moved to Tampa Bay where he went 8-24 in 2 seasons. Lovie moved on to Illinois. He’s in his 5th season there. He’s never reached .500 in ANY season and holds a mark of 15-37 record @ Champaign. His pay hasn’t fallen though–he’s being compensated $5m/year.
….clearly their reputation has taken a steep Fall…and now…the Asstroes are facing a steeper decline in production on the field. In 2019, Houston posted 107-55 record a .65% win rate. This fall they took a deep 1st fall as they finished with a 29-31 record . Now the fall will likely continue as key players will be missing next spring. Justin Verlander & Roberto Osuna are both likely to miss 2020 season following Tommy John surgery. 3 Outfielders are free agents this year—George Springer, Michael Brantley & Josh Reddick. Next year, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers & Zac Greinke are set to be free agents. Clearly, the Asstroes are facing a big fall in production. I don’t see your tears falling 😊
….it has seemed to my hockey eyes that Justin Faulk has fallen from the expectations that the Blues…or maybe the fans…had for him when he arrived in the Lou. Now with Pietrangelo departed, Faulk should get more significant power-play time and elevate his play for the Blue notes. It will be important for the Blues that he elevate his play.
….Well…..it’s time to rake..or mow… the leaves (again) that have fallen for the 1st time. I’m always interested in your thoughts either for the 1st time or the 100th time. If you want to comment directly—put it on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan). Each of us has our own view…there isn’t a right or wrong. If you’ve missed any of my former blogs over the past 4+ years, check them out on http://www.bobryansportsblog.com Thanks!

3 thoughts on “Falling….for the 1st time

  1. Too bad that our mutual alma mater St Marys had to forfeit tonight’s football state playoff game due to COVID-19. Perhaps they can schedule a game against Webster Groves or Kirkwood ss they are not playing their annual Turkey Day game


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