Trusting your Instincts?

Welcome to the Sports Buzz…the Sports Blog has been renamed! Usually We TRUST OUR INSTINCTS in many decisions in life. It happens daily.  So too in our sports thoughts….

….the sting of the 2 game 2022 playoff season for the Cards seems to have evaporated away. Some instincts may lead us to this point….we did make the playoffs & we hit a “hot” team. Upon reflection & checking some numbers…it was a real breakdown..period. Not just a team “getting hot”.

…OUR INSTINCTS would tell us to blame the Managerial blunder with the handling of the  pitchers. Yes….it was a factor but….there are other reasons outside the mismanagement of the pitchers. Generally, in post-season games, pitching often dominates. The slim “normal” batting marks of the regular season, often tumble. The Cardinals have dropped 9 out of their last 10 playoff games and since 2019, they are 4-11 in the playoffs.  During their 11 defeats, the Cards have batted .163, OB% .235, Slug%-.226, with a strikeout rate of 28%. In their 11 defeats. There were 4 Home runs in 350 AB..1 every 87.5 AB!  The facts, not our instincts,  tell us that we are overmatched at the plate in the playoffs.

…OUR INSTINCTS tell us that …well, the team may struggle but we still have Goldy & Arenado. Wrong again… in the most recent playoffs, Goldschmidt and Arenado hit a woeful 1 for 15 against the Phils and didn’t drive home a run.

….OUR INSTINCTS may  tell us that Mizzou football is going along OK. Coach Drinkwitz made another bowl. It’s funny how that low-bar satisfies some..maybe.. many fans.  There are 43 bowl games…. sooo, we’re  in the top 86 teams. There are only 125 D-1 NCAA Football teams!!  So that means that 69% of the NCAA teams are going to bowls! That’s a really low bar..barely off the ground—to reach a bowl. In his 3 years, Coach Drinkwitz has  posted 5-5, 6-7 and currently 6-6 years. Overall it’s a 17-18 record. The appearance in these low-level bowl games seems to be enough to appease Tiger fans & athletic department currently. But…it wasn’t that way just 3 years ago.  In 2019, Barry Odum was fired after a 4 year stint. He compiled a 25-25 record in those 4 years with 2 bowl appearances. One was in the Liberty Bowl—several notches above Gasparilla Bowl of 2022. His records were in 2016-4-8, in  ’17–it was-7-6, ’18 –it was 8-5 and he was fired after going 6-6 in 2019. Have the Mizzou expectations dropped since 2019? Was it a personality conflict? Or is it due to a new Director of Athletic?

….OUR baseball INSTINCTS(and the announcers) tell us how strong our farm system is currently. Yes…they continue to send new, fresh, less expensive players to the MLB. However, the Cards brass had plenty of years to prepare for Yadi’s departure yet no young draftee is ready to take the job. The Cards have only drafted a 1 catcher in round 1. It was in 2012—Carson Kelly. Yadi outlived him. Cards used him to procure Goldschmidt. The only other catcher drafted after 2010 to reach the MLB was Andrew Knizer in 7th round, 2016. Soooo..as Yadi departs,  our farm system has an empty shelf to take over the catching duties. Not what you’d expect of a strong farm system.

…Btw….Yadi’s long career was a death knell for a long, long line of backups catchers. There were 31 different catchers behind him during his StL career.  Some for more than a year…but not many…

That’s our Sports Buzz quiz for today….how many can backup catchers during Yadi’s career can you name? If you get 10, I think you’re better than I would have been on the same question.

….Speaking of Catchers..OUR INSTINCTS told us that the Cards weren’t satisfied with Knizer[j1] . The Cards turned away from him and signed a FA catch in Willson Contreras. He brings some strong batting credentials as a Catcher. Many MLB Experts felt that he was the best catcher available in this year’s off season. He’s 30 years old as he signs this contract. MLB experts feel like he’s been in the top 5..maybe even the Top 3 catchers…over the past several years.

…OUR INSTINCTS told us that it was normal to read about the Cards chasing Oakland’s catcher Sean Murphy.  But…to make it so public?  That was unusual. My INSTINCTS are now telling me that the Cards may have used the “Murphy” public card to help lower the price for Contreras due to competition for the Cards Catching position.

…OUR INSTINCTS probably thought that the “transfer portal” would be a good thing for NCAA sports. Initially, I did too. I saw the 2nd string guy, locked him for 2-3-4 years behind a better player, moving on. But…it hasn’t worked that way at all.  Many starters are jumping ship early & often. Many want “brighter lights” to get exposure for what they perceive to be a prelude to a pro career. The latest numbers are startling. On Dec 5th, the first day to make yourself available in the portal, 456 players jumped into the portal (268 from Power 5 rosters and 188 from the Group of 5 schools—a notch below the Power 5). That was just the 1st DAY!!  Your instincts may lead you to think that it’s mostly QB/running backs. There certainly were QB but that wasn’t the heaviest position. Look at the breakdown—38-QB; 34-running backs, 67-WR, 18-TE, 42-O-Line, 58-D-Line, 52-LB, 87-Dbacks! & 14 specialists (punters, snappers, xpt-FG kickers). And…..that was only the 1st DAY!  It appears that it’ll end up being way over 1000. Thanks to my long time friend, Jim Pantazi, for sending in this info.

…Catchers who were Yadi’s backup–2004 Mike Matheny; 2005 Mike Mahoney, Einar Diaz; 2006 Gary Bennett, Mike Rose; 2007 Gary Bennett, Kelly Stinnett, Brian Esposito-(1 game); 2008 Jason LaRue, Mark Johnson; 2009 Jason LaRue; 2010 Jason LaRue, Matt Pagnozzi, Bryan Anderson, Steven Hill(1 game); 2011 Gerald Laird; 2012 Tony Cruz; 2013 Tony Cruz, Rob Johnson, Audrey Perez (1 game);

2014  Tony Cruz, AJ Pierzenski, George Kottaras (4 games) Audrey Perez (1 game); 2015 Tony Cruz, Cody Stanley (9 games), Travis Tartamella(3 g),Cody Stanley(2g);2016 Eric Fryer (24g), Alberto Rosario (20g), Carson Kelly (10g);2017 Carson Kelly, Eric Fryer;2018 Carson Kelly, Francisco Pena, Steven Baron (2g);2019 Matt Wieters, Andrew Knizer 2020 Matt Wieters, Andrew Knizer; 2021 Andrew Knizer, Ali Sanchez (2)  2022 Andrew Knizer, Austin Romine(11g), Ivan Herrera (11g). Sooo…Cards looked @ Knizer parts of 4 different years but he wasn’t the “man”.

…Thx for making to the end of my Sports Buzz (Blog sounded too ominous). It’s always great to read YOUR thoughts about any of these topics. Post YOUR ideas on any part of the Buzz directly on my Facebook page or send to me & I’ll do it for you. Missed a blog…go to www.bobryansportsblog.com to catch up!  Have a Super Holiday (you can start it any time😊)   Bob


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