HEEEERE’S JOHNNY! Every night on the  Tonight Show for 30 years, Ed McMahon introduced  Johnny Carson. This entrance song was co-written by Paul Anka & Johnny Carson. The song indicated that the Show was beginning on television. The nationally watched show made a big entrance for the star of the Show. In sports, some players are stepping onto a similar stage…jumping up into a role with high expectations …or…. falling off the stage.

…HEEEERE’S JAKE!  Jake Garcia Transferred to Mizzou & is currently stepping up to be the #1 QB. In his 2 years @ Miami, Garcia saw very limited action. As a Frosh he saw the field only once. As a Soph, he played 8 games, was 68/115 passing, 5 TD passes & 4 Interceptions. While not totally given the 1st unit job, he seems to have the edge on the other returning MU QB’s. Mizzou needs far more from their QB’s passing than they had in 2022. He’s stepping into the Spot Light for Mizzou.

…HEEEERE’S MR UPSET!.. Welcome Mr. Upset…well you’ve really had YOUR way this NCAA Tournament. #15 seed beating the #2 was much more common than one would expect. #15 Santa Clara beat #2 Arizona; #15 Richmond beat #2 Syracuse; #15 Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown; #15 Coppin State beat #2 S. Carolina; #15 Oral Roberts beat #2 Ohio State; #15 Middle Tennessee beat #2 Michigan State; #15 St Peters beat #2 Kentucky. It’s the 1st time that the Elite 8 will not have any #1 seeds!

…HEEEERE’S TYLER!  Tyler O’Neill has the table set up perfectly for him to “make his grand entrance”. Clearly, he’ll be a starting OF with his fingers crossed hoping to play 140ish games. He has yet to put together back-back strong years. The injury bug (due to his muscular build) has limited him to playing more than 96 games in a season only once! He has the power—in 2021, 7.1% of his hits were Home Runs! To give you an idea of how good that is… in 2022, Nolan Arenado had a HR rate (Hr/AB) of 5.3%  and for Paul Goldschmidt it was 6.2% HR rate. If the Cards feel like O’Neill injures himself while playing defense, use him as a DH.

….HEEEERE’S  JORDAN!  The sudden appearance of Albert Pujols last year turned out to be a goldmine! Albert, despite his age, was incredible in the 2nd half of the year. He finished 3rd in the team in HR; 3rd in Slugging %; 4th in OBP, 3rd in RBI’s, while being 7th on the team in AB’s. The Cards have hopes that rookie Jordan Walker can fill part of that void in’23.  As of today, March 25, comparing him to players with 10+ games of action in Florida, he’s 2nd in Slugging %, tied for 5th in RBI’s;  tied for 2nd in HR; tied for 1st in runs scored. Make room for the BIG man!

….HEEEERE’S JOAO!  Joao Klauss has really been incredible for the StL City SC team. City is now 5-0. They pounded Salt Lake 4-0 this week. Forward Joao Klauss has scored  5  goals in this early season play.

…HEEEERE’S FRED!  In the spirit of Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), teams from all types of conferences made the Elite 8. Fred always strived for inclusion.  In fact, there were 6 different conferences represented in the Elite 8. The 2 Conferences with 2 teams  in the Elite 8 were the Big 12 (K State & Texas) & Big East (U Conn & Creighton). The other 4 conferences represented in the Elite 8 level were: Mountain West, Conference USA, ACC, West Coast Conference. No Big 10, Pac 12 or SEC teams reached the Elite 8.

….HEEEERE’S MIGUEL!  Miguel Perez is a 17 year old City SC player from the Lou. If he’s from STL, I have to give his High School—Pattonville. 😊 His elevation in ’23 to the City club has been unbelievable. In 2022, he played for the StL Academy team and for the City2 Team (something like  City’s  minor league teams. He was recently named to the USA Under-19 Men’s Youth National Team.

….HEEEERE’S RANDY!  With the incredible 2020 draft picks (Walker, Winn) by Randy Flores, the Cards may have really hit a HR in the 2020 draft. Many times, despite hours of scouting, evaluating, discussing, scouting more, talking more, scouting again.. some players just don’t develop to a high level. How does that happen? From my view, every player has a “ceiling” in their level of performance. Who know when they’ll reach their ceiling? It’s an educated guess by the scouts. According to National Baseball writers, the Cards system is now rated #9 in the MLB. It’s the 1st time in several years that they’ve broken into the top 10 according to those MLB writers. Maysn Winn, Tink Hence and Alec Burlison , all for the 2020 draft, are expected to reach the MLB quickly.

….HEEEERE’S BOB:  Welcome to todays Cardinal Quiz…Since 2000, name the last Cardinal team to be under .500 for a season. Chris Duncan was 2nd on the team in HR; Adam Kennedy was 2nd on the team in Steals; Braden Looper was 2nd on the team in Inn Pitched; Russ Springer appeared in the most games-76 Aaron Miles was 2nd in Hits. What year am I?

…..HEEEERE’S DOC:  Welcome Doc…sorry to pull you away from all your patients. Apparently, all of them suffered injuries playing in the WBC. Jose Altuve was hit on the hand by a pitch.  Estimates range from 3 weeks to 2 months for his recovery. Newly acquired LA’s Freddie Freeman suffered a Hamstring Pull. Hopefully, he’ll be back by opening day (no guarantee). In other injuries,  Edwin Díaz of Puerto Rico injured his knee and will miss the entire ’23 MLB season! Closer to home, Adam Wainwright will miss several weeks due to his WBC injury.  Eduardo Escobar suffered a different type of injury—called the Wally Pipp disease. When Wally Pipp asked for a day  off with a headache for the NYY, a guy name Lou Gehrig replaced him. Gehrig had 3 hits that day and began his streak of 2,130 consecutive games. Pipp never again was starter for the Yanks after Gehrig’s arrival. Eduardo Escobar, who played in the WBC and missed time with the Mets, had a surprise when he returned. The Mets had filled his position…and he now had lost it! In a  true Wally Pipp repeat!  Brett Baty has taken advantage of Escobar’s absence @ the WBC and now is the starting 2b for the Mets. Baty has been impressive @ the plate & in the field. I do doubt that Baty will be another Gehrig but…ya never know. With the WBC played so close to the beginning of MLB’ spring training, these type  of injuries will be very common each year.

….. I must admit that I didn’t anticipate the interest & excitement about the WBC. It was far higher than I expected for many other fans. For the smaller countries, it’s REALLY a big deal. The players from these small, often poor countries, have a “chip” to show that they can play with the Biggest Country—the USA. I don’t believe that the USA fielded all of their best players due to a variety of reasons. Threat of injury(as shown above) and damaging the longevity of their career had to be a concern for some. The WBC is probably here to stay but I still don’t want the WBC shortly before spring training due to the injury possibilities as listed above. Why not do it in mid-November in a warm weather country? Btw.. The World Series went to November 5th last year so my suggestion would only be a week or so after the Series Finale.

…..HEEEERE’S BOB (AGAIN): That magical year ( in the eyes of the rest of the NL) of the most recent Cardinal sub .500 team was  2007.

…..HEEEERE’S JACK:  As the Great Jack Buck would say, “Thanks for your Time, this Time, until Next Time”. Your thoughts are always invited. Please post them on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan) or on my website…www.bobryansportsblog.com. btw… all of my articles are on the same web site if you’ve missed any along the way.

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