We all have certain suppositions about sports. Baseball is an easy one to think”This or That is TRUE”.  Sometimes…maybe more often than you realize… those thoughts are “NOT WHAT I THOUGHT!”

…who’s the leading batter on the Cards as I write this on Thursday?…It’s Nolan Gorman (that’s probably NOT WHAT I THOUGHT” at the start of 2023.  Finally, he’s getting every-day use. I mean he IS #1 in HR, #1 in RBI’s, #1 in Batting Avg. Why has it taken so long for Ollie to figure it out?

…Another area that may be NOT WHAT I THOUGHT  it would be is the Stolen Base Category. I would have thought the MLB teams (with the bigger bases & difficulties in scoring runs) would have spent time on stealing bases AND even more time in defending against stealing bases. But…that’s not the case. Many of the opposing pitchers are robotic….there’s no variance in the timing of their delivery, no throws to 1b at all (you are allowed 2) not even a look @ 1b. But, it’s NOT WHAT I THOUGHT….The Cardinals have run “wild” against many teams as the pitchers use the same move to home plate each time. The Cards runners steal the base easily w/o the opposing catcher having ANY chance at all. Sometimes they are almost ½ way to 2b when the pitch is thrown. The Cards The Cards have been successful 40 of 48 attempts! That’s 83% of the time!! The team leader is Tommy Edman AND Paul Goldschmidt—each with 7 SB! Nothing personal here…but Paul Goldschmidt probablyisn’t in the top 10 Cardinals players with respect to running speed. But….he “reads” the  pitchers very well.

…Speaking of Goldschmidt… in the Cards first 50 games, he played 44 @ 1b. He was the DH the other 6  games…really?  Is playing 1b really that tough? He’s not getting sacked like a QB, checked like a Hockey Player, running all over the field like a soccer player. If it continues at that rate, he’ll play 130 games. Now…this is a player in the prime years of his life. He doesn’t stand for 3 hours…he plays 5-10 minutes on the field, then sits for 5-10 minutes on the bench. Maybe…he’s being worn down by the constant pressure that the analytics that say that he “should” be doing this or doing that but he’s off just  a bit. Come on…he’s in the prime of his life with a golden contract. Sure he’s been the DH for the other 6 games but which other Cardinal 1b come close to him defensively? Sitting him on the bench is sure NOT WHAT I THOUGHT the Cards would be once every 10 games are so.

…..I generally expect to be familiar with the names of the MLB batting leaders. On top of the AL in Batting Average, as he has been for most of the year, is Luis Arraez. I suspected that he was a rookie and would “fall off” the leaderboard. IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT. He’s in his 5th year in the MLB playing for the Marlins this year after 4 years with the Twins. Arraez has “slipped down” to .374 for the season this week. But….his career batting average for his 5 year career is .320. He’s batted over .300 four of his 5 years! He’s not a power hitter so he gets by-passed on the headlines of the Sports Pages.                                                                    …I thought that Mizzou had really landed a “big fish” @ QB in the off-season.  Miami’S qb- Jake Garcia transferred to Mizzou. But recently…I just saw the top 10 transfers of the year—most of them QB’s…..Jake Garcia wasn’t listed anyplace…ugh! That doesn’t mean that he isn’t an upgrade @ Mizzou but apparently, he’s NOT WHAT I THOUGHT“ with respect to pushing the Tigers way up the ranking ladder.                                          

….When I start to think that the MLB season is slipping away. IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT when I consider the Phillies of 1964. They held a 6.5 game lead with only 12 games remaining in the season! They should have known something unusual was going to happen when they lost a 1-0 game to the Reds when the only run of that game was scored as the Reds stole home!! Can you believe it? IT’S SURE NOT WHAT I THOUGHT! From then on, Philly Pholded. It may have been helped that Philly Mgr Gene Mauch used his 2 star starting pitchers on less than their usual rest days in each of their remaining starts of the season. That group of players NEVER came close again to a pennant!!!        

…I’ve always thought the MLS would have a difficult time since they really don’t have the premier players of the world. Americans traditionally “follow” only the “best” of each sport. Minor league baseball, D-II & DIII college sports, developmental NBA teams and others have always struggled to draw fans. But.. IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT.  the MLS seems to have a good grasp on it’s “pro’s & con’s” that it needs to succeed as a league. The MLS has developed a list of guidelines for the teams to succeed. I must admit that St Louis seems to be at a “different place” than many other cities in the development of soccer.  The MLS views the necessary strengths required to succeed to be 1. Healthy financial situation of each club. St Louis City seems to be “right on” in this respect. Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle and female members of the Taylor family (Enterprise Holdings) are the primary owners with a heavy commitment to the City SC team having strong financial support.

2.Good stadiums for players & fans. The brand new City Park was built with lots of thought (and money) put into it. I still do wish that it was larger than 22,500.  I  hoped for one around 30,000. 3. The presence of a couple global superstars like Thiery Henry and David Beckham are needed to “spread the brand”. I don’t follow City SC closely but I don’t think that they currently have any global superstars. At some point, I’m sure that they’ll dip into those “star” waters.  4. Good coverage & acceptance across USA. This is VERY TRUE in the Lou!  Phenomenal acceptance of team.  Even though I still wish that it wasn’t on Apple+ TV. That’s the only thing that seems to me to be leaning towards a fan base beyond the low level financial folks.   5. The MLS lists “increasing interest among the USA youths in the USA” as a goal.  ST Louis already has a highly developed youth soccer program system. It has been organized for over 5 decades. Hopefully, City SC may will spark new interest in youth soccer. One may speculate that it’ll even  increase with some local “heroes” to emulate.      

….I wasn’t paying real close attention to some of the Cards games when suddenly… I hear the announcers touting the newest Cardinal–Oscar  Mercado. I perked up as the Cards announcers talked about this new player with some excitement in their voice. I just assumed that he was a rookie. That he’d taken the usual trip from AAA baseball to the Cards and was a promising rookie. BUT…IT’S NOT WHAT I THOUGHT….Mercado actually was drafted by the Cards in 2013 (10 years ago). In July 2018, Cards traded him to Cleveland Indians.   He made his MLB debut in 2019 for Cleveland then was released. The Phillies signed him in 2022, then 6 days later, they released him after appearing in just 1 game!!! In 2022,Cleveland signed him again…and released him again 10 days later.  Sooooo…. ….IT NOT WHAT I THOUGHT!   Judging from the reactions of other teams, I doubt that I’ll see him in  2024 as a Cardinal.

….Well…it’s YOUR turn to respond. I welcome all of your thoughts. Either disagree (most usually take that road) or Agree.  It doesn’t matter.  I appreciate your time & read & look forward to YOUR thoughts. If you want, put them directly on Bob Ryan-Facebook page. Or…send to me  at & I’ll post for you!  Have a super week.             Bob