The St. Louis Nerve Center

Greetings everyone,

Lets get straight into the action here and waste zero time with the opening statements.  You know why I am here, so I will just get on with the business of informing.


The team that continues to impose my need to will while frustrating me from week to week.   This is the team that gets inside your head and never lets go of your mind until they hang up the cleats.  Something tells me, the last 60 days of this season won’t be kind to my patience, but I am all in nonetheless.  What happened over the weekend?  The Cardinals took care of the Florida Marlins on the road, and by “take care” I mean they beat them up and put them down for good.  They did so with great bullpen work, subpar starting pitching, and just enough hitting.  In four games, the lineup tallied 20 runs, but won two of the games by a run apiece with the winning run on base.   For the first time since 2004, the Cardinals swept a four game series and maintained ground in the NL Central while the Milwaukee Brewers swept the AAA Astros in Houston.   What happens now?  Will the Cards make the sweep stand up or will they fall flat against their rival at Busch Stadium this week?  First, a little bit of an overview.

The NL Central is turning into a clear cut two team race.  Three weeks ago, the Cards, Pirates, Brewers and Reds were within 3.5 games of first place and all standing in the middle of a brush fire.  Today, the Cards sit 3 games behind the Brewers, and the rest of the teams are out of the race.  The Pirates took a painful loss and a stoppage in the road after a series loss to the Cardinals and responded with 10 straight losses.  They are 9.5 games out of first place.  The Reds made zero moves at the deadline, threw in the white towel and are 10.5 games out of first place.  The Cubs fired off 7 wins in a row but are still 16 long games from first place.  Ladies and gents, the NL Central is a two team battle.  This week, the fight comes full circle in St. Louis.  Any baseball mind can tell you after August 1st, every game and series means a lot.  However, when facing the team directly in front of you and holding your fate, the stakes get higher.  With a sweep, the Cardinals move into a tie.  With a series loss or a zero wins, The Cardinals are 4-6 games out of the top spot and on August 12th that is a bad spot to be, unless the year is 2010 and you are a lucky Reds team watching your competition shoot themselves in the foot.   The Deal is simple.  The Cards have to win this series.  If they lose, they are 4 games out.  If they win, they are 2 games away.  The key this week is to gain ground on the Brewers.  Here is what has to happen in order for the Cardinals to be successful.

-The Rotation must eat up some innings.  That starts with Edwin Jackson atoning for his horrible start in Milwaukee.   After his team gritted out a 8-7 10 inning victory, Jackson took the mound the following afternoon and got lit up on the mound.  In 7 innings of work and the series on the line, EJ gave up 8 earned runs, 4 home runs, 14 hits and the momentum.   The bullpen was tired and the team needed a boost and Jackson let them down.   In his first start, Jackson took care of the Cubs.  Facing a formidable offense, Jackson threw and didn’t pitch.  His fastball didn’t surprise anybody and the result wasn’t pretty.  Jackson must do better and make the Rasmus trade stand up.  A 27 year old power arm is capable of better things.  To quote Trent from Swingers, Jackson is “so fucking money”, he just doesn’t know it yet.  Get it done or bye bye in September. His entire career has been marked by inconsistency.  When will Jackson step up and truly provide a WOW moment?  We will see.

-The Big Boys must keep bashing pitching.   In the Florida series, the combined electricity of Pujols, Berkman and Holliday came together in a wonderful synergy of destruction.  They hit .437 with 5 homers, and were on base constantly.  Pujols hit 3 home runs, Berkman delivered a game winning hit and Holliday hit a couple hit home runs.  Power central is what you get when these guys are healthy.  If the three of them hit well, the rest of the Cardinals lineup looks like a handful.   The team gets better with these three healthy and producing.   It must continue against Milwaukee.

-Keep the bad tempers rolling.  If there is fire between two teams, it’s good for baseball.   Hatred fits here, so stir the tempers up and don’t feel bad about screaming at each other.  If Pujols gets hit high, La Russa needs to retaliate and let the other team know certain things won’t be allowed.   The Brewers-Cards rivalry is getting hot again and unlike Cincinnati this spitting contest will hold up under good baseball.   There is no crying in baseball and there are no apologies in this sports for revenge.

-The Cards simply need to cool the Brewers down.   The Cards are 1-5 against them in the past 2 series and the Brew Crew have won 11 of their past 12.   Winning a series will throw them into a sandtrap, give us a chance to get ahead and flip the tables.   If Milwaukee comes in and dominates, what is left of this team to contend?  These two teams play 9 more times this season, and 6 of the matchups come in St. Louis.   With the Brewers slowly uncoiling road record looking rather dull, the Redbirds have to take advantage.  If not, they die a slow death.

-Find a way to hold Prince Fielder in check, but don’t let Casey McGahee beat you.   Before the Cards came into Wisconsin last week, the struggling third basemen had 5 home runs and 40 RBI   He was hitting .240.   He bashed 4 home runs during the series, collected 9 hits and was all over the place.  McGahee is developing into a Cardinal Killer, and comes alive ala Bud Norris against this team.   If you have to walk him, do so.  Don’t let a hot hand take you down.

-Once again, the Cards struggle to find innings from their starters.   After a rough home stand and tough beginning in Milwaukee, the Redbirds needed more than the combined efforts of Lohse, Westbrook, Carpenter and Garcia, who completed only 20 innings in their four starts.   Playoff teams bolster starting staff’s that pitch effectively deeply into games.   The Bullpen has saved this team in the past 3 weeks since the trimming of the fat and the addition of new muscle.  Lost in the Rasmus deal are Dotel and Rzepcynski, who are both perfect through their first 11 days in Cardinal red.  Without Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, MR and Dotel’s efforts, the Florida series gets interesting.   The STL bullpen has been the achilles heel of this team all season.  A group that walked into the season as a liability has turned into a late season strength with their rescue of the rotation’s weak output.   Can that hold up over the next 60 days?  The pressure of the rotation coming down on the bullpen’s innings load will cause a collapse soon.  A break in the levees.  That can’t happen this week.

-The rotation problem speaks to a deeper issue with this team.  Consistency.  In any aspect of the game, the Cardinals have the pieces to go a long way but continue to squander decent chances to become something great.   How do you cure that?  Keep playing and find a trend.   Start by beating up on the Brewers this weekend.

This is a truly impact heavy series for both teams.   The Brewers can step on the Cards’ throats here and end their chances or significantly hurt them.   The Cardinals can halt the Brewers momentum and gain ground.   If you have a chance to punch your rival in the mouth, do it.   The Cards can even the score or the Brewers can wreck the party here.  Can AP-Puma-Holliday keep hitting as one cohesive force?  Can Jackson prove his worth and shut down a hard hitting club?  After seeing the good, bad and ugly of Action Jackson, which side pulls ahead in a pivotal moment? Can Prince, Braun, Marcum, Axford, McGahee and Corey Hart be stopped?  Nyler Morgan can be a real pest also.   Will Rafael Furcal bring the offense along with his D?  When the time comes, can Fernando Salas lock down the 9th inning?  All this and more will be answered this week.

Now, we move on to more smaller bits of Cardinals notes.

  • The Cards defense has improved since the arrival of Furcal at shortstop, who brings a cannon for an arm that has increased double plays and invented the big play again at a pivotol defensive position.   Defense is key for this team because the pitching staff specializes in ground balls.   With Furcal at short, Theriot/Skip at second, Freese/DD at third and AP at first, the plays will get made and the errors went down.
  • Jon Jay is hitting only slightly above 220 since the departure of Colby Rasmus bit he had a good weekend in Florida and is sharing time with defensive minded Corey Patterson.   CP was a bonus grab but is backing up the slumping Jay in center field and made an outstanding running catch in Milwaukee.  Jay is struggling in the full time spot, but has time to improve and also needs Allen Craig to return and bolster the depth.   Jay is a great 4th outfielder and is failing again in the everyday role.  Craig can share time with Theriot at second while Skip(a very good outfielder with a good arm) shares time with Jay.   Keep everybody fresh down the stretch.
  • Colby Rasmus has improved lately but is only hitting slightly above .200 since his trade to Toronto.   It doesn’t mean anything here but most fans forget what the Cardinals got in this deal.   Toronto got a cheap questionale talent with a mixed up future of potential, but the Cardinals picked up a starter, two quality relievers and a reliable backup in the outfield.   Every time you look at the trade, it gets better.
  • Albert Pujols is quietly doing it again.   Hitting .283, Pujols put together a huge series that boasted his home run total to 27 and gives him 69 RBI.  Since his return from wrist surgery, AP is hitting .328 with a combined OPS of .920.  He also has 10 HR and 28 RBI.   A quietly hot bat.
  • Chris Carpenter is a throwback and rather you like it or not, is a ferocious competitor.  Show me a guy who likes to scream at hitters, glare at his own players and speak his mind to an umpire, and I will take him on my team.  This isn’t the cool classy button up league.  Its got a bit of everything.   Carpenter personifies the Bob Gibson style of pitcher.   Mean, direct and serious.   CC has won 5 of his past 7 starts and suddenly has 8 wins and looks more comfortable than ever.
  • Tell Ken Rosenthal to shut his little mouth.   If every team hates STL, why is that every player wants to come play here, and when they do land, they hardly leave.   Rosenthal says the Cards are hated.   I hate Rosenthal and his little worthless comments.  Truth be told.  It’s better to be hated than liked.   Respect and fear walk hand in hand.   Other teams hate the Cardinals because they always are in it.

Switching gears, taking a walk and heading in a different direction.

3 Quick Movie Reviews-The Great, Pretty good and alright selections in theaters right now

Cowboys and Aliens-Do I need to tell you about this movie or read you a plot?   A mysterious outlaw(Daniel Craig, born to play a tough man of few words), wakes up in the desert with a bracelet attached to his arm that may shoot laser beams out of it.  How did he get it and what happens next?  Cowboys, aliens, a beautiful woman(Olivia Wilde), spirituality, and good old fashioned hokey movie magic play roles here.  Would I surprise you if I mentioned indians were involved?  The film recycles a lot of overused Hollywood cliches, like tough guys finding a soft spot, redemption, decency and the sun shining in the end.   There is nothing really original here.  Director Jon Faveau incorporates decent special effects into action sequences, gives Harrison Ford a role he actually likes and gets it all done in two hours.  All hail average handouts.

The Changeup-A very funny killer comedy that thrives on raunchy dialogue that will surprise even the dirtiest of minds and embraces its R rating.   A body switching comedy about two friends, Dave and Mitch, who are hitting speed bumps in their lives, according to themselves.  Dave is a straight shooting power suit at a law firm with a wife and kids.  He is living the dream but wants more adventure.  Mitch is a slacker(aka aspiring actor) with daddy issues whose next job interview involves dildos and the suspension of innocence.  He needs anything.  They piss in a fountain, switch bodies and find out what is missing in their lives.  Simple plot but when matched up with a dream team like Jason Batemen(Dave) and Ryan Reynolds, the material shines like gold.  The director of Wedding Crashers, David Dorbin, works with Hangover 1’s writers here and crafts truly nasty material and its glorious.   See it for the laughs but remember the dream team of Batemen and Reynolds.   Each play to their strengths but Batemen in particular gets to cut loose here and go a little wild.  His rants about anything match up with the funniest material in any film this year.  Is The Changeup funnier than Horrible Bosses and Hangover 2?  Yes, by a lot.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes-Right away, you are thinking, really?  Another film about apes and humans trying to co-exist.  On Saturday, I took in this film with my dad and came away impressed.  Why?  There was a touching original story plugged into this action drama.   The issue at hand felt real, not recycled, and the idea lived to the end.  The main topic here is simple.  Can apes(primates) and humans co-exist in one world without cages and boundaries?  Also, can that connection come without manipulation?  James Franco plays a scientist testing the healing powers of a drug designed to cure Alzheimer’s, a deadly disease plaguing his piano playing father(John Lithgow) on apes in his lab.  When one ape goes mad and wrecks the place, the operation is shut down.  Franco doesn’t know unti he has no choice that one ape survived the medical induced death.   Franco takes the baby chimp, Caesar, home with him, and quickly mixes him into the lives of his father and his work.  Before you know it, Caesar is 5 years old, yearning for his family and wanting to retire to the woods.   Another outburst gets in his way, putting him in a prison that unlocks his true calling.  Franco is helpless and can only watch as the connection between humans and apes is broken once again.   The film works on many levels, but reaches its highest level on drama points.   Without a doubt, we understand Caesar’s fight to be equal and free.   Its the same fight any immigrant has faced in this country or any white/black faced back in the 1960s.  The ability of apes strength and nature for violence prohibits alliance here but when does indecency comes into play.   That’s the main question.   I like the movie because it asks an old question in a new way and supplies a healthy spin.   The action is strong, the direction is assured and the end is fitting.  See this if you want to be surprised with fresh ideals.

It also doesn’t hurt that gorilla’s, monkeys and chimps are favorites of mine and seeing a large ape throw his body heroically into a helicopter is a sight to see that brought back fond memories of the final 20 minutes of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Quick Unfortunate Development in The US-30 US Troops were killed when their helicopter was shot down by insurgents.  That’s not a sight to see.  While going on a rescue mission, the troops were caught off guard by the insurgents in Afghanistan and this was the single biggest loss in the miltiary’s last 10 years.  Why does this have to happen?  Somebody tell me why our troops are STILL over there.   Peacekeeping? Give me a break.  There’s no peace to be found there.  Ever.  This is becoming a huge mistake.  At first, a promising idea for war and revenge is becoming a death warrant for young people in the USA military.   What good comes from our troops being sitting ducks?  There hasn’t been a terrorist attack in nearly 10 years?  Where is the gain?  Political aficionados will eat me up for this, but there’s a logic missing here.  When does the pain and suffering on the US end overcome the long term goal?

Dane Cook VS. Louis CK-The accusation.  Years ago, right after Dane Cook became a Comedy Rock Star by selling out arenas and going platinium on his records, a few Louis CK followers claimed that Cook stole 3 jokes from their comic.   The feud grew and became a popular force, slicing a piece of Cook’s success off and halting his momentum.  The claims were that Cook stole material from Louie’s act.   Last week, on FX’s Louie, the matter came full circle as Cook guest starred as a himself, and Louis CK sat down with him to ask for Lady Gaga tickets when the issue came up.   Cook attacked, Louis CK pointed out that there was a chance jokes were taken but not on purpose and that the whole thing got out of hand.  While the show is scripted, the scene felt so fluid that I get the feeling it was ad-libbed.  Cook is obviously a little pissed that his rep took a hit.  He claims to this day that he stole nothing and only wants Louis to come out and tell the crowd the truth.  The problem is, the truth won’t do much here.  Here is the end game.  It comes down to whether you like Louis CK or Dane Cook.   CK followers will stand united and attack Cook for suspected(that’s all it is) comedy treason and Cook followers(like myself) will claim nothing was stolen and move the fuck on.   Here’s why I think the matter came up.   You can line up the wording of the jokes all you want and show me links.  I have seen and read them all.   I think when Cook went global, the underground comedy crowd got pissed, found a similarity that may of came out of complete coincidence and decided to attack Cook and halt his success.  Comedy is held up on its legs by a family oriented indie group.   Cook represented something different.  A U2 like brand of comedy that stretched everywhere.  That wasn’t popular so a movement was created to halt it.  Does it affect my feelings for Cook or CK?  No.  I don’t find CK’s self deprecating dry humor funny but laugh out loud to Cook’s material, which consists of 20 years of stand up grinding that came before his big success.  It does amount to more than 3 little jokes about naming kids, itchy assholes and driving.  Anybody who thinks comedy kings are made out of 3 jokes is a fucking idiot and needs to be put down.  In the end, comedy is subjective.   We all laugh at different things and want to be the person to tell another to listen to this or try this comic out.   Material is recycled, used, reinvented, sliced up and spread out all over the world.   Whining about joke theft is only a suspicion or accusation and doesn’t get you far.  CK and Cook are both doing very well, so the theory lives on but doesn’t hamper either from being successful.  Each have their crowds and execute.  Each really, deep down, doesn’t give a shit.   Propping a theory up as anything else doesn’t hold up in a court of law.  If I thought CK stole Cook’s material, I wouldn’t make a big deal about it.   Each comic has to get on a stage and deliver.  Give me Carlin’s material and I wouldn’t be able to execute it as good as he did.  I repeat Carlin’s material everyday yet don’t get paid for it, but is there is a difference?  People laugh, and that’s all that matters.  End of story.

King of Leon-Love their music.   I don’t care for lead singer Caleb Followill walking off the stage due to exhaustion/drunkenness last week while on tour.  Pigeon shit is one thing.   Heat exhaustion or failing to hydrate or stay sober is another.   The Dave Matthews Band played 15 summers in a row that included 100 shows or more in 90-100 degree heat.   Kings of Leon aren’t having problems musically.  Their problems are internal and will be dealt with if they want to ascend to the top of the music rock world.  Right now, I am disappointed yet will keep listening to their electric latest album, Come Around Sundown.

Manny Pacquaio will fight old foe Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12th to close the book on an old rivalry and stay in shape for a possible Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.   This fight may of been a good one 5 years ago.  Today, it’s a layup for Pacman.   He will destroy Marquez, who looked old and slow against Mayweather 2 years ago.   History made this fight.  At the beginning of Pacman’s rise, Marquez gave him two legendary fights, one during which many thought Juan won.   The first fight came to a draw and Manny took the second by decision.   Years later, the second shoe falls and the trilogy is completed.   If Marquez engages Manny, which is his style, I would be surprised if the fight lasted 6-8 rounds.  Once again, I blame these soft fights(Mayweather-Victor Ortiz, Pacquaio-Marquez) on the inability of Floyd to get his life together and come to the table and agree to a fight with the pound for pound champ, Manny Pacquaio.   The real champ here is Manny because he was the one who beat up bigger fighters, takes any fight, destroys opponents while serving on Congree in the Phillipines and starting a music career.   Pacquiao doesn’t turn down fights and walk away from negotiations.   Floyd invented this need for Olympic drug testing(mind games), and once Manny agreed during the second round of talks to it, Mayweather Jr. still didn’t want to fight.   Boxing fans are the ones hurting here.  Do we want to spend 50 dollars on Pacquaio-Marquez?  NO way.

MLB Brawls carry their own brand of pussy behavior.   A disagreement happens, the benches clear, and a group of guys swing horribly, push each other, shout and do little for real excitement.   For once, I wish the umpires would allow the two main guys to drop the glove and bat, and work out the problems with their fists.  Nobody gets kicked, shoved from behind or involuntarily hurt.    The stadiums need to employ an enforcer from a hockey team to patrol the field and come into the middle of the brawl and just start decking players right and left.   Tell Tony Twist to dust off his mitts and deal out some justice across the league ballparks.   Do something or just use a fire hose to put the fire out.

Alex Rodriguez involved in high stakes gambling.   Again.  Really.   Is this surprising news?  No.   A-Rod is busy stealing 300 million over 10 years from the Yankees, so of course he is gambling.

The A-Rod deal is the MAIN reason the Cardinals won’t give the same deal to Albert Pujols.  After some investigation and introspection, it’s plain stupid to give one man that much money if he is over the age of 30 or human.

Marshall Faulk was the force behind the Greatest Show on Turf and a rightful 1st ballot Hall of Famer.   This is a rare no brainer in sports.   Faulk read defenses on the field without having to cheat, was an excellent adjustment running back and made his whole team better.  He turned a checked down screen pass into a 50 yard touchdown with moves sick enough to pull Michael Jordan out of his shoes. He changed directions midfield and did things other players were incapable of doing.  Faulk was amazing, spectacular and fun to watch.   A classy individual who came to the Rams in a time of unknown potential.   After helping Peyton Manning jumpstart his career in Indy, Faulk came here, soaked up Mike Martz’ offense, and carried this team to the Super Bowl game twice.  Warner, Bruce, Holt and the defense were special as well, but Faulk was the engine that made the entire project work.   Take him out and the Rams don’t own a Super Bowl Trophy.

Pitching Inside is Part of baseball, my friends located in the more softer side of this sport.   Its simple.   When your best player gets a ball in the wrist, retaliation must happen.   It’s not personal.  It’s business and usual.  Minds gets so worked up about hitting batters for revenge and discussing the harmful effects of throwing at hitters.  Here’s what’s harmful.   David Freese catching a fastball to the helmet on Thursday, leaving the game and missing 3-4 games in a row.   Freese is a player plagued by injury, so it fits, but a head shot is unnecessary.   Retaliation is required, rather it happens or not depends on the manager’s testicle count.   La Russa is a fan of throwing back, so expect fireworks this week against the Brewers.

David Freese’s string of injuries is quite unfortunate.  After both ankles get worked on and his wrist heals, Freese is hit in the head with a pitch and misses better part of 4 games.   Bad deal for the Cardinals who need his bat this week.

The Rams Developments in Camp-With the first preseason game on Saturday, camp is heating up and fans are dying for a look at this team.  The one cool thing about the lockout is that it carved off a lazy part of the NFL preseason schedule.  Mini camps and other periods of rest were eliminated and 2 weeks into training camp, we have our first preseason game.  I am an advocate of preseason games and support the use of 4 games.   Why?  This is the time where rookies and old vets battle for those low hanging roster spots, so that’s exciting.  Also, these are the games enginnered and created in case a lockout happens.   Now, we get the ugly play out of the way before the real games start.  Injuries happen more frequently, but if you watch football, by now you know anything can happen on any given Sunday.  It will be interesting to see Rams Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels incorporate the red zone offense that lit up the scoreboard in Sunday’s scrimmage.    How many steps forward can Bradford take?  With support, what season can Steven Jackson put together?  Which wide receivers will claim the last spot or two on roster?  Will the defense bring the same pass pocket pressure?    Tons of questions flood camp.  I need answers and need to see a game to make my way towards my resolution.

Blues News-Other than signing defensemen Danny Syvret to a one year two way deal to add depth to the defensive roster, the Blues aren’t making too much noise right now.   Certain readers will think I’m insulting the Blues here with this small section, but what is there to talk about?   Send me questions and I will answer them.  It’s the offseason, so the action is slow on the Blues front.

Song of the Day-Glen Hansard-“Say It To Me Now”

Quite honestly, one of the best true solo performances that I have ever heard.   Hansard is the leader of the bands, The Frames and The Swell Season, and rocketed to fame when he and former love/current bandmate Marketa Iglova made a love story for music called ONCE.   In this song, he is blasting his lungs and singing his heart out about the very essence of the dream.   Seek out opportunity and chase it down until you get it.   This is an amazing, tight, emotional performance.   Quite memorable.

This recommendation comes on the heels of the news that the Swell Season is releasing a documentary this fall about the Post ONCE success.   Hansard and Iglova winning two Oscars, falling in and out of love, going on an international tour and coming back together to make an excellent followup album, Strict Joy, which was released in 2009.  After the beauty of Once and seeing them live twice at the Pageant, the Swell Season is a documentary to look forward to because its based in true unselfish love for music. After their breakup, Glen and Marketa put together a wonderful second album. That’s worth
looking for.

Brian Wilson isn’t just the quiet star of Showtime’s The Franchise.  He is the charismatic moral center of the show as well.   Every time the SF Giants closer comes on screen, the show hits another level because you don’t know what Wilson will say, wear or come up with.   He wore a skin tight seal suit to the ESPYs, played a prank on Aubrey Huff, and spits out philosophical jargon at will.   The best thing about him.  He craves the attention, feeds off it yet remains humble and loving of his fans.  He took the grilling from Seth Meyers at the ESPYS, responds to every beard question, and keeps coming up with material while putting together a very good career as a closer.  A little Wilson bio here.  He was born a month and 13 days after me in 1982 on March 16th.  He played college ball in Louisiana and made his debut in the big leagues in 2006.  The Beard was created on a whim and simply never died.  I hold memories of Wilson clean shaven or carrying a squirrel like bit of facial hair.  Now, its simply a stagecoach robbing wrecking beard.  This season, he is 34-38 in saves, holds a 2.77 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 28 walks in 52 innings of work while only allowing 2 home runs.   His save percentage over the years has gone from 84 percent to up to 91 percent last season.   For his career, he is 168-192, a 89 percentage of success.   He is a high innings durable closer who gets better as the season gets older, a key trait for a closer.  In his last 10 outings dating back to July 14th, Wilson is 8-9 in save opportunities, carries a 1.00 ERA in 9 innings with 5 of those saves coming against Milwaukee and Philidephia.   Wilson is a reason to watch the show, but also a guy you don’t want to face in crunch time.

After spending 8 hours at St. Johns Mercy Hospital on Sunday for a baby class, I know full well what I am in for as a parent but still have to run the gauntlet myself to get the honest feeling.  The course taught me a lot of good things and many areas of need after Vinny arrives.   Pre-labor warnings, the amount of time between the water breaking and the baby coming, and preparing for the 2-3 day period of action.   It wasn’t a memorable Sunday but in the end, the knowledge will be appreciated.   I do think that in order to be truly know how to be a dad, you have to experience it.    Only so much discussion is warranted before info is repeated and attention is lost.  The baby is coming and I am as ready as I can be.   I didn’t need 8 hours for that, but I appreciated seeing the hospital, the procedure time, the rooms and space I will be occupying.

Daddy Blog of the Moment-Vincent is landing into this world around September 14th-21st, so a lot of things are being cleared out of my usual schedule.  Movies will take a hit.  Softball won’t exist for a season and Cardinals baseball will be innings and not hours at a time.   Its a good change but one I am soon finding out will indeed impact ever other area of my life.  While scared, I welcome it because its that time.  When I was younger, I always wanted to get married and have a kid.   For now, it will only be one kid.  I hate it when grandparents and parents start the countdown for baby #2 when my wife is still pushing out the first and we are beginning to realize the weight of true responsibility.  My message to them from my wife and I.  If you want it, you can carry it.

The Tim Tebow debate isn’t needed.  Kyle Orton rightfully is the Denver Bronco’s starting quarterback because he helps out the team in the current situation while Tebow is the future of the franchise and a question mark.   TT is a winner and will succeed in the NFL, but this is only his 2nd season, so I don’t understand the hysteria over the decision.  Once Orton wasn’t moved in a trade, he got the job and looking at his stats, the move is easy.   It will be interesting to see if Orton can sustain his high passing ways without Josh McDaniels calling plays, but he earns the chance to find out.  Tebow will be a backup, collect knowledge, watch games from the sidelines and prepare.   His work last season after Orton’s injury was thrilling but flawed.  Tebow’s skills are in need of honing and his game needs work, so I see him as a backup.

Tiger Woods will never be the golfer he once was, and it has more to do with his health decline than the public fallout from his marriage.   Woods’ body is breaking down, failing to do what he once was able to accomplish, so his game takes a hit.   As far as his now ex-caddie is concerned, I really didn’t know caddies in golf deserved so much attention.   They aren’t taking the swings.

Mariano Riveria has 5 blown saves in 2011 after last night’s 9th inning collapse against Boston, but he is still 29-34 on the season and carries a deadly 1.87 ERA.  Playing on an aging team, Riveria is 12 saves away from 600 and has an outside chance of reaching it this season.  A legend of the game, Riveria is starting to give up games but still is as consistent and capable as anyone in the league.  While giving up a lot of hits, Riveria has 39 K-5 BB and a WHIP of 0.97.

Being a Big Jon Hamm fan, the fact that he is directing the season 5 premiere is very cool news.  Hamm’s haunting work as lead ad man Don Draper sets the tone for the show and propels the stories.   The 4th season, which chronicled Draper’s drinking and buried demons, was the best complete season and featured the unforgettable episode, The Suitcase, that featured Draper and copywriter Peggy Olson staying into the morning hours working on a client but also bringing their problems front and center.  Hamm in the directors chair is good for the show and for the fans.

With that high mark to a native St. Louis soul, I am bringing this rant to a close.

My final plea to the Cardinals.   Go with the advice of Red from Shawshank Redemption.  “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and good morning.

-Dan L. Buffa









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