Let the Games Begin

Is everybody here?  Fuck it, I’m going anyway.   This may not rip your face off but it will make contact with your brain. 

Reasons Why Terry Francona is a solid safe choice for the Cardinals Open Manager Spot

1.)The man won 2 World series titles in Boston from 2004-2010 after Boston went decades without a title.   Francona is a proven winner, and a guy who can handle a clubhouse full of superstars and heavy ego battles.   Manny Rameriz, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Jonathon Papelbon all served under Tito and he got results.   You can’t blame the guy for the September meltdown.  The Boston rotation blew up an ERA of 7.51 and the team just stopped playing good baseball.  No one is chasing Freddy Gonzalez for his job after the Braves collapsed in Atlanta.   A few Boston players hung out in the clubhouse during games and that looks bad on Francona, but I still like him for the job here because he won big time in Boston.

2.)Did I mention he won in Boston, fierce rival of the New York Yankees?  Francona managed a top of the market baseball club with a diehard fan base in the toughest division in baseball, the AL East.  Terry Francona will move from the Al East to the comedy NL Central, marking a drop in competitive baseball and making this job seem like a piece of cake.

3.)The Cardinals are set up to compete for a World Series in 2012, with or without Pujols.   Francona doesn’t have to come in here and realign a strategy and start fresh.  He is walking into a clubhouse with hired killers who get the job done.  He comes into a team with 5 set starters, cornerstone players and a fan base ready to see playoff baseball.  He is joining a team that just won the World Series.  There is pressure, but he is built for it.

4.)Francona has the support of Dave Duncan, the best pitching coach in baseball.  They could make a great team.

5.)Francona is a good guy, carries a solid baseball mind and is well respected.  He is a perfect skipper to work under Mozelaik and DeWitt Jr..   He doesn’t make excuses, gets the best out of his players, works well with players and made the classy gesture in Boston and left before the team could kick him out.  When the dark cloud fell on Boston and Theo Epstein scrambled off to Chicago, Francona decided to resign, take the heavy side of the blame and did the right thing.  Start clean.  St. Louis is a good spot for Terry Francona.  The two sides fit each others plans.

Francona gives the Cards stability, a strong resume, a history of World Series activity and a seasoned veteran presence to watch over this team.  The Cards can give Francona a second lease on life in Cardinal Nation.   Once again, Oquendo deserves an interview for his experience and history with club, but Francona is a big name to go out and grab.  You can’t buy the respect the players have for Oquendo, but you can’t write off the fact that Francona won 2 championships in the hot tundra of MLB baseball in Boston.   If he wants the job here, I’d be surprised if Mo turned him down.

A random chat with P.J. today brought out these other Cardinals needs-

Agree on the lefty specialist role fill and it should be easy.  Rzep is your long guy and all we need is a one out arm.
-Pujols is biggest task for this team.   Mo didn’t get much time to celebrate when days later the manager spot was vacant and Pujols’ clock ran out.   He has to get to work and once again, the Cards need to offer Pujols a new deal.   Start the betting yourself. 
-Furcal is  the biggest need because Cards have zero organizational depth at shortstop.  Do we really want to hinge our season hopes on Tyler Greene playing 162 games this season?  The answer is no.    Rafy is most important recall.   Incentive based deal is in effect there.
-I don’t mind Jose Oquendo as the skipper if Francona fell through because there wouldn’t be a big adjustment there either because players know him well and will only see him in different role.  I agree with Bernie that they shouldn’t hire Jose because he is Alberts buddy.  That would kill Jose’s creditibility and hurt the team.   Some morons are screaming that in this city and I had to shoot it down. 
-Finally, there aren’t too many holes on the team.   Figure out Albert, shortstop, the lefty specialist and maybe second basemen and the team is good.   First, Albert gets a deal.  That is the deal for which every other deal hinges on.   Albert’s epic saga of his future here.  Until we finish that deal, nothing else can be done.   However, the Cards should have an amount in their head annually that Albert is getting so if Furcal or Dotel want to come back, its easy. 
-Jose Reyes is too injury prone and I don’t want to blow 15 million on his future.  Too injury prone to risk it for.   If Pujols gets greedy and runs away, you do have 20 million plus dollars opening up but I would be very hesitant to hand any over to Reyes.  Explosive player that gets a leg injury every 30 games he plays. 
-Allen Craig is your right handed compliment to Jon Jay in Center field based off his big bat and improved defense.  There is no need to rumage through the free agent wire for a bat when you have Craig at your disposal and cheap.

I expect things to happen in this order-
-Hire Francona in less than a week
-Sign Pujols before Christmas
-Take care of loose ends.  

Cardinal Nation lives on for another season.  This team is set to contend for the pennant next season with a few recalls. 

Other Things-

  • Sad part about Rams directional path.   If this weekend’s game was being played at home, it wouldn’t sell out and the game wouldn’t be on television.  After last year’s finish, I can’t believe those words are here but its true.   If the backups start in Arizona, wear a mask to the couch.
  • The Blues play Vancover at home and who gets the start in net?  Brian Elliot has been solid and is 4-1.   Jaroslav Halak is a starter who gives up too many goals and looks dead in the net but could be victimized by a bad defense.   Who gets the call?  If I am controlling the ship, Halak gets one more night to put a stranglehold on position.  You have to see what he has left. 
  • What is a gonzo journalist?  A writer who inserts himself into his own stories.   Hunter S. Thompson was a gonzo journalist.  He put himself into a situation in real life and built a story around it on paper. 
  • What would we do without caffiene?  Right now I am lit up on two cups of strong coffee, but I feel the need for more.  What would we do if we didn’t have caffiene fixes, nicotine hits or a buffet food bar?  Chaos in the streets. 
  • If there was a show on television that pushes the boundaries of good/evil right now more than FX’s Sons of Anarchy, please tell me where it’s at.  Ron Perlman’s Clay made a decision this week that twisted my stomach but its a good twist for the show.  Good TV shows keep the viewers guessing what their characters’ motives really are. 
  • Hells On Wheels on AMC is the latest shot at a Western.   I am in for the first episode.  In the 1960s and 1970s, westerns owned television.  Now things have changed.  AMC is hot right now, so look for the railroad revenge drama to score first.
  • Once again, listen to The Black Keys new single, Lonely Boy from their next album, El Camino.  Like the car its named after, the song and album bleed modern blues rock.  

That’s all I have for you today.  Short, brutal and quick. 

Goodnight,

DLB

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