Here it goes. Quick and blunt. My usual format of exportation of the goods that exist and move around in my brain on a daily basis. These things poke and prod around my mind as I work my full time gig and shove everything else crucial in life into the rest of the frame of my days. This is where it is freed for good and more room is made for new ideas. Follow along and get my take.
Cards name Shelby Miller the 5th starter
I like this move for a few reasons. Miller is a first round pick with lots of promise, ability and a stream line progression into a rotation spot. He is different than Adam Wainwright, who developed initially in the Braves farm system, came here in a trade and worked in the pen before being inserted into the rotation. Miller has ALWAYS been a starter and the way he is pitching, there is no reason to sidetrack his progress by making him work out of the pen. I believe that pitchers need to know what they are going to do in the majors as much as a coaching staff can. What is this kid destined to do? Is there a spot? Since Miller is untouchable in trade talks, get him in the rotation and resist paying a veteran 9 million to fill a role. Joe Kelly is your everyman on the team. He can start, relieve, pitch long, mop up or do something else. He proved his flexibility last fall. He is more fit for the bullpen than Miller. I like this move. The great thing about the new Mozelaik-Matheny regime is the surplus of young starters. For three and a half years, Matheny and Mo worked together to develop these guys along with Jeff Luhnow. While Tony La Russa was prepping his exit, the suit and the future manager were prepping their own future. Following Miller looking for rotation work will be young arms Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. Other teams would kill for the Cards pitching depth. Believe me.
Jason Motte is heading to the DL with an elbow strain, or a flexor tear or whatever the Cards sell us in the following weeks. He is out for a little while or maybe a month. We can whine all day about that but it is a product of the game and hits many pitchers in baseball. The biggest concern is how the team rolls with it. The team has inserted Mitchell Boggs as the interim closer. Here is why I don’t like that move. Boggs is an excellent setup man. He led the league in holds in 2012 and put up outstanding numbers. Along with Motte and a late addition in Edward Mujica, he helped slam the door on NL teams in the last part of 2012. He has found his niche after starting, relieving, closing, relieving, and finally setting up. Leave him there. He is only going to go back there once Motte returns, which he will in May. Why mess with him again? Let’s not McClellanize poor Mitchell Boggs and shift him around in different roles. Why not let Trevor Rosenthal, the floating cannon armed rookie get a shot at closing? Are the Cards afraid he would be too fucking good to remove when Motte returned. I have digested all the hype on Rosenthal and believe in the kid. He has a deadly array of pitches, ranging from a 101 mph fastball to a 80 mph changeup. He has lights out stuff. Let him close for a month. What can be lost? Nothing. You wouldn’t lose any momentum or fool anyone with a change of roles. Rosenthal still hasn’t been completely exposed to the entire National League. He is a little secret in a way and that works in our favor if you ask me. Once again let me state that I like Mitchell Boggs and think he is a high quality setup guy. Why change that? Let Rosenthal close. He is a roving young gun right now, without a role on the team and resurfacing in different areas. He is perfect for the temporary closer assignment. Let’s not let the ninth inning turn into a crime scene again like did right for seasons upon seasons between the demise of Izzy, the conversion of Wainwright to the bloom and the doom of Ryan Franklin. Let’s keep it strong and load another bullet into the chamber for those final three outs. Just my thoughts. I am sure Boggs will close about 80 percent of the games he tries to save.
The Endurance of the Cardinals
2013 hasn’t been kind to the Cards. They didn’t even stretch out in camp before Chris “Wyatt Earp” Carpenter called in severely sick and told the team his right arm was useless due to a reemerging nerve damage issue. They lost their rock before spring. Then, our worst fears about Rafael Furcal’s condition came true and he will be out with Tommy John Surgery. Before a week of games were played, the Cards lost 19 million in salary with two players hitting the deck. A top rotation arm and a starting shortstop. Mike Matheny hurt his back and required surgery. He missed a week but I hear he is so tough they didn’t even put him to sleep during the operation. Man is tough as nails unless he is holding a knife. Anyway, the Cards have seen David Freese and Carlos Beltran miss time due to minor injuries. Motte just went down with a elbow problem. They cut Ronny Cedeno because he really isn’t that good. The Cards have lost three huge pieces and a real game hasn’t been played yet. However, this team rolls on in part due to great strategy and brains from its coaches and general manager and owner. The Cards have the amazing ability to take punches, barely raise their payroll and contend for the season while building for the future. They have built an arsenal of young pitching talent and fielded young players in their lineup(Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Yadi Molina, Freese, Matt Carpenter, Pete Kozma, Matt Adams, Motte, Boggs, Rosenthal) while bringing in consistent offensive producers like Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran. They can take a loss like Adam Wainwright in the spring of 2011 and turn around and win a championship. They can enlist 14 starting pitchers and lose a player to death and still make it to the NLCS like they did in 2002. They can lose Carpenter, Berkman, and Furcal in 2012 and come within a win of the World Series. This is what the Cardinals do in a time of dismay and sudden loss. They roll with it, take the hits and keep on moving forward. It brings to mind the Rocky Balboa speech to his kid in the sixth and last installment of the movie series. Outside his restaurant, Rocky tells his son why he must step back into the ring and fight the young champion and how there’s nothing embarrassing about never giving up or crying about circumstance. You win in life by taking the hits and moving forward at the same time. The St. Louis Cardinals DO THAT every single year. They contend, fight, scratch, claw and kick their way to wins and a playoff berth. They don’t go down easy or complain about losing a vital piece of their team. They aren’t built that way. Credit La Russa with that. Credit Mozelaik and Matheny and the coaching staff with that. It’s not in their DNA to fold up and go home. These Cardinals fight and I can tell you the Cincinnati Reds may be favored to win the Central but it won’t come easy because the Cards have a deep roster of young talent and money to spare. In baseball, nothing is set in stone and you never know what can happen. That’s what makes it great and what makes the Cardinals an efficient and respected franchise. You know why the Cards are hated around the league? They win every year or die trying.
The Blues Riddle Continues
They play a few road games, win one and lose two and return home. What can be said about this team that hasn’t already been debated over and over again? They always seem to sit on the brink of greatness before muddling backwards. It’s a difficult and disappointing habit for a player but also exhausting and confounding to a fan. The Blues take huge steps forward with a great home stand against good teams and fall flat against shitty teams on the road. Last night they seem to be coming back in Calgary and then Jarome Iginla somehow sneaks one by Jaro Halak to seal the game. Let me run off on my Halak rant now and you can hate me later. HE ISN’T A #1 GOALTENDER. He has had solid seasons as a Blue but never has completely taken the #1 job. He gives up a ton of soft goals and while it is not all his fault, the team doesn’t seem to play as strong for him as they do for Jake Allen, who is 8-2 and needs to be in net more often than not. At this point in the season, you have to forget about who makes more money or who was supposed to lead in goal and go with the hot hand, which is still Allen. Iginla’s goal needed to be stopped. The defenseman made a great play and blocked the big bodied winger from getting a clear shot but somehow Iginla snuck it past Halak. He can’t give up those type of goals at that particular time. It just can’t happen! He wasn’t the only reason the Blues lost but he was a huge factor. He gets a shutout the other night in Edmonton because he faced only 19 shots and didn’t have to save the game. When put on the pedestal of carrying this team in a crucial stretch, Halak has failed. I don’t think he is a #1 goalie. At least not in St. Louis.
More Blues Stuff
Chris Stewart is having a bounce back season and also is playing for a long term contract. He lost weight, got into shape, and has been dominating at times this season and really turning it on as of late. It is no fluke but there is a narrative here. Stewart is playing for a contract and if he completes the season red hot, the Blues should give it to him. We can only hope he keeps up the production once he is taken care of. T.J. Oshie has reached his ceiling. Sure, he rebounded last night from coughing up the puck which led to a Flames goal by scoring a goal himself and assisting on another, but let’s face it the kid is wearing out our patience and isn’t wooing me anymore. David Perron and Patrik Berglund have more talent and upside and unfortunately shorter term deals in place. If a team wants to take on Oshie’s contract I say pull the trigger. I am sure there is a few reasons to keep him but to me he has exorcised his potential. I know there is a reason for it but I don’t like seeing Ryan Reaves sit down for a single game. He changes the way the other team plays and adds a dimension out there. David Backes isn’t a bad captain but what happened to his production this season? Can someone tell Perron it’s okay to go to the net and finish. When will Brian Elliot be freed up and traded? There are no starts for him here. Between Halak battling for starts and Allen making the job his own, Elliot is up the creek without a boat right now. Matt D’Agostini was relieved of his duties last week. This week Elliot will be traded for next to nothing if a team takes on his 2013-2014 contract.
Great Television Leaves Great Reward
There’s something sexy about getting invested in a show late. You donate the time to get caught up, throwing yourself into a sea of characters and stories that have been playing for a couple years. Gameo of Thrones lingered in my internal queue for months. When would I stop, sit, and digest the 20 hours of epic medieval madness of kings, queens, sons, daughters and their battle over the thrones? Well, that time came on Saturday and I am 5 hours in and fully engrossed in the wonderful world of George Martin(who wrote the novels) and David Benioff’s writing of the episodes. This series is a hypnotic blend of great character actor showcases, fine storytelling, juicy twists and a list of characters that you can’t put your thumb on. The dialogue is fantastic and really pulls you in. A mother telling their son the immortal words of a Macbeth like Queen(“Anyone Who Isn’t Us Is Our Enemy”) or a king telling his son that a man who gives out a death sentence needs to do the killing himself. Heavy material that is handled so well by a cast that includes Sean Bean, Lena Headley, Emilia Clarke, Jason Momoa, Peter Dinklage, Aiden Gillen, and Mark Addy. The show adds an intriguing blend of unpredictable behavior, breathtaking visuals, a sweeping score and a promise of blood and nudity to amp up the watchable factor. Game of Thrones is very similar to another HBO series, Rome, only here the events come from a collection of books. I am ready for more and if you haven’t dipped in yet, I strongly suggest you do.
Film-Addict Hits Comic Con in STL
This past weekend, my website got a ton of exposure and new fans at the downtown Wizard World Comic Con, where the comic and movie geeks come out in full force and support their crushes. Artists, actors, comic book dressed heroes and villains alike filled the Convention Center and Film-Addict had a table where people could come by, sign up for the site, get free posters and t-shirts and learn more about us. Eric Moore, my film-addict partner, spent the entire weekend there while daddy duty kept me from only spending an evening there. From my two hours I can tell you that this is the best way for a small time business/enterprise to get legs underneath their passions. Spread it to the masses, interact with strangers and tell them why your site is the best. Attach a face to the content. It was a huge success and may finally break down the wall of advertising and marketing we have been working towards.
BRMC Album Hits
The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have flown coolly beneath the radar for close to 15 years now and produced 6 albums. They make music when they want to and not when a label demands tunes to meet a quota. It’s true rock n’ roll and musicianship when a band has the freedom to do what they please creatively. Their latest album, Specter At The Feast, is a collection alternative rock mixed with real rock and blues rock which manifests itself into an experience that satisfies the soul when its done. It’s hard to label their music. Rock lives inside it but takes different shapes. The lead singer carries the longing howl of a punk rocker with the blues but the guitars and scale of their songs suggest something more. Their best trait is the ability to change speeds, going from loud rocker to slow rock ballads and the gift here is real songwriting and storytelling. A few years ago the lead singer’s dad, who was a member of the band, had a heart attack and died backstage at a show. The experience nearly crippled the band and forced them to realign themselves in their careers. Time off was in order and a future wasn’t certain. However, the greatest kind of medicine for a rock n’ roll band is the ability to walk into a studio and pour your heart into a microphone with an instrument in your hands. That’s what Robert Been, Peter Hayes, Leah Shapiro Nick Jago, and Michael Keating did with this record. The sound reflects the emotion and power behind the tunes. The songs contain a lifeform inside every hook and beat to go with every word. This is real music people. The goods. Give it a listen and find out what it’s like.
Chronicles of Vinny
My son is 18 months old and off the charts in height and weight. He says full words now, gets more intuitive by the hour and shows the raw emotion of a toddler with the growing perceptions of a boy. He smiles, cries, and throws his weight around. He never fails to exhaust me, scare me with his physical leaps or brighten up a day with one loud laugh. I can’t tell you how much better he is than other kids his age or how advanced he is because I don’t spend enough time around other kids and don’t want to get bogged down in the statistics of where he needs to be. All I can tell you is my wife and I are raising a fine young man. He wants to do more and learn more. He never stops looking. It’s a great walk of life to be a dad. What happens next?
That’s the question and the end here. Thanks for listening. I am off for house duty and film-addict chores.