Let me just begin by saying that being a baseball fan ages a man. You feel older than your birth certificate says you are. You feel mistreated, hurt, and abused. Right when your team has you feeling pretty good for donating so much fucking time to their work, they stab you in the back. Case in point. The past 6 games from my St. Louis Cardinals. THIS ENTIRE BLOG will be about the Cards. If you like Real Housewives or So You Think You Can Dance and Retarded, please delete now. Alright ladies and gents…fire in the HOLE!
Month: July 2013
Buffa’s Daily Dose
Settle in because I have some explaining to do.
Quick to the point and blunt as a knife, I bring to you a few things rattling around the cage. Five Takes.
The Buffa Blast
What’s ahead in this blog?
- Albert Pujols’ foot injury, caused by plantar faciitis, will put him out for the rest of the season. We all know about AP’s miraculous healing efforts when he was in St. Louis but he is getting older now and may indeed be out until 2014. For three months, the man cranked 17 HR, 64 RBI and hit .260 while standing on one leg. It was painful to watch him take hacks and get overpowered by a fastball. He was in pain but is one of the toughest bastards to play baseball and even took the dreaded DH spot to prove it. However, he tore a muscle in his foot this past week, and that is exactly what is required for plantar fasciitis to heal. Tear the muscle, alleviate pressure and REST. I want nothing but the best for Pujols. Love or hate his decision, but he gave our city 11 fantastic seasons that few STL athletes can claim and he went to a team that barely opposed the Cards. I want him to dominate and be his old self. In order for that to happen, he needs to sit.
- I don’t think the Cards need Jake Peavy. Apparently, John Mozelaik agrees because Peavy cleaned out his locker today and is headed to Oakland(per reports). Peavy is a nice talent and good addition for most teams but to give up Carlos Martinez or Kolton Wong(players that could be in Cardinal Red for a decade) would be foolish. At this stage in his career, Peavy is a liability. In 2008, this is a different conversation. Now, he is an injury prone 15 million dollar arm that may not give a team more than 2 months of pitching before a body part breaks down. He is a less tougher younger version of Chris Carpenter. Alexei Ramirez isn’t worth the swap either, because he is an older player, can only hit better than Kozma but doesn’t play as good of defense. Ramirez isn’t a horrible addition but only worth it for the right exchange.
- This is why I pride Mozelaik’s brain. He doesn’t get fooled that often at the deadline. He may bring in a shitty guy like Khalil Greene or Ty Wiggington in the offseason but he is aces at the deadline. He brought in Edwin Jackson and Rzep, who helped us knock out the playoff opposition. He got rid of Colby Rasmus. He brought in Ryan Ludwick and traded him before his body gave up on him again. He traded for the presumed nobody Edward Mujica last season, who is now 30-32 in saves in 2013. Mozelaik knows that this team can stand pat on the young firepower that has got the team to this point and is capable of winning a World Series. Young teams have done it before. I have faith in Mo this week.
- Chris Carpenter is as tough as they come. Seriously, the man is made of many parts but his heart and soul is unbreakable. He gave it a great shot. He tried to come back. If he shall decide to hang it up, nobody can fault his effort or drive. He wants to be able to play with his kids in 10-20 years. He wants to hoist his grandchildren one day. This nerve issue could get a lot worse if he presses on and keeps throwing. If that is the case medically, Carpenter needs to pay his dues and hang it up. He had a helluva career, and one that was marked with improbability. He came to St. Louis 10 years ago under a mystery label. He won a Cy Young and won 2 rings. The Cards may have given the Red Sox a fight in 2004 if Carpenter didn’t tear his triceps. You never know with injuries. I do know that Chris Carpenter is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen in person. He is tough, efficient and the guy you always wanted on the mound. What he did in the fall of 2006 and 2011 at the end of the season and in the postseason is the stuff of legend, especially 2 years ago when he outdueled Roy Halladay and gave everything he had against the Rangers. Carpenter is true grit personified. It may be time for him to hang it up.
- Once again, David Freese needs to watch his back and play his best. He is up for free agency and Kolten Wong needs a place to play soon. Just saying. IMOS may want to find a different face.
- Only God Forgives was as brutal, disturbing, blunt, original and absurd as a movie can get. It’s available on demand and on Itunes. Japanese madness. Ryan Gosling stars in it but even he looks misguided. Definitely a DVD.
What I Have Heard and What I Think
Quick, blunt and straight to the point…otherwise what am I doing here? Talking. Here is what I have heard and what I know and believe.
Chris Carpenter’s Fight
Today we got wind that Chris Carpenter’s comeback was being postponed due to the recurring numbness in the righthander’s pitching hand returning. One of the toughest pitchers in baseball simply can’t outrun his own body’s breaking point. Carpenter has had every surgery known to a baseball player. He had a piece of his rib inserted into his shoulder and neck area to alleviate pain once. Chris Carpenter once parallel parked a train. I’m kidding. That’s a Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the world joke. Anyway, Carpenter isn’t knocked out but he is on the canvas again while reality, his arm and the world is seemingly counting to 10 once again. Sorry I sound overly dramatic here but baseball is a romantic game played by men in shiny uniforms. I digress…
So often in life, justice isn’t served and never meets the proper setting. In other words, bad men go unpunished and walk free. No, I am not talking about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. That case is soiled, overcooked, old news and quite simply needs to be locked away somewhere where a media rep can’t find it. I am talking about something simple. Baseball scum. Let’s get right into it.
Sunday Afternoon Dose
Throw another round in the chamber and here we go….unfiltered and blunt as usual. Sunday afternoons with a little rain and shine can’t hide what I need to say so on with it.
- Chris Carpenter is the most honest athlete you will ever meet. He’s hard on himself and gives the media the blunt truth so we get it straight. Joe Strauss talked to Carp after his bad outing on Saturday and the future suddenly isn’t so bright for a Carp comeback. Last night, his pitches look sloppy and were punished. His fastball didn’t fly and his curve rolled. Carp hated his work and thus gave a rough analysis of the future. He meets with John Mozelaik and Mike Matheny tomorrow and will throw next on Thursday and then make another start right at the trade deadline. It’s hard to tell what will happen. Carp’s fastball hit 95 mph this weekend but his stuff looked flat and didn’t improve from Monday’s performance. Getting lit up by AAA pitching doesn’t bode well for major league sluggers, but I have to step in here and add. This is his second start of 2013. He is being hard on himself but for good reason. If he can’t come back, that puts more food on Mo’s plate to dice up and chew. If he comes back, there isn’t a HUGE need for a starting pitcher. Carpenter is truly an X-Factor in the deadline arms race.
- Furthermore, the important thing to point out again is that the Cards DON’T HAVE to make a move but they can certainly help themselves with an addition. For me, it has to be right. Don’t add a salary for no reason. First, assess what you have. Carpenter gets two more starts at least in AAA and in my mind should take them. He has thrown less than 10 innings this season and is still in spring training mode for facing hitters. I love his candor and honesty but think his bluntness is getting used too sharply here. He will throw again before the break and that is a big day for him and the team. Carp is being straight here and that is because the deadline is approaching and it will be decision time soon for his bosses. This has nothing to do with money or glory but being able to help his team. Carpenter isn’t going to climb that mound at Busch if he can’t fool a minor league hitter with his curveball. Simple as that. As much as I want to see him scream, roar and dominate ONE more time, he won’t do it if he isn’t ready.
- In my mind, Lance Lynn is trade bait because the guy is becoming Jekyll and Hyde for this team. If Mo has a trade piece, it’s Lynn, who has a proven track record of success and may need a fresh start. Granted, he has a ton of wins as a starter and I am not pushing him out the door but you have a ton of Memphis heat waiting in the wings and we are entering Lynn’s dog days. He is slowly putting pounds back on his frame and losing to less than stellar talent. He got beat last weekend by the Cubs and fell to the Padres this weekend. We don’t need that kind of performance right now. If you are going to place an asset on the trade block, Lynn may be it. Also, Lynn is showing too many young boy whining session on the mound. I don’t see that shit from Miller, Rosenthal, Kelly or Carlos Martinez. Lynn randomly loses his cool on the mound and doesn’t have his father figure, Carp, to keep him in line. He acts like a child at times.
- Jake Westbrook has fired off three solid starts in a row after Friday night’s gem against San Diego. He collected 3 hits and spread a few hits over 6.1 innings. Westbrook has calmed my fears about his post elbow strain performance. He is joining Waino as a reliable asset in the rotation. An expected veteran lift.
- Joe Kelly is also trade bait simply for the fact that he is a floating piece of pitching strength. If Carp comes back, Kelly goes back into the pen. If Carp doesn’t come back but Lynn is moved, Kelly stays. Kelly has proven his worth and has decent value. He has 19 starts in the majors and over half are quality turns. He can be a long relief guy and closer type. He is a guy the Cards can hold onto and utilize in the last two months or move. Use him or move him.
- The 5th spot in the rotation comes into full use again on July 27th. From there on out, the full rotation goes back into motion because the off days are few and far between.
- David Freese is hitting his way out of STL. He is hitting cleanup today in Matheny’s latest “start the backups, jumpstart a slumping vet” tactic. He made a horrible error(ruled a hit bc its at Busch) and grounded out in the bottom half. I wonder if Freese will ever recover from being crowned a hero in Game 6 of the World Series in 2011. He had a decent 2012 season but has regressed in 2013 to the point of being moved all around the order. Freese is coming up on the last years of team controlled free agency, so there could be a move and he is a trade option. With Kolten Wong tearing up Memphis and Matt Carpenter becoming the revelation of 2013 at second base, Freese is finding his spot and future on this team in danger. That’s baseball for you.
- Trade block assets are Lynn, Kelly, Freese and Jon Jay. I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them are moved.
- The Cards are in a dogfight and can’t afford to be sentimental. If Freese has to go, he will never lose those memories and neither will we.
- The story of recently called up power bat Brock Petersen is worth telling. I will give the short version. A year ago, Petersen was looking at the end of his long minor league career while playing for an independent league team. No minor league affiliated team. Independent league. Petersen was getting set to register for online courses for the University of Phoenix when the Cards called and sent him to Memphis. This season, he has become a true force and earned a call up. He put together a .306 BA, 22 HR, and 66 RBI down in the AAA circuit and resurrected his once dead baseball career. He put together a 9 pitch at bat in his MLB debut last night, collecting an RBI groundout. He is at the plate now, hitting 6th in the starting lineup. Two days later, Brock is starting in left field for the St. Louis Cardinals. Fantastic story. An older guy given a shot late in his career to be a MLB player. It doesn’t get better than that because it’s 100 % real.
- Batman and Banshee. Switching gears, unless you hate comics and movies, you heard yesterday that Batman and Superman will join forces in a movie in 2015. Man of Steel helmer Zach Snyder will return and DC comics is taking its big chance. For me, it may or may not work. Depends on the script, casting of the Bat and the director. If Snyder wants to go all action bombast crazy like he did at the end of Man of Steel, I can’t say it will work a second time. If he tones down the action and gives plenty of story, it may work. Who would I cast as the bat? I give 6 options in this piece on Film-Addict. My dark horse option. Banshee’s Antony Starr.
- I will be writing a column on Showtime’s Ray Donovan for Film-Addict. My TV spotlight goes on this fine drama because it packs a wallop, has a great cast, plenty of story and got renewed for season 2 last week. Bring it on.
- The real question is what series do I tackle in the downtime of the summer? I am out of work and there aren’t many new shows on right now? FX’s The Bridge looks interesting but I may wait until it’s first season concludes so I don’t get left on the hook each week. It’s a one season story line and a remake that follow a Mexican cop and American cop’s investigation of a body found right across the border of Mexico and the US. Other options include AMC’s Hell of Wheels with Anson Mount. A western revenge tale. You also have the recently wrapped cop drama, Southland(from the creator of Ray Donovan). There is Cinemax’s Strikeforce, which looks like a combination of stupid action, tense terrorist drama and buddy camaraderie. Decisions all around.
- You know you are a proud loser/stay at home dad when you spend Friday and Saturday night at the gym. When the kid goes down, I go to work.
- The Rams begin camp soon and if there is one hope I have for this team that has a new found toy chest of offensive toys, I want the 2012 points per game of 18.6 to go up. If we have any chance of beating the Seahawks and 49ers in the division or putting together a sneaky run at the playoffs, the Rams need to score more points. More touchdowns. Less field goals. With inbound weapons like TE Jared Cook and multiple asset Tavon Austin, I hope we can light teams up this year. I have high expectations for Fisher ball in 2013.
- The Blues signed enigmatic forward Chris Stewart to a 2 year, 8.3 million dollar deal. This deal is good and bad. Stewie is a decent producing winger but disappears for long stretches. He can score 5 goals in a week and then none for 2 weeks. He is dangeorusly streaky. The David Freese of the Blues. Stewart is an aggressive player and can hold his own in a fight but you don’t pay a thug with a scoring touch 4 million to drop his gloves and protect. We have Barrett Jackman for that. Stewart has to earn this deal.
- Yadi Molina has come back to life and is hitting .335 on the season. Over his past 15 games, he has only gone hitless twice. He isn’t slowing down. Just wondering if his right knee is affecting him at all.
- Good headphones are everything to a runner/weight lifter/laptop junkie. I prefer the pods that come with Apple products. I have worn every kind of head equipment for listening to tunes and movies. It doesn’t get better than Apple ear pods. So when your son chews on your two pairs, what do you do? Head to Walmart, buy a new pair for 30 bucks. Money doesn’t matter if you use the product enough and would be wasting money on a lesser quality brand.
- Twitter Urges Are Real. The logical thing for a writer seeking exposure for his own writing and website would just keep on tweeting and plugging away. Let the followers and feedback come. It’s harder than it seems. You see interactions with followers go to great places, and how that effects your craft and you just want more. That’s life and the human flaw. WANTING more. I want more and nearing 200 followers(I once sat at 45), I just want more followers to interact with and spread my craft. I don’t want fame only. I want an audience. It’s in my blood. Part of my system. Something I can’t control. If you are on twitter, connect with me and let’s have some fun with 140 characters.
Me and What’s in My Head
Here are a few things that are rattling around my cage over the past couple of days.
Stream of Consciousness
A stream of consciousness….
- Cards news. Beltran and Molina in ASG starting lineup, batting 2nd and 6th respectively. Hope Yadi doesn’t hurt the knee and Beltran is ginger as usual in the outfield. Go NL and that’s only because the stupid rule of this game determining the WS home field is in play.
- Keith Butler was sent down and I am fine with that. I don’t know what the Cards are doing with Carlos Martinez,a prized prospect and future rotation mainstay. The kid has lights out stuff and pitched well Saturday at Wrigley. However, he was sent down in May to be stretched back out as a starter after a brief callup. What are they doing now with him? He will have to be sent back down and stretched back out. I hate when the team messes with players like this, especially younger ones. Decide on a road with a player. The rotation is crumbling a bit lately and if that’s the case make a move and insert a fresh arm like Carlos into the rotation. Is Shelby Miller in need of a shoulder exam and is he suffering from shoulder soreness? If you want to limit his pitching for the second half, give him a DL stay and see what Carlos can do with 2 starts. If not, what is his role? I hope he doesn’t take the Joe Kelly mystery role spot. He’s too important.
- Speaking of Kelly, I somehow think he is trade bait. With Carpenter on the mend and Martinez with the club and Wacha and free agency lurking, Kelly could be a piece inserted into a package trade. He has proven success as a starter in the big leagues and can also be an effective long reliever. His future in STL is cloudy at best. His July 27th start could be his last before Carp takes over. If you can’t use him, get something for him. The team and Kelly deserve that.
- I may have the chance to interview one of my favorite actors, Mark Strong, next month. He is a true underrated gem and here is the piece I wrote on him two weeks ago.
- My son gave himself a black eye and a chin bruise because he likes to throw his head into walls when he is mad and takes his agony out on himself. One day, when it all starts to hurt, he will reconsider all those head shots. The way it is, my son could overtake Kurt Warner in concussions before he is 5 years old. The kid just doesn’t care and is a pure brute. But he is mine and tough and with the insane amount of cuddling I see with kids these days, I will take his physicality to the bank.
- I won’t be watching the All Star Game because I have a screening and I really don’t feel the need to donate 4 hours to a very long and stretched out game. I can watch the highlights or DVR it and watch the Cards do their thing. This break isn’t just for the players. It’s for hardcore fans like me that need a fucking break.
- NFL Training Camps start in a few weeks and the preseason is a couple months off. I am extremely excited to see what Bradford, Fisher and company can produce this year. There were upgrades made and depth added. Fisher Ball is in full swing and I can see this team getting 7-9 wins with the slightly easier schedule and second year in a row with Bradford working with OC Brian Schottenheimer.
- Managing a website is hard and time consuming because you don’t want to act like a politician and promise things you can’t produce. If I say there is a section called the Daily Dose, it will be refreshed at least once a day. Promises are put together by one’s integrity.
- Crafting A Nation, a beer documentary partially filmed in STL, has a premiere downtown at the MX Theaters on Thursday night at 8pm. I posted something on my website about it because its an intriguing project. Two brothers putting their livelihood on the line to try and do what they love for a living and that’s make beer and open their own brewery. I have all the respect in the world for men and women who put their financial well being on the line to do something they love. In a way, I am doing it with film-addict.
- It’s time to go job hunting online so I must wrap this up. Looking for work is a hard walk because you come into a company at the bottom and truly have to do some work to get to a respectable level. Everybody there knows what they are doing and you don’t. Doing it over and over really sucks.