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Posts Tagged ‘Cardinals’

Jhonny Peralta

In Baseball on January 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Baseball’s Hot Stove League is burning up, but the St. Louis Cardinals are sitting on the sidelines with their biggest signings already made. What can Cardinals fans expect out of new shortstop Jhonny Peralta?

It’s the middle of January, which means we’re less barely one month away from Major League Baseball spring training. In this winter of polar vortexes (vortices? Math was never my strong suit), the sun and warmth of the Grapefruit League is particularly tantalizing, but until pitchers and catchers report, fans will have to settle for the action of baseball’s annual hot stove league. With roster spots to fill and money to spend, general managers are draining their iPhone batteries negotiating trades, contracts and mocking the new Chicago Cubs mascot.

It took less than an hour for those rapscallions at Deadspin to take advantage of Clark's pantslessness.

Deadspin took advantage of Clark’s pantslessness in less than an hour.

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Freese Frame

In Baseball on November 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm

CDH’s Ian Brickey is a dyed-in-the-wool Cardinals fan. Read how he thinks the Nov. 22 trade of third basemen David Freese helps the team, but hurts from a fan perspective.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the St. Louis Cardinals hot stove league heated up. On Nov. 22, the Cardinals traded third baseman David Freese and relief pitcher Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk. On its face, the trade appears to benefit both teams. With Bourjos, St. Louis gets improved outfield defense over a regressing Jon Jay, and Matt Carpenter’s shift to the hot corner from second base improves the team’s infield defense. Meanwhile, the Angels get a veteran third baseman with power and an experienced reliever with closer capability.

The trade came at a surprise to no one, least of all Freese. “I definitely would look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Where am I going to be in March?’” Freese said to ESPN. “I was ready to go anywhere.” Freese knew, the teams knew, and all parties — even Freese, the St. Louis native — appear to be better off for the deal. So why does the deal leave me with a bad taste in my mouth? Read the rest of this entry »

2013 World Series Hangover

In Baseball on November 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

With their mourning period over, CDH’s Ian Brickey and Becky Koenig are ready to talk about the 2013 World Series, the hot stove league, the St. Louis Cardinals’ prospects for 2014 and, of course, beards.

IB: Well, it’s been two weeks since the Red Sox romped their way into the Boston night after their Game 6 victory in the 2013 World Series. I know you and I were disappointed that the St. Louis Cardinals’ season ended two games short, but if you had told me before opening day that the Cardinals would win the National League pennant and take arguably the best team in baseball to a sixth game in the Fall Classic, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat. It’s never fun to lose, especially when your team comes so close to winning it all, but that’s the great thing about baseball — there’s always another season, and that six month offseason is never as long as it seems. But with our cursory mourning period over, let’s take stock on a remarkable season for the Redbirds. Read the rest of this entry »

World Series Extravaganza 2013

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

The St. Louis Cardinals will take on the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 World Series beginning tonight. For the next week, Cardinals fans and CDH writers (in that order) Ian Brickey and Becky Koenig will discuss their membership in Cardinal Nation, make game picks and exhibit the general classiness that defines the Cardinal Way. Today, the preview.

Ian Brickey: Becky, I’m a Cardinals fan, and I know, deep down, you are too. But, since I was initiated at birth, and you’re still learning the ropes, I figured I would give you a primer on Cardinalia. Despite all the trolling from the national media, there really is something that makes the team and its fans special. Does some of that come from the superior moral sense, down-to-earth mentality and general Norman Rockwell-esque character of Midwesterners? I don’t know. But there definitely is an element of tradition. I don’t say that as a homer — although, homer I am — it’s a certifiable fact. Let’s just look at a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »

MVP: Most Valuable Plays

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

Are the most important plays in a baseball game the ones we see on the highlight reel? The answer might surprise you. Today, CDH’s Ian Brickey looks at Win Expectancy and the top five plays from the 2013 NLCS and ALCS.

When we think of important baseball plays, we usually think of the highlight reel. The important plays are the ones that dazzle us, that sing the “momentum” of the game the other way, that beg to be accompanied by the theme from The Natural. Both of the 2013 League Championship Series had their share of Roy Hobbes-ian moments. David Ortiz demonstrated again why he’s one of the most clutch hitters in baseball history with his grand slam in Game 1 of the ALCS, while St. Louis’s Carlos Beltran single-handedly won Game 1 of the NLCS with his bat and his glove. Those plays were important, no doubt. But the highlight reel plays aren’t always the most significant events in the game. In fact, a seemingly unremarkable strikeout or base hit can actually have more of an influence over the outcome of a game than towering home run or diving catch in the outfield. This was fully on display in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

On Catcher Defense

In Baseball on October 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Baseball statistics have become more sophisticated in the last decade. So why is it still so hard to measure defense?

The last decade has been a veritable golden age for statistical analysis in baseball. In the decade since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, front offices and fans have shed the shackles of the box score and embraced sabermetric-style statistical analysis. Metrics like VORP, PECOTA and WAR have revolutionized how we value position players, while statistics like FIP and ERA+ evaluate pitchers without the variables of defense and ballparks. Even the previously nebulous subject of defense has been refined with statistics like UZR and the Dewan Plus/Minus system, revealing that good defense can be just as valuable as offense. But while these and other statistics have changed the way we analyze baseball, one area continues to baffle sabermetricians — the defensive value of catchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Wacha Flocka Flamethrower

In Baseball on October 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm

The St. Louis Cardinals have been powered by rookies for most of the season. But in their biggest game of the season, one rookie kept his team alive — and flirted with history.

As I write this, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing to square off in Game 5 of the 2013 National League Division Series. The winning team will go on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The losing team gets to watch the NLCS on television.

The Cardinals’ season could end tonight, and if it does, it will have ended at the hands of a talented young team that deserves to win. The thing is, it just as easily could have ended Monday afternoon. And the fact that their season will go on for at least one more game is due to the performance of Michael Wacha. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Carpenter

In Baseball on August 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm

By definition, Plan B is a worse option than Plan A. Plan B takes longer or is more expensive or won’t work as well as Plan A. During spring training 2013, Matt Carpenter was definitely a Plan B kind of player. So it wasn’t a good sign when the St. Louis Cardinals plugged him in at third base to replace the oft-injured David Freese for Opening Day. Carpenter might have been Plan B at third base, but he’s quickly turned himself into the Cardinals’ Plan A at second.

For the last few seasons, if a Cardinal named Carpenter appeared on any National League leaderboards, it was Chris, and they were the pitching categories. But if you look at the 2013 top 10 lists, you’ll see Carp the Younger appears quite a few times. His 5.3 WAR ranks sixth among N.L. position players — ahead of MVP candidate/teammate Yadier Molina — and ninth among all NL players. In fact, his 5.1 offensive WAR is ranked third in the NL, behind only Andrew McCutchen and David Wright. Carpenter’s .313 batting average is sixth best in the league. He ranks 10th in both on-base percentage and OPS. And he currently leads the league in hits, doubles and runs scored. Read the rest of this entry »

Stadium ad nauseum

In Baseball, Sports Philosophy on July 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Sports stadiums can be things of beauty. But they can also be architecturally unpleasing, outdated or utterly insane. CDH’s Ian Brickey looks at six of the craziest stadium designs ever proposed by American professional sports teams.

The primary function of an athletic stadium is to host sporting events. In that regard, all stadiums are similar. But similarity does not mean all stadiums are the same. There’s a reason we lament the destruction of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds more than half a century after their demolitions and not, say, Veterans Stadium (although the sightlines for battery-throwing were unparalleled). The difference is architecture. Stadiums can be beautiful buildings — even works of art. But they can also be architectural atrocities. American sports teams have considered a lot of stadium design proposals over the years. Here are six of the craziest. Read the rest of this entry »

Team on the Run

In Baseball, Football on July 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Can you imagine the New England Patriots ditching Boston for greener pastures, or the Philadelphia Eagles playing in the desert? CDH’s Ian Brickey looks at six franchise relocations that almost occurred.

It’s hard to imagine your favorite sports franchise moving to a different city. Fans tend to blend civic identity with sports success, to the point where teams become synonymous with the city. But those connections that seem so permanent one minute can quickly be undone, and the next minute, you’re redeeming your season tickets in a different time zone — just ask fans of the Baltimore Colts, Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams.

As painful as they can be, many team relocations have come to define the modern leagues, and reinvigorated languishing franchises. It’s difficult to imagine Atlanta without the Braves, Pittsburgh without the Steelers or Detroit without the Red Wings. But for every successful relocation, there are multiple proposed moves. Here are six franchise moves that almost happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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