Slow, Slow, Slow

Talk about a dead period. This time between Christmas and New Year’s is terrible for baseball news, it appears. Just running down the headlines on Pro Sports Daily’s rumor site, there was only one story yesterday (about the Reds still wanting to make moves) and most everything over there deals with Johan Santana, with an occasional dash of Eric Bedard.

Really more of the same at MLB Trade Rumors. Lot of rehashing of Santana. Doesn’t part of you wish that the Twins would either fish or cut bait? Take him off the market or send him somewhere, I don’t care anymore, just do something! Though if Santana winds up a Yankee or a Red Sox, it’s very disheartening.

We congratulate Deaner at CardinalNationGlobe for having heat in his house again. That also gets him back into the Cardinal blogosphere, which is a good thing as well.

Keep following Pip’s Twelve Days of Cardinal Christmas. It’s great already and there’s only been two days!

Looks like there are four of us so far for the next United Cardinal Bloggers project. Readin’ Redbird, CardinalsGM and CardinalNationGlobe have all indicated willingness to participate. Always looking for more, though!

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Rounding Third

It’s not Cardinal baseball, but with little going on in that arena, it seemed fitting to take a little time out to recognize the passing of Joe Nuxall.

Sure, Joe was a player.  His first outing, famously, was against the Cardinals when he was just shy of 16–yes, 16–years old.  Not surprisingly, the nerves showed in facing players like Stan Musial and he was tattooed for five runs in the outing.

Eight years later, he made it back to the Reds for his real career.  He had success and failure, like most every other player.  He bounced around a little toward the end of his career, but he was always a Red at heart, being an Ohio boy.

While his playing background is well remembered, his legacy was on the radio.  Teamed with Marty Brennaman for 28 years, Marty and Joe were the background of Ohio afternoons and evenings just like Jack Buck and Mike Shannon were here in St. Louis.

My father-in-law is a huge Reds fan and listens to Marty and Joe on a daily basis.  I came to appreciate them from listening to him talk about their broadcasts.  There are a lot of sad people in that area today, as the ol’ lefthander has finally rounded third and has headed home.

A Blog Rundown

There’s not much to say today that other people aren’t saying better, so let’s see what they are saying.  Of course, all of these topics can be discussed further at your local Cardinal message board.  I know the Clubhouse has threads on just about all of them.

*Molina loses out on a Gold Glove.  Bird Land really lays out the unjustice, and I have to agree.  Any catcher that stops the running game like Yadier does, that makes the first base pickoff a legitimate option, has to be the Gold Glover.  I don’t think I’d ever seen a 1-3 pickoff until Molina, and now it’s almost a regular occurrence.  Others talking about this: Bernie’s Extra Points, Deaner at Cardinal Nation Globe, and a diary at VEB.  Pujols was denied a glove as well, which was in and of itself an injustice, but nothing compares to Molina not getting one.  Hopefully next year they’ll both be able to take home the hardware.  The tough 2007 Cardinal season continues, it appears.

*Tom over at CardinalsGM gets you ready for next year’s fantasy season (because, in my mind, you never start that early enough) with a look at the top players.

*The Cardinals have declined the option on outfielder So Taguchi.  Pip at Fungoes has a mixed take on this one.   I’ve appreciated what So has done here in St. Louis, but it probably is time to move on, especially since outfield is a place the team is deep at.  Stan Musial’s Stance has a fitting tribute to the outfielder.

*Along with the daily prospect report, Erik at Future Redbirds is already looking forward to next year’s first-year draft with his projection of who the Cards will take.

*Dan at Get Up, Baby! looks back at Scott Rolen’s lost season and discusses why not to trade him right now.  I’m a Rolen fan and I’m of the opinion that he’ll be an asset for the team next year.  As Dan says, though, even if you aren’t sold on that, you can’t trade him now because his value is so low.

*Readin’ Redbird has the news that Curt Schilling is going back to Boston.  That’s not a huge surprise–a one year deal for a guy that’s legendary in the organization and wants to retire a Red Sox?  Even the traditionally unsentimental Theo Epstein had to go for that one.  And, as I’ve said, it doesn’t bother me that he’s not coming to St. Louis.

*And Whiteyball is doing a link post.  What kinda cop-out is that?

Personal Accountability

We’ll be doing a critique of the moderator selections at CCH after the awards are handed out, but here is my own personal owning up.  On my personal blog back in March, I posted this:

AL: Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Indians as the wild card.
NL: Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers, Brewers as the wild card.
World Series: Angels over Cardinals

So, did I do any good?  The Red Sox did win the division, for the first time in a long time.  The White Sox were terrible, barely edging out Kansas City to stay out of the cellar.  The Angels did win their division, and the Indians did better than the wild card, taking the division title.

On the NL side, things were much, much worse.  The Mets’ historic collapse robbed me of the chance to get any of them right.  We know all about the Cardinals, the Dodgers finished fourth in a tightly contested NL West, and the Brewers almost made the playoffs as a divisional winner before fading and letting the Cubs sneak past them.

And my World Series matchup was destroyed entirely when the Sox swept the Angels.

Next year’s picks can’t be much worse, right?

Final Update

Year ALDS NLDS ALCS NLCS WS Total
1995 8 7 6 4 6 31
1996 8 6 5 7 6 32
1997 9 6 6 6 7 34
1998 7 7 6 6 4 30
1999 8 8 5 6 4 31
2000 8 7 6 5 5 31
2001 10 8 5 5 7 35
2002 9 8 5 5 7 34
2003 9 9 7 7 6 38
2004 7 9 7 7 4 34
2005 8 7 5 6 4 30
2006 7 7 4 7 5 30
2007 7 6 7 4 4 28

The final update of the post-season chart.  You’ll notice that, save the ALCS that went 7, all other rounds had their fewest number of games ever.  So, in an offseason that MLB added off-days, fewer games were played in October since the pre-strike days.  No wonder there was never any big buildup or drama on the postseason.  There may only be one October, but this wasn’t the one you’d showcase as a classic.  Even the ALCS, the Red Sox just thumped Cleveland late enough in games to make the final scores look lopsided.  Hopefully October will be a little more dramatic in 2008.

That Was Quick

And, again, an American League team celebrates on foreign soil.  You’d think they’d start losing the All-Star Game so they could party at home, don’t you?

As for this whole “AL is dominant” stuff the major media keeps spewing….unfortunately, there may be something to that.  Since the strike year of ’94, the AL is 43-26 in the World Series, including five sweeps.  The closest the NL has gotten to a sweep was the Cardinals’ win in 5 games last year.  Right now, when coupled with their streak of winning All-Star games, it’s pretty apparent the AL is the top league, even though it’s painful to admit it.  These things are pretty cyclical, though.  A lot of the good young talent is in the NL, so they should be making some strides in the next few years.

Somewhere out there, a seven year old has seen two Red Sox championships and no Yankee titles.  Who’d have thought that’d ever happen?

A-Rod has already opted out of his deal.  However, I’m wondering if that might not come back to bite him.  The Yanks have been adamant that they aren’t going to deal with him.  The Cubs are in ownership flux, so they probably can’t go out and put together a record-setting package.  The Red Sox just won the title and they’ve said that they want to resign Lowell, so I’d be surprised if they made a major run at Rodriguez.  The Mets have been floated about, but they have Reyes at short and Wright at third.  Where would they put him?  It may just boil down to the Angels, and if they think they are the only ones in the race, there’s no way they’ll go $30 million per.  We’ll see how it pans out, but I think with the Yankees uninvolved, Rodriguez doesn’t get as much as he thinks he will.

Should be a busy week in baseball.  The Cardinals should announce their GM soon and the Yankees their manager.  The free agent market opens in two weeks.  While the season is great, the off-season has become a lot of fun in its own right!

Short Series?

The Rockies gave it a valiant effort last night, but they came up short again, which puts them in a large hole, as I mentioned yesterday.

It did give me something to think about, though.  Ever since the whole “this game counts”/All-Star Game determining home field fiasco (don’t get me started on it, I’ll go all day), the American League has won home field advantage.  The downside to that is that no AL team has clinched the Series on their home field since 1999 (pre-ASG change) when the Yankees swept the Braves.

In 2003, the first year of the changes, the Marlins won in Yankee Stadium.  2004, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals and celebrated, movie stars and all, in Busch Stadium.  2005, the White Sox did the same to the Astros.  And, of course, in 2006, the Cardinals got to involve the home fans by clinching at home.

Can the Rockies force the Series back to Boston?  Sure, they can.  But will they?  I don’t know.  Baseball has a way of evening things out.  You’ll see long winning streaks followed up by a few losing streaks during the season.  21-1 wasn’t sustainable, obviously, but the pendulum may be swinging the other way.

I hope that if the Rockies are going to lose it, they lose it in Colorado.  Red Sox Nation can be obnoxious enough without them tearing up Fenway in celebration.