Young Reyes

I’m not sure what I have to add to what I’ve already written about Anthony Reyes tonight, but here goes…

The upside of covering any baseball team is easy to see: I get to come to the park every day, and I get to talk and think and write ball all day long. I’ve loved ball since I can remember, so I’ve found pretty much the perfect job.

However, there is a downside of covering a baseball team that has an 11 1/2-game lead, and it’s this: as much as the players, and especially their manager, insist that you can’t look at the standings, it’s hard to invest too much drama in any one game. Cardinals win? The lead is incrementally bigger. Cardinals lose? It’s still huge. This isn’t a complaint — there’s still pretty much nothing I’d rather be doing than coming to the park and writing about ballgames.

However, writing about a team in a pennant race is just a different animal. I’m not a Cardinals fan, but I am trying to present the excitement of the game. If you weren’t at the park, I’m trying to make you feel like you were there. That’s my goal. Any night when I do that, I go home (or back to the hotel) feeling like I did my job. And it’s this simple: when there’s a pennant race, that’s much easier to do. Those A’s-Angels this week games can all be blowouts, but if you’re in the park, it’s exciting.

One thing that separates the best beat writers from the hacks (I’ll let
you decide where I fall on that continuum) is the ability to take a
game that doesn’t have that inherent drama, and find what’s unusual or
interesting or striking about it.

All of which relates to Anthony Reyes how? Because Reyes’ debut, in and of itself, is a story — and an exciting one. There was inherent drama in this game that there won’t be on Wednesday afternoon, at least from the Cardinals’ side of things. That’s not to say the game is irrelevant, or that the players won’t be giving all they have, or anything like that. It’s Ben Sheets for the Brewers, and I’d buy a ticket to see Ben Sheets pitch against the El Paso Diablos. So it should be an enjoyable day.

And fans, I know, live and die even with Wednesday afternoon games against third-place teams in early August. It’s a big part of the fun and agony of being a fan. But some games have more drama than others at the start. Tuesday’s game had it — win, lose or draw. Wednesday’s game will have to earn it.

But getting back to Reyes. He certainly held his own. I was a little concerned at the start. He took a couple of innings to get up above 91-92 mph, and he just didn’t look all that sharp. By the third, that had changed, and he was getting it 93-95 with impressive movement. He mixed in his curve and changeup for a nice arsenal. It was a lot of fun to watch, and it was fun to write about, and hopefully that shows through in my game story from tonight.

By the way, a big hello to my beloved fiancee, reading at home in St. Louis. You asked for a mention, now you’ve got it. Hi, Erin! (Ah, the perks of having my own blog)

Talk to you all soon.
-M.

30 Comments

So I realize this is an off-topic question, but if you aren’t a Cardinals fan, which team are you a fan of? Just curious.

-Adam

As a reporter, one is not supposed to have a “favorite team”… However, being human beings, most scribes/broadcasters wind up having favorite people. ALL reporters “root” for good stories, as Matthew describes above.

Seriously, cry me a river. The Cardinals are too boring to write about because they are beating the heck out of their division? Somehow the national sports media didn’t have any trouble heaping tons of ink on the Yankees all the years they were spanking the Red Sox by double digits in the AL East. It has absoutely nothing to do with baseball. What dictates media coverage is money and markets, not the “excitement” of the story.

Two responses….

First, honestly I’m not a fan of any team. As a kid, and even through college, I was a huge Red Sox fan. But it’s pretty much impossible to keep close tabs on a team other than the one I cover, so I just can’t follow them enough to be a fan. I’m more a fan of the game than ever, just not of one team.

There are players I used to cover that I root for, though. For example, I’m loving seeing the success Dan Haren and Kiko Calero are having in Oakland, because they were both great guys to deal with when they were Cardinals. I also like it when teams that seem like they know what they’re doing are rewarded for smart decisions.

As for your comment, brightsun, I’m not asking for anybody to feel sorry for me. I said at the top that I love this job, and it’s much more fun to cover a win than a loss. The Cardinals are not “too boring” at all, and nowhere did I say or imply that. Besides, they’re not too ANYTHING for me to write about — I write about them every day, whether they’re way in front, tied for first or somewhere down in the standings.

The fact is that a game with a lot riding on it is more compelling at the start than a game with less riding on it. The game itself may turn thrilling, and I love it when that happens. But when there’s a tie for first place, or a prospect is making his debut, or it’s a great pitching matchup, I come to the park with extra spring in my step — and I suspect you would too.

Hooray! I am mentioned in the blog!

And, for the record, you aren’t a hack.

–ER

I agree that a game with little riding on it can sometimes be less compelling. (I’m from Royals Nation, here they lose interest after April, except for the Cards series!) Anyone who is even a moderate fan of the game can tell you that a game with two teams in a pennant race is more exciting than two celler dwellers playing to get their paychecks at the end of the day.

I think it’s important that you love the job you do, and I don’t see the fact that the Cardinals are not your favorite team as a hinderance to your writing.

That said, I’ve been reading your articles at stlcardinals.com for a few years, and I’ve always liked the fact that you report interesting and useful facts from the day’s game as well as the highlights. So, thank you for that!

Angela

Hey Man…back off of the Diablos. (JK) Caridinal Nation is alive and well in the “Pass to the North.”

Go Cards.

I think what “M” is trying to say, is that it’s difficult to find sex appeal in a team that’s screwing everybody in the division on a day-to-day basis.

A subject that does draw some sex appeal however, is Cardinal nations continuing denial over the lackluster perfomances of Mark Mulder. Coming into the season, Mulder was supposed to be the Cardinals much needed lock-down-lefty going into the 2005 postseason, but so far he’s been nothing short of a gargantuan disappointment. Every time he takes the mound he makes Walt Jocketty look more & more like Billy Bean’s ***** for trading Haren and Calero in exchange for him.

Mulder’s stats indicate a better pitcher than he is too. Posting a 13-5 record with a 3.75 ERA doesn’t sound too bad in the regular season, but those stats are severly misleading when placed under the pressure cooker known as October. A pressure cooker Mulder was specifically brought in to handle. Oakland may have lost one more peice of the big three with the departure of Mulder, but the Cardinals are destined for a big second loss in the World Series as a result of his aquisition.

you forgot Daric Barton.

I have been completely dissapointed with is performance thus far, but all can be made good again with a good showing in October.

Let’s just hope TLR shield him from the daylight.

You sound like a nice young man. I bet your father took you fishing when you were younger.

Here I thought we were going to hear about Anthony Reyes and his great outing, but all I got was some Harvard-like garden-variety quotes about how you can’t feel comfortable with an 11.5 game lead and how great day games are.

I’m sure the Cubs echo your sentiments about the days games, but ask the Cubs or any team trying to catch the Cardinals how they feel about catching a team that possesses that lineup, pitching staff and a rotation sub like Anthony Reyes.

You can do better than that. There are a lot of people in Southern California that would love to hear how Reyes ompares to former college teammate Mark Prior once he gets to start every five days in the Gateway City.

Call me crazy, but I’m not exactly sure where Mark Mulder’s transparent mediocrity crosses into a father & son fishing expedition. Explain?

Hey Iss…,I agree with you in some ways. Mark Mulder hasn’t been the pitcher we brought him in to be. He has more than one win in games where he gave up 5 or 6 runs.Those are wins he got simply because he plays on a team with a juggernaut offense.But at the same time,I cut him some slack because he did switch leagues this year, and some guys just need more time to adjust.I’m not happy about the fact that he isn’t pitching well, but as you said he is 13-5. And even though he has been knocked around alot, his ERA is only 3.75. That tells me that he has had some shaky defense behind him while on the mound. That could be because TLR was putting second-rate defenses behind him early on. No offense to our bench guys, because they are great. But early in the year Mulder was going out there with guys like Luna in Right Field and Taguchi in Center, and Mabry or Nunez at 3rd. I know those guys are all more than capable, but they are not Walker, Edmonds, and Rolen. And,yes,the other guys have done well with the same defense, but I have seen Mulder struggle, in part because of, bad defense behind him. Let’s hope he rights his ship before October. Let’s hope somehow Duncan can help him find a groove.

I was so excited while when Anthony Reyes got called up to the club, even if it was for only a brief time. I met him down in Memphis about a month ago, and he signed my hat. I had read great things about him during Spring Training, so I knew that he would do just fine in the Big Leagues. He’s already my second-favorite player (Chris Carpenter my first). When do you think he will be with the club for good?

I too think Mulder has failed to meet our lofty Cardinal fan expectations. At the same time I think it was only a matter of time.

Walt J has consistently made roster moves over the years to keep us in contention and for the most part he has done an excellent job. Thanks to him we have our guys like Rolen, Edmonds, Eckstein, Grudz, Walker, Sanders, Izzy, a few others, and of course Mulder. With all of these bold and helpful roster moves over just the last few years I guess he was sort of due to make a mistake; if you can call Mulder that.

Yes, I heard Peter Gammons talking about how much the Mulder trade has helped the A’s (Haren and Calero having great years and Barton less than a season away from the majors)and yes I also remember reading about the trade on redbirdnation.com where it was instantly regarded as the worst move Walt had ever made. But in the end this is all hindsight, and if our hindsight was our foresight we would all be MLB GM’s.

On the other hand one thing that does irk me is the elevated salary that comes with Mulder; in particular when he is spoken about in ‘trade-bust’ terms, but at this point in the season salaries mean nothing. For the time being its best we all forget about the details surrounding how we got Mulder and start supporting him like he’s been in a Redbird uniform as long as Matt Morris. Sure Haren is having a career year and the A’s are 50 of their last 67 or whatever, but we have a great starting pitcher in Mulder.

When October comes around I think I’ll be happier seeing a veteran like Mulder on the mound over a younger guy like Haren. At that point their W/L record and era mean zilch and all that matters is winning one game. When it comes down to winning that one game my confidence is with a determined and proven seasoned veteran like Mark Mulder.

_________

- A Musial, and ALL things Cardinal, loving kid from Wyoming

_________

Okay, here’s my take on the situation. I do not think that Mark Mulder was brought in to be a “lock-down” lefty. He was brought in to be a lefty starter, which is something that the Cardinals did not have last year, and it could have kept them from winning the World Series. Chris Carpenter is their “lock-down” guy. If Mulder has been lacking, Carpenter is picking it up AND doing his part too. Plus, it was brought up that Mulder has a 3.75 era, this is better than his career era. So while he may not win every start, which some people must be thinking, he has been a very good addition for this club and one reason why they are having such great success. I think that the Cardinals will make the World Series again this year. Their pitching will help them get there, and Mulder will be a huge part of their success. I don’t know about you but I would not want to face Carpenter, Morris, Mulder in a short series. Plus, Suppan may be behind them and in last year’s playoffs, he was HUGE! Ok, that’s it.

Hmmmmm, Mulder wasn’t supposed to be a ‘lock-down pitcher.’ I kind of beg to differ. He was certainly supposed to be better than what he’s showing right now. In fact, he’s making Mr. Beane look quite brilliant. Right after the trade, I remember reading about how much Mulder had slacked off and crossing my fingers, hoping they were wrong. However, we still got Eckstein and Gruds in the offseason, so I’d say it was a pretty great offseason, even if Mulder does continue at his lackluster pace. Let’s just pray Mr. Larussa starts pitching Mulder after the sun sets when his winning percentage is much higher, if my memory serves me correctly!

In answering Isinnovate, I thing, going by the last name, we had another Leach family member chime in, which is the benefit of having your own MLB Blog I guess. Kind of cool! I smiled when I read it. It’s also nice to know Mr. Leach’s soon-to-be-bride doesn’t think he’s a hack!

Alright.Listen you guys. I think Mark Mulder was brought in here to be a solid left-handed starter(something we didn’t have a year ago) that would eat up some innings and put up Ws.No one ever thought Mulder would be as dominant as Carp has been this year. No one expected Mulder to strikeout a bunch of guys or throw 6 or 8 complete game shutouts.The fact is, he’s doing just what TLR wanted, only with less efficiency.Sure he hasn’t been as good as he was a couple of years ago in Oakland, but look at last year.He didn’t have a stellar campaign last season.He may be in somewhat of a career funk. But he should turn out to be was well worth trading for. Give the man some time to learn how to prepare for St.Louis heat.The humidity in St.Louis is worse,because the air temp is hotter than, say, in Oakland.Oakland does have high humidity, but cooler temps prevail.Plus, as I said before, he’s in a new league.He’ll get better. I hate to say it like this, but please don’t act like a bunch of Yankee fans…trashing on a guy who doesn’t come in and perform to your expectations right off the bat.As Cards fans, we’re better than that.

I second the many motions “sforrest” has provided us, and I definitely agree that we are better than Yankee fans (which isn’t saying much). However, my main concern with Mulder is not that he’s been the second coming of Brett Tomko, but that his career slide has now continued for more than a year now. It was in the last half of the 2004 campaign that Mulder really began to throw Tomkolike, and us Cardinal fans were holding our collective breath’s that he would return to Mulder-like form after dawning a redbird uniform in the 05 season. Granted, he has been better than he was in his last days at Oakland, but I will reiterate that October baseball is a different animal. Following the Cardinals since my childhood, I can remember those NLCS games in which we had a juggernaut offense stacked with the likes of Vina, Renteria, Edmonds, McGwire, Tatis, Drew, and Lankford, coupled with decent pitching (much like we do now), but we would always be matched up against a team with two dominant starters locking us up under the pressure-packed October lights (i.e. Maddux-Glavin; Shilling-Johnson; Shilling-Pedro). Mulder may be doing a decent job, but decent doesn’t cut it when you’re in a 2-2 ballgame headed to the bottom of the 8th in game 5 of the NLCS with Roger Clemens waiting to take the ball in the next half of the inning. One might say he wasn’t brought in to be a lock-down-lefty, but giving up our best young pitching prospect, an outstanding middle-reliever, and our best young hitting prospect in exchange for him seems like an awfully high-price to pay for “good regular season pitching”.

Matthew-
Would enjoy catching up. Shoot me an e-mail when you get a chance.

Allen McConnaughhay

Mulder, in my opinion, is doing what LaRussa has wanted him to do. Mulder is having a much better year than last year…look at his stats: 111 ER in 225.2 IP last year. This year, he has 69 ER in 151. 1 IP. He will probably pitch at least another 50 innings, and it will be interesting to see what he does with it. I think that we are forgetting one thing…Jeff Suppan. He has been so solid this year for the Cardinals, plus he is a big game pitcher…going toe to toe with Clemens last year in Game 7, pitching the clincher against the Dodgers. Besides Carpenter, I can’t think of anyone else on the staff that I would rather have up there. Cardinals Fan 4 life.

Calero and Haren have been decent at best. Haren is not having this allstar year you all are making him out to have, he’s 10-9. Jason Stark of ESPN writes:

“Dan Haren has been terrific in the Oakland rotation. Kiko Calero has been a useful bullpen part. But this trade wasn’t about them, not really.

If Barton turns into the on-base machine he appears to be, Billy Beane gets another check in the genius column. If not, you’ll all be officially permitted to ask: What the heck were the A’s thinking when they made that trade?”

Tonight Mulder was about as dominant as anyone could have asked for…CG no runs, 6 hits. The main thing I look at is Barton is a prospect, and nothing more until he proves himself against MLB pitching. While Mulder probably will not win 20 games this year, pitching keeps you in games when bats go cold. The one guy I’m worried about at this moment is Matt Moris.

I would be worried about St. Louis’ starting lineup. With Rolen out for the rest of the season and Sanders, Walker, and Molina coming off the DL (if they stay healthy once back), it should prove to be a difficult task to get these guys back in mid-season form. The reason the Cardinals are where they are is due to their starting pitching, bullpen and the “supersubs”. I personally hope to see Taguchi play as much as possible in post-season.

As for post-season, that has to be up in the air. Cardinal fans did not get to see Carpenter or a healthy Morris pitch last year in the post season. And now we have an actual lefty in Mulder to throw in the mix. I believe St. Louis will do pretty well in post season as long as the offense is there and everyone gets and stays healthy.

And finally, M. Leach is surely no hack. He is one of the best baseball writers out there. If anyone disagrees, just go read some of the other baseball writers that write for other teams, you’ll be missing Leach in no time!

SINCE 1964, WHICH I HAVE BEEN AT EVERY SINGLE WS AND PLAYOFF GAME THE CARDINALS HAVE BEEN IN. FAMILY HAS HAD SEASON TICKETS SINCE 1923!!! I LOOK AT REYES AS ANOTHER SPINKS IN BASEBALL!!! IF YOU KNOW CARDINAL BASEBALL!!! SPINKS WAS TO BE THE NEXT GIBSON!! WHICH THIER WILL BE NONE!!! I REMEMBER IN 1972 WHEN GIBSON TOLD THE YOUNG PITCHER TOO WATCH WHAT HE WAS DOING OR HIS CAREER WOULD BE SHORT!!! AND OF COURSE GIBBY WAS RIGHT THE KID DECIDED TOO RUN OVER BENCH IN A GAME AND NEVER RETURN!!! LET THIS KID SPEND HIS TIME IN THE MINORS!!! LIKE GIBBY DID!!! GIBSON TOOK A FEW YEARS TO BE THE PITCHER HE WAS!!! THIS KID COULD IN UP BEING ANOTHER STUPER, SPINKS, CLEVELAND, MAGRANE, AND SO ON AND SO ON!!! HE IS NOT READY!!! MAYBE IN 2 YEARS!!! I HAVE SEEN THEM COME AND SEEN THEM GO!!! IF YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO BECOME LIKE THE PITCHERS I JUST MENTION!!! LET A HERZOG APPROACH HAPPEN!!! EVEN THOUGH I LOVE THE OLD MAN, HE RUIN A **** LOAD OF GOOD PITCHERS!!! NOT ALONE NOT GETTING RID OF SIMMONS LIKE HE DID!!! WE HAVE THE BEST PITCHING IN BASEBALL RIGHT NOW!!! THIS KID, IF DEVELOPED RIGHT, COULD BE GREAT. GIVE THIS KID A CHANCE!!!

MULDER REMINDS ME WHEN TUDOR FIRST CAME TO ST. LOUIS. HE DID NOT WIN AT FIRST AND THE CARDINAL FAITHFUL WAS SAYING WHO IS THIS GUY!!! HE TURN AROUND AND WON 16 OR SOMETHING STRAIGHT GAMES!!! GIVE MULDER A CHANCE!!! I WILL TAKE HIM OVER THE KIDS WE GAVE TO OAKLAND ANYDAY!!! HAREN HAS A AWFUL RECORD AND MULDER HAS PITCHED VERY WELL NOT KNOWING THE NL. THIS GUY MIGHT TURN OUT TO BE ANOTHER TUDOR FOR THE CARDS!!!! WE HAVE BECOME SO TRIFFLE THAT IT IS NOT FUNNY!!! I HAVE A CLOSE FRIEND WHO PITCHED FOR THE CARDS(STEVE DIXON) WHO COULD PITCH TODAY IF IT WAS NOT FOR HERZOGS BS!!!! SO HE CONTENDS TO WIN STATE CHAMPS IN BASEBALL HERE IN KENTUCKY!!! WHICH IS A HUGE CARDINAL BASE!!! AGAIN LOOK UP THE CARDS WILL WIN THE WS AND BRING BACK PRIDE TOO CARDINAL NATION JUST LIKE PITINO DID FOR THE LOUISVILLE CARDINALS IN BASKETBALL!! AGAIN WHAT STUPID WOULD HAVE GIVIN UP FINGERS, VUCK, SIMMONS, FOR LEZCANO AND GREEN, AND OTHERS!!! HERZOG!!!! RED WE MISS YOU WHEN IT COMES TO KEEPING GOOD PLAYERS!!!

Wow… I’m an intelligent person and it took every ounce of me to even come close to deciphering just one piece of this drunken dribble above.

Reyes is still in the minors…how else would we develop him?

“Bring pride back to Cardinal nation?” What are you talking about? We won 105 games last year going to the world series (or WS as you so eloquently call it) and now we have the best record in baseball again.

You know I could go on and on about this manic rant, but I’ll just leave it at this: If you as a cardinal fan question the white rat’s ability, you BETTER know what you’re talking about. When you type in all caps, can’t even distinguish between TO & TOO, and pretty much every sentence uttered is a fragment; you look like a mor0n. Long live the White Rat

Okay. I have spent all day simmering down; and it was a hot one down here in the south too. Now that I have cooled off I want to apologize to lategirl. Sorry for flaming you, but I was in a terrible mood. I love your history and felt filthy all day for having lashed out at a fellow Cardinal fan. I think when I heard you simultaneously questioning Cardinal pride and knocking Herzog I got angry. I simply want what we all want; to win another world series. Apologies to lategirl and to all for raining in this blog.

That’s ok boxsterp. I was sounding off at Matthew, who was knocking on Mulder. Again I thought Whitey did a great job for the Cardinals, but I’m still upset with him trading Simmons. The Cardinals are the GREATEST TEAM of ALL TIME in my books. I’ve been going to the games since 1962!!!! My first World Series was in 1964 and have never missed a game the Cardinals have been in since 1967. That includes away games!!!! We do here in Louisville miss the Cardinals minor league team. We had some great teams in the 80′s. We had over a million people come in a season for minor league baseball. We outdrew most Majors during that time!! Saw Coleman,McGee, Pendleton, Worrall, Pagz’s, Ford, Magrane, Worrall, and so on so on!!! I never met to imply we lost the Cardinal nation!!!! Just reminding Matthews on some history!!! When is Rolan coming back!!! Saw him as a High Schooler playing baseball and basketball. Most people don’t know he was a better basketball player than baseball player!!! I’m glad he took baseball. Jasper IND. is just a half hour from Louisville Kentucky!!

To clarify, “lategirl”, that was me you were sounding off at about Mulder, not Matthew. Don’t feel bad though, you won’t be the only Mulder apoligist waking from your year-long slumber to take your shots. Thanks to the recent two-game resurgence by the disappointing lefty, Mulder defendant’s and Cardinal homers alike will be spilling out of the woodpiles to display just how canny their hindsight really is. Make no mistake about it though, Mulder’s 2005 season debacle won’t compare to what his post-season debacle will look like. Prepare yourself for the second world series loss in as many years.

Wow Iss, you’re being pretty pessimistic about the Card’s post-season, considering that it’s based on your disappointment in Mulder’s season. I will agree with you that Mulder hasn’t been as dominating as I thought/hoped he would be. On the other hand, he’s shown real flashes of brilliance at times. Contrary to some of the reasons for Mulder’s trade that I read above, I believe Mulder was brought in specifically to be the dominant pitcher that the Cards needed in last year’s World Series. I also think that veterans like Mulder have a way of bringing their best stuff into the playoffs. As long as Mulder brings his A-game, he’ll be worth the huge price that Walt Jocketty paid for him. And let’s be real, that move only makes sense if the Cards win the World Series this year or next. After next year, Mulder will be too expensive for the Cards budget, and Haren, Calero, and Barton will all be Stars for Oakland.

Back to Reyes, he’s got loads of talent and I look forward to watching him pitch for the Cards in September. It doesn’t look like the Cards will bring him up before the Aug 31 deadline – which is a shame. I think that he could play a role like Haren did last year in the post-season. I just hope he doesn’t play a role like Haren did after the post season.

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