Live from Memphis, it's Lucky Seven

Good afternoon to all. I’m feeling refreshed if not exactly rested following a flight home to St. Louis yesterday and a drive down to Memphis this morning. AutoZone Park is beautiful as ever, really a terrific venue, so it’s definitely good to be here. Already had some some Krystals and sweet tea (gotta love the South), and surely there will be barbecue before the weekend is out.

Here’s this week’s Lucky Seven, only a day late.

1. Simple question: if it’s down to one spot in the bullpen, between Josh Hancock and Ricardo Rincon, what do you do? Who do you keep, and what do you do with the other guy? Cut him outright? Trade him for anything at all, even if it means eating salary and taking a C-minus prospect?

2. Which part of the opening week are you looking forward to the most? The traditional Opening Day festivities? Raising the world champions pennant? Handing out rings? Just being able to watch baseball games that count?

3. Prediction time: Give me the playoff teams, pennant winners and World Series champ.

4. Prediction time 2: MVP and Cy Young from each league.

5. Prediction time 3: Give me a bold/random/interesting baseball prediction for the upcoming season.

6. Inspired by this weekend’s locale, which city is the best for a weekend roadtrip from St. Louis, and why? We’re talking at most 7 hrs drive or so, and if it’s that far away, you’re really going to have to convince me. To choose from: KC, Memphis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and I’m sure plenty of others. If you love Springfield or Columbia or Tulsa or Topeka, go ahead and sing its praises!

7. What’s the last non-fiction book you read that you’d heartily recommend to someone?

As always, feel free to answer as many or as few as you like. But if you don’t have an answer, please just don’t answer it. No need to take a dig at the question or the topic.

Currently playing on the iPod: Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.



1. We need to keep Hancock. What would we do with three leftys? And like Hancock said, he earned a job last year and he’s done nothing to lose it. They tried to trade Rincon, and they just now cut him.

3. NL Playoff Teams: Dodgers, Phillies, Mets, Cardinals

AL Playoff Teams: Boston, Cleveland, Anaheim, Detroit

World Series: Cleveland over LAD

4. NL: Ryan Howard and Roy Oswalt

AL: A-Rod and Johan Santana

5. Jason Marquis has an ERA under 3.5 against the Cardinals this year

6. Chicago. So much to do there.

7. “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” by David Foster Wallace

ps. Float On by Modest Mouse is a good song

Disclaimer: I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe in hexes, but hoo boy, do I feel uncomfortable giving some of these …

1. Keeping Hancock is easy; you just don’t need three LOOGYs. And that’s the problem: every GM in baseball knows it’s easy. They therefore have no need to make any kind of deal at all for Rincon; just wait until he’s cut, and scoop him up. It would have been nice to get a C prospect for him, but unlikely.

2. Just watching games that count.

3. NL: Mets, Cards, D-backs, with Phillies wild; AL: Yankees, Indians, A’s, with Tigers wild. Yankees (ecchhh) beat Arizona in the Series.

4. NL MVP: Albert Pujols; NL CY: Roy Oswalt. AL MVP: Grady Sizemore; AL CY: Johan Santana (may as well just pencil his name in for this one for the indefinite future, unless and until he blows out his arm).

5. Alex Gordon will not only win the AL Rookie of the Year unanimously, he’ll finish in the top 5 in AL MVP voting.

6. No answer; I live too far from St. Louis to have an informed opinion.

7. “Collapse,” by Jared Diamond.

1. Doesn’t really matter after today’s news. Hurry, Chris Perez!

2. The raising of the flag and, also, going to a Cardinals game with my girlfriend for the first time. We’re flying in from the west coast for Sunday’s opener.

3. Boston, Cleveland, Seattle, New York; Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Atlanta. Phillies over Boston in the World Series (assuming they get some bullpen help at some point).

4. Hafner, Matsuzaka, Jose Reyes, Cain

5. I’ll give two: Felix Hernandez wins 20 games on a surprisingly great Seattle pitching staff. And, ’07 is La Russa’s final season managing the Cards.

1. keep hancock, cut rincon. we could do worse than hancock.

2. listening to games that count and mike shannon on the radio.

3. no idea

4. not gonna take the chance

5. the royals finish above 500 and the devil rays compete for the wild card (yes, in the AL east)

6. springfield, IL. The history is absolutely amazing and the new lincoln museum is actually very impressive. take the wife matt.

7. either “being and time” by Martin Heidegger for the reader who longs to be confused and yet still get a sense of how humans really are, or “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond because it all sounds so plausible.

ps. johnny marr really adds to that modest mouse sound doesn’t he? amazing album, i can’t wait to get it on vinyl

1. Keep Hancock. Its not that I don’t like Rincon its that I feel insecure with him in the bullpen. Yet Hancock can get you a pretty good outing, not that Rincon can’t too.
2. Its Baseball Time Again!!!

3. NLDS: Cards, Atlanta, Florida, LA. ALDS: Yankees,Minnisota, Cleveland, LAA. NLCS. Cards and LA. ALCS: Minnisota and Cleveland. WS: Minnisota and Cards.Champs:Cardinals

4. NL MVP: Albert Pujols. NL CY: Dontrell Willis. AL MVP: Joe Mauer. Al CY: Chien-Ming Wang.

5. Dontrell Willis Hits 21 HRs

6. I live in Haskell AR (pop 2600)so Memphis I guess.

1. Simple question: ummm Apparently it goes to Hancock… lol and I would cut Rincon… apparently.

2. Baseball that counts. It’s going to be sweeeet.

3. AL: Boston, Detroit, Angels. WC: Yankees

NL: phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, WC: mets.

World Series: Sox vs Cardinals. Cardinals in seven

4.NL: Pujols and Carpenter

AL: ARod (only because if jeter didn’t get it after last year, he never will) and Santana.

5. The Cubs won’t have a winning record. Yankees might not make the playoffs for the first time since 93

6. It might be nice to head up to Milwaukee and see Suppan pitch against the cardinals. But I think everyone knows aside from St Louis the only place to watch a game in the midwest is Wrigley Field.

7. 1776 (not sure if it’s technically non fiction)

1.Walt answered this one for us.
2.Honoring the Champs.



WS:PHI over DET in 6.

4.NL:Soriano and Young.

AL:Dice-K and Wells.

5.Wells and Soriano will combine for 111 HRs while Howard and Pujols will struggle to launch a combined 90. Still very impressive. Also, no Yankees in October.

6.From here(MI), the GF and I are roadtripping to see the Cards in: ATL, STL, CHI, and DET this summer. (couldn’t quite make MIL work). There are great things to do in all those cities. Although, CHI would have to be the best. The museums, restaurants, and nightlife are just so much better there.

7.”Blink” by Malcom Gladwell.

Fort Smith, Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. I’m a huge fan of Eastern Oklahoma and the history of the Indian Nation.

Also. read Age of Gold, the story of the California Gold Rush by Texas A&M professor H.W. Brands

1. Rincon (but obviously it wasn’t my call)
2. The rings – and baseball that counts

3. Champs – Cards repeat

4. NL: Pujols/Wainwright

5. Molina will bat .300

6. I love visiting Chicago and Memphis but the most fun I had recently in MO was in Branson of all places –

7. Nickel and Dimed – truly eye-opening


1. Even though the decision has already been made, I agree and would have kept Hancock. But I’ve never been a big Rincon fan.

2. I’m looking forward to all of it, but probably watching a game that actually counts, and seeing the 2006 pennant painted on top of the dugout.

3. AL Division winners = Yankees, A’s, Twins and Indians win wild card.

NL Division winners = Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers win wild card.

Cardinals and Yankees in World Series. Cardinals making it back to back.

4. MVP’s = A-Rod and Pujols

Cy Young = Santana and Carpenter.

5. Wainwright will win 18 games and the Royals will be in the hunt past the All Star game with the Tigers stumbling.

6. I live in Springfield, MO and that’s a great town, especially with the AA Cardinals. Great atmosphere at the games, just need a Bull for Nuke to hit. But Nashville is a great town to visit too. Great downtown area on lower Broadway.

7. I’m a big Jack Welch fan and he’s got a book out. I haven’t read it yet, but it got recommended to me.


1.) Well, no decision needed now.

2.) The raising of the flag….people in NC asking why I root for a team in Arizona (since the good folks here don’t know what baseball is).

3.) Al- Det, Bos, Chi, Tex. Det beats Bos in LCS.

NL- Stl, Ari, Atl, NY.

Stl beats Ari in LCS,

and Birdos beat Tigers in 6.

4.) Al- A-Rod and Halladay.

NL- Pujols and Oswalt.

5.)The Rangers run away with the AL west, and sniff the century marks in wins.

6.) Springfield, MO has been fun every time I’ve been there. Like the city of Chicago, if not for the basic unfriendliness of the city.

7.) “The Legacy of Sovereign Joy”, by John Piper.

1. I am too late on answering this question, but if I was GM, I would ask myself what the player’s value was. If other teams had interest and I could barter even a mid-level prospect for Rincon, then go for it. As it stands now, not many teams were interested. I probably would have done the same thing Jocketty did. You never know what other teams might offer.

2. I am most excited about the first pitch coming out of Carpenter’s hand, and the distributing of the rings will most excellent. Any baseball is great to me. I guess I am saying that I am excited about it all!

3. Boston, Detroit, Oakland, and NY. Boston wins the pennant. Philly, St Louis, San Diego, and NY. San Diego wins the pennant. Boston over San Diego for WS Champs.

4. I hate to say it but Derrek Lee is primed for a MVP 07. If he has the right people batting in front of him, watch out. Albert will be right there with him. NL Cy Young is actually gonna go to a Young this year. Chris Young of the Padres has been working on his changeup in hopes to walk less batters and be more efficient. All of this in the best pitchers park in the majors. Going out on a limb here. AL MVP: Ichiro. This is a contract year for him, and he will be on top of his game. AL Cy Young: Erik Bedard. I’m not sure his offense will bail him out enough, but I think that if he pitches like he did from June on last year, he is gonna be a tough customer. Watch him.

5. Sammy Sosa will flounder. Maybe that isnt bold. I will try again. Not only will Alex Gordon struggle, but he will also have great success. Look for him to rebound the second time through the Central division, and claim the Rookie of the Year award. Hands down.

6. I love going to KC. There is always something cool to do. I mean, you can always go watch the Chiefs blow a playoff game.

7. Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. I highly recommend this one. Read it!

1. Keep Rincon, send Hancock down, then bring him back up after trading Rincon and someone else.

2. The rings. Definitely the rings.

3. You have to plan for the surprises.

AL West – A’s

AL Central – Indians

AL East – Red Sox

Wild Card – Jays

NL West – Padres

NL Central – Cards

NL East – Mets

NL Wild Card – Cubs

Cards over Padres, Mets over Cubs

Jays over A’s, Indians over Sox

Mets over Cards, Indians over Jays

Mets over Indians

4. Cys: Zambrano and Santana in their walk years. MVPs: Pujols and Vernon Wells.

5. The Blue Jays in the ALCS.

6. KC, just for the times the Cardinals play them.

7. Warriors of God, a book about the crusades

1. Keep Hancock. I trust him more than Rincon. We should’ve gotten something for Ricardo, though. It’s not like he’s a waste of roster space.

2. The rings. All about the bling. Beyond that, I’m just happy the season is here, although the off-season went really fast.

3. NL: Phillies, Mets (WC), Cards, Dodgers. AL: Tigers, Yankees, Jays (WC), Angels. NL Victor: Phillies, AL: Tigers, WS: Phillies.

4. NL: Pujols and Carpenter (and no, no bias speaking there), AL: Carlos Guillen and Johan.

5. Dan Haren will make the AL West interesting as he fills the void left by Zito, and the Cards kick themselves for dealing him for Mulder. D’backs make a serious run for the NL West. Brewers trump the Cubs for second place in the Central. Cards make the NLCS once again.

6. Due to my hefty work schedule and my gal’s folks living outside of Detroit, my only roadtrips are up north. I really adored Minneapolis while I was there, though. Gorgeous city, very homely, great food, very clean.

7. I don’t read much non-fiction, actually, although I should.

1. Hancock, cut Rincon.
2. The banner being raised, because I will always be able to see that and remember 2006.

3. NL East: Phillies

NL Central: Cards

NL West: Padres

Wild Card: Mets

AL East: Red Sox

AL Central: Indians

AL West: Athletics

Wild Card: Twins

NL Pennant: Cards

AL Pennant: Red Sox

World Series: Red Sox

4. NL Cy Young: Carpenter

AL Cy Young: Santana

NL MVP: Pujols


5. The Yankees miss the playoffs and Joe Torre gets fired.

6. Cleveland.

7. Not much on fiction.

6. Chicago has yummy pizza and the Mile and Oak Park. Memphis has the Peabody ducks and Isaac Hayes’ and Beale Street. KC has BBQ. Cincinnati has Skyline. Indy has my parents and the Children’s Museum and the Indy Motor Speedway. I don’t think I can choose just one.

7. I was thinking about this, and I seriously think it might have been Marley and Me.

Mrs. Dude, who loves a road trip.

1) Hancock would have been my answer before the season started and still is.
2) Pennant raising

3) NL – NY Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, LA Dodgers, Wild card to Philadelphia Phillies

AL – Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, Wild card to Detroit Tigers

World Series – Twins

4) NL MVP – Albert

Cy – Roy Oswalt

AL MVP – Joe Mauer

Cy – Daisuke Matsuzaka

5) Kansas City is a .500 team

6) Chicago

7) Non-fiction: Three Nights in August, got it for Christmas (finally) and had it finished by New Years.

Fiction: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, long and challenging but very good.

No trolls. Thanks.

Bold prediction…LaRussa passes out drunk, walking to the mound to take out a pitcher in the 1st inning.

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