June 2007

Happy Father's Day…

…to all the dads out there. But especially to mine — who, let’s be honest here, is the best dad in the entire world. Of this, I am certain. Thanks so much for everything — good humor, perpetual support without pressure, sage advice, perspective, all of it.

And while I’m at it, a big hello and thank you to my father-in-law, who has been wonderfully welcoming and supportive and generally pretty doggone great too.

Hope everybody has a wonderful day.

-M.

Saturday's decisions, and their ramifications

Here are the moves:

* Reyes recalled from Memphis, Jimenez optioned

* Eckstein placed on DL, Ryan recalled

Here’s what they mean:

Reyes will start Sunday, Wainwright Monday, then Tuesday and Wednesday are up in the air — depending partly on Looper’s status. Thompson will be available in relief today, and likely only today, then is expected to start on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wells is considered a longshot to pitch in relief today, having just gone two days ago. He’ll be more available tomorrow. However, Thompson is a guy they won’t hesitate to use in a game that’s somewhat in doubt. I get the feeling that Wells is more there as a mopup man. His status for later in the week as a starter is also more in doubt than Thompson’s. TLR would not commit either way.

Ryan is starting at SS, with Miles at 2B. TLR said Ryan could start again tomorrow vs. another left-hander.

-M.

Something to know

Just so all of you know…

We were told before the game that because of how much all the relievers have been stretched out, this is one of those games where Looper might have to take one for the team, a la Marquis a couple of times last year. So if you’re sitting at home screaming at the TV about why nobody’s even up in the bullpen, that’s pretty much it. TLR told us that they just don’t have the bodies tonight to be comfortable going to the pen before the sixth or so.

-M.

Lucky Seven returns

Hello from Oakland. I’ve been to the Bay Area tons and tons of times, but spent very little time in Oakland. Here’s the new Lucky Seven.

1. Kip Wells is THE topic in my email this week, so let’s get right to it. What should the Cardinals do with him? Put him in the bullpen? Release him? Keep letting him try to get right? Please, don’t just spew venom.

2. If Wells is out, who should take that place? Reyes? Franklin? Someone else?

3. What was your take on the Cardinals draft? Good/bad/dunno? Too conservative? Too risky? Does any particular player from the draft class excite you?

4. Mark Buehrle is another topic that comes up often in my mail. So tell me what you would do if you were Walt Jocketty. Would you make the deal, giving up something significant to get Buehrle for three months? Remember we’re not just talking about giving up a non-prospect. It would take actual value to get Buehrle. Or would you simply wait until the offseason, knowing that the chances of signing him as a free agent without giving up any talent are very good?

5. Who’s going to win the U.S. Open?

6. In some ways, this is a dead period on the sports calendar, after the NBA and NHL ended and before football gets started. Do you look at it that way? If not, what are your favorite summer sports events? US Open, Wimbledon, NASCAR, Formula 1…. lots of choices.

7. Best movie you’ve seen this summer?

-M.

Livebloggin' the Draft — 2:26 p.m. CT update

In the immortal words of Jim Anchower,  (warning: contains some references to unsavory things), hola amigos! What’s the deal?


I’m going to try to liveblog the first 17 or so picks of the Draft — ie, up until the point where I actually have to start covering Cardinals picks. I make no claim to being a true Draft expert — for that, see Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis or Kevin Goldstein — but I have some interest and hopefully some insight.

My friend and colleague Mr. Mayo has the Redbirds taking Kevin Ahrens, which I think makes a lot of sense. Callis’ latest projection is Matt LaPorta, which is hard for me to process — not only because the Cards have a guy named Pujols, but because they have three 1Bmen in their system who are all hitting well, and that IS a position where you can have too many guys. Goldstein named Julio Borbon, who makes some sense, but to me, not more sense than guys like Ahrens or even Beau Mills.

So stick around, hopefully we’ll have some interesting stuff to talk about.

-M.

**********

1:07 p.m. CT – First update of the day. An interesting non-Draft-related tidbit: per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Toronto designated Tomo Ohka for assignment
today. Ohka’s not having a good year, but he’s not the first guy to
have a rough go in the AL East. His career ERA+ is 108, which isn’t bad
at all. If he could be had for little, I think he’d be a very nice
addition.

-M.

**********

Mayo! Very psyched to see my buddy Jonathan Mayo getting some TV time. Baseball America called this early sequence in the last hour or so, BTW. I’m inclined to think that having two of the 3Bs already taken might reduce the chances of the Cards getting Ahrens, but a LOT can still happen in the next 15 picks.

**********

Well, guess the Cards won’t take Matt Wieters. He seemed very interesting, and there were some reports he would plummet because of signability concerns. But he’s gone at No. 5.

**********

Matt LaPorta to Milwaukee? That’s truly a strange pick. Can’t wait to see what their plans are. The dude can hit, but I’m not sure I see the fit.

**********

A thought on the coverage — it seems to me that ESPN2 would be much better off relying on experts on the topic, rather than on their big names. They really would do well to have more Jim Callis, David Rawnsley and Jonathan Mayo. Rather than cutting to those guys once in a long while, and leaning on Steve Phillips and Peter Gammons, it should be the other way around. ESPN made a star of Mel Kiper — why not lean on the guys who actually know the prospects in baseball, too?

**********

Another 3B off the board. Matt Dominguez is gone, which seems to increase the chances of Kevin Ahrens going to Cincinnati. Which would obviously prevent Ahrens going to STL. One interesting guy who’s still on the board, though, is HS pitcher Rick Porcello. I can’t imagine he lasts all the way to 18, but if he does, he’d be a tremendous pick for STL.

**********
Shocking — SHOCKING, I say — development. The Braves take a HS hitter from Georgia.

News: Carp plays catch

* Chris Carpenter threw a baseball today for the first time since his operation. He made 60 throws at 60 feet, and plans to throw again on Friday. He’ll throw every other day for 10 days, after which he’ll be re-evaluated. From that point, he could begin throwing off a mound. Got a story going up on the site shortly.

* Gary Bennett seemed to be doing fairly well, but he’s out of the lineup.

* Scott Rolen is back in the lineup.

* Even with a RHP on the mound, Aaron Miles is starting over Kennedy.

-M.

News-ful Tuesday

Lotta stuff going on at the ballyard today. Here’s the quick-and-dirty, and I’ll have lots more on all these topics later in the day.

* Duncan is cleared to play and in the lineup, playing left and batting second.

* Rolen went through a full, extensive workout. Ran the bases at pretty much full exertion; he’s taking grounders at third base as I write this. Also taking BP today. My guess is he’ll sit out tomorrow and play Thursday, but he’s definitely making progress.

* Mulder threw off a mound, but it was really only at about 50 percent. It didn’t even really look all that much like pitching. Very deliberate. Still, it was a step. Off a mound is progress.

* Wilson is at a point now where he expects to have surgery, and it’s simply a question of how invasive the procedure will be. That decision will be made in the coming days.

-M.

It's Erinpalooza!

Shout-out No. 2 this week. My beloved bride celebrates her b-day one day after dear old dad.

So HappyHappyHappy! You are getting better with age. Thanks for putting up with long hours and obsessive baseball chatter and the aforementioned bizarre personality quirks that likely come from my dad.

This ball writer is one lucky guy, in all respects.

-M.

(now playing, in a hat-tip to Mrs. Dude, Better Than Ezra’s Greatest Hits)

Happy Birthday!

A big, big happy birthday to my dad, who is as responsible as anyone for my love for baseball, my passion for music and at least some of my more bizarre personality quirks.

I hope it’s a stupendously happy day that includes good music on the stereo, good food either at home or out, good friends, good wine or scotch and a win for your Dodgers. I just wish I could be there. But we’ll be thinking of you all day.

-M.

(now playing on the iPod: Uncle Tupelo, 89/93 anthology)

I wouldn't hold out much hope for the Creedence

Taking a break from writing my offday story for tomorrow, an examination of what Kip Wells needs to do to get right (please, no snarky comments). And I realized that we haven’t had much music around the ol’ blog lately. The ball-to-rest-of-life ratio has slipped way out of whack.

So in case anyone cares, here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been listening to lately. Thoughts/suggestions/pans of course welcome and invited.

Kaiser Chiefs: "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" — not as crazy about it as some, but it’s good, catchy pop. I can listen to it repeatedly, and that’s worth something.

Albert Hammond Jr.: "Yours to Keep" — the whole album isn’t memorable, but parts of it are really fantastic. About half the songs, I just love, and they keep me coming back to the whole thing.

The The: "Soul Mining" — Yes indeedy, this is old school. I always liked them, but never owned it. And now "This Is the Day" is on a commercial for something or other. That, to me, is one of the absolute most perfect, beautiful pop songs ever written, so I had to get the album so I could listen to it more often. "Uncertain Smile" is a really amazing song too. Fantastic record. Hi, Dustin!

Dinosaur Jr.: "Beyond" — Mentioned it already, I know. Couple times, probably. It really captures the sound of old (but not ancient) Dino. Like a less produced "Where You Been" or something. Just because it’s the original lineup doesn’t mean it sounds like "Bug." It sounds very very very familiar to me, but in a good way. And my favorite Dino records are Where You Been and Green Mind.

Kings of Leon: "Because of the Times" — One of y’all noted a while back that Caleb "still can’t write a melody" or some such, and I won’t argue because frankly I don’t care. I’ve always loved KOL for their overall sound more than anything specifically lyrically or melodically. I just love the way they sound, and they sound better with every album.

Black Crowes: "The Southern Harmony…" — My favorite BC album is "Amorica." But I heard "My Morning Song" on the radio in Detroit one night, and it was SO perfect, SO what I needed to hear, that I dug out the album. Still strong. A few forgettable numbers IMO (Hotel Illness, to name one), but I love it.

Bob Dylan, post-protest, pre-Jesus stuff — Went through a few of them, "Desire" and "Blood On the Tracks" and "Blonde On Blonde." Great rock songs. Everybody has preconceptions about Dylan, but whatever. They’re just amazing albums filled with amazing songs. I can listen to ‘em all again and again and again.

LCD Soundsystem: "Sound of Silver" — got this recommended to me a while back, and it’s stayed in constant rotation for weeks. Not sure how to describe it, because some of it is all over the place, but I’m loving it.

-M.

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