October 2007

Mo Time

From all I can glean, it sounds like the new GM is going to be John Mozeliak. STLToday is reporting it as a done deal, and from what I’ve been told by a few different people, that’s certainly how it sounds to me as well.

First, personally, I want to congratulate Mo, who has handled himself gracefully through what at times has to have been a very awkward and uncomfortable time. He’s always been good to me, and I’m happy for him.

Second, to answer the question that already seems to be popping up quite a bit: Why let Walt go, then replace him with his second-in-command? The answer is that Walt wasn’t let go for reasons of performance or even, necessarily, baseball philosophy. He was let go for more personal reasons, that the situation within the front office became toxic. Divisions between different factions were allowed to fester, and it was not a healthy environment. Mozeliak should go about all of that very different. I believe he will work well with scouting and player development, with the "information department" (I believe that’s what TLR called it at his presser) and everyone else.

I’m honestly not informed enough about all the various candidates to know whether they hired the guy who will be the most successful GM. A lot of those guys have very nice resumes, but even so, it’s hard to know. Mo has a very nice resume too, having done a lot of different things within the organization. I’m curious to see how it goes.

-M.

Best. Chant. Ever.

Almost 90 minutes after the last out, Red Sox fans are still here and having a grand old time. Most entertaining moment thus far:

They went into a "Keep Mike Lowell!" chant, and then segued directly into the following:

"DON’T-SIGN-A-ROD! DON’T-SIGN-A-ROD!"

Very funny.

-M.

Lucky Seven, World Series edition

Coming to you from our windowless but climate-controlled workroom at Fenway Park…

1. What’s your take on the Cardinals re-upping TLR?

2. In what uniform will Anthony Reyes make his first 2008 start? St. Louis? Memphis? Other?

3. Reyes, Chris Duncan, Bryan Anderson and maybe Skip Schumaker seem to make up the Cardinals’ most attractive trade chips if they’re looking to acquire somebody in a deal. Of those players, which would you be most opposed to trading? Rasmus obviously would be very appealing to other teams too, but I believe he’s basically untouchable.

4. Who do you want to win the World Series? Who’s going to win?

5. Who will win the Nextel Cup?

6. How do you celebrate Halloween, if at all? Party? Handing out candy to kids? Got a costume picked out for this year? Etc etc etc…

7. Beatles or Stones?

-M, with Buffalo Tom playing on the iPod (which may give you a hint as to my vote on No. 7, as though one is needed).

Leach's Top-10, World Series edition

1. LSU. Look at it this way — the team that beat them, Kentucky (on the road, in triple overtime), is better than anyone that BC, Ohio State, ASU or Kansas has played all year. So, yeah, those guys are undefeated, but seriously, based on performance record, LSU has done the most. And they’re the best team in the country. No way you’d pick anybody else against them on a neutral field right now.

2. Oklahoma. Their loss is worse than LSU’s loss, but they’re building a nice assortment of wins. Basically I’ve just reassessed the values of the one-loss teams versus the undefeateds. I reserve the right to reassess again every week (like if BC wins in Blacksburg this week).

3. Ohio State. Same deal as last week with the undefeateds. I can’t tell their resumes apart, and I think tOSU is the best team. Play somebody, already.

4. Arizona State. They get a chance to really make some noise, starting this week against Cal. The Pac-10 is going to be fantastic over the next several weeks.

5. Boston College. Some of their wins get less impressive with time; who knew NCSU would be this bad? I still like this team a lot.

6. Oregon. Maybe the third best team in the country, honestly. They’re really impressive; finally got to watch them some in the UW game, and they’re excellent.

7. Florida. They almost beat LSU, then they handled Kentucky. Dismantled Tennessee. They’re extremely good.

8. Missouri. That was a really good win this past week. I’m consistently a Mizzou doubter, but there’s just not much not to like about these guys this year.

9. VaTech. Schedule gets interesting from here.

10. Kansas. In a nod to my former associate reporter, whose team notched a pretty good win this week.

There were a lot of teams that it was hard to keep out, and they’re all somewhat indistinguishable. USC, South Florida, West Virginia — I could have put them all in the 8, 9 or 10 spot.

Other teams to watch: Michigan, Alabama.

Game of the week: VaTech-BC, no doubt about it. But to pick a Saturday game, I’ve got to go with USC-Oregon, which kicks off the finishing derby in the Pac-10. SC can get right back in the title picture, or Oregon can validate itself even more. I’m picking the Ducks.

-M, in the media workroom at Fenway.

Sweet home Boston

Greetings from a workroom at Fenway Park, which I hardly recognize from when I used to come here as a fan in the mid-1990s. I’ll be at the World Series here and in Denver, so I’ll be blogging on all sorts of things, including Cardinal-related and WS-related.

The weather here is really nice, which is a striking turn from the last time there was a World Series workout day at Fenway. The nighttime workout before the ’04 World Series was miserably cold and wet and just generally unpleasant. Bad times.

-M.

World Series

I just officially heard it for the first time, from a radio personality here:

"I just can’t see Colorado beating Boston in a seven-game series."

Absolutely preposterous. Just simply and utterly ridiculous. Please, everyone, don’t buy into this line of thinking, because it’s foolish. Baseball simply doesn’t work that way.


The ORIOLES could beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series. The GIANTS could beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series. This is not an 80-20 proposition. No playoff-caliber baseball team is a prohibitive favorite over any other playoff-caliber baseball team. The best team in the postseason is MAYBE a 60-40 favorite over the worst team in the postseason. And the Rox, assuredly, are not the worst team in the postseason.

Are the Red Sox the better team? You bet they are. They’re deep and balanced and the best team in baseball this year. If the two teams played 200 games, I’d say there was very little chance the Rockies would beat the Red Sox in the majority of those 200 games. But they’re playing seven games. And over seven games, one good team has pretty close to an even-money chance against another good team.

Then again, later in the same show I also just heard one of the on-air talents asking whether Colorado would have an advantage in cold weather. As though the Red Sox have never played games in the cold. You know, like, in Boston in the playoffs most years. ARGH. Trust me, I was there at Fenway in 04. Brutal weather.

I need to stop listening to sports radio.

-M, see below for the TLR post.

TLR back

Cards have a 1 pm news conference. Club official confirms it is regarding TLR but not that it is for TLR’s hiring. But really, it’s hard to imagine that meaning anything other than TLR being re-signed.

Story going up on the site soon, more to come as the day goes on.

-M.

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I covered the single best nine-inning game I’ve ever seen in my life.

The 2004 NLCS was a better series than last year’s, no doubt about it. Start to finish, amazing baseball. But for a single game, I don’t expect to top Game 7 of the ’06 NLCS. Endy Chavez’s catch was probably the best play I’ve ever seen, and that includes Edmonds on Brad Ausmus in Game 7 in 2004. Jeff Suppan‘s escape in the next inning was huge, and IMO, as critical as any other juncture in the entire game. Molina’s home run was just stunning, and of course Wainwright’s escape in the ninth was classic baseball drama. That one will be remembered for a long time, not just in St. Louis.

Really phenomenal baseball. Sometime about the seventh inning or so, I just started saying things like, "I can’t believe I’m paid to be here."

Here’s hoping that the ALCS and/or World Series deliver some ball of that quality before October is out.

-M.

(now playing: Timbaland, Shock Value.)

Lucky Seven, Miami Week edition

1. What’s your take on the Pineiro signing? Loved it? Liked it? OK because it’s only two years? Reservations? Hated it?

2. A lot of people seem to be emailing me about second base, but the Cardinals have Adam Kennedy under contract. What do you think the plan should be? Let Kennedy show what he can do? Move Ryan? Sign Eckstein to play 2B (if he were willing, which is far from a guarantee)? Play Miles? If you say anything other than playing Kennedy, then you need to give a solution for Kennedy. Just bench him for the last two years of his deal? He pretty much can’t be traded at this point. Release him and eat the 7MM left on the contract?

3. What free agent pitcher interests you the most? Lohse? Silva? Schilling? Fogg? Jennings? Glavine?

4. What’s been your level of interest in this year’s playoffs?

5. ASIDE from Cubs-Cardinals, what’s your favorite rivalry in sports?

6. What’s the best or most memorable game or sports event you’ve seen in person?

7. What’s your favorite non-Cardinals blog?

-M, still trying to see if this new Radiohead album grabs me.

Leach's Top-10, Miami Week edition

It is Miami Week, which means six days of excitement followed by one day of absolutely excruciating agony. Losing to Miami is much more painful than beating Miami is good. Then again, this year FSU-Miami is probably relegated to ESPN8, The Ocho, anyway…

1. South Florida. Easily the best resume of any undefeated team, with wins at Auburn and over W.Virginia. Those are two wins better than anything that either BC or tOSU has.

2. Ohio State. More a power vote than a resume vote. I just can’t really distinguish what they’ve accomplished from what BC and ASU have accomplished. Since I think they’re the better team, they get the spot.

3. Boston College. I remain really high on this team. We’ll see how they fare in eight days when they go to Blacksburg. Win that, and they’re legitimate contenders.

4. Arizona State. Like BC, a week off and then the schedule gets grueling. Like BC, if they win out, they have every argument for playing in the title game.

5. LSU. Easily the best resume of the one-loss teams, having beaten South Carolina and VaTech, two teams that are otherwise undefeated, as well as a UF team that is far better than its two losses indicate. If everybody ends up with one loss, LSU should play in the title game. And in fact, if LSU wins out from here, with Auburn, at-Alabama and the SEC title game still to come, they might deserve to be there anyway.

6. Oklahoma. I believe LSU and OU are the two best teams in the country, but OU doesn’t quite have the number of good wins that LSU has, and OU’s loss is a little worse.

7. Cal. Two good wins, one not-good-but-not-inexcusable loss.

8. South Carolina. They beat…

9. Kentucky.

10. Missouri. Hanging with OU in Norman is not a bad loss at all.

Teams to watch: Florida, Auburn (getting better and better), Texas Tech (one dropped pass from being undefeated), Michigan.

Game of the Week: For me it’s FSU-Miami. For everybody else, how about TT-Mizzou, which should be extremely entertaining and will tell a good bit about just how good TT is.

-M, with Radiohead’s In Rainbows playing on the speakers.

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