October 2007

New Music Tuesday

Tuesday is new music day on iTunes and in the music stores, so why not at OYNAG also?

Grabbed a couple things today — R.E.M. Live and The Very Best of Mick Jagger. Not a lot of surprises on the Jagger, obviously, but it’s a reminder of how good SOME of his solo stuff is. Some unusual treats, too.

As for the R.E.M., well, no secrets with them, but it’s still fantastic. If you’ve seen them live, you know they bring it every night (I know some people here aren’t crazy about latter-years R.E.M., but I never caught ‘em before 95, sadly). But the real treat, by far, is Mike Mills on lead vocals on "(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville." Really, really, really cool. Would love to hear them do it that way live someday.

The Radiohead disc hasn’t really grabbed me, but sometimes these things take time. Anybody really fallen in love with it yet? … Mrs. Dude is crazy about Tegan and Sara’s new one, and I dig it too — though it sounds eerily like Missing Persons or some such ’80s act. … Finally picked
up the new Spoon, and, well, everybody’s right. They’re great. (Hi, Derrick!) … Digging Kanye’s new one but not obsessed with it.

Y’all? What’s spinning on your CD players or iPods?

-M.

We're talking about unchecked aggression here

(BTW, first of all thanks to the truly awesome Big Lebowski Quote Generator for many of my recent subject headers. Though if you click on the link, be warned that it includes some decidedly R-rated language. Anyway.)

I called Matt Holliday’s homer in the fourth tonight. Knew Micah Owings was going to make a mistake to him, and knew Holliday would pounce. And there’s a reason I was able to call it — because there’s absolutely no way Owings should still have been in the ballgame. He was clearly flagging. He’d thrown 29 pitches in the inning — twenty-nine! He’d taken a pretty good tumble on Torrealba’s ball earlier in the inning.

Oh, and it was Matt Bloody Holliday coming to the plate, only the best hitter in the stadium.

So it’s Game 4. Win or your season is done. You’ve got a very good, very deep bullpen with guys who can go more than an inning. Your starter is clearly fading and has worked extremely hard. The best hitter on either team is at the plate. It’s a two-run game and your team is still in it, but one big hit and the lead is probably too big to overcome. Why, exactly, is Owings still in the game?

(Note — Holliday is 5-for-8 against Juan Cruz, the reliever who eventually came in. So there’s that. But still.)

I like how Melvin has managed for much of the postseason. For the most part, he seems to have a grasp of the single most crucial element of postseason tactical managing — you MUST win today’s game, never mind anything after today. But I really think he dropped the ball tonight. It’s a no-tomorrow game and he didn’t seize on a chance to keep it winnable.

-M.

Who's this gentleman, Dude?

That’s really the question facing the Cardinals — what pitcher did they sign today? How much of Joel Pineiro’s improvement over his two months in St. Louis is legitimate, and how much is small-sample-size noise?

If it’s mostly legitimate, then they didn’t make a bad move today. And there are some reasons to think it might be. His strikeout rate was solid, and his walk rate was exceptional.

If it’s just noise, then they didn’t make a good move today. And there are reasons to think that, too. Pineiro’s HR rate in St. Louis was downright ugly. Plus, there’s this simple truth: for the MOST part, if you have 389 innings that say one thing, and 63 innings that say something else, usually the 389 innings are a truer representation than the 63 innings.

In the end, I don’t think I mind the move. It’s only a two-year commitment, and it’s tough to get really killed on a two-year deal. I don’t expect that Pineiro is going to struggle like he did in 2005 and 2006, even if I also don’t expect him to have a sub-4.00 ERA. And I have to think they’re going to deal Reyes, just to give him and them a fresh start.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

-M, with some Jimmy Buffett playing on the speakers.

Friday TLR update

Chatted with TLR briefly this afternoon, and while my official take will go up on the site shortly, here’s my read:

To my ear, he sounded very much like he would like to be back. My guess is, for example, that if they hire Mozeliak, and Mo calls TLR and says, ‘We’d like you to be our manager,’ it would get done pretty quickly.

He said he hasn’t talked with any other teams, which is only a mild surprise. I would expect that CIN would have called. Would be pretty inappropriate for the Yankees to make official contact while they still haven’t made a decision on Torre. I very much got the feeling that he expects to be managing somewhere next year.

Anyway. Just FWIW.

-M, shuffling songs again.

Lucky Seven, everything's-unsettled edition

1. Who do you want as GM?

2. Who do you predict gets the GM job?

3. Do you want TLR back as the manager?

4. Who do you think will be the manager?

5. Who will play in the World Series? Who wins it all?

6. Seen any new TV shows this fall that have caught your eye?

7. Seen any good movies lately? Any bad movies?

-M, with iTunes shuffling.

Center field

OK, lotta topics in my email this week. Definitely no shortage of things to talk about in next week’s mailbag. But one that keeps coming up, that perplexes me, is the apparent desire of a lot of Cardinals fans for the team to sign one of the available FA center fielders — Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter come up the most, but I’ve also heard Mike Cameron and occasionally Aaron Rowand.

I don’t see it.

The thing is, you’re not going to get any of those guys, except MAYBE Cameron, for only a year. And come 2009, center field should belong to Colby Rasmus, who will be very good and very cheap. Ankiel could be a fine choice in center for the coming years, too, and that’s all assuming that Edmonds gets moved to right or left this spring — which is not yet a certainty.

To get Jones or Hunter, you’re going to be committing multiple years and a lot of dollars. And in both cases, a great deal of the player’s value is locked up in his playing center field. Neither Jones nor Hunter, nor Cameron for that matter, has nearly as much value at a corner spot. So you’re committing resources to solve a problem that doesn’t really need to be solved. The problem that does need to be solved, aside from pitching, is bolstering the offense wherever possible.

Rowand is a little bit of a different case, but only if you believe his 2004 and 2007 offensive numbers are his real level. If the real Rowand is the guy from 2005 and 2006, then he’s another guy whose value comes primarily from being a decent hitter who plays good defense at a premium position.

I could see bringing in an impact guy at a corner spot. One guy who comes to mind is Bobby Abreu, who would be a fantastic No. 2 hitter. That’s especially true if they have to deal an outfielder for starting pitching. Adam Dunn would look really good in this lineup too, as a guy who gets on base and hits the ball out of the park. Another solution would be to look at the oft-rumored trade for Edgar Renteria, who would provide a significant bump in offense at the shortstop position.

But paying big dollars and especially multiple years for a CF, when you’ve got at least two CF options in-house, just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not the money — it’s the years.

-M, listening to the new Radiohead (I paid 5 GBP — anybody else get it today? What’d you decide to pay?)

Leach's Top-10 returns

1. LSU. No comment needed here, right? These guys are ridiculous.

2. Cal. I don’t know that they’re better than tOSU, but their resume is better, with wins over Tennessee and at Oregon.

3. Ohio State. Not sold on Purdue, so I’m not sold on that win. Still, no doubt this is a good squad, and the schedule means they have a better chance to go 12-0 than Cal does.

4. South Florida. 4-5 are much like 2-3 for me. I think I’d pick BC to beat USF on a neutral field, but USF definitely has a better ledger thus far thanks to the wins at Auburn and over WVU.

5. Boston College. I like this team a lot. They’re very complete. But they really don’t have a win to hang their hat on. Get back to me after they go to Blacksburg.

6. Missouri. Undefeated, and some good wins. The Illinois win looks better every week, and winning in Oxford is worth something. If they win at Norman (and I do not expect they will), they’re a title contender.

7. South Carolina. The best resume of any one-loss team, with their only loss at Baton Rouge and wins at Georgia and over Kentucky.

8. Oklahoma. I still think on a given day this team might be the second-best in the country.

9. Oregon. If Cal is my No. 2, then I can’t dock them too much for their only loss coming against Cal.

10. Illinois. PSU and Wisconsin were probably both overrated, but they’re both good wins, and their only loss is to an undefeated club.

Teams to watch: ASU, VaTech, Tennessee, Kansas, FSU.

Game of the week: I’ll go with the obvious one, OU-Mizzou. I do think LSU will have a tough time in Lexington, but this will probably be the most telling game. If MU even hangs close in Norman, it indicates that they’re legit. If they win, look out. If OU destroys them, that says a good bit too. Plus it makes for a rare week where I’m glad to be a CFB fan in Big XII country.

-M, with iTunes shuffling.

Back on the beat

I’ve returned from Phoenix and Chicago, and am home for two weeks to cover the team I’m assigned to cover. World Series after that, but that’s a bit of a ways off. I’m going to try to blog a lot more often this winter, and consider yourself warned — it’ll cover a lot of stuff that’s not only baseball (hopefully a CFB top-10 coming later today).

Anyway, mostly just wanted to wave hello to everybody, thank you all for being active and also civil in the comments section, and let you know that I haven’t forgotten the Cardinals.

-M.

(currently playing on the computer speakers: Kanye West, Graduation)

Jocketty semi-open thread

Discussions of Walt’s situation are welcome below.

You guys know the rules. No name calling. No insults. Respect for each other AND for the people involved in the decisions. I’ll delete, without explanation or hesitation, posts that stray from those guidelines.

Thanks much. Have at it.

-M.

Playoff blogging from Phoenix

Greetings, all…

Although the Cardenales are done for the year, your faithful correspondent is not. After the utterly awesome Mrs. got up early and procured us a delicious breakfast (I’m usually a yogurt-and-a-banana kind of guy), I got on a plane this morning and headed west for the Valley of the Sun. It’s hot and sunny and beautiful here, though I’ve heard we could have some dicey weather over the weekend in Chicago.

Anyway. I plan to do some Cardinals season-wrapup blogging at some point in the coming days, but I also wanted to let y’all know that I’ll be checking in from the division series. I’ll also be gaining weight, as Phoenix is the only city in America with the nation’s two greatest burger chains: In-N-Out (though not the one on Camrose) and Whataburger.

Hope y’all are well. Talk at you later this week — and thanks again for the greetings.

-M.

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