May 2008

Isn't that what makes a man?

A few thoughts on the Isringhausen situation, and I’ll leave this as basically an open thread on the topic so y’all don’t have to take over threads that are about other topics.

As always, though, you guys know the rules — be civil to each other, to me and to players and management. No name-calling. No insults. It’s not welcome, and I’ll delete the comments. If you’ve got a point to make, make it like an adult, with reasoning rather than vitriol.

Anyway.

It’s very clear something isn’t right with No. 44, but it’s baffling to me what it might be. His location is way off. Yet his velocity, for him, still seems to be fine. And in the past, when something has been physically wrong, he has occasionally at least hinted at it. Not this time.

So it’s evident something needs to be done, but as for what, it’s a fair question. Larry Borowsky covered the alternatives with depth, insight and reason (as usual) a couple of days ago at VEB. One thing he touched on was something I addressed in a preview a few days earlier, which is the drastic decline in swings and misses. That’s a major concern and a very bad indicator.

As for what they could do in his place, I won’t be at all surprised if they consider McClellan in that job. Franklin seems like the path of least resistance, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Looper seemed like the path of least resistance at the end of ’06.

The main thing I want to say, though, is something I’ve said before — take it easy on the guy himself. Cardinals fans have always said that they don’t boo guys for a lack of performance, only a lack of class or effort. Well, I assure you this guy is giving it all he’s got, and if he isn’t up to the job, it’s killing him way more than it’s killing you as a fan. If you want to get upset at the mgr for sending him out there when something’s wrong, I understand that. But take it easy on the pitcher himself.

-M.

Sad day

Jim Edmonds was released by the Padres today, and it’s hard to envision someone picking him up. If he’s done, it’s a too-soon and too-drastic end to a brilliant career.

I’ve never seen anyone play better for a stretch of more than a few days than Edmonds did for the middle portion of 2004. He was truly spectacular. Cripes, the dude SLUGGED .952 in July of that season. Plus the defense, of course.

Edmonds was at the heart of the best series I ever saw, and likely ever will see, the 2004 NLCS. His Game 6 homer stands as probably the most exciting moment I’ve covered, even ahead of the heroics at the end of Game 7 in 2006. His catch in Game 7 was as good as I had seen — until I saw Endy Chavez rob Rolen in 2006.

Personally, Jim was a tough nut to crack for me. For the first couple of years I covered him, I didn’t get him and sometimes didn’t like him. But the more I dealt with him, the more I got where he was coming from. I definitely grew to like him, to the extent that any of us actually knows any of the people we cover. He was insightful and thoughtful; though I’d note that he was absolutely useless when you wanted a quote about his OWN successes.

For me, he’s a Hall of Famer. Eight CF Gold Gloves, 363 HR, lifetime 377 OBP and 526 SLG and plenty of October highlights.

Good luck, Jim, whatever you do next.
-M.

Life does not stop and start at your convenience

Greetings, all…

Just a little update. Got a comment recently asking about my whereabouts, so here’s the deal. Last week I was just a bit worn down, so I took a little break from blogging rather than letting my real job suffer. Seemed the thing to do.

Over the weekend I was off, as I will be for most home weekends this year. That also means more travel, more road games, which is a good news/bad news tradeoff.

But mostly I wanted to point out that you’re not going to see my byline covering the team until a week from today. Got some other MLB.com projects going on, some fun and exciting stuff. Check the main MLB.com site tomorrow for one story I’m working on, which hopefully will be  a really good read.

Doesn’t mean I’m off the beat, trust me on that one. I’ll be back to normal hours starting Tuesday when the team gets back in town, on that homestand and the following road trip, and pretty much grinding away from there on out.

Some of you may not care, and that’s fine with me. But just wanted to give an update. Hopefully being at home working on this stuff may mean a little more blogging this week.

-M.

Parisi up, Reyes down

Cards just announced that Reyes has been optioned to AAA, and Mike Parisi called up. Parisi was scheduled to pitch for Memphis today. I’m as baffled as y’all likely are. I wondered if perhaps something was up with Wellemeyer, and they were calling up Parisi to start. However, I was just told by a media relations rep that that is not the case. Nate Latsch will be all over this, but I wanted to get something up as soon as possible.

-M.

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