Hey Buddy? Got A Light?

Holy. Freakin. Crap. This just got EVEN MORE embarrassing for the St. Louis Cardinals. When the guy who basicially said, *F**K YOU! I WILL THROW THE G*DD**N BALL DOWN THE G*DD**N MIDDLE OF THE G*DD**N PLATE, ANY TIME I G*DD**N PLEASE. AND THERE AIN’T A G*DD**N THING ANYONE CAN DO ABOUT IT!!* to his team, the Cardinals, every time he took the mound to pitch for them last season. And then, the first time he faces them the following season, pitching for their arch rivals mind you, he goes out and tosses  seven innings of no run baseball. Everyone on the planet knows there is something wrong with your offense.

That was by far the hardest game to watch the Cardinals play this season. They had Bipolar Betty on the ropes so often in the early innings, and let him get away unscathed each and every time. After the 4Th inning, he cruised till Sweet Lou lifted him after he threw 118 pitches. Maybe 117. Who cares? There is no way he should have made it out of the first inning. If he would have been pitching for the Cardinals, he would have given up 10 runs by the 3rd inning. But not this year. This year he goes out there and gives up nothing but zero’s for seven innings pitching against the club that will give him his very own World Series ring next week. Not only does he not deserve said ring, he should be forced to pay back his entire salary from last season for that pathetic excuse he called pitching, every time he took the mound last season for the Cardinals. This should be a wake up call to everyone associated with the Cardinals. If they can’t beat Bipolar Betty on a day like Saturday, then there is something seriously wrong with the Cardinals line up, and drastic changes need to be made N O W.

What can be done you asked? Well if you read the articles on stltoday.com, according to the Cardinals brass, not much. Wait and see is their approach. Wait till Juan comes off the DL. Yeah, as a team they are hitting .227 because Juan effin Ecarnaaassaadda is on the DL. It’s not like we can win a World Series without the guy in right, right? Wait, they already did that didn’t. OH. Uh, wait for warmer weather they say! The bats will wake up when it gets warmer! Uh, I don’t know if anyone noticed the temp Saturday in the windy city, but it was almost 80 degrees. How much warmer does it have to get for those bats to wake up? Personally I take those remarks as the load of shit that they are. The Cardinals know full well they could’t hit their way out of a barn right now if it was 110 degrees inside said barn. These are a few of the key reasons why the Cardinals are 7-10 right now.

Reason #1    

World Series hang over. Don’t believe me? Fine. Think what you want. But it’s only human nature to come back the following year after winning the World Series and be missing that killer instinct, that extra two gears, call it what you will, but the team is definitely missing something they had last October. Me personally I couldn’t really get into the Cardinals till about last week. I was still feelin the buzz of them winning it all. I didn’t follow them as closely as I did over the winter as I have in previous years. I didn’t post and talk about the team on VEB like I did last off season. I didn’t really watch them in spring. Sure I read all the articles I could to dad from stltoday.com, but I was not really excited and giddy for the season to start as I have been the past 25 years. For me at least, it’s like this. *YEAH!! FINALLY WE WON THE WORLD SERIES!! Now, let’s take a long, long break from baseball. I’m tired from putting so much energy into the Cardinals.* And for me, the winter was not nearly long enough. Even after the Mets sweep of the first series, I was like, *Uh, OK, we won last year. This means nothing.* AH but it does. I think the same thing has happened to the Cardinals. It’s only natural I think that they don’t have that same fire in their belly that they did in October of 2006. They exhausted so much energy, so much blood, sweat and tears into winning it all, that I think they are still more than a little worn out. How could they not be? They put everything they had into winning it all, and the winter flew by so fast. I am certain most of the team is feeling just drained right now.

It’s part of the reason why I feared that if Walt & Co didn’t break up this team more, that as a whole, they might start out the season like this, and dig themselves a hole that they can’t dig out of. It was nice and all the have everyone there to get their rings and see the banner raised out in the outfield, but there was only one change over the winter, and it was a bad one. They swapped out Ronnie *Gangsta Luv* Belliard for Adam * Can’t Hit Jack* Kennedy. And that’s it. They brought back the entire bench, which isn’t a bad bench. If it’s not playing every freakin day. But they way things are now, Tony has at least one bench player starting every day. And that leads up to a lot of easy outs for the other team. As great as it was to watch all the guys who won us a World Series Championship be there to get their rings wearing the Birds on the Bat, it was probably not the wisest thing to do. It obviously would have been in everyone’s best interest if Walt had simply cleaned house a little bit more, instead of bringing every single position player back but one.

Reason #2

This one is obvious. Injuries. Jimmy’s not even close to 100%. And at this rate, he may never ever get there again. Gone are the days of Jimmy hitting .300, with 40 bombs and 100+ RBI’s. His Gold Glove D is also suffering mightily. He can no longer get to everything hit west of the Mississippi. Hell, he can barely get back to the warning track on a deep fly to center anymore. That toe really did a number on him. It’s completely unfair for Jimmy to be trying to get healthy, all while trying to produce and play at the level he expects himself to play at. We all have come to know and love the guy who would go over the wall to steal a homer away from the opposition, and the next half inning jack his own 3 run bomb out to the right field upper deck. But sadly, gone are those days. Gone are the glory days of Jimmy Baseball. All that’s left is an aging vet, doing his damnist to get healthy and trying to help his team win. I applaud his efforts, but what he and the Cardinals need now most of all is not that aging vet trying to get healthy, they need a healthy young guy who can rob the opposition of hits, and jack a bunch of his own.

Scottie is obviously still hurting from his shoulder injuries. He can barely get to a low 90’s fast ball and foul it off anymore. He looks completly over matched at the plate. Which is odd because all spring, all that was ever written about Scottie was how he got all his strength back over the winter because he was healthy and able to lift weights. All spring you would read about how he got his bat speed back to where it used to be. OK, then where did he lose it between Jupiter Florida and St. Louis Missouri? Because if anyone who lives between those two cities under the flight path the Cardinals jet took has found Scotties bat speed and power, please pick up the phone and call the Cardinals offices in St. Louis. They can be reached at 1.314. 345.9303. If Scottie’s bat speed and power are back to normal, they are not back to the normal we all have come to know&love and expect from him. Where’s all the line drives to the gaps? Where’s all the smashes down the lines? Where’s the home run power Scott? If you have your normal bat speed and power, then answer me this Scott, why did you weakly ground out to short on a pitch from Betty that in 2004 you would have jerked down the left field line and out of the park for a home run? UH? WHY SCOTT? WHY? WHERE’S YOUR MOTHERF**KING BAT SPEED AND POWER IF YOU LET BETTY GET YOUR KITCHEN AND FORCE YOU TO GROUND OUT TO MOTHERF**KING SHORT????

I don’t think I need to point out that King Albert is also still hurting. His hammy hasn’t been right all year. And he tweaked his oblique again in game 1 against the Mets. Juan of course is still on the DL, never to be heard from again. Hopefully. How dumb to the Cardinals bass thinks their fan base is when they tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the only thing wrong with the Cardinals offense is a missing below average right fielder, and warm weather? How could I almost forget the Imperial’s bad back? He can’t start in RF like Tony wants him too on a daily basis because he hurt his back some how. And what’s up with all the food poisoning? Where are him and Scottie getting their food from? The dumpsters behind the restaurants? I’m sorry, but a player who is on a major league baseball team should never, EVAR get food poisoning. That is simply inexcusable and completely unacceptable. For pete’s sake people it’s 2007! That kind of thing should not be happening!

Reason #3

General decay of player skill. Somehow MOOKIE found a way to actually strike out more this season than ever before. ECK is just getting older. It happens. I think that’s why the Cards only signed him to a 3 year deal after Edgar left for more green. No one can expect a man of his small build and stature to keep playing at the level he has played at for very much longer. And I think now we are defiantly witnessing the slow decline of ECK’s playing ability. He’s popping up way more than he used to. He’s not getting on top of the ball much anymore. And it’s expected. The same can be said for his double play mate Adam Kennedy. He hasn’t been very good going on three seasons now. After his peak year in 2004, in every vital stat of hitting he has been on a downward trend. And it looks like now he has completely lost the ability to hit major league pitching. It’s no wonder the Cardinals got him on the cheap. I didn’t believe it then, and I sure as hell don’t believe it now when Adam said he turned down more money over the winter to sign with St. Louis. There is no way anther team offered him more money. Each and every team may have been stupid enough to over pay for the big guys last winter, but I guarantee you this, AK got one, and only one offer, and that was from the Cardinals. Why? Because as usual, they were looking for a quick cheap fix to the ever revolving door at second base.

Do I even need to point out our primary backup center fielder is 58 year old SO OLD GOUCH? There is also a reason Skippy has been, and always will be a AAAA player. He can’t hit big league pitching. So while his skills may not be getting worse, they certainly are not getting better. Aaron Miles is what he is, a good, solid, durable back up middle infielder. He should only be getting starts when the primary SS and second baseman needs a day off. Not when a lefty is soft tossing his junk all over the diamond, and our second baseman can’t hit a ball placed on a tee from a lefty, let along the junk a soft tossing one is dealing. So like Skip his skills may not be getting worse, but he’s not improving either.

So, what can be done to fix all this? For starters someone, anyone needs to light a fire under this team. And fast. Tony, Walt, DW III. I don’t care who does it, but someone needs to light them up good. At times they look board, asleep even. There are times when they are playing completely uninspiring baseball. Like it’s just a job to them, no longer a passion they picked up long ago in their back yard playing catch with their dad. They need to make the game fun again. Somewhere along the line between the time the parade was held in downtown St. Louis, and the start of the season, this team lost their will to win. They have lost the fire in their belly. The passion is gone. I think the best fix is to break this team up. Make a trade or two. Maybe deal a player most on the team feel is safe and untouchable and completely unavailable to anther team. Of course Walt needs to find a team dumb enough to take one or more of our decaying players and swap them for younger, healthier, more productive and talented players. Now if he needs to maybe deal a top prospect or two, and then release a guy or two, I’m OK with that as well. Something has to be done, and be done soon. The Cardinals can’t afford to keep digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole. Pretty soon, before they know it. They will be in too deep over their heads. And the 2007 season will be lost.

In my earnest to get this entry out I forgot one thing. I hate to end on a sour note, so here is some sweet news. Alyssa Milano has a baseball blog. http://alyssa.mlblogs.com/alyssa/ There is a GOD. And He is goooooooood.

Well, that’s all the knowledge I’m going to drop on you for now. I’ll be back next week with more of the top shelf insights and observations you’ve all come to know, love and expect. Till next time, keep making it bounce.

P E A C E.

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