What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The Cardinals play on the field hasn’t been the big story of the week, insomuch as all the freaking drama has grabbed most of the headlines coming out of the Cards clubhouse. There’s been A LOT of drama coming out of the bowls of Busch III this week. And it’s only Wednesday.

Before I get to all the needless drama, I need to hit on this subject really quick. Monday marked the 5th anniversary of the passing of Jack Buck. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything Monday, but with all the crap coming out of the Cards clubhouse, I got busy and neglected to mention it. Which should be an unforgivable offense considering without the great Jack Buck, ATAW would not exist. There will never be another Jack Buck. He was a once in a life time announcer. He was loved, and cherished by every one. He was not only a St. Louis institution, but a national treasure. No offense to John Rooney, but every time a Cardinals games comes on the radio his wit and charm is deeply missed. Like most fans, I have special childhood memories of Jack. I spent many a summer night in my grandparents house falling asleep to his and Mike Shannon’s voices. Those memories are even more special today since both my grandparents have passed. I hate it that I can’t remember the 1982 playoffs and World Series. My little brother was born around that time, so we were all a little busy. Plus I was like 5. So you know, all I cared about was Voltron, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Any way I also don’t remember much about the night Jack died. Being out on the east coast, it wasn’t that big of a story. Only thing I remember is driving through St. Louis the day of his memorial going to south western Mizzou to visit my cuzz. And there was no freakin traffic. I’m serious, it was erie. It was as if the whole city of St. Louis was at Busch II to pay their respects. Now the anniversary of the day Jack died is a quasi holiday to all of Cardinals Nation. And as a proud member of that nation, I hate it that I didn’t make a post marking that special day. I assure you, it won’t happen again. No matter how busy I am trying to find out just what the heck is going on with Tony La Russa’s team these days.

So seeing that Monday was a day of mourning, you would think the Cards would do their best to put on a good showing and beat the holy crap out of the Royals. If not for themselves, then for Jack. But did they? Heck no. Here’s where the drama comes into play. So late Monday afternoon I’m getting ready to do a small post about Jack, and I’m visiting my usual Cardinal related web sites, and I come across the news that LOOP AND Edmonds have been put on the DL. So I go online to listen to the Cards radio station, 550 AM KTRS. And there’s a bunch of moron’s on there talking about what I can’t remember, it doesn’t really matter. It was clear they were not talking about Cardinals baseball. Like you would think their own freakin radio station would be talking about. Any way so I Google St. Louis radio stations and the next one I come across is 590 The Fan. They also were not talking about the Cards. Then I remember Jeff Gordon and Bernie Miklasz reporters for the St. Louis Post Dispatch work for the ESPN radio station in the Lou, so I found their site and begin listening live to Bernie’s afternoon show. He had Pat Paris from FSN Midwest on there and they were talking about how pissed off Jimmy was that when he got to the park that morning, and found out that not only was he NOT in the starting line up, but to his surprise he was put on the 15 day DL. Pat had been at the ball park before he went on Bernie’s show, but had not spoken with Jimmy directly. But he had heard “rumors” that Walt needed to have Skip Schumaker face some major league pitching so other teams can see that Skip can hit big league pitchers. Jim Hayes of FSN Midwest was at Busch III and relayed back to Bernie & Pat that Tony, Walt & Jimmy had a set down in Tony office, and when Jimmy came out, he was singing a very different tune. All his anger and confusion was gone. Suddenly he was fine with going on the DL because as Jimmy put it “he had been playing hurt all season long.” His left leg never got into shape because his toe surgery kept him from doing all the off season workouts he was used to. And his back had been hurting him for a while so he asked the team to give him a MRI to see if there was something seriously wrong with his back. To add to this, Tuesday it comes out Jimmy had not one, but TWO MRI’s done this past week, both showing he has a pinched nerve in his back. Jim Hayes was trying to set up a interview with Edmonds that would air on FSN’s pre game show. Which I missed because I’m an idiot. So I can’t tell you if that ever happened.

Any way, suddenly everything is right in the world with Jimmy. He’s no longer pissed off or mad about no one telling him he’s not in the line up, AND he’s being put on the DL. Pat said on the radio he thinks Walt & Tony told Jimmy that in order for the Cards to get every one’s favorite lefty from the STL, the White Sox needed to see that Skip can play in the bigs every day. So they told Jimmy he was taking one for the team, setting down, and “healing his injuries.” But I ask  you this, if Skip is susposedly trade bait, why is he not starting in center and leading off every game? Granted he’s only been up for two games, but if other teams want to see him play, why isn’t he playing? He’s only got two pinch hit at bats in those two games. I gotta believe that if Skip is trade bait, he’d be playing in ever inning. Something to keep in the back of your head.

So Tuesday comes around and once again I find myself listening to Bernie’s radio show, and once again there is breaking news coming out of the Cards clubhouse. KIPPY’s all ready to make his start against the KC Royals. He left the park shorty after the final out was made Monday night, (like most of the players did because I’m sure they were embarrassed and ashamed of their play that night, and if they weren’t, they should have been. It was pathetic, and that’s all I’m going to say about that game.) and went home to get a good nights sleep. KIPPY arrives at the park eager and ready to kick some Royal butt. He walks into the clubhouse and happens to glance at the line up sheet for the game, and what did his wondering eye’s see? Not his name pitching and batting 9th, but Brad “Puppy Kickin” Thompson! Holy sh*t  I’m sure KIPPY said to himself. Then he goes looking for Tony to find out just WTF is going on. He finds Tony talking to reporters and telling them about the Cardinals signing of Tomo Ohka, (Yawn, yet another pet project for Duncan to work his magic on.) and the decision to bump Puppy Kicker and Welley’s starts up, and move KIPPY’s next start to Sunday vs the Fightin Phils. Problem is, no one from the Cards had told KIPPY about these plans. He’s hearing about it right as Tony is telling the reporters. So, with the camera’s rolling mind you, KIPPY walks right up to Tony and asked him just WTF is going on. Wouldn’t you do the same? Now I watched FSN Midwest hoping, praying they would show that footage. But did they? Nope. The Cards may not own any part of FSN, but I swear that station covers the Cards butts whenever they think they can use the dirt to FSN’s advantage. If someone has seen that footage, I’d really like to know what KIPPY said, and how he said it. Was he polite? Or pissed off and pushing reporters out of the way and throwing camera’s into the stands? This inquiring mind would like to know. So for the second day in a row Tony takes a player into his office to discuss his playing time, or lack thereof.

At this point I need to tell you Joe Strauss also from the Post Dispatch called in and Bernie asked Joe to give his take on the subject since he was there interviewing everyone. And he backs up the story Bernie has told all of his listener’s. And also tells us a little more. Tony and KIPPY talked for about 20 minutes. KIPPY came out and, SURPRISE! His mood is much improved, and he’s no longer mad. He takes BP without talking to reporters, and Tony finishes his interview that KIPPY cut short. So every one goes back to their regular scheduled lives, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to see here. Move along people. 

OK, so where does that leave us? Jimmy is pissed he’s pulled from the line up and DL’d without being told about it. KIPPY’s start is bumped from a Tuesday night to the following Sunday afternoon. Also without being told about it. Both have closed door meetings with Tony and come out with completely different attitudes and understanding of their situations. Tony also told the media that AK, is as of now a $10 million dollar bench player. He said he’s had plenty of time to show the Cards what he’s capable of, and that ain’t much. So he’s going to set down for a while, work on his swing and defense, and pray that what little playing time he does get, he starts tearing it up and he can earn his way back into the starting job the Cards signed him to do in the first place. Did everybody get that?

SO from this outsiders perspective, Tony is laying the smack down and sending a message to all the players by making AK, KIPPY & Jimmy examples of. In the immortal words of Red Forman, “Fun time is OVER.” Joe and Bernie agree with me. My only question is, why do this to Jimmy? What did Jimmy do that made Tony feel he needs to be made and example of? Was it that he didn’t score from second on a base hit last week in KC? Was it he let two balls get hit over his head last month in ugly loss? Was it when Jimmy was asked over the weekend about the closed door meeting Tony held with the team Friday night in Oakland after the A’s showed them no NoCal love? Jimmy said in a loud voice that every one in the clubhouse, including the coaches could hear, “This team does not have closed door meetings!” Or was it a combo of all of the above? I think Tony is putting every player on notice, no matter who you are, even the clubhouse leader can be put in his place and made to keep in line with Tony’s orders.  Tony is reminding every one who is in charge. Remember there have been rumors that the team no longer listens to Tony, and in fact he’s lost the team because every one believes he won’t be back to manage them in 08.

So it’s not so much that there has been a massive break down in communication. Tony’s trying to get his team back. Only time will tell if it works or not. But if I’m Rolen, I’m officially paying attention. Scotty’s played worse this year than Jimmy has. The only thing that saved him from Tony’s wrath is Scott has not made any waves in the press like Jimmy has. But like Bernie says, it wouldn’t be a summer in the STL without Tony & Jimmy trading barbs in the paper. It’s just what they do. Still Rolen’s bat is really slow. And it looks like he can’t bend down any more and go to his left or right and field ground balls. So he better take notice and come clean if he’s hiding a injury, or work his butt off and start playing better.

And just how did the team respond to this latest attempt by Tony to jerk them into shape? Well did you watch last nights game? They thoroughly dominated KC. Thompson had his best sinker of the season and ground balled KC to death. Slam Dunk got the night off right and crushed a 2 run bomb to center. Thompson helped himself out by scoring on a sack fly by Albert after reaching on a single. SO keep hitting. And finally the 18 game hitting streak that wasn’t really an 18 game hitting streak came to and end when Juan went 0 for the night. Now if they could only do this against a team with a winning record the Cards could be on to something.

Ok, I’ve dropped enough knowledge on you for now. What have we learned class? Tony’s pulling out all the stops to get his team back. There may, or may not be a trade in the works involving Skip and Anthony for some pitching. And the Cards are still 7 1/2 game back of the Brew Crew. Man, this is one long ass season isn’t it? It’s only June 20th and I’m beat. This team killz me. Welley goes tonight, and every one is expecting the Cards to win because so far they are what? 4-0, 3-1 when he starts? So naturally Welley won’t get out of the second, and by then he’ll have given up 10 runs on 6 hits. If Welley can’t get out of the 4th or 5th tonight’s going to be really, really long. I think I’ll take a break from Bernie’s show today. I can’t deal with another drama filled afternoon. Every one make it a good Wednesday. Catch you on the flip.

Till next time this is Jonny Bone reminding you and yours to always, keep makin it bounce.

PEACE.

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