Rick Ankiel and a Return to the Mound?

Rick came up to the Cardinals as a 19 year old left handed pitcher. The report on Ankiel before he stepped onto the field at Busch Stadium was that he had the potential to be a great pitcher. He had a fastball that ranged from the middle to the upper nineties. His curveball was real nasty and he could make veteran hitters knees buckle!

What ended up changing his career was the post season of 2000 against the Braves and the Mets. Here he is a twenty year old rookie that lost control and couldn’t find home plate. As a baseball fan, it was really hard to watch a player self destruct.

Rick could not come back and find the success that baseball people anticipated. He was wild and could not get the ball over the plate. Ankiel went to the Cardinal Brass and said he was going to retire. The management mentioned to Rick that they would give him a shot as a position player, and Rick decided to give it a shot.

Ankiel went to the minor leagues and found out he could play the game as a position player. He was a good hitter and had a cannon for an arm from the outfield.

In 2008 Ankiel played in 120 games and managed to hit 25 home runs! He looked good as a hitter and his defense was exceptional!

The success was short term and Rick started to flounder in 2009. The pitchers had found holes in his swing. He then played for several organizations and was very solid on defense but had a lot of problems hitting. I saw Rick play against the Cardinals this year and saw his flaws. It was obvious, but that is another story. He is now unemployed and his career may be over.  http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/ankieri01.shtml

The purpose of this article is to urge Rick Ankiel to start working on a return to the mound, and prepare for next year! Rick is only 34 years old and has a bazooka for an arm. I am sure he still has his nasty curve! 

Rick, I urge you to go to the mound and give pitching another shot! Can you imagine the feeling; Rick would have if we can show him that thousands of baseball fans want to see him back on the hill and dominate hitters like we all know he can!

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

 

 

MLB Home Run Baseballs Authenticated

This could be a terrific ongoing promotion for Major League Baseball Teams! This idea is a win for players, team, sponsors and most of all the baseball fans.

Imagine you are at Busch Stadium watching the Cardinals play and you are sitting in the bleachers. The Cards are down by two runs and there are runners on first and second. The Reds have the home team down to their last out. Matt Holiday is up at the plate with the count 2-2 and the fans are going crazy! The Red pitcher is Aroldis Chapman the flame throwing lanky closer. Holiday has fouled off four pitches and then all of a sudden Chapman throws a pitch down and in the middle of the plate. Holiday takes a mighty swing and the ball is hit deep to left field and it is coming in your direction. You calmly set your adult beverage in the cup holder so   not to spill it, and then you put your baseball glove on and get prepared to catch this walk off home run! The ball is coming directly to you and you confidently reach up to catch the ball “using two hands” and the ball glances off your glove and goes directly to a Reds fan three rows back!  The fans are going insane and you are happy but disappointed at not catching the baseball.

An attendant comes down to the Reds fan and asks her if she wants to have the baseball authenticated and of course she says yes even though she is not happy!

As you are leaving the stadium your buddies are giving you some verbal abuse for missing the ball hit right to your glove! They are laughing and poking fun and you half halfheartedly go along with the torment.

The game winning hit is broadcast on the local and nationwide sport stations for all viewers to see you missing the ball and your long face. The TV screen will show you over and over with the look on you face and your friends laughing hysterically at your failure!

Now we are going to get serious and discuss what can happen next with the home run baseball. The attendant will lead the fan to the authentication area on this level of the stadium. This is where the fan will meet the team employee that is trained to authenticate the baseball. The procedure will normally be done very fast because the game is usually still in progress.

The authentication will have a circular label that will go on the baseball. The label will have a serial number, Cardinals logo, date and the hitter’s name. The fan will also receive a certificate with the date, hitter, pitcher, count, inning, and the score at the time of the homer. There will also be a photo taken with the fan holding the ball and certificate. The fan will also inform the authenticator where he is from.

The team could also invite the fan and his party down to a designated area after the game to have the player autograph the ball in person. There could also be pictures taken. This would be some terrific publicity for the home team.

A sponsor can be involved and give the baseball recipient a gift certificate for their restaurant or another business. The restaurant could find a place to put the picture of the fan in their place of business, maybe close to the register.

When a home run is hit during the game it can be announced in between innings who the lucky fan was and where they are from. The field announcer can lead off with the sponsor’s name and then come in with the fan information. This will also be done on the TV and radio broadcast.

The team can charge the sponsor for advertising per home run. I would put on the big screen once a week all the winners and where they are from. The announcers would also do the same on the air.

There can be a drawing once a month for a fan to win two free baseball tickets to a future game! The drawing will be coming from the fans that are in the home run baseball promotion.

There can be a contest in November to see who will win a trip to spring training. This will take all of your home run winners to be involved. They will do a two minute or less video about why they should win the trip to spring training. The fans of the team can go online and vote for their favorite video. This is a good project to have a travel agency involved to handle the details.

This is a terrific promotion that could be put in place for a long time!  

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

 

 

Wong pickoff 4th game 2013 WS

Kolten Wong  pickoff last night was an uncalled for mistake! His run meant nothing at all. The tying run was Beltran at the plate! He was told the exact situation. This should not be done at the youth level. I was past this situation until I saw the interview with Wong after the game and he said this “Not at all. I was just getting ready, getting aggressive,” he said. “It was a hitting situation. Carlos, he can drive the ball. If that ball got down somewhere, I was hoping to go first to third, maybe score.” He also said he was hoping to score on a hit and be aggressive! Wasnt he taught how to play the game as a kid! You take a conservative lead because the run means zero! Beltran is everything! I wasnt happy with the play but his comments afterwards really bothered me.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

Bob Brown

Cardinals or the Reds who will finish on top in the Central?

My preseason prediction had the Reds winning the division over the Cardinals because of their pitching and defense. I figured this as a very close race that would go down to the wire. I had the Pirates as an improving team with good pitching and would have the ability to finish above 500 for the first time since 1992.  I have done a recent article comparing the Cardinals and the Pirates position by position and the Cards finished on top. I will now update what I wrote on April 2 with some comments   http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/04/central-division-2013/

I am going to discuss what has changed in my player by position rating.

First Baseman – I knew Allen Craig was going to be good, he is showing that he has what it takes to be an upper tier baseball player. His ability to hit in the clutch is unmatched in the Major Leagues. Joey Votto is a favorite of mine and what I call a professional hitter like Allen Craig. I give a slight advantage to Allen Craig for the season he is having and how I think he will finish the year.

Second Baseman – Here is another change from what I wrote earlier, I had Brandon Phillips as the better player. Matt Carpenter is what I refer to as a baseball player! He is a professional hitter that hits well in the clutch and is a double hitting machine. He is an above average second baseman after making the move from third base this year.  I give Matt a slight edge over Phillips because of his hitting ability.

Shortstop – Zack Cozart seems to be having a better year than the Cardinals Pete Kozma. I was wrong on Kozma, I thought he had found his swing and was going to be a contributor and hit between 260-270. I am giving the edge to Cozart because Kozma has fallen off the edge on his hitting.

Third Baseman – The rating is the same with the Cards having the edge. But the edge should increase with Carpenter playing some third with the Cards bringing up young prospect Kolten Wong to play some second base. When this happens the Reds will have the advantage over the Cards at second base. I have only seen Wong play a couple of games and he has yet to get a hit, but he is a player. He has a short quick compact swing and turns the double play with the best. There is very little wasted motion when he redirects the ball to first to turn two! Wong gives the Cards so much more depth and then if Freese can return and start to drive the ball again it will benefit the Cardinals.

The Cardinals everyday lineup has so much talent and is better than any of the competitors. When this race for the division is over the Cardinals should be at the top followed by the Reds and then the Pirates.

Pirates can they stay on top?  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/08/pirates-can-they-stay-on-top/

Bob Brown

 

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

 

Pirates can they stay on Top?

The Pirate team of 2013 is the first team since the 1992 squad to be competitive and above 500 for the season. They go into the series against the Cards with a three game lead and will retain first place by themselves as long as they don’t get swept. This is a Pirate team that I wrote about before the season began that I had figured as being competitive and above 500. I knew they had some strong pitching but didn’t figure for them to be in first place this late in the season.

The Pirates are in the best division in the National League and will need to play some very good baseball to beat out the Cardinals and Reds. I predicted the Reds and Cards would be battling it out for the top of the division and the Reds would win in a close race.

For this discussion I will compare the Pirates position by position with the Cardinals.

Catcher

Cardinals – Yadi Molina is the best all round catcher in the game. He is another coach behind the plate and has no defensive peers in MLB. Molina is a professional hitter that can drive the ball to all fields. The MVP of the Cards and the one player if injured is difficult to replace. He has been on the DL and will come off on August 15 and will be ready to go. Matheny will give him a lighter load and will be counting on backup Tony Cruz to do a good job.

Pirates – Russell Martin has been on a downward slope for a few years but he seems to be playing some better ball this year. His average is up along with his OBP.

Advantage – Cardinals by a wide margin.

First Base

Cardinals – Allen Craig has become one of the best players and most clutch hitters in the game. This is another of the Cardinals professional hitters and all he does is drive the ball to all fields. He always works hard and is doing a good job at first base.

Pirates – Garrett Jones had his best year in 2012 with 27 home runs and 86 RBIs. His stats are way down from last year and the Bucs are anticipating a hot finish from the big lefty.

Advantage – Cardinals by a wide margin.

Second Base  

Cardinals – Matt Carpenter was a deserving All star in 2013 and is the catalyst for the team. As Matt goes so goes the Cardinals. Matt is a professional hitter that hits the ball to all fields and is also a clutch hitter. Matt has been a third baseman in the past, but shifted to second this year and is doing very well.

Pirates – Neil Walker in the last three seasons put up some real good numbers for a second baseman. His numbers this year are not close to what his past numbers have been.

Advantage – Cardinals by a wide margin.

Shortstop 

Cardinals – Pete Kozma started out well but has fallen off the cliff in the last month. I had him figured for a 260-270 hitter and above average shortstop. I like his short compact swing but he is just missing the ball and I would advise using the thin bat with small ball or beans. This always worked for my players; it makes the baseball look bigger. His glove has been a plus and I think he can still finish around the 250 mark.

Pirates – Clint Barmes is a veteran shortstop that has a good glove and has showed some offense in the past. Unfortunately he hasn’t done anything with the bat this year.

Advantage –  Barmes gets the slight edge being a veteran and having hit some in the past.

Third Base

Cardinals –  David Freese has had a difficult season with a bad back from a fall into the dugout. This occurred in spring training and the injury set him back in trying to get his timing down for the season. Freese had only 2-3 games on rehab and then was brought North with the team to open the season.

I have written before that Freese needed to stay on the farm to get his hitting together. He had a terrible early season and then he went on a hot streak. After the hot streak he cooled off and now he is starting to drive the ball to the right side which is a sign that he is in the groove.

Pirates – Pedro Alvarez is the Pirate third baseman and the organization has always had high hopes that he would be one of the players to build around. This was not happening and the Pirate fans were giving him a lot of heat. Pedro has 28 home runs and 75 runs batted in. He has a 236 batting average and an OBP of 296 which isn’t anything to brag about. His defense is mediocre at best and with very little range.

Advantage – Alvarez gets the advantage because his season totals are a lot better but I expect Freese to relax and to finish the year strong.

Left field

Cardinals – Matt Holiday has had a down year but since the All star break has taken off and is hitting the ball extremely well. Matt is the kind of player when he gets hot he can carry a team for a long time. There are very few players that hit the ball as hard as Matt in the major leagues. His defense has been subpar this year and he has had some criticism from some in the media. I am a fan of Holiday and appreciate his hitting ability.

Pirates – Starling Marte is the young leftfielder of the Bucs and is regarded as a possible impact player. He is hitting a solid 282 with an OBP of 343 and with 33 stolen bases. He is very athletic and it seems he could have a bright future with the Pirates.

Advantage – Holiday has the edge because of his years in the game and his potential to carry the team the rest of the year and into the post season.

Centerfield

Cardinals – Jon Jay is the Cardinal center fielder that slaps the ball and uses the whole field. He has been a 300 hitter in the past, but has had a rough year at the plate. He has a tendency to be a very streaky hitter and is hitting under 200 this year against the south paws. Jay plays an above average center field but has a below average arm.

Pirates – Andrew McCutchen is an excellent baseball player that can do it all. He is a 5 tool player that will keep improving and is the anchor for the team. I love to watch him hit, his hands are just so quick and he has excellent power for a man that is not real big. He is excellent on defense and can really cover some ground.

Advantage – McCutchen by a wide margin because of his all round ability.

Right Field

Cardinals – Carlos Beltran is the veteran right fielder that still has gas in the tank. Beltran has had another very good season for the Cards and with proper rest should finish strong. He is a switch hitting potential HOF player and if he can stay healthy for 2-3 more years he could get his own bust.  I have been critical of the handling of Beltran and Molina by Cards manager Mike Matheny. He needs to give these two more time off so they don’t get run down!

Pirates – Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones share time in right field. They are 250 hitters with some pop and cannot compare to Beltran.

Advantage – Beltran by a wide margin because of his potential to carry the team on his shoulders.

Pitching

The Pirates have the number 1 ranked pitching staff in the National League.  The Cardinals have very good pitching, but rank 5th in the league.  http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/pitching/year/2013/seasontype/2/league/nl

Advantage – The Pirates have the advantage and good pitching can beat good hitting.

Ace in the hole goes to the Cards with Matt Adams on the bench. Matt is a power hitter and plays first base when Beltran, Holiday or Craig needs a rest. He is also an excellent pinch hitter who has had some clutch hits.

Can the Pirates hang on and beat the Cards and the Reds to the finish line? The Cards have not been able to beat teams with a 500 record and up. They are dominating the teams under the 500 mark.   I think the Cards will win the division because of having the superior position players. The Bucs lack quality everyday players and I think we will see the Cards and possibly the Reds pass them. I think there will be a one game playoff between the Reds and the Pirates.

Bob Brown

 

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

 

 

Albert Pujols and Jack Clark, steroids and the character issue

I am exhausted and simply sick of all the lying, corruption, excuses, and poor character that has seeped into our society.  I would really like to see more people take a stand and say we have had enough of the prisoners running the prison!

This discussion is going to center on the character issues of athletes and the people they associate with in their field. I often think to myself how some of these athletes can go out in public and not to feel shame. In the business world or in sports if I did something so stupid, as to steal or cheat, I would be over taken by guilt. I see so little remorse in our society and this worries me as we go on as a country.

During the steroid years I think it was common knowledge among the players that there was a steroid problem in the game. One player remarked about how a wiry second baseman came to spring training and was built like a weight lifter. This player proceeded to hit home runs at a much higher rate than in the past. I can give you many more examples, but my point is some of the players and coaches had to know what was going on in the game.

The players that I feel sorry for are the guys that were clean and gave a full effort going against the cheaters. How about the AAA or the AAAA players that could have had a MLB career or a more successful career. If I was a player at this time, I would have raised all kinds of heck!

How about the fans of the muscle bound cartoon characters and their reaction after it was found they cheated? It seems to me the average Joe fan felt it was ok for my guy to cheat and put up big numbers but for the opposing player it is not acceptable.

How about the steroid hearing in 2005 and all the denials of the players and one player pointing his finger and sternly denying the accusation. He was found guilty of steroids at a later date. Here is a good article on the hearing-http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/03/17/steroids.baseball/

Now we get to Albert Pujols and former Cardinal Jack Clark. Here are some other articles that explains the situation. – http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/jack-clark-fired-los-angeles-angels-albert-pujols-ped-steroids-tigers-justin-verlander-080913

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/pujols-says-he-ll-sue-clark-slaten-dumped-by-station/article_f5220a8b-891d-599a-a265-45b449399a90.html

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-bytes-albert-pujols-fights-back/article_dc83a1ae-8a96-5ca4-8a65-cd651ce497e5.html

My concern is there are three people that are directly involved in this situation. You have Albert Pujols, Jack Clark and the former personal trainer of Pujols a Mr. Chris Mihlfeld.  Somebody is lying, and it could be one of the guys or it could possibly be two of them. The combatants are claiming they are telling the truth. This is another example of somebody with poor character getting out of line! Then you throw in Kevin Slaten a St. Louis sports talk radio shock jock that has had numerous issues over the years.

Clark and Slaten have been terminated from the radio station. This in itself could get very nasty, and then you throw in the potential lawsuit coming from Albert Pujols. I personally don’t think Pujols will sue because the radio station fired Clark. If he happens to go ahead with the law suit there will be a can of worms opened and it will not be good for all involved.

Why would Jack Clark say what he said on the air and not have solid proof? Some people will say it was for publicity for a new sports radio station. This wouldn’t be smart to attempt to gain publicity through a lie. Jack has always been very up front on the issue of PED’s in baseball.  There are people ripping Jack without knowing the truth.

Albert Pujols is reacting in a stern way in order to protect his reputation and to tell the world he is clean. This is how a person of strong character would act if they were accused of an act they did not commit.

The same can be said of Chris Mihlfeld in his statement to the public that what Clark said was false.  

Everybody  needs to remember when Jose Canseco came forth with his book “ Juiced” he got very little support from the sport writers and the general public. I was one of the people fooled and didn’t think baseball players would mess with steroids. I was wrong as there was a good percent of them on the juice! This really bothers me to think of all the players cheating and messing up the game and the records. The records are tarnished because of these jerks!

I remember when the issue came up of Mark McGwire using steroids when he was with the Athletics and the Cardinals. Tony LaRussa was vehemently in the corner of Big Mac and talked about how hard his work outs were and that he got all his power from hard work. There were a lot of people fooled and a lot more knew there was a problem with steroids.

The current players all seem to be on board with getting the cheaters out of the game! I applaud them for this and we need more to step up against the frauds in the game!

We need to compare the MLB players to the NFL and the NBA players in their conduct and character. There is no comparison between the three with all the felons and criminals in their sport, it is difficult to watch and root for bad people to succeed! Here are some figures on the NFL players- http://blog.seatcrunch.com/crime-in-the-nfl/

Here is a book from several years ago about the problems in the NBA. The author claims that 40% of the NBA players at this time had been charged with serious crimes.  http://www.curledup.com/outofbou.htm

As a baseball fan we have our problems with steroids but I do believe the players are willing to police themselves. Baseball needs to come down hard on these losers and give a one year suspension on the first violation and then on the second you are gone for good! This would put a stop to all the fraud in the game.

I have always believed that each generation was supposed to be better than the previous and learn from mistakes and triumphs. We as a society are going downhill because we are allowing the cheaters, liars, and corrupt to make excuses and then go on with their lives with no repercussion.

It is going to be interesting to see where this steroid issue goes and what comes out from under the rock. I am not taking a side on this issue because I don’t know who is telling the truth. I think it is important for the game to get to the bottom of this and get the cheaters out of the game!

Bob Brown

 

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

 

 

 

Cards vs Dodgers- Bunts and Relay

The natives are getting restless, and it is not only the second guessers or Monday morning quarterbacks, but also the real baseball people.  I am going to discuss three different plays and the strategy of Matheny and also the comments from the announcers on another play.

I will start in the bottom of the fourth the Cardinals had Jay on third and Cruz on first and there was one out. Wainwright was the hitter and he squared to sacrifice Cruz to second base. Jay stayed at third base, so then we had two runners in scoring position. This play left Carpenter at the plate with two outs and he ended up striking out. The bunt call would have been fine and the proper call if there was nobody out.

The Cardinals hitting with men in scoring position has been the best in MLB. Matheny was counting on Carpenter to drive in the runners and if this would have been done everything would have been super.

In my opinion if Wainwright is going to bunt, it needs to be the suicide or the safety squeeze. The problem was Matheny called for the sacrifice bunt that moved Cruz over to second base.  The correct call is the safety squeeze, if you are determined to bunt. With this kind of bunt the hitter squares to bunt and once the bunt is down the runner on third dashes home. If this is done you accomplish two different things with one play. The runner from third scores and the runner on first can advance to second base and is in scoring position. The suicide is a good call if the pitcher has good control and if the hitter is ahead in the count. This strategy also depends on the ability of the hitter to lay the bunt down. One more option is to let Wainwright swing away.

Read this article on hitting and fielding coaches for pitchers- http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/

The next play is in the fifth inning and Allen Craig is on first base and there are two outs. Freese is up at the plate and he hits a long drive to the right center field wall. Rookie Yasiel Puig goes to the wall and picks up the ball and turns and just throws the ball to the infield. He misses the relay man and the ball is caught by the back up relay man. Nick Punto throws home to nail Allen Craig.

Oquedo sending Craig home was the correct play, because there were two outs.

Now we get to what the commentators said about the play. Rick Horton said it was a good play by Puig to throw a bullet to hit his cutoff man.  There are a couple of things that Horton is wrong about on this play. Puig picked up the ball and just threw it to the infield, he missed his relay man. But the back up relay man Nick  Punto caught the ball on the fly and threw out Craig.

I have a couple of issues with Rick and one of them is calling the infielder the cutoff man. This infielder is the relay man and Al made the same mistake also. The majority of baseball people don’t know the difference between the relay man and the cutoff. Horton also said the throw was a bullet; it was a rainbow that was thrown blindly to the infield. Read this article the Dodgers know he just throws the ball to the infield. The players were kind of laughing about him missing the relay man. Punto in this article uses the word cutoff, believe me Punto was the back up relay man.  If I was Puig’s manager I would get his attention and he would start hitting the relay man! I say this but the MLB outfielders are terrible at hitting the relay man and the cutoffs!   http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/la-phenom-puig-shows-his-stuff-against-cardinals/article_49d9d448-f04a-52eb-9e55-7b3674d93d0b.html

The play that most of the Cardinal fans are questioning is what transpired in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Cards had Chambers on second and Carpenter on first base with no outs. Beltran sacrificed the runners over to second and third. Craig drove in a run on a grounder to first base and then Holiday grounded out to end the inning.

I was shocked when I saw Beltran lay the ball down. We were down by two runs and a driver was up at the plate. Carlos could have driven in both runs or could have smacked one out of the park.  He also could have hit into a double play. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have had Beltran hitting. The only way it works for Beltran to be bunting is if we were down by one run.  I could see the bunt in this situation; this is where the manager goes into his stats and makes his decision.

The post game show with Matheny he refused to discuss the Beltran bunting situation. Beltran left the clubhouse and didn’t make a comment on the play. I think this play deserved to be explained by Mike and to not be swept under the rug. I am not sure who made the decision to bunt on this play as all we can do is guess. Here are two other articles on the subject.  —http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/mum-s-the-word-on-beltran-s-bunt/article_8ae30a10-0d4b-5c1e-96e7-20b533ab219b.html

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/breakfast-with-bernie-matheny-mum-on-beltran-s-bunt/html_6a562dd9-93b9-5d7d-a7a1-eb734af22055.html

Bob Brown

Cardinals Implosion and what to do next

The first thing that Cardinal fans have to do is to take a deep breath. The 6 game losing streak is not good, but the situation with Yadi is of the most concern. I have made a couple of comments about the handling of Molina by Matheny on a couple of Bernies columns in today’s post.  I also have the comments on my face book page.

I am going to explain what I would do if I was Matheny. If you have read my articles on my website you will see that I am very creative.

What Mike should have done after yesterdays DH sweep by the Pirates was to tell the guys to go home and relax. They need to get a good night’s rest and be ready to play some Cardinal baseball on Wednesday.

It is important for Mike to appear calm and to keep the players relaxed and focused on what they need to do in the game. The players need to prepare as if this is just a regular game and to forget what has happened the last few days.

After the game on Wednesday he needs to call a pre game meeting for Thursday. He needs to take charge and let the guys know they are a lot better baseball players than how they have been playing  in the last few games.  He needs to look at them and say we are all going to work our rears off at practice to get our game where it should be. Mike needs to also stress all the positives and compliment them on how happy he is with their play up until this little detour! At the end of the meeting he tells them to be prepared to work tomorrow.

Personal note – When I was in the dirt if we had a game that we didn’t field well, guess what we worked hard at in practice? It is the same with hitting and the other parts of the game. I loved practice more than the game, that is where the real players shine in preparation. Here are a couple of articles that can make a difference in the way the game is played in the major leagues. I talked to Joe Garagiola Jr.  in the MLB office a couple of years ago and he told me most MLB teams don’t take infield practice before games. Check out this article on this subject-http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/mlb-needs-to-start-taking-infield-practice/  This article is about how MLB needs to improve the way they take pregame batting practice.-    http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/mlb-pregame-batting-practice/

I found out the Cardinals do not have a good old fashion infield practice the coaches just hit grounders while the hitters are hacking away! I wish they could have seen how I ran my infield practice; the players just loved it and enjoyed the challenge. You push and repeat, repeat and repeat some more. I have refined the infield practice to get the players more work. You can never get too many ground balls.  This is how you get in the groove in baseball.

Here is some input on what to do with certain players and how to get them back in the groove. Craig needs to get into the cage and relax and concentrate on hitting the ball to the right side. Holiday is close to breaking out and that is exactly what he is doing, pounding the ball to the right side. When you concentrate on hitting the ball to the opposite field in the cage and on the field, it makes you stay on the ball longer. This is what should be done with Jay, hit the ball to left field. His past says he is a slap hitter that uses the whole field.  Kozma is just missing the ball and would benefit by using the beans or small ball procedure in my hitting program. My players always said that after using the beans or the small balls that it made the baseball look larger. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/

There are two problems that I see in the future and one is not having a strong #2 in the rotation. We need to hope that Lynn and or Miller will step up and be that person. The other is the Yadi situation, he is irreplaceable.

Mike needs to be optimistic and push the guys to be the best they can be. There is so much in between the ears, even at this level of play.

Bob Brown

Tom Herr Cardinal Second baseman

The Cardinals of the 1980s had a very good defensive infield and was led by Ozzie Smith. But the glue and clubhouse leader was Tommy Herr. Tom was a switch hitting second baseman that sprayed the ball to all fields. He was a very good fielder and could turn the double play with the best of them.

Tom played 13 years in the show and had a career batting average of 271. He was a very good hit and run man and could also steal a base. This was all being accomplished with some bad knees. I always thought he could have been a much better player if his knees were sound. His game was his speed and athleticism. There was one thing that Herr was not good at was going into the outfield to catch short fly balls.  He was a very good athlete but was lacking in this part of the game. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/herrto01.shtml

Tom had a career year in 1985 when he hit 302 and had 110 runs batted in and only hit 8 home runs! After this he went back to his regular numbers and for his career had just this one year of hitting over 300.

Tom Herr was a true Cardinal and I always enjoyed watching him play the game! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Herr

Bob Brown

 

Willie McGee a Fan Favorite

Willie played 18 years in the Big Show and 13 years with the Cardinals. Willie was a lifetime 295 hitter that had great speed.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mcgeewi01.shtml

I really liked Willie as a person; he was soft spoken and wouldn’t say too much. Ozzie Smith took Willie under his wing and became a mentor for him. When Willie would smile you knew everything was right.

You have to understand I am a fundamental enthusiast about how the game should be played. This is the reason I started Big Dog Baseball USA to improve the quality of the game.

With that said, Willie drove me crazy! He would get you so excited with a big hit or play and then make you mad with a stupid play. When he would make a bad play, he would hang his head and sulk. I always felt so sorry for him, but man he  could he mess up.

Back in the 80s the Cardinals played on some real bouncy artificial turf. I would see Willie rushing in to do his best to catch the blooper. But he would get too close to the fallen ball and it would bounce over his head. He would chase after the ball and then he would sulk and I would feel sorry for him! I have seen Willie miss the relay man so often and this just drove me nuts! He would also over run a base and get picked off.

He should have had an inside the park home run in a World Series game, but stopped at third base because he never picked up his third base coach. I can still see him clapping his hands because he was happy with the triple.

Willie at bat was always a real adventure and was not fun to watch. He was unorthodox and was a big time free swinger. He would hit pitches that were out of the strike zone for triples. If the pitcher was up on the count and Willie had two strikes, just throw a hook in the dirt, and he would swing and strike out.

I loved watching Willie run the bases and go for a triple or from first to home.  He was always very good because of his speed in covering the gaps.

Willie won gold gloves and was an Allstar a couple of times. He always gave all when on the diamond and was a huge fan favorite! The fans would be chanting Willie in clutch situations, and he would come through quite often.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_McGee

Willie you were fun to watch and I am glad you were a Cardinal!

Bob Brown